Strategies and suggestions for implementing the technology in classroom settings

Basic Understandings

  • Communication is the essence of human life and all people have the right to communicate to the fullest extent possible
  • The selection of functional and motivating vocabulary is critical for effective use of an AAC.Vocabulary is an ongoing process.
  • As the AAC user’s communication needs and skills change, appropriate alterations to vocabulary sets must be made.
  • Vocabulary selection is always changing and never complete.
  • When deciding on appropriate vocabulary, need to consider communicator’s age, gender, and personal interests.

Tips for Creating Effective Boards

  • Symbols that appear frequently on different boards should remain in the same location on each board.
  • Polar opposites should be placed near each other (vertically or horizontally side by side)
  • Nouns should be organized in sub-categories (food groups, clothing types, etc…)
  • Need to have set class routines and schedules so know what vocabulary is needed.
  • Don't forget RECEPTIVE language
  • You can't pull out information if you haven't successfully put it in the AAC
  • The symbols need to be accessible when and where the teacher and student need them

Every child wants to say what the other children are saying

  • Listen to what other kids are saying.
  • What are they saying
  • How are they saying it?
  • Students need to learn how language works. What is going to happen when they show a symbol?
  • Let students have some control over what their boards say. What is important to the students?
  • Use peer helpers to create communication pages


  • Observe situation
  • Go over situation in your head
  • Break each step into a picture
  • Lay out pictures into a sequence

Have symbols always available

  • on desk
  • on lanyard
  • on computer table

Use pictures that are already available

(calendar, worksheets)

Have symbols where you need them

(float board for in pool, on lunchbox, on hallpass)

Use a choice board so student can

  • pick a friend to sit by
  • pick a color to color with
  • choose what song comes next
  • choose what stretch to do next in PE
  • choose what they want to do during leisure time
  • choose their daily reward


  • Place tabs on overlays so they are easier to get in/out of the device
    1. Label tabs so know what content on overlay
    2. Use symbol on tab so student can use tab too
  • Store symbols in pockets in 3 ring binders. If symbols are for a certain activity or song, include a copy of the activity
    or words to the song with the symbols.
  • Store symbols where you are going to use them. 30 second rule: You want to be able to get it within 30 seconds
  • Store symbols in craft / tool organizers. Place a label on the front of the drawer so you know its contents.

Lesson Plans:
News Lesson
Problem Solving Chart
More Lesson Plans
Even more

Social Stories:
Creating a Social Story(Using Boardmaker 6 with Windows)

Activity Ideas:
**More ideas for Boardmaker**
Downloadable Activities
Literacy Activities