Stepping into AAC – Week 1

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About Week 1

Welcome to Week 1 of your Stepping into AAC journey!

You’ll begin this week by selecting a starter AAC tool for your learner. The resources below include a stepwise guide to help you choose one. You will need this for hands-on activities during each week of your Stepping Into AAC journey. If you already have an AAC tool with core vocabulary words, such as a speech-generating device, AAC app, or communication book, you can skip this step and use that tool instead.

With your AAC tool ready, you’ll work through the following concepts this week:

  • Introduction to 100 Days of AAC: Learn what to expect during the 20 weeks of Stepping into AAC.
  • Choosing an AAC Tool: Select a communication board for use during your Stepping Into AAC journey or use a communication aid you already have.
  • What is ‘Robust AAC?” Understanding the nature and characteristics of robust AAC tools
  • Understanding the Functions of Communication: Learn about the varied purposes for which we communicate and what role this plays in supporting new users of AAC.
  • Give Language to Get Language: Explore the role of language input in facilitating AAC use by children, teens, and adults with complex communication needs.

 The 20 weeks of your Stepping Into AAC journey cover a lot of territory. The graphic below shows the major topics and themes covered in each week of the program and the focus of the hands-on activities, videos, and newsletter resources.


Robust AAC – What Is It and Why Start There?

This video discusses the essential features and functions of robust AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) and compares common tools based on their functions and features. The benefits of robust AAC for both AAC learners and communication partners are emphasized.

Get the Handout

Robust AAC-What is it & Why Start There?

Robust AAC Decision-Making Considerations

Considerations for deciding on an AAC device include current skills and needs, individual preferences, and community support. It is important to choose a robust AAC system and involve the learner’s team in the decision-making process.


Jane Farrall’s blog post, “What is Beginning AAC”

Understanding the Functions of Communication

This video discusses the importance of using a variety of communicative functions when interacting with AAC learners. It emphasizes the need to go beyond asking questions and offering choices and highlights the benefits of incorporating functions such as commenting, sharing information, and asking questions out of curiosity. Varying communicative purposes fosters connection increases modeling opportunities, and reduces demands on AAC learners.

Get the Handout

Understanding the Functions of Communication

The Role of Language Input: Give Language to Get Language

This video discusses the importance of providing AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) tools AND language input to AAC learners to facilitate language and communication development. It emphasizes the need for access to AAC tools and the role of modeling and meaningful language experiences in language learning.

Get the Handout

Give Language to Get Language


Connecting with the AAC Learner’s Team

AAC is a team effort, and keeping everyone informed so that we can work toward the same goal can be a challenge. In most situations, it will be helpful to share Stepping Into AAC materials and resources with the AAC learner’s therapy and educational teams. In this first week, you can use verbiage from the sample letters we created to inform team members about your Stepping Into AAC journey.

Print the Week

Want all of the resources shared in this week’s Stepping into AAC? You can download the entire digital bundle by clicking the download button below.

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