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Dr. Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Attribute Meaning!

 What This Means.  I often talk about attributing meaning, and how essential this is, especially for emergent communicators.  We do this without thinking about it for infants who are learning to speak.  When the infant says 'ba-ba' we rush to figure it out.  And we follow up!!

"Bottle? Here's your bottle sweetie!""

Blankie?  Here's your blankie."

"Banana?  You love bananas.  Let's go get one!"

Book?  Let's get your books.  Want to read 'peek-a-boo?'"  

"Boppy?  Boppy's not here now.  Should we call him?"

Attributing Meaning for People Who are Learning Their AAC Systems.  So, what happens when an individual who is learning their AAC system presses a button or makes a selection that doesn't really make sense to us.  Do we rush to 'figure it out'??  Or, because it is typically an older child, do we assume that it was a mis-hit or a mistake, or perseveration?  Often, students are exploring their devices to 'see what happens.'  Our response matters!!  We must attribute meaning!

I made a meme to remind us to attribute meaning. Why?  Because attributing meaning is:

Safe.  We should assume that the person is trying to communicate, and may be very intentional.  Or at least that they want to know what this message means, and what will happen if they select it.                                                                                                                     Simple.  It may feel awkward at first, but once you've tried it, attributing meaning gets easier and easier.  And it takes very little time.  And it's more fun than saying 'I don't understand' or – worse – ignoring or re-directing the communication attempt.                                                                                                  Successful.  I have seen wonderful success from this simple strategy, both with young children and with teens and adults.  Try it!

Where Can You Get More Information??                                                                             
There's a tip for that!!!                   You can find it at:                
www.aacintervention.com              Tip # 2, 2018

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