Aided Language Stimulation
During aided language stimulation, a therapist or teacher points to a graphic symbol while simultaneously producing the corresponding spoken word during natural communicative exchanges. Research clearly states that using this approach increases comprehension, motivates children to communicate and assists children with understanding expectations and timelines. The behavioral, communicative and social deficits in individuals with delayed language skills are significant stressors on their families. Aided language stimulation is a method to “take the stress out” of communication while students learn to use spoken language.
Parents often ask if this approach is needed for their child with autism or severely delayed communication. Providing a means to communicate immediately is essential. It reduces frustration and allows students to let others know their basic wants and needs. From an academic standpoint, giving students a way to communicate allows the teachers and therapists to know what students understand. That is key to providing an effective treatment plan.
By using print, pictures and symbols, we are making language and literacy development more visual. We can then combine auditory and visual information during teaching. This is a hugely successful technique. This process will NOT discourage speech production from children who have low verbal skills or who are not speaking yet. It will enhance the opportunity for stronger communication skills.