Semin Speech Lang 2017; 38(04): 313-320
DOI: 10.1055/s-0037-1604278
Review Article
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Family Leisure as a Context to Support Augmentative and Alternative Communication Intervention for Young Children with Complex Communication Needs

Tara O'Neill1, Kelsey Mandak1, Krista M. Wilkinson1, 2
  • 1Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
  • 2Shriver Center of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Baltimore, Maryland
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
11 September 2017 (online)


Families are often the most significant communication partners for children who require augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). Because family-centered approaches are recommended practice in speech-language pathology, a primary role for speech-language pathologists (SLPs) serving children who require AAC is to support families in integrating communication into highly valued, existing family activities. Family leisure activities can provide a naturally supportive context for AAC, because they provide multiple opportunities for children to interact and practice using AAC with natural communication partners. This article aims to guide SLPs in utilizing family leisure as a context for AAC intervention. We describe the benefits and constraints of engaging in leisure for families with children with disabilities. We define family leisure, which includes two distinct types of leisure activities: core and balance. Finally, we provide a case example of a family that highlights the integration of AAC into both types of leisure activities.