Communication Tools and Strategies (Tier 3)

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. The Assistive Technology Specialist will facilitate the trial and implementation of various tools and strategies to assist your student.

At this level, students may need complete vocabulary systems, specific access methods or durable hardware. The devices listed here are dedicated devices with a full range of vocabulary options, access methods and specially designed or modified hardware. The companies that sell the equipment offer web-based and phone-based technical support and training. Local sales/product representatives also provide training. 

  • Continue to use the strategies that were effective in Tiers 1 and 2.
  • Focus on implementation and expand the use of the device to more activities throughout the day. The ultimate goal is that the student uses the device for the majority of communication throughout the day.
  • When choosing a vocabulary system, consider the use of core vocabulary. This will allow students to learn language for a variety of purposes (requesting, protesting, commenting, greeting) and increase the types of sentence structures students use.
  • When personalizing vocabulary, consider having the student participate to either program the device or choose vocabulary. If the student is unable to participate, have a same-age peer help select messages. This creates more authentic communication for the student.