Aided Language Stimulation

Aided Language Stimulation is an essential strategy for successful augmentative communication use. Experience has demonstrated that augmentative communication training is best conducted within an immersion approach. When using Aided Language Stimulation, the communication partner points out symbols on the communication display as he or she interacts and communicates verbally with the user. This modeling of the communication system assists the child to establish a visual and auditory understanding of how symbols can be combined and recombined generatively to communicate during routine activities.

Aided Language Stimulation was originally designed for the non-verbal population, however it has also proven beneficial for students who are language delayed. This technique provides the communicator with the opportunity to visually process words and symbols being concretely combined to form functional utterances within meaningful routines. Since the printed word accompanies each symbol on the display, Aided Language Stimulation also may assist some children in the development of reading skills.

Aided language stimulation is primarily good verbal language stimulation with visual augmentation. When providing aided language stimulation for children, Carol Goossens' recommends the following verbal language stimulation guidelines:

  • use primarily single words (symbols) and short grammatically correct phrases (symbol phrases) to talk about what the child is hearing, seeing, doing and feeling
  • use lots of repetition as you describe ongoing events
  • speak slowly, inserting numerous pauses into the conversational flow
  • whenever the child indicates something with a single word (symbol), expand that message into a semantically equivalent two-word (symbol) combination.