Aided Language Stimulation

Aided language stimulation is a strategy to introduce AAC tools. This is when the communication partners model a child’s communication system functionally throughout the day.  Partners communicate to the child in the same mode as they are expected to use back.  Partners point to symbols on the tool as they talk to the child. There is lots of research that shows it’s efficacy ( It just makes sense to teach language in the same manner as typically developing children learn language. Typically developing kids have a receptive (understanding) vocabulary of about 50 words before they say anything.  


Why use aided language stimulation?

  • Allows them to see their tool being used by people around them
  • Unfair to expect them to automatically use their tools – if not literate, they won’t know what most of the symbols mean
  • Establishes a solid receptive language base with the expectation that expressive language will eventually follow
  • Encourages slowing down, shortening sentence length, and emphasizing key words and ideas
  • Encourages commenting and modeling rather than questioning
  • Opportunity for learning vocabulary together
Consider the 90/10 rule when introducing a new communication tool. Initially, it is expected that 90% of the use of the communication tool will be by the communication partner, and 10% will be by the child. As times goes on the balance will shift.

Watch this informative video about aided language stimulation:

The following are some other great resources on Aided Language Stimulation: