Prompting is an important strategy while learning to communicate. Here are a set of activities that remove the overwhelm and make communication learning fun!
Prompting & AAC
Communication, as you are aware, is a fundamental part of human interaction. And for individuals with complex communication needs, AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) plays an essential role in forming meaningful connections. However, using AAC can sometimes feel overwhelming or challenging. That’s where prompting strategies come in!
In this blog, let’s explore creative ways of using AAC prompts to make communication practice enjoyable – while also building language development. Let’s dive in and discover how these innovative approaches can transform the AAC experience with your child into a fun-filled adventure!
1. Build It Together:
Select a building toy, such as blocks or LEGO pieces and gather them in a designated area. As a prompter, use the AAC device to give instructions on how to build the structure. Begin by giving a prompt, such as “Let’s build a tall tower”. Model the AAC symbols for the colors, shapes, and actions needed to construct the tower, such as “blue block,” “square shape,” and “stack it up. Encourage the communicator to use their AAC system to request specific blocks or give suggestions for the structure. Respond to their AAC requests and incorporate their ideas into the building process. This game encourages AAC use, following directions, and spatial reasoning skills, while providing opportunities for modeling and prompting within a fun and interactive context.
2. Finish the Sentence:
Start a sentence on the AAC system, leaving the last word or phrase blank. Prompt the communicator to finish the sentence using their AAC system. For example, you could say” I like to eat…” and wait for the communicator to select the symbol to finish the sentence, such as “pizza” or “candy”.
3. Interactive Story Telling:
Unleash the storyteller within! Start by setting the scene with a simple statement, such as “Once upon a time, there was a magical garden.” Use the AAC system to model and describe the characters of the story. For instance, you can select symbols for an elf, a fairy, and a wise rabbit.
Model sentences like “In the magical garden, there was an elf who loved to play tricks on everyone”. Next, encourage the communicator to contribute their ideas and expand the story. Prompt them to use their AAC system to describe more characters. For example, you could ask “Who else lived in the garden? What do they like”?”. Alternate turns, use prompts, and build an amazing story with your child.
4. “I Spy” Fading:
Begin by providing a high level of prompting to support the communicator’s understanding. For example, say, “I spy with my little eye something that is red” while pointing to the symbol for “red” on the AAC system.
Prompt the communicator to use their AAC system to choose symbols that represent objects that are red such as “apple” or “firetruck.” As the communicator becomes more proficient, gradually fade the prompts to encourage independent responses. Here’s how you can reduce the level of prompting:
- Physical Prompt: Initially, provide physical guidance by guiding the communicator’s hand to the symbols on the AAC system.
- Gesture Prompt: Instead of physically guiding, use gestures to direct the Communicator’s attention toward the symbol.
- Verbal Prompt: Provide a verbal cue or describe the object without explicitly mentioning the color. For example, you could say, “I spy with my little eye something you can eat” for the red apple.
- No Prompt: Eventually, give no prompts or cues, allowing the communicator to independently identify the correct symbol for the object.
5. Time Delay Game Show:
Get ready for some excitement with the Time Delay Game Show! Present a prompt and give the communicator a few seconds to independently find and choose the correct symbol on their AAC system. Play suspenseful music to stir excitement in the activity.
Explain to the communicator that they will be participating in a game show where they have to find and choose the correct symbol on their AAC system within a specific time limit. Emphasize they should try their best to respond before time runs out independently.
For example, you can choose the category of animals. Show the AAC user a picture or describe an animal without stating its name. Start the timer or play suspenseful music to make it exciting. Prompt the AAC user to navigate their AAC system and find the symbol that represents the animal described in the prompt. Encourage them to make their selection within the given time limit, aiming for an independent response. Regardless of whether they were able to select the correct symbol or icon. Encourage them to keep practicing and remind them that it’s okay to take their time and improve with each round.
Celebrate Efforts and Progress
Remember, that every communication from the user is worth the wait! AAC prompting can create an environment that values their contributions and active participation. This in turn reinforces confidence and communication independence on their AAC journey.
So don’t forget to acknowledge all the efforts being put in by the communicator. Celebrate every progress, big or small!