7b. Early Intervention Strategies at Home
Updated by Global Symbols with UNICEF ECARO
There will be a need for information and training on using AAC with their child and within their family. Although families are experts regarding a child, families and caregivers are not always expert in the effective use of an AAC.
Therefore, in many settings, it may help if repeated AAC training sessions are provided for themselves and the siblings, before and after the device's purchase, to learn to use the AAC device effectively. In addition, helping families develop a working knowledge of the AAC process such as funding, support systems (Technical assistance, maintenance), and the commitment of time required for successful implementations will help them feel that they are real partners in the implementation of AAC.
This is an important aspect of valuing parents as partners, by placing a high value on seeking and respecting family views. This can help services individualize their approach and expectations to match the needs and desires of the family by actively involving families in decision-making. This will recognize that family and individual beliefs and values will vary based on culture, background, personal preferences, and individual variability. Equally, family interactions and needs will change over time.
Successful communication is made easier when consistency is applied. Families need to think about:
- How best to ensure consistent and easy access to the AAC system, within easy reach and/or always in the same place depending on sensory and motor abilities.
- How the child will experience the AAC system being used by everyone around them to communicate real messages in real situations, often referred to as Modelling (AAC Peer Modelling YouTube video)
- Ensuring that symbols are found under the same categories and in the same way whatever the system.
- Repetion and Frequency of use in all settings
More advice can be found on the Global Symbols "Understanding the Needs of Families" training module