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An Evening of AAC: Developing parents knowledge of AAC through storybook-based online training

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The importance of the parental role in supporting students who use AAC is a central tenet of most AAC programs. Nevertheless, knowledge and training in necessary techniques and the use of specific communication devices is difficult for parents to acquire.

To fill this gap a training-program was developed, specifically aimed at extending the skills of parents of students who use AAC and the skills of non-specialist school staff using live online training.

To provide didactically and logistically accessible support, we created a series of “after dinner” webinars on weekday evenings. Each session centres on a specific children’s book and contains a series of activities and ideas for joint reading. These activities serve as the “carrier” for discussion and extended information on a specialist topic relating to AAC that goes far beyond the joint story reading activity in hand.

Extended themes include
• Talking about feelings with limited vocabulary
• Developing first person narrative skills
• Asking open questions
• Talking to children about AAC

During and after the session, participants provide their own ideas and experiences. These are incorporated in later training sessions. As family member take up and use the storybook activities, many repeat webinar attendance in order to consider the material in the light of their own developing experience.

This presentation will demonstrate the process of book selection and adaption, the potential of interactive elements of online training to increase participants’ involvement and self-confidence and the suitability of the concept for providing training to the target group.


Paul Andres    


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