This article aims to provide guidance on how to integrate alternative augmentative communication (AAC) use into family leisure time. The authors highlight that ensuring the use of AAC in this highly valued activity can maximise carryover to real conversations. The article defines family leisure as activities that are planned by parents to “promote family interaction, communication, and closeness”. Core leisure activities are consistent, often home-based, more spontaneous and low cost. They include everything from reading to eating a meal together. Balance leisure activities are more novel and occur less often. They require more resources but promote negotiation and adaptation in the family. The speech and language therapist (SLT) can reduce barriers to enable families with a child with a disability to participate effectively in these activities. The authors describe how an SLT can use a variety of assessments to identify these leisure tasks, and work together with a family to develop vocabulary and opportunities for communication in these activities using AAC in these situations. Taking photos during activities can support engagement, reminiscence and further interaction. The article provides several case studies before concluding that increasing communication in family leisure time should improve quality of life for all family members. This useful reminder of the need to focus on real life communication is important when discussing the fast evolving area of AAC. The development of technology often predominates the AAC discussions, yet SLTs must be mindful to also focus on strategies for using these in daily life.

Family leisure as a context to support augmentative and alternative communication intervention for young children with complex communication needs.
O’Neill T, Mandak K, Wilkinson KM.
Seminars in Speech Language

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Anna Volkmer

UCL, London, UK.

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