AAC - Tier 3

Tier 3 targets the students with the most complex communication needs. At Tier 3 identified communication needs have not been adequately met through access to a communication rich environment (Tier 1) or AAC strategies and trials with available equipment (Tier 2). Students may now require a specialized evaluation to determine personal device/system needs.  The SLP and AT Specialist work together to complete an evaluation of needs and identify appropriate AAC technology and services to support communication. Long term trials may be required. Tier 3 supports may also include ongoing supports to students with more complex AAC systems.


Roles and Responsibilities of Site Level IEP Team Members

The site team supports the AT evaluation with data collection and monitoring of trials with technology.

The site team will collaborate with the AT specialist to make recommendations and draft assessment report.

The site team writes AT support into the IEP Special Factors.

At the IEP meeting, the site team will integrate the technology into the goal(s).

The site team will participate in development of the AAC system implementation plan to support ongoing use of the device.  This will include the following:

  •  Participate in training on the device/system.
  •  Identify vocabulary needs and complete necessary programming
  •  Support ongoing use of the device
  •  Continue ongoing data collection
  •  Follow district procedures for repair and maintenance of equipment



Roles and Responsibilities of AT

Site level SLP and AT specialist will complete the assessment with input from the Site Level Team.  Refer to sample assessment protocols. (link to a page of sample assessment protocols)

Attend IEP meetings as needed to report assessment results

Coordinate the Implementation Plan.

Help secure equipment for assessment trials (link to Dynamic Display Datasheet)

Explore funding options

Assist in the ordering of equipment

Support training

Assist in troubleshooting and repair of equipment as needed


Data Collection 

Data collection focuses on assessment and trials with AAC devices. Use AAC assessment protocols to evaluate the following areas and identify needed device features:

  • symbol recognition
  • symbol size/number on array/memory for location/ability to sequence symbols
  • categorization skills
  • physical access needs
  • dynamic vs. static display
  • synthetic or recorded speech
  • using text for expressive communication
  • results of trials with technology
  • feature match of device to needs
  • comparison of verbal speech v. device use




Dynamic display communication devices

Text to Speech AAC devices (e.g., Lightwriter)

Devices to support alternative access methods



teaching student, staff and family how to use device

train strategies for device utilization in all communication environments

continued operational training

troubleshooting and support resources