Having a strong communication team supporting an AAC user is a powerful tool for communication growth.
But a strong team doesn't just happen, a strong communication team has to be built from the ground up.
Often, communication partners are willing, but don't necessarily know the HOW behind encouraging communication growth. While some Speech and Language Therapists may have received instruction and have experience with augmentative and alternative communication, that is not always the case. Teachers, parents, paraprofessionals, administrators, siblings, peers, aides and more may interact regularly with an AAC communicator often without having had much coaching on how to support AAC users.
But even small steps – maybe paired with a bit of fun – can make a big difference in pulling a team together.
Instead of leaving each individual to figure it out on their own, someone at the core of the communication team could (should??) share some simple insights to get everyone headed in the same direction.
Where to start? Well, what could be more basic than a simple game of Bingo – AAC style. Play a game and learn about communication support at the same time, does it get better?
This specially designed set of Bingo boards displays common AAC terms to give communication partners the chance to learn about speech concepts while dabbling in the excitement of a board game. Pit team members in a head to head competition to score an array of AAC concepts that line up for the WIN!
Ok, maybe Bingo isn't quite as cut throat as all that, but this is a quick and easy way to open a conversation, present some basic ideas, then allow for comments and questions in a low stress, welcoming environment.
You can even play over Zoom (we've totally done it!).
Share an AAC Bingo board with each participant (email a board for players to print at home if playing online) then draw one subject at a time and take 1-2 minutes to give a brief explanation of that concept. You can cut up one copy of the board and draw out topics at random or assign them in an order the helps you present these ideas to your participants. Set a timer if you like to keep it exciting so you don't overdo any single subject (or don't, you do you!).
First couple Bingos get a prize, and everyone gets a prize for blackout (spoiler alert, they'll all get that at the same time). Maybe make an Official AAC supporter certificate or have cookies available for everyone who participated (sorry, online players, digital cookies aren't quite as tasty).
This file includes 10 unique Bingo Boards and an AAC definitions sheet with terms from the game and a few extras thrown in for good measure. It's a great source of basic information for a budding AAC communication team.
No, this communication partner Bingo game won't turn your team into AAC experts, but it might be just the right way to get started.
Take things a step further by downloading this FREE AAC startup kit as well with games, learning activities, and other supports to help your team get started.