Communicative Temptations are a great way to elicit language from kids, and they work very well for AAC!

What are communicative temptations?

Exactly what it sounds like!  These are ways we can invite communication from our kids using items and activities that will tempt them to communicate.  These are activities that are interesting and motivating to the child, giving them reason to WANT to communicate.  We set up the environment to encourage communication and we engage with the child in a way that makes them want to interact with us.

Core Vocabulary and Communicative Temptations

Place toys and food in containers that the child cannot open independently.  Model HELP and OPEN using the child's AAC system.  After you mode this a few times, pause to give the child the opportunity to use these words to communicate.

Wind-up and spin toys are great for targeting words like GO, STOP, HELP and AGAIN.  The adult should hold the wind-up or spin toy, modeling GO and then activating the toy.  When the toy stops, pause to give the child the opportunity to direct the activity, saying GO or AGAIN.  If the child cannot activate the toys independently, you can give her/him the toy to target use of the word HELP.

Bubbles are a great communicative temptation.  After all, who doesn't love bubbles!!?!  The adult holds and blows the bubbles, modeling GO, AGAIN, UP, DOWN, YUCK, WET.  The adult can hold the wand in front of his/her mouth, pausing to encourage the child to say GO.  Encourage the child to tell you where to blow the bubbles, using words UP and DOWN.  Get extra silly, and when you get wet from the bubbles, say YUCK in a very silly way.  When the child becomes engaged, pause, encouraging the child to say YUCK or AGAIN.

Balloons always get a lot of laughs and are huge temptations for children to communicate.  Blow up the balloon, and pause, encouraging the child to say GO to direct you to let the balloon go.  Blow the balloon up just a little bit, targeting the word BIG for the child to direct you to make the balloon bigger.  Tell the child to let you know when to STOP blowing up the balloon.

Make communication fun, develop routines that encourage silliness and anticipation and you will be inviting your child to communicate!


Tanya Keller

Meet Tanya, our pediatric speech language pathologist and AAC specialist. Tanya moved from Boston to San Diego. She earned her Master's degree from Emerson College in Boston, in Communication Disorders in 2004 and a second master's degree in Assistive Technology from Simmons College in Boston, in 2012. Tanya has provided speech and language services for children who have complex communication needs, using low and/or high tech augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) with varying diagnoses. Tanya has been mentored by experts in Rett Syndrome and complex communication needs. She is PODD trained and attends the yearly assistive technology conferences. She has experience using a variety of AAC devices and working with alternative access, including eye gaze and switch use. In her free time, Tanya enjoys exploring San Diego, going to the beach and spending time with her dog.

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