AAC Siblinghood (Our AAC Story, 2nd edition)

When Will (Maya’s younger brother, who is typically developing) came along, Maya was already an AAC user. He was exposed to her AAC use (and our modeling) from birth. I had spent a lot of time arguing with people online about how AAC use would not impede speech development . . . so when Will was 17 months old, I put my money where my mouth was and gave him an AAC device. Thus began a journey that we couldn’t have anticipated. 

Watching Will become an AAC user:
  • Taught me a lot about language acquisition (for a typical kid through an atypical medium)
  • Provided Will with a way to communicate (wow, his language sure outpaced his ability to generate speech!)
  • Allowed us to avoid most of the “toddler tantrums" (since he had a way to repair communication breakdowns)
  • Fostered the development of an absolutely amazing sibling relationship with his sister, whose primary language was AAC.

Here’s a digest of links related to Will’s AAC use, and to AAC siblinghood:

AAC by 18 months: In which I talk about the importance of starting AAC young, introduce 17 month old Will to his new communication device, and share some video clips of what implementation with a toddler looks like (spoiler alert: It looks fun and silly!)  

The Merits of AAC Exploration: In which I share a video that highlights some stuff Will can do with the talker. This is noteworthy because I wasn’t doing much (if any) modeling for him----but he was getting a ton of “free exploration/babble time” with the device. 

The Remarkableness of AAC Siblings: In which I talk a little about how Maya and Will are interacting (with speech and devices) and share a video.

AAC Sibling + Fantastic Search Feature = (Really Cute) Success: In which tiny Will is found using a search feature on his app (with video). 

Ponderings on Icons, Text, and AAC, via a mini experiment: In which I discover that Will (age 2.5) already understands that text reads left-to-right, and that he is able to “read” and replicate icon pairs, due to his AAC immersion. 

Conversation Repair at 2: Speech, Gestures, andAAC: In which I record a communication breakdown with Will, and he (beautifully) uses multiple modalities to share his message. I was able to get it by the end! 

The Leap: AAC by 18 months, 3 years later: In which I discuss the fear that I had when I gave Will his talker (at age 17 months) and the language/speech/family outcomes of that decision. 


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