Partner Strategies for AAC

Partner strategies refer to ways in which family members and other team members can learn to modify their own communication to best suit the child’s needs and goals. The idea is to provide the child with ways for him/her to control the environment so that he/she can experience the power and control that communication can give.  

Watch this informative video about partner strategies for AAC:

When trying to help a child to actively participate in communication, there has to be a need, an opportunity, and a reward for his or her efforts. Communicative Temptations are a way to make sure that these three things happen. One of the most important things that we can do to assist in a child’s development of communication is to not anticipate his or her needs/wants. By not anticipating, you give the child an opportunity to show what s/he needs/wants. If the need is then fulfilled, there is a great chance that the child's efforts will be rewarded, and that s/he will try the communication method again. The child can learn to be an active communicator, not a passive communicator.

The attitudes, beliefs and knowledge of communication partners are pivotal in the success story of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). The people around every individual with complex communication needs must believe that everyone has a right to communicate.  We must provide them with a communication system that enables that right. We must believe in their ability to use language and give them a system that enables them to use language. The people around them must believe in their ability to learn language – and we need to implement aided language input and other forms of language and communication teaching and learning to get this started. Then we once more need to show our positive attitudes and our belief as we attribute meaning to their first communication attempts and then continue to support and encourage them as they move to more and more complex systems. AAC is most successful because of the environment around the AAC user – adults living the principle of “the least dangerous assumption”. The criterion of least dangerous assumption holds that in the absence of conclusive data, educational decisions ought to be based on assumptions which, if incorrect, will have the least dangerous effect on the likelihood that students will be able to functional independently as adults. We should assume competence!

The following are some resources to help support partner strategies for AAC: