Video of the Week: Aided Language Input in AACtion

June 7, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts

Video of the Week: Aided Language Input in AACtion
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Do you know students like these?

  • In therapy sessions, Victor uses single words on his SGD to participate in games and activities, but doesn’t use it much during other daily experiences.
  • Bella uses PECS quite capably at mealtimes but rarely uses it at other times during the day.
  • Karina can use her AAC app to put together short narratives to tell about things that happened recently. Most times, though, she expresses herself with single word utterances.

As therapists, teachers, and families who support people who use AAC, we do a lot of hand wringing when there is a discrepancy between what students KNOW HOW to do and what they DO do. We are perplexed and frustrated when these students have everything they need to utilize a particular skill, yet fail to do so.

It’s a common concern, but here’s a question for us to ask ourselves: Don’t we do the exact same thing?

If we’re honest with ourselves, we can probably point to dozens of times throughout the day when we COULD have used a particular support strategy but failed to do so.

  • Susan has been teaching students with AAC needs for more than a decade, but in Morning Meeting she tends to model AAC only at the start and the end of the activity.
  • SLP Gemma knows a lot about aided language input, but when she pushed into the classroom to do a shared reading group, she used the strategy only a handful of times.
  • Toni has been a strong advocate for her son’s AAC in therapy and at school, and makes sure that he has his SGD with him throughout the day. She’s attended several workshops and viewed quite a few webinars on AAC supports, but her own use of aided language input is quite sporadic.

It’s one thing to know about a strategy that can help AAC learners develop their language and communication skills, but it’s quite another to incorporate that strategy into our daily experiences. Narrowing the gap between ‘knowing’ and ‘doing’ is something that takes effort.

Becoming a good AAC partner and consistently using research-supported strategies like aided language input is a journey that many of us are on. Seeing how others do it can be helpful as we struggle to make these strategies part of our daily interactions. For our fellow travelers, here are some videos of aided language input in AACtion during shared reading. Many thanks to Betty Campbell for these wonderful video clips!


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This post was written by Carole Zangari

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