Assistive Technology Network

Aided Language Stimulation

Aided language stimulation (also referred to as aided language input) is a strategy used when teaching individuals how to use their AAC devices. It is essentially modeling language with the same system that the individual is using to communicate. A verbal child, who is learning to speak, understands many things before they are actually able to verbalize. This concept is also true for AAC users. They need a lot of receptive input, or modeling, before they will be able to use their system effectively. 

The process for providing aided language stimulation involves having the communication partner point out symbols or words on the system as they interact and communicate verbally with the AAC user. This type of modeling can be done with any type of AAC: objects, picture exchange, paper-based communication boards and/or speech generating devices. It is an excellent way of enhancing the student’s receptive and expressive language skills and is a critical component of teaching an AAC user to generate language.

This video, Aided Language Stimulation Explained, provides a powerful example of the importance of modeling.

Two additional resources to that may be helpful as you dig deeper into aided language stimulation are:

In this Praactical AAC post, How I do it - AAC in General Education: Incorporating Peer Modeling, an SLP shares how a peer modeling program can be implemented and why it is important.

"The typically developing child will demonstrate language competency around 9 – 12 years of age having been immersed in and practicing oral language for approximately 36,500 waking hours. At twice a week, 20 – 30 minutes each time, it will take the alternate symbol user 701 years to have the same experience."

Jane Korsten, QIAT Listserv, April 4, 2011