How to Set AAC Goals

The goals that you and your client decide on will be unique to each situation – consider your patient’s starting point and the things that are most meaningful to them. Here are some frameworks and techniques that can get you started:

Consider a life participation approach. This approach dictates that the goal of therapy is increased life participation, and a goal can be any activity that is meaningful to the client (Chapey et al., 2000). Examples include attending a poker night with friends or catching up with relatives at a family reunion. Work backwards to identify vocabulary the user will need to enable them to participate, and program it into the device. The goals can also be based on a person – e.g., reconnecting with a college roommate.

Keep it client-centered. Many patients report feeling left out of the goal writing process. One approach that ensures it’s a collaborative effort is the FOURC approach: Choose a Communication Goal, Create Client Solutions, Collaborate on a Plan, Complete and Continue (Haley, Cunningham, Barry, & de Riesthal, 2019).

Make sure it’s realistic. It can be helpful to identify what type of AAC communicator your client is using the AAC Categories of Communicator framework (Garrett & Lasker, 2005). If the user is making partner-dependent contextual choices, look at skills to target at the next category up rather than skipping to independent production.

Target the key areas of AAC communication competence (Light, 1989):

  • Operational: Basics of device use (power, volume, selecting icons)
  • Linguistic: Using the device to meet a variety of communication functions, like commenting, requesting, or sharing information
  • Social: Using the device as a social tool – greeting, turn taking, changing the topic, etc.
  • Strategic: Using the device to repair communication breakdowns

Free Downloadable: Interest Rating Checklist

Use this communication board–style checklist to help identify personal areas of interest, and customize their device based on what matters to them.

Still feeling stuck? Take a look at Lingraphica’s goal bank for some inspiration. For more information on all these approaches, be sure to check out Conquering AAC Part 2.

Learn More About AAC

The Conquering AAC Series contains three free on-demand courses that are designed to provide fundamental information for SLPs who are new to Lingraphica and high-tech AAC. Click below to learn more and complete the courses.

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Lingraphica Can Help

Lingraphica offers free one-on-one consultations for SLPs who have someone on caseload who might be a good fit for an AAC device but aren’t entirely sure where to start. Call us at 866-570-8775 or visit the link below to get started.

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