PrAACtical AAC Goals

April 24, 2013 by - 4 Comments

Practical AAC Goals That Matter
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We can not say enough about writing AAC goals that are meaningful to the AAC user, but sometimes this is easier said than done.  During discussions in a graduate seminar class, it was apparent that goal writing is not necessarily intuitive or even specifically taught.  Goals are also the foundation behind any toy, app, or materials we use to set the stage for meaningful language experiences. Sample goals can serve as inspiration to develop specific, measurable, individualized AAC goals.

For comprehensive information on a range of AAC goals, check out our PrAACtical Goals That Matter or How I Do It- AAC in the IEP by Lauren Enders.   But to get started,   here are some selected expressive language goals written AAC style.

Expressive Language

Using Prestored Messages (i.e., multiple words/sentences on one cell/button; E.g., a button with “I want music”)

  1. Request a turn using prestored messages (e.g., “Hey, don’t forget me! I want a turn.”)

  2. Request desired objects/actions using prestored messages (e.g., “Turn the page, please” or “I want more”)

  3. Protest (or reject) undesired objects/actions/activities using prestored messages (e.g., “No, thank you. I don’t like that.”)

  4. Gain attention using prestored messages (e.g., “Excuse me. I need you for a minute.” “Look at this!”)

  5. Express a repeated line in a book, chant, or song (e.g., “All around the town!” “Clean up, clean up, everybody, everywhere”)

  6. Use greetings appropriate to the context (e.g., “Hello” “See you later”)

  7. Show off (e.g., “Look at me!” “I made it.”)

  8. Make a contextually-appropriate comment (e.g., “That’s just crazy!”)

  9. Tell about a prior or planned event (e.g., “We played Hungry Hippos in speech today!” “Jenna’s class is having a pizza party on Friday.”)

  10. Tell a personal narrative (Note: this can be prestored in one cell/button or distributed across several)

  11. Retell a story or event (Note: this can be prestored in one cell/button or distributed across several)

  12. Ask a question (e.g., “What’s that?” “What do you think?”)

  13. Express agreement or disagreement (e.g., “That’s right.” “I don’t think so.”)

  14. Give directions (e.g., “Red Group, line up” “Put it in my backpack, please.”)

  15. Use interjections (e.g., “Awesome job!” “No way!” “Wow! That’s crazy!”

  16. Use introductory messages (e.g., “Hi. How are you?” “Good to see you”)

  17. Use continuers (e.g., “I see.” “Hmm. That’s interesting.” “Okay”)

  18. Using termination messages (e.g. “Okay, see you later.” “I gotta run.”)

  19. Provide partner instructions (e.g., “It’s going to take me a minute. Please hang with me.” “Say each word as I point to it. If you’re wrong, I’ll shake my head and show you the right one.” “Ask me yes/no questions.”

Using Single Words That Can be Combined into Sentences (i.e., 1 word per cell/button; e.g. I+want+music=”I want music”)

  1. Given an array of preferred activities/objects/people, request a desired activity/object

  2. Given a field of ___ to ___  options (some preferred, some non-preferred), choose a preferred object/activity/person

  3. Request recurrence with single words (e.g., “more,” “again”) or short sentences (e.g., “more tickle,” “Read it again.”)

  4. Use short sentences to request preferred objects, actions/activities, or people

  5. Use short sentences to request help or attention

  6. Use short sentences to protest or reject undesired objects, actions/activities, or people

  7. Use contextually-appropriate action + object sentences (or agent + action + object sentences)

  8. Use contextually-appropriate agent + action sentences

  9. Use contextually-appropriate action + modifier sentences

  10. Use contextually-appropriate descriptors/modifiers/attributes in sentences

  11. Use contextually-appropriate prepositions and locatives in sentences

  12. Use subject pronouns correctly (e.g., (I, you, we, it)

  13. Use object pronouns correctly (e.g., me, her, us, them)

  14. Use indefinite pronouns correctly (e.g., all, another, someone, anybody)

  15. Use time-related words(e.g., ‘yesterday’, ‘now’, ‘soon’, ‘later’)

  16. Ask  relevant ‘What’ questions or ‘What doing’ questions

  17. Ask relevant ‘Where’ questions

  18. Ask relevant ‘When’  questions

  19. Ask relevant ‘Why’ questions

  20. Ask relevant ‘How’ questions

  21. Request clarification (e.g., “Can you explain?”“Huh?” “What did you say?”)

  22. Ask relevant partner-focused questions (e.g., “What do you think?” “How was your weekend?” “What’s new?”)

  23. Use adjectives correctly to modify nouns based on color, size, amount, shape, and temperature (e.g., warm, tiny, bright, round)

  24. Use adjectives and adverbs correctly to modify nouns based/verbs on distance and time (e.g., far, sometimes, early, never, short, always, immediately)

  25. Respond to ‘What’ and ‘What doing’ questions with appropriate answers

  26. Respond to ‘Where’ questions with appropriate answers

  27. Respond to ‘When’ questions with appropriate answers

  28. Respond to ‘Why’ questions with appropriate answers

  29. Respond to ‘How’ questions with appropriate answers

  30. Respond to ‘yes/no’ questions to denote choice

  31. Respond to ‘yes/no’ questions to provide information

  32. Tell or retell a story with ____ number of critical elements

  33. Take several turns in a conversation

  34. Construct utterances about future events

  35. Construct utterances about current events

  36. Construct utterances about past events

  37. Use non-literal language (idioms, figurative language) appropriately

  38. Request an explanation or elaboration

  39. Use existing vocabulary to describe new word/concept

  40. Use at least __ new words per week

  41. Use correct morphological endings for verb conjugations and tenses (e.g., I am, you are; I am, I was)

  42. Use modal and auxiliary verbs (e.g., could, would, may, might) correctly

  43. Use words to indicate spatial locations (e.g., in, on, over, above) correctly

  44. Use words to indicated spatial relationships (e.g., with, next to, between, among ) correctly

  45. Use coordinating conjunctions (e.g., and, for, but, or) correctly

  46. Use subordinating conjunctions (e.g., because, while, though, since, after, although)correctly

  47. Initiate interaction

  48. Respond appropriately to partner-initiated communication

  49. Maintain conversations with acknowledgements (‘Cool,” “So interesting”)

  50. Maintain conversations by providing new information about the topic

  51. Re-direct the topic of conversation using cohesive messages (e.g., “That reminds me of…” “I forgot to tell you about…” “I remember…” “Another thing that…”)

  52. Use topic setters to alert partner of the topic/subject

  53. Terminate conversation using socially-appropriate language

  54. Complain or vent about a situation

  55. Use polite social forms (i.e, “please”, “thank you”)

  56. Compliment others about concrete attributes (e.g., “I like your hair.” “Nice dress”) or abstract characteristics (e.g., “You’re so nice!” “That was a smart thing to ask.”)

  57. Respond  to requests for clarification by rephrasing misunderstood messages

  58. Respond to requests for clarification by repeating misunderstood messages

  59. Tell appropriate jokes or humorous anecdotes in social interactions

  60. Provide relevant reasons and rationales

  61. Convince or persuade with logical reasoning

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This post was written by Robin Parker


  • Michelle says:

    Just wondering how you would make them measurable for the IEP? Specifically the first five.

  • TTTalk says:

    Awesome Goals, thanks!

  • smitha says:

    These are wonderful! Thank you so much!

    Regarding making them measurable, I generally either think in terms of # of times/day or number of times elicited during a session or percentage/accuracy (less relevant with these specific communication tasks).

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