Lesson 1

Initial Reaction

Modeling isn't working just because they don't pay attention when you provide the model.

Reframed Perspective

• Even if they are not looking, they may be listening. 

•  They are more likely to pay attention if you model language related to their interests and mood.
• You can make video models of exciting and essential messages to create diverse learning methods for the user.

• You can invite peers or siblings to model because they might be interested.

• Remember that it takes time. If you keep modeling regularly, the user will learn that it's worth their attention.


Lesson 2

Initial Reaction

• They purposefully don't use that AAC system.

• They didn't mean to say that.

• They are just playing.

• They only stim on it.

Reframed Perspective

• This system is new, and the user has to analyze it to understand what it can do.

• You can't read their mind, so you don't know if they meant to say that or not.
• When children learn to speak, they babble. The AAC user goes through another process.
• If you respond to what the user is saying, you can help them discover their power as a communicator and what the words mean in diverse contexts.
The user needs time and models to learn using this system.


Lesson 3

Initial Reaction

• They don't even make clear choices yet.

• They are not ready for a complex device.

Reframed Perspective

• How do I know what their choice is? I can't guess what they are thinking.

• Maybe they are just picking something because they know that I want them to respond.

• Perhaps my choices aren't what they are thinking about right now.

• Maybe they changed their mind after they selected it. That happens to me too.

• Perhaps if they had more words than that, they would say things that I'm not anticipating.

• We don't wait for speaking children to make selections before talking to them, so we should be patient and understanding to make AAC users feel comfortable using the device.

• They can't learn to use a system unless I show them how.


Lesson 4

Initial Reaction

They can say a few words. So how would AAC help them? Maybe it will keep them from speaking more!

Reframed Perspective

• Speech is the most efficient way to express thoughts and feelings. So if they could use speech, they probably would.

• It must be stressful not to be able to communicate clearly. Therefore, having a different way of voicing their ideas would reduce the inevitable frustration they are constantly experiencing. 

• Besides the tools they use to communicate, they should also own an AAC system. It's helpful to have more strategies!

• Research suggests that AAC DOESN'T affect speech production; it reinforces it!

• Using an AAC device would let them learn how to use language while their speech continues to develop.

• I hope I'll get to know them even better.


Lesson 5

We can't limit the AAC users' access to communication just because speech is comfortable. They deserve to be heard.

Initial Reaction

The user can articulate a few words. Could AAC actually help them? What if it keeps them from speaking more?

Reframed Perspective

• Speech is the most efficient and comfortable way to express a thought. If the user could express their ideas through speech, they probably would.

• An AAC system could be an essential addition to the user's communication instruments.

• Using an AAC system would allow the user to learn how to utilize language while their speech continues to expand.

• Using an AAC system would allow the user to express better their opinions, feelings, and needs and feel empowered and understood.

• I want to get to know the user even better. We can use the language on an AAC system to connect, and I might discover surprising things about the user that I couldn't find out before.


Lesson 6

Initial Reaction

This child is too (insert adjective) to use robust AAC.

Reframed Perspective

I can guide them. I need to figure out the strategies that will support the user's unique needs.

Initial Reaction

This device is too complicated. There is no way they will learn this. Not even I can do it.

Reframed Perspective

I can learn one section or a couple of words at a time to keep from getting overwhelmed. They probably won't understand it unless I do!

Initial Reaction

Why can't they do (insert skill) yet? It is taking too long.

Reframed Perspective

It's a marathon. Not a sprint. If we keep learning, the results will improve in time.