Teaching Parents to Support Their Children's Communication: Adaptations for AAC Teaching communication skills is part of parenting every child. When children use augmentative or alternative communication (AAC) systems, parents may need specific training to be effective in supporting their children’s development of new communication skills. In many ways, supporting a child who is an AAC user will be very much ... Article
Article  |   September 01, 2004
Teaching Parents to Support Their Children's Communication: Adaptations for AAC
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Ann P. Kaiser
    Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • Terry B. Hancock
    Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
Article Information
Augmentative & Alternative Communication / Articles
Article   |   September 01, 2004
Teaching Parents to Support Their Children's Communication: Adaptations for AAC
SIG 12 Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, September 2004, Vol. 13, 4-7. doi:10.1044/aac13.3.4
SIG 12 Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, September 2004, Vol. 13, 4-7. doi:10.1044/aac13.3.4
Teaching communication skills is part of parenting every child. When children use augmentative or alternative communication (AAC) systems, parents may need specific training to be effective in supporting their children’s development of new communication skills. In many ways, supporting a child who is an AAC user will be very much like supporting any beginning communicator. Parents will need to respond to their child’s nonverbal communication attempts, model communication forms in their functional contexts, and expand their child’s simple communication forms into more complex and precise forms. Parents have a special role to play because they may be among the few adults who actively model communication forms using the AAC device or system. In addition, children who use AAC systems include children whose learning characteristics may require more systematic teaching to support the development of communication skills. Children who have mental retardation, autism, or severe motor impairments, such as cerebral palsy, may need more systematic input and more opportunities to respond using their AAC systems than children who are typically developing and children who are acquiring spoken language. Parent-implemented communication interventions are ideal for young children and children in the beginning stages of communication when functional use of formal communication in everyday social interactions must be established. Of course, parent-implemented language interventions are not for every parent or clinician. The parent must be willing to learn new skills and have sufficient time and energy to commit to the training process. The clinician who conducts the parent training must be skilled in working with parents as well as children and well prepared to meet the needs of individual families.
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