Modeling & Aided Language Stimulation in the AAC World
Aided Language Stimulation, along is a way to support an AAC user and encourage them to use their new device. Aided Language Stimulation allows the user to have a targeted set of communication messages during a real conversation. Pointing, gesturing, to or selecting cells on an AAC system while communicating with an SLP encourages the user to communicate by is forming novel and ideas. Modeling the AAC users device can also be a focus during Aided Language Stimulation. It is a great time to help the user focus on targeted fridge vocabulary and core words.
Before we dive any deeper into this technique, let’s get some terms defined:
- Modeling: a procedure in which an action or specific word is “modeled” on a AAC device
- Aided Language Stimulation: pointing to a specific graphic and saying the item aloud on the users AAC device
Why is Aided Language Stimulation so Important
Aided Language Stimulation is very important because it allows for teaching opportunities while an AAC user is first learning his/her device. Modeling allows people that use an AAC to see someone else use an AAC. This allows for real life examples and real situations in the conversation.
Who? When & Where? How often?
Who? Anyone! Literally anyone can model AAC with an AAC user. Classmates, siblings, parents, grandparents etc! It is important to have training with the communicator’s SLP to know exactly the best practices for this. We don’t want to take away language, we want to help the communicator add language.
When?It is also important to do them in different settings so that they can be naturalistic in conversations.
How Often? As much as you can! A good rule of thumb when modeling is to model one level above the users level. When the AAC user is starting out, modeling should be targeted words with short sentence combinations. For users that are able to use 1-2 word combinations, modeling 3-6 word sentences For users that are producing 3-6 word sentences, modeling longer sentences, ideas and grammar would be appropriate.
Typical Modeling Situation
Modeling is usually done on what system is available, but it is of course the best to model on a system that is most similar with your AAC users’. Modeling can also be done with a lower-tech speech generating device of the higher tech version or can be done with a similar device side by side.
There are many challenges that can relate to modeling and aided language stimulation. When modeling the AAC communication partner might mess up by pointing or saying the right word, but it’s okay because communication is not perfect! Other challenges include when the AAC user is not looking at the AAC modeler. This should not be the biggest problem because the learners can take in the information in other ways. It is also important to note that we should not expect anything in response when modeling. The AAC user needs to learn the ways in which to response.