The importance of motivation
In using AAC devices, I’ve noticed that parents tend to envision the device as an automatic solution to their child’s communication needs. Parents anticipate that the child will take to the device right away with somewhat of a sustained interest, and express disillusion with it when he/she doesn’t use it the way they expected. Some parents report their children touching the wrong keys, responding incorrectly and getting distracted. Disheartened by the lack of immediate results, parents spend decreasing amounts of time helping their child with the AAC.In India, where the credibility of AACs and its success is still little known, there is a skepticism towards using technology, which in turn impacts how much the child is actually exposed to the device. If the child doesn’t respond quickly to the device, parents stop encouraging him/her to use it: it becomes easy to blame the technology, to claim that it isn’t a good fit for them.
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This is clearly problematic.
Anyone who has successfully used AACs to aid communication will agree that it takes a great degree of time and effort to get a child acclimated to the device. At varying speeds and to different degrees, children imbibe the features of the technology through repeated and prolonged exposure to it. Once the learning phase has been crossed, though, kids become increasingly independent and confident with using the device. The motto with AACs is to have faith in the device, and a lot of perseverance to along with it.
Being consistent and remaining positive will undoubtedly encourage the kids to even try the AACs, let alone orient themselves to it. So parents, expose the child to the AAC aide, and do it consistently so it becomes routinized – keeping in mind that to see a holistic improvement in communication with the AAC, it takes work on your end as well. Get excited about it, and incorporate it in your daily life as much as possible – positive change is almost a given.
Optimism, energy and good faith go a long way indeed! 🙂
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