WANT and Communication

WANT a four-letter word!

So that got your attention. I feel that WANT is one of the most overused words in AAC and speech therapy.  I would like to take a moment to get you thinking about WANT!

Let’s think about want and functional early communication.

If I desire to eat some french fries, I might say: “I want to eat some awesome french fries”. I don’t just want french fries I want to EAT the fries!

While we are able to attach meaning to want and eat, can an early communicator?

When we are teaching early communicators, who may have developmental delays or intellectual disabilities, it is essential to think about the vocabulary that we are using.

Start with functional and meaningful vocabulary!

Want is an important component of our lexicon that emphasizes desire. However, it can take the place of functional words and lose its meaning as a “carrier phrase”. We do not need to get rid of want, but simply look at when to add this to vocabulary.

Questions to ask:

  • What does “I want” mean to an individual with limited language?
  • Are we limiting communication by teaching want too early?
  • What words can we use in place of want?

How many Functional Words can you use instead of want?

  • Want or EAT
  • Want or DRINK
  • Want or PLAY
  • Want or WATCH
  • Want or RUN
  • Want or WALK
  • Want or …

What functional words would you use instead of want?

Is More, another 4 letter word? Click for MORE!