Dynamic Therapy Associates, Inc. is a family-focused speech language pathology practice. We provide articulation, language, oral-motor/feeding, and AAC services to our patients.
One of the most challenging parts of learning to communicate using AAC is that we need to use it all day, in all activities in order to get better at it. This is a formidable goals for busy parents but it’s okay to start small, integrating a little AAC into typical daily routines. It’s about turning everyday activities into opportunities for learning and connection. Whether it's during morning preparations, meals, or bedtime, each part of the day offers a chance to enhance communication skills.
Our daily lives are built around routines that provide a sense of structure and familiarity. These moments, from mealtimes to getting dressed, are perfect for focusing on AAC engagement. Planning ahead allows us to introduce and practice specific vocabulary relevant to these activities, such as "eat," "more," "finished," "choose," or "help."
Modeling means using the AAC system in front of the user to demonstrate how to communicate with it. By actively using AAC during routine activities, we not only teach the mechanics of the system but also highlight the value of communication. This approach involves narrating our actions and expressing our thoughts through the AAC system, showing its applicability in real-life situations.
Daily routines should be interactive, providing AAC users with the chance to make choices, express preferences, and comment on activities. This interaction aims to build a two-way communication flow, encouraging users to become active participants in their communication development.
Visual aids and environmental cues can serve as reminders to use AAC systems. By placing symbols or pictures related to daily tasks around the home, we create visual prompts that encourage communication. For example, a symbol for "wash hands" near the sink can naturally lead to a communicative exchange about the activity.
While consistency in using AAC during routines is crucial for building familiarity and confidence, being flexible and responsive to the AAC user's interests is equally important. Adapting to their preferences and spontaneous communications adds depth to the interaction and keeps communication engaging.
Acknowledging every effort to use AAC, regardless of the form it takes, reinforces the importance of communication. Celebrating these attempts fosters a positive environment that encourages further use of AAC.
Incorporating AAC into daily routines is about recognizing the potential for communication in every part of the day. By modeling AAC use, encouraging participation, and responding to the AAC user's communication attempts, we create a supportive environment that promotes communication growth. It’s about making the most of the routines that structure our days to enrich the communication experiences of those we support.