5 Ways to Use Magazines in AAC Therapy

June 4, 2015 by - Leave your thoughts

5 Ways to Use Magazines in AAC Therapy
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Magazines are one of my favorite therapy materials for AAC learners. There is a lot to love about these inexpensive, engaging materials.  They’re readily available, novel, and easy to tote around. But most importantly, they work really well because you can find a magazine on practically any topic. From Justin Bieber to sharks to the Miami Heat and 5 Ways to Use Magazines in AAC Therapyeverywhere in between, there is likely to be a magazine that is age respectful and aligns with the interests of any AAC learner.

There are so many options for using magazines in our AAC therapies. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  1. Beyond choicemaking: We all love to give our clients choices to promote engagement and support personal autonomy. (What’s the point of AAC if people aren’t also learning to speak up and use their voices to impact their lives?) Offering a choice of magazines is a fine, of course, but in the spirit of raising the bar, we can go beyond that and use the choicemaking as an opportunity to build more complex sentences. With Lena, for example, we used them to practice conjunctions ‘because’ and ‘so’ (e.g., “I pick Teen People because I love Miley.” “I want that one so I can show you my favorite dress.”).
  2. Lexical diversity: So many of our AAC clients have small lexicons and get stuck in a rut of using the same words over and over. We often work on expanding their vocabularies and challenge them to replace common words with more sophisticated or nuanced options. After selecting a magazine, we can turn to some of the over-used words (big, for example), and work together to brainstorm alternatives (e.g., large, huge, giant, gigantic, enormous, ginormous).
  3. Expanding MLU: Magazines offer a plethora of opportunities to make long(er) sentences or questions. Throw in an expectation for use of a target vocabulary word and you’ve just doubled the power of your therapy activity.
  4. Grammaticalize: AAC learners get far too few opportunities to use varied forms of the words that they are learning. Being able to grammaticalize a target word allows them to speak in grammatically correct sentences, and that’s a big step toward linguistic competence. E.g., “This one has larger teeth.” “That is the largest shark.”
  5. Build noun phrases: Use the target vocabulary to create noun phrases, a natural way of increasing the length and complexity of sentences. E.g., A huge head; His giant teeth; A really large appetite

Do you have engaging and effective ways of using magazines in your AAC therapy? We’d love to hear about them.


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This post was written by Carole Zangari

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