Last week I picked up one of our loaner AAC systems from a parent and she apologized for how dirty the device was and that she didn’t have time to clean it between all the therapies her daughter had that day. She took it to OT and PT and it was messy from eating. I exclaimed, “Please don’t ever apologize for using it or trying to incorporate her talker into her life!” I commended her for trying their best to have this trial talker enter their busy lives. It was dirty because mom was modeling /play/ and /eat/ and /more/. I can’t fault her for that! Instead of cheerleading her attempts and say, “keep it going!”
To support our parents in device use at home, try these 3 things
- Always have it available!
This parent did that! She had it available in the house AND out in the community at her daughter’s therapies! Sometimes it’s hard because you will have to find a routine to make sure it’s with you and making it available but to communicate, she’ll need it near her.
This parent understood the importance of modeling and wasn’t discouraged that her daughter wasn’t necessarily always watching or attempting to initiate the communication on the talker herself. The importance is that we are modeling the available language for our AAC users so they become familiar and comfortable with where the icons / symbols are located.
- Find opportunity
The more opportunities you find the more language can grow and the more comfort can build for you as the parent and your child. Strategize with your family! … which routines do you feel comfortable incorporating it right now? Which routines can be next in line?
- Outdoor fun
- Tv /movie time
- Floor time play
- Reading books
- Meal time
Stay tuned for our future posts about further opportunities and how to explore them.
Lesson learned: just use it! 🙂 Don’t be hard on yourself. We all have a lot going on and I commend all my families for trying their best. The best is all we can do! 🙂