My Favourite AAC Posts Of All Time

As we are nearly at the end of AAC Awareness Month I thought I would write a post about my favourite AAC blog posts of all time.

I couldn't decide on a most or a least favourite - so there are no numbers.  Just a list in no particular order.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I have.

  • Tell Me About It: Focused Language Stimulation in AAC Vocabulary Teaching from PrAACtical AAC. This post came at a perfect time for me and a project I was part of.  We'd been doing aided language stimulation with a group of students, but unfortunately, with just general modelling their expressive language started to plateau.  We put a bunch of other things in place and their AAC usage started to expand again - and this was one of those things and the one I'm convinced it made the biggest difference.  PrAACtical AAC is an amazing blog and I think everyone who works in AAC owes Carole Zangari a big round of thanks for all the knowledge that she shares so freely. (I also decided to limit myself to one post per blog or there'd be more PrAACtical AAC content on the list).
  • I Am Not A Mind Reader (And Neither Are You) from Uncommon Sense Blog. I love this post - and refer people to it so often!  Thank-you Dana for putting this into words I can share.
  • Stop with the "Little Words" Grab Bag in AAC from Speech Dudes.  This is a great post.  Everytime I review a new set of AAC apps I think about it.  Seriously guys - a robust vocabulary takes time to build, design and test.  You can't just chuck a few pages together and call it AAC - or a few little words together and call it "Little Words".
  • The Yes No Series from Teaching Learners with Multiple Special Needs.  This is a fabulous 6 part series exploring yes and no.  Another one that I frequently refer people to - providing a wealth of information around this topic.  As Kate says "There is so much more in the world to say than yes/no, yet it is still a vital skill". BTW - Teaching Learners with Multiple Special Needs is the first blog I followed.  Thanks to Kate for providing me with so much valuable information and reading over the years!
  • Attributing Meaning to Random Events from AAC Girls. I honestly don't know how many times I've shared the video from this post.  I've even watched it in my office when I'm having a bad day.  Caroline Musselwhite is one of the most engaging presenters I've ever seen and she does a fabulous job of discussing attributing meaning here.
  • Not Just For Some from Understanding Lu. The final line of this gets me every time I read it. "Every person should simply be seen as too human to not be allowed to have their thoughts heard."
  • CCN Alphabet - C is for Communication Process from Eliminating the Box. I love the way Monica emphasises the "importance of thinking about both the communicator and the communication partner when supporting the development of communication skills". We know that communication partners and environment are critical in the success story of AAC but we don't always address them well.
  • Harry Says.....(The Chatting to Strangers Edition) from Give the Boy a Chance.  Fabulous post showing the importance of a robust vocabulary.
  • Testing versus Teaching by Sally Clendon on the ISAAC blog.  Another one that I refer people to all the time. It's so important to understand the difference.
  • What do Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and Zumba Instruction Have in Common? by Speak for Yourself. I love the way they have linked this to learning a physical skill in a way many of us can empathise with and understand - especially those as uncoordinated as me.

And I'm going to finish with an open letter written by Tracey Campbell, a mum of someone who uses AAC.  It is an open letter designed to be shared rather than a blog post.  I want to send this to everyone who works with someone who is learning to use AAC and who doesn't get those important concepts of attributing meaning and assuming competence.  Tracey has said that people are welcome to share it if they feel they can use it.

To all the adults who make decisions for me.

I would like to take this opportunity to ask for a really small thing. Well, let me clarify that for you. It’s a really small thing, but for me it’s massive.

I would really like access to a voice – a full voice that lets me say what I want to say, when I want to say it.

Ok I hear you, you don’t think I can manage and it’s too much for me – I might get overwhelmed, but hear me out.

I have been thinking about my baby cousin and how he got access to his voice. Here was me waiting for him to have to prove that he could use it. That’s what the rest of us have to do, right?

Listen to this, they were crazy. They talked to him before he was even born, what’s that about, that dude can’t even breathe never mind point or nod.

Then I noticed that he didn’t make a single sound for weeks, months even. But you know what, they kept talking to him using the same language. They didn’t switch languages on him every few weeks.

It gets even stranger. He starts talking back to them in some weird sounding language, I have never heard anything like it, even the dog makes more sense. So here was me thinking; “that is it, he has blown his chances, new system here we come”. But do you know what they did? They spoke back to him as if he was talking sense! Here is an example:

Cousin: “goo, blu, coo, coo”

Aunt: “Yes you have got the best mummy ever; I love you telling me all these stories”


You know what else I noticed? If my cousin didn’t answer in the way they wanted, no one ever gave ‘The Look’; you know the one that says he is just never going to get this. I also noticed he didn’t have to choose a lot between two random things on demand. All the stuff they talked about seemed more natural. Everyone believed in him no matter what rubbish they spoke. That side of the family have always been weird.

A much more normal approach is what my mum’s friend has being doing. She is good at languages, teaches them and everything, so she decided that she would take up Mandarin. Off she goes to a class every week for an hour (I mean, it’s a bit excessive but she’s keen, I’ll grant her that), apart from holidays and when life gets in the way she is there, primed up and ready to go. It’s been about 1.5 years and she ain’t exactly high functioning but hey, she can say hello and goodbye and who am I to judge.

Lately though I was wondering. Is it time to join the weird side of the family? What if I could get taught in the same way as my cousin, he has made much better progress than my mum’s friend? I figure that if you just start teaching me the language, we can be working on a point or a yes or no at the same time. I mean, I know you think that I won’t ever be able to do it but what if I can and you don’t give me the chance? If you give me a full language, teach me how to use it, respond to my attempts in a positive way and give me time then who knows?

So I will do you a deal. If you give me this chance and you meet me in 20 years and I have a full life and a chance to contribute I will let you share in the glory. You can honestly say this started with your belief that this could work. (The rest of it is down to my hard work and everyone else’s but you don’t need to mention that). Hey, see even if I don’t manage to get to that level, I do have a lot of good stuff going on in here, and you will be able to look me in the eye and say that you believe in me. That on its own means a lot to me.

Thanks for taking the time to listen.
Tracey Campbell,
On behalf of

And thanks to our AAC Community for being so sharing, so open and so supportive of each other.  I feel so lucky to be a part of it.

Graphics from PrAACtical AAC (I managed to get another mention in)


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Comments (8)

  1. Reply

    Thanks for including us in your list of favorites. It's such an eclectic selection and we'll be sure to check out the ones we've missed! We're always pleased when folks read our posts and even more thrilled when they can take away something of value. Keep up your sterling work and accept a virtual hug from the Dudes!

  2. Reply

    So honored to be on your list with so many other wonderful folks!! It's so amazing to have these folks sharing their stories, experiences, and lessons with all of us. 🙂

  3. Reply

    I felt very honored to be included as well. I just always want more and more people to stop and think what everyone could be capable of if given the chance and I'm so happy there are others throughout the world that share the exact same feelings. Thank you for writing your wonderful blog Jane!

  4. Monica Braat


    Oh wow Jane. I just stumbled across this. Thank you so much for including my post on the list. I'm honored. Guess I need to get going on the remainder of the alphabet :).

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