AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) and Aided Language Simulation

A lot of my kiddos have limited or emerging language skills. Some students use AAC devices to clarify their speech. Others use it as their sole means of communication. Since my students are in the 3-5 year old they need to be taught how to use their AAC device.

Aided simulation is communication strategy, where a communication partner teaches symbol meaning and models language by combining his or her own verbal input with selection of vocabulary on Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) system. This is done by simultaneously selecting vocabulary on the AAC system and speaking. For this to be effective you to bombard students with modeling. It can be overwhelming at first but once you get the hang of it it’s very easy and will come naturally.

The most common AAC device we use in our classroom is a Flip N’ Talk. These can be purchased through Boardmarker. Our devices are provided through the district. It consists of a core board, tabs, and fringe. We also have variations of our Flip N’ Talks throughout the classroom and even our playground!

Fringe Vocabulary:

  • This is your content vocabulary
  • Organized by subject
  • Easily accessible by flipping tabs
  • Field size varies per individual 
  • Contains core language
    • Verbs
    • Common phrases
    • Wh-questions
    • Prepositional words
    • This grows as the individuals vocabulary progresses 


  • Helps keep fringe vocabulary organized 
  • Easily accessible
  • Typically labeled with symbols

Core Board:

  • Contains core language
    • Verbs
    • Common phrases
    • Wh-questions
    • Pronouns
    • Adjectives 
    • Prepositional words
    • This grows as the individuals vocabulary progresses

Procedures on how to use Aided Language Simulation

  • Attention 
    • Make sure that the individual is attending. 
    • Many individuals perform better in a seated position with the AAC device upright and supported
  •  Message & Icons
    •  Create a message by selecting icons on the individual’s AAC device using core and fringe vocabulary. This step helps the individual to learn the system display, vocabulary items, and word order. While selecting the icon, also say the word (icon meaning).  I.E. I see a circle. 
  •  Response 
    • Ask the individual a follow-up question to keep the process going. i.e.What do you see?
    • When they respond it can be only one word in the beginning stages i.e square
  • Follow up
    • Repeat the individual’s response with one word to complete sentence based on the individuals AAC skills  i.e. You see a square

Classroom AAC Variations

Large Board for whole group instruction

Center Boards
Playground Board: Check out our follow up post!

For an in depth module training check out the downloadable guide in my TPT


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