Being a good communication partner becomes especially important when you are communicating with someone who uses Alternative and Augmentative communication (AAC) and when you are stuck at home for more time across the day.
Here are some tips to help you be an effective communication partner at home;
1. Using AAC takes more time. A good communication partner is a patient listener. You might need to give lots of waiting time to hear the message.
2. Model emotional language and give opportunities for “emotional check ins” across the day. This is really important for everyone at the moment and that includes individuals that use AAC. Some concepts that might be important right now include ‘miss’ (e.g. you miss grandma, you miss going to kinder/school), confused, worried, bored, sad, lonely.
All of these emotions are normal and very important to show and model for your loved one. Spend some time finding where these words are located on your young person’s device.
3. Look for opportunities for interaction and engagement that are already happening throughout the day and take advantage.
4. Encourage siblings to be a part of the interaction and show them how to be a good communication partner.
We are always amazed at how incredibly passionate siblings are about helping their brother or sister communicate more effectively. Set up play and fun interactions siblings can do together. Hopefully you may be able to leave them to it.
We appreciate there is lots going on at the moment, so you might just want to try just one of these tips at home.
You can always chat through some more specific communication partner strategies during your virtual speech sessions.
Written by our Speech Pathologists Jenna and Lisa.
George and Jenna pictured, image via Liberator Australia.