• Dr. Amelie Lewis

Respond to babbling

Updated: Sep 26


Babbling is when the AAC user begins hitting random words on the device. 



Any time they use the AAC, respond to what they say, even if you suspect they're just playing with it. This might teach a new word to them. Also, it is important to help them understand that using AAC elicits a response. For example, if the AAC user is hitting his hands on his AAC device and presses "brother," you can say "Your brother is at school right now. He'll be home in about an hour." Even accidental communication should be listened to. For example, if an AAC user hits "ball" by accident, you can bring a ball or ask, "Do you want a ball?" This teaches them that using AAC has meaningful consequences.

Be prepared for some silliness

It's normal for the AAC users to say ridiculous things. If your child gives a "wrong" answer, it might be that they are making a joke. This is normal and okay, your AAC user is being playful. ​ For example, if you ask "What did you eat for lunch?" the AAC user might respond "Rocks, sticks." They are aware this didn't happen, they want to make a joke. ​ ​

​Praise them as they learn to use the app


You can praise them directly or tell another adult what a good job they did while the AAC user can hear. Examples of praise: • "Wow, you're so good at using your talker!" • "I remember how, when you were little, you didn't know how to use your app at all. Now you have used it so much today! You are getting to be so smart." • "Welcome home, Mommy. Nolan did a great job with his talker today! He asked me for all sorts of things."

Warnings  ​

• Avoid forceful attempts to make the AAC user use AAC. This might be intrusive to the AAC user and may make them dislike the AAC. ​ • Never take away an AAC user's voice as a punishment! No matter how frustrated with them you feel, they need to be able to communicate. ​ • You may sometimes misinterpret what the AAC user says, or forget to respond to them. That doesn't mean you're a bad caregiver. Forgive yourself, and keep doing your best.


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