Putting the play back into AAC

When you are a therapist with little access to any type of visuals, it can usually be the starting off point that is the hardest. What pictures do you use? When do you use them? How do you use them? Will the child be interested? There are lots of questions and you might not start to think about using visuals until the student lands on your caseload and you panic because ahhhh…what are you going to do in therapy?!

The part where you might struggle the most, is how to combine engaging and motivating tasks with AAC, that also have the opportunity to expand vocabulary and comprehension.  So I sat back and looked at what toys and tasks we typically sprinkle around the room and decided to go from there and make resources surrounding what we already do and what has proven successful. You probably know what I’m going to rattle off: play doh, blocks, bubbles, balls, kitchen, crafts, baby, cars, kitchen set, music, dollhouse and trains.

Us SLP’s often work with a large scope of kids, ranging from late talkers, global developmental delays, CAS and ASD where visuals could support these various language and cognitive skills. Using play-based communication boards can simply be that springing off point, where you model a whole lot of vocabulary and the child has auditory, visual and hands-on supports. It’s not the be all and end all, but it can be a start that gets you comfortable and the child familiar with using visuals. You might be really surprised at the range of different play opportunities just having visuals allows (yes, you can use just blocks for a whole 45 minutes).


These 5 sets are similar to my play-dough and blocks version, but I’ve spunked them up a bit as therapy is constantly evolving (if you have this version go back to my store and re-download the updated copy). Apart from having three different communication boards for each activity (with 22, 32 and 36 icons to the page) to cater for different levels of complexity, you’ll use nine additional choice strips so that you can start as simple as ‘my go – your go’ or ‘I want…’ with Velcro images. This is PERFECT for groups of mixed abilities. Just plonk the activity and adapt the board to best suit each child’s level.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about core vocabulary and how to combine parts of speech (nouns, verbs, prepositions etc.) together so that I can then extend and move from 1 word to 2… 3.. or more. Included in these sets are examples of different word combinations that you can use to push for an expanded mean length of utterance (e.g. Noun+Preposition: ball up, Verb+Noun: go car etc.).

These sets are all grouped in twos, so whether you’re interested in one, some or all… they are 50% off for the next 48 hours. Trains & Dollhouse, Crafts & Shopping, Baby & Cars+Trucks, Kitchen & Music, Bubbles & Balls, Play dough & Blocks.

WIN A SET – head to my Instagram @adventuresinslp and make sure you follow me. All you have to do is comment on which set you want and I’ll choose one lucky winner.



related posts


  • Hi! These look great! I clicked on the links and it takes me to your TPT store, but I can’t find the products. Looked through your whole store! Help! Thank you.

    • Hi Elizabeth, these are not currently available as I do not work with children who need AAC anymore. I hope that you can find an SLP who has a special interest in this area and who makes similar resources 🙂


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Welcome Guest! Waving Emoji Join Adventures in Speech Pathology to save your cart, save products for later, get exclusive discounts & more! Register Already a customer? Sign in
Your Cart is empty!

It looks like you haven't added any items to your cart yet.

Browse Products
Powered by Caddy