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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Introducing a Child to TapToTalk (or any AAC device)

This is a question we hear frequently: "How should I introduce TapToTalk to my child?"

Each child is different, so the following advice should be weighed against your knowledge of your child. But talking to parents, SLPs, OTs and teachers, we have heard a common thread of advice that we would like to share with you.

1. Start simple, with just a few things the child really likes, such as favorite foods, beverages and toys. Also include core emotions, and the ever-popular toilet. Don't start out trying to do everything.

2. Show your child how to use TapToTalk to ask for those things.

3. Reinforce it every time they want those things. This can be hard--it's a form of tough love--but most children catch on fast (I see, I get my cookie when I "ask" for it, and I don't get it when I do other things, like fuss).

As TapToTalk Parent Chris Statham says, "My son is 6 years old and diagnosed with autism. I took pictures of him, family, members, our house, his toys, etc and put sentences to each picture. For instance, his picture says 'my name is Tyler.' I would say within 2 days, Tyler began to say his name for the first time."

Leigh Foster adds, "It's not just the child that is learning--the parents/other adults have to learn a new way of communicating, too!"

We have heard that many start with our Starter Albums, and modify them. Others start from scratch, Which ever way you begin, once your child catches on, you can start increasing the vocabulary, that is, adding pictures and albums.

If you have a TapToTalk idea or story you'd like us to share with other TapToTalk users, please email us at blog@taptotalk.com.

The TapToTalk Team
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