Using alternative communication is hard. Here are 5 tips to make things waaaay easier.
Added on Friday 30 October 15
I’ve been using AAC as my primary form of communication for about 10 weeks now. Its been a rough ride in places for sure.
Here are my top 5 tips to make communication with AAC easier and less frustrating.
1: Slow down - the simplest and the hardest technique is too slow down. If the person using AAC can only communicate at 10 words a minute limit yourself to 10 words per minute. Doing so will make you much slower (as you carefully pick the words) and much clearer (as your words were carefully picked). The urge will be to speed up to make up for the AAC user being slow. Fight that urge. Go slower than your normally would
2: Read what is written. - a common cause for frustration is when others read my words but they don’t read what was written. They skim read. Often able to find what they expected me to say. This causes lots of confusion. Read what is written carefully. Then respond.
3: Don’t read my screen as I type unless I show it to you. - there are bunch of reasons not to read my screen as I type beyond that it is very rude. The main one is you see the unedited message which may have a very very different meaning. For me ‘can’t’ and ‘can’ are often reversed by autocorrect and I have to go back and fix them. If you read as I type you are actually slowing me down as you will be responding to incorrect messages! Read when you are shown or when I hit speak unless I have specifically shown it to you.
4: Listen to the words not the tone - when frustrated I have noticed people start reacting to the tone of he AAC voice. They get upset with it if it ‘sounds upset’ and start getting upset with me too! I don’t have any control of the tone of the voice so ignore it! I only pick the words. For example with proloquo. No sounds very hard and okay sounds sarcastic. That’s the tone of the app. Not my tone. Avoid reading into it you can.
5: Relax - I know AAC is odd and a bit weird and new. However. If you take it slowly and relax it all works fine.
Hope that helps.