Nearly 50% of school-based speech-language pathologists (SLPs) provide services to school-age children who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). However, many SLPs report having insufficient knowledge in the area of AAC implementation. The objective of this tutorial is to provide clinicians with a framework for supporting 1 area of AAC implementation: vocabulary selection for preliterate children who use AAC.


This tutorial focuses on 4 variables that clinicians should consider when selecting vocabulary: (a) contexts/environments where the vocabulary can be used, (b) time span during which the vocabulary will be relevant, (c) whether the vocabulary can elicit and maintain interactions with other people, and (d) whether the vocabulary will facilitate developmentally appropriate grammatical structures. This tutorial focuses on the role that these variables play in language development in verbal children with typical development, verbal children with language impairment, and nonverbal children who use AAC.


Use of the 4 variables highlighted above may help practicing SLPs select vocabulary that will best facilitate language acquisition in preliterate children who use AAC.


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