Communication Tools and Strategies (Tier 2)

The following lists of communication tools and strategies are important to consider when determining what types of assistive technology need to be trialed or implemented to support your struggling student. These may be readily available in the classroom or accessible through the assistive technology specialist.


Trial a personalized communication system
  • Select a Device/System Based on Features
    • Collaborate with SLP/AAC Specialist to determine appropriate AAC system including symbol system (photos, symbols, words)
    • Use basic AAC protocol to determine required  features (symbol, array size and number, motor needs, static or dynamic display)
  • Select Messages
    • Individualize vocabulary selection based on student’s needs across environments
      • Choose 3 activities/routines that students do daily in the classroom. Considerations for activities- done daily, with a partner, communication is expected, not just requesting reinforcers, is something that the student enjoys.
    • Vocabulary inventories:parent and teacher questionnaires.
    • Selecting Vocabulary
    • Make sure device has core vocabulary to participate in these activities.
  • Introduce use of personalized device/system into the classroom.
  • Model use of device, give teachers and student time to learn vocabulary, then add more activities.
For students who need to use scanning due to motor impairments:

For students who have sensory needs such as visual impairment, introduce object communication tools or auditory scanning
    • Teaching object communication
    • Auditory scanning- when students cannot see the choices, auditory scanning can be used to name the choices. This can be done by a communication partner or a high-tech device