Surfing and AAC!
I know what you are thinking? What could surfing or AAC or augmentative and alternative communication implementation have in common? Just WAIT and I will share what surfing can teach us about AAC intervention.
Waiting for the wave
So I was out sitting on the beach getting some sun and enjoying the peace and calm. It was a good surfing day, so there were quite a few people out in the waves. As I watched them I noticed that they spent a lot of time waiting. They watched the waves and they waited before they made a run. They spend a LOT of time just waiting. There was also a pause as they waited for the right moment to catch the wave.
From surfing to AAC intervention
So what does this have in common with AAC intervention strategies? We PAUSE and then WAIT for the opportune time to prompt our AAC users.
You see pausing and waiting to prompt in augmentative and alternative communication is a critical strategy for modeling and supporting the individual.
AAC Intervention Strategies – the WAIT and PAUSE
Pausing and waiting is an important strategy when we are supporting language growth and communication in general. When we look at using prompting and cueing for AAC intervention a component of these is waiting or pausing to give the individual the time for responding. When we give a verbal or gestural model, we need to pause and wait to give the individual time to respond. If we rush in too quickly, we don’t know if the individual is able to respond or not. We don’t know what prompts they might need if we don’t wait and observe.
I actually had to train myself to pause and observe my students. I did this by literally counting to ten on my hands (under the table). Now I am much better at pausing, but there are times that I still use that strategy.
So when you are asking a question or looking for a response from your AAC user, make sure that you wait or pause and give them time to respond. After you have waited, you can use a prompt to support their response. This strategy is something we should be doing anytime we are asking our student, client, or child a question or in a communication exchange. What might this look like?
So I am going to admit that I can NOT surf. I love watching the surfers, but that is just not something I can do. But what I can do is WAIT and PAUSE to give the AAC users the opportunity to catch that wave i.e. TALK BACK!