Sunday, 16 June 2013

Social Scripting for AAC Device Users

One of the most challenging parts of creating effective and meaningful conversation for AAC users is that interactions can get "stuck".  Part of the reason that happens is because the AAC device user has not developed what Caroline Musselwhite calls "an ear for conversation". To remedy this, she suggests developing social scripts for students.  Understanding that conversations have a pattern of interaction between two or more participants is key to developing scripts for AAC users (see the chart below).  From there, you can sit down and develop a conversation script with the communicator to use to interact with one or more people, providing ample communication opportunities. This will allow the AAC user to discover the natural pattern of turn taking and statements that occur in conversation. When you sit down to develop the script, you can provide examples of statements that the communicator would like to use and program it into the device the communicator is using. For some examples of social scripts, check out Musslewhite's website at

Anatomy of a Conversation

From Musselwhite's Can We Chat: Social Scripts for AAC Users Professional Development DVD
Step One
Attention Getter (Greeting)
“Hey! What’s up?”
Step Two
Conversation Starter (Conversation initiator)
“Guess what?”
Step Three
Maintainers, Holders
(Statements that keep the conversation rolling smoothly)
“It was so embarrassing”
"Can you believe it?"

Interjections (Statements in response to information shared by the communication partner in response to the conversation topic)
“Cool!” “Yikes!” “Really?”
Step Four
“Great talking to you!” “See you soon” “Catch you later”

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