For me this is one of the key ideas in AAC. It’s a simple idea (but not always as easy in practice) that runs through AAC use at many levels.
When children learn to speak, or when we move to a place and need to learn a new language we do that by being absorbed in the language we need to learn. Emerging and developing AAC users need to have the same opportunity to see their communication system in use. That means as many people as possible using the system to:
- Demonstrate what the signs or symbols mean (for example if a child reaches for something they like we might say ‘you want more’ and point to the symbol or use the sign)
- Communicate for lots of reasons (not just to request but comment, describe, tell a story).
- Show them where the words are and that it’s OK not to know. (Spend time looking for a word, show that it’s OK to make mistakes).
- Support understanding. (Before children say words they learn what they mean so chidden need to learn what the symbols mean too before they will use them.)
This is a great Youtube Video by Worcestershire SLT serivce that explains modelling really well.