Are You Using Your 16,000 Words Each Day?
A study in 2007 found that both
men and women say about 16,000 words per day. That is a lot of words!
For many AAC users, saying 16,000
words each day might seem impossible—especially when we struggle to find 4 or 5
times each day when they can use their device.
And yet, increasing communication is important not only for general
participation but also for learning about language and communication. How can you help to increase the number of
words the AAC user in your life uses each day?
In order to increase the number or
words used each day (or, more broadly, opportunities for communication) you do not need to start looking for all
sorts of new activities that will require a lot of planning and development on
your part. That is good news! Rather, I would encourage you to look at what
is already happening during the day and consider which of those activities
provide good opportunities for communication.
Activities Worksheet from the Implementation Toolkit
provides a framework for teams to consider when and how to address increased
communication. This multi-part
worksheet will walk you through:
Identifying activities that are happening
throughout the course of a day. The
calendar goes from 12:00 AM to 11:00 PM so pretty much every activity during
the day or night can be identified!
Determining which activities on the list are:
Motivating to the AAC user. Motivating activities are ones that make
Important for the AAC user. Important activities are ones that you think
require communication. They often
revolve around physical care, social etiquette, or academic/vocational
Prioritizing activities that are motivating and
important. While we want to have lots of
opportunities for communication each day, it can be overwhelming to get started
if we don’t narrow our focus a bit.
Prioritizing should the frequency with which an activity occurs into
consideration as well.
Determining vocabulary types and teaching
strategies that should be used during the targeted activities. This portion of the worksheet will help make
sure that the needed supports for successful communication are in place.
Good luck as you search to find
new or better opportunities for communication!
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