PrAACtical Thinking PrAACtical Suggestions: 5 Ways to Elicit Language Without Asking a Direct Question

Published on June 26th, 2012 | by Carole Zangari

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PrAACtical Suggestions: 5 Ways to Elicit Language Without Asking a Direct Question

SLPs love to talk, of course, but sometimes that works against us. Over-prompting. Jumping in to repeat the last question. Re-phrasing the previous comment. Nature abhors a vaccuum and sometimes we just can’t stop ourselves.

-PrAACtical Suggestions: 5 Ways to Elicit Language Without Asking a Direct Question

What makes us fun at parties, though, can make it difficult for our AAC friends to become active, assertive communicators. Too much verbiage on our part can really slow down the journey toward communicative independence.

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We know better. We really do. But sometimes we need a little help to remind ourselves. And, so, a few reminders to us all…

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1. Make the expectations clear using visual supports and aided language input.

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2. Create a motivating context in which the learner needs to communicate in order to get his/her own agenda met. 

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3. Pause. Look expectantly at the communicator. Pause some more. Look even more expectant.

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4. Keep pausing. Use a gesture for emphasis (e.g., cup your ear to indicate “I’m listening”). Bite your tongue (it’s almost over).

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5. Pat yourself on the back for having created a nice conversational space. Over time, it will help your clients become more independent. 

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And that’s a very good thing.

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About the Author

Carole Zangari

Carole Zangari has been involved in the practice and teaching of AAC for over 20 years. She is a professor of speech-language pathology and has been fortunate to have been able to introduce many children and adults to the world of AAC. "Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." Theodore Roosevelt



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