The importance of the parents’ perspective of using AAC at home

CENMAC supports a large number of children and young people who use power based AAC to support their communication. Learning to use a power-based communication device is like learning a new language so it’s important that their school SEND team and their parents/carers know how to use and understand the technology. 

Our team receives lots of questions from parents/and or carers about how they can best support their children. 

CENMAC’s Team Leader, Kathryn Stowell recently spoke to Bob Sagoo and Anjana Babel, both parents of secondary aged young people who use power based AAC and asked them the questions that we are most frequently asked. 

Kathryn Stowell 

“What would you say to parents and/or carers who say they don’t need power based AAC at home because their understand their child?” 

Anjana Babel 

“Parents and carers know their child the best and it’s like a baby. You know, when children are small you understand it. But a few things – one is your child is not going to be limited to you as they grow. They have to interact with other children. They have to interact with other adults. You want them to be as independent and you want them to have a wider circle of people whom they can interact with. You can’t control their environment all the time. Like there will be carers and adults who know or children who know them and know their signs or know their gestures. So to be able, at least for case for her, to be understood by other adults, she definitely needed a communication technique which was more generalised, which was more mainstream.” 

Kathryn Stowell 

“Bob, have you noticed an impact on your child’s literacy skills using AAC?” 

Bob Sagoo 

“Very much so, yes…when he’s following things like the news and I, I can see that he’s taking everything in, everything on board, and he’s listening so intensively. So, he’s following the stories he’s known about Ukraine, for example, and we’ve talked about, you know, issues that are going on in the world. And I think that’s really his power based AAC has really helped him develop that element of his literacy.”  

Sharing information 

One of the key pieces of advice offered by Bob and Anajana was the importance of parents and carers talking to each other and sharing their learnings and tips. Don’t be afraid to ask other parents questions “Other parents are great and they will give you the time because they’re in the same boat as you”.  

Watch the full conversation here: