Assistive Technology Network


The trial implementation phase helps answer the questions, "Does this technology solution actually do what we thought it would do for the student?" and "Which technology solution that we tried was most effective in meeting the student's goal?" A trial implementation plan should be developed that includes the AT options that are to be tried, the goals and timelines of each trial, how the trials will be implemented (environment, responsible person, etc.) and from where the technology will be acquired.

During the trial period, the student should be introduced to motivating activities around topics of interest. Focus on giving the student control over their environment such as making a choice, requesting an item or giving a direction. Avoid right/wrong and yes/no types of responses. It is also important for the student to have an appropriate way to refuse or reject.

Trial implementation must involve teaching the student and providing the appropriate support. The best way to teach is by doing. While adults who will be working with the student do not need to be proficient with each system, they will need to be familiar enough to be able to consistently model its use.

A communication system is an extension of the communicator, so it is necessary to take the time to complete this part of the process and fully explore the options considered. The trial period takes time to compare and contrast the options in order to determine the "best fit" for the student.

Keep in mind the trial period involves identifying potential for increased communication, not mastery!

Although some users will become independent with their AAC devices, many users require some level of partner support when using their AAC system. This could include help with basic operations like charging it, or help with the language system, such as navigating through higher-level categories. A partner-dependent user is a successful user if communication has improved by introducing the device. Debunking AAC Myths discusses another common myth that an AAC user must be independent in order to be successful.