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Augmented Language Interventions

Photo by Kimberly Gilland 

Many caregivers hope for their children to be primarily verbal communicators.  This may lead them to shy away from using augmented or alternative communication modes in the home or with their therapy team.  

However, multiple studies concluded that using augmented communication supports, not hinders, communication development including increasing vocabulary size and use in young children (Romski et al., 2010).  

Using augmented communication materials during therapy sessions can be fun, educational for the family, and beneficial for the client.

Photo by Kimberly Gilland

Ways to Use Augmented Language During Therapy Sessions

  1. Vocabulary:  Work with the family and other professionals to choose functional, rewarding vocabulary targets that occur during routines (e.g. snack, music, gym, etc.).  Be sure to include a variety of words including nouns, verbs, and functional phrases to base your learning around (Romski et al., 2010).                                                                    
  2. Language Boards: Create language boards to support communication during frequently used activities (e.g. bubbles, art, songs, etc.). Demonstrate use of the board when you play with the child and encourage parents to interact with the boards as well.                                                                                                                                                      
  3. Beyond Requesting: Target a variety of pragmatic purposes with augmented communication by including prepositions and verbs to support commenting and directing.                                                                                                
  4. Parent Involvement: Coach caregivers on using the materials by providing strong models, encouraging caregivers to lead portions of the session using the materials before completing taking over, and helping support the use of materials in the home (Romski et al., 2010).


Kimberly Gilland, M.S. CCC-SLP


Romski, M., Sevcik, R.A., Adamson, L.B., Cheslock, M., Smith, A., Barker, R.M., & Bakeman, R. (2010). Randomized Comparison of Augmented and Nonaugmented Language Interventions for Toddlers With Developmental Delays and Their Parents. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 53, 350-364.