AAC, Materials, Therapy Ideas

Increasing AAC Core Vocabulary Carryover


So you’ve got an awesome AAC system set up, the child is increasingly using it during your sessions, and then, now what? We all know that interventions are more successful when they are intensive, practiced in a variety of environments, with a variety of partners, and when parents/all providers are involved. This is easier said than done, however! Below are two simple methods I’ve used to increase carryover, both at home with parents and with other providers (e.g., school SLPs).

Organized Core Vocabulary Implementation

I set up a 10 unit, consistent way I like to teach core vocabulary words. This is not to say these are the only words I teach, but I like to make sure the child has consistent models and activities to target the four words in therapy, and then I’ll send home data sheets and visuals (shown below) for that set to that other providers and parents can practice the same, consistent set of vocabulary.


Note that I didn’t set this up by week or month. I call them sets and make sure parents understand we might stay on one set for a while and fly through another more quickly. I like this flexibility because some sets come a little more easily than others for different kiddos! I keep the sheet shown above in my data collection binder in the child’s section so I can easily document which words I’ve already targeted for each child.

Targeted Core Vocabulary Sheets on the Backs of iPads!

These sheets are the.best. I print them and using mailing tape to tape them onto the backs of the kiddo’s iPad. That way, it’s easy to pull off and access while the child is at home or at school. They’ve even been used by ABA providers for some kiddos I work with!


One thing I love about these sheets is that I can often prompt a child using them. I pull off the sheet when I begin therapy, and can point to the icon on the sheet to model or prompt a child. Increased aided language input in a snap!

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 4.55.00 PM

Core Vocabulary Data Sheets

For parents and teams with great buy in, I also love sending along data sheets that correspond with the targeted core vocabulary words. Some examples are shown below:

Slide4     Slide3

These make it easy for everybody to make sure we are having similar expectations for the child, and are aware of the prompting hierarchy!

Low Tech Modeling Sheets

The last thing I love doing to generally increase aided language input and modeling, is to make low tech modeling sheets. To do this, I take a screen shot of the child’s homepage, email it to myself, and print a few copies on an entire 8.5×11 piece of paper. I laminate them and send them home for other providers.


I love using these because I can draw on them with dry erase markers to give prompts about what folders to find specific vocabulary in, or I can circle the targeted core vocabulary words. I also love using aided language input on these. It’s sometimes easier to do it this way because all of my kiddos have different systems and it’s hard to have an exact copy on my iPad for every child. This way, I have an exact replication of their system and can constantly provided aided language input without needing to grab/use their system.

Another low-tech modeling system that is available in my TpT store is my Low-Tech Core Vocabulary Flip Boards. I love using these as I can print A TON of them at once, assemble them, and then send them home/to school so that everybody is using the same boards.

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 4.54.30 PM

These boards work great for consistent modeling, as a back up system, or just for visual support for sentence creation/language activities. I literally use them every.single.day.

What do you do to help increase AAC carryover? I’d LOVE to hear as I’m constantly looking for more ideas!

Hope some of those ideas were helpful!

{thanks for reading}

If you’re reading this, please note that I posted an updated post all about making your own DIY AAC Visuals featuring many of the visuals shown in this post! I included a freebie and step by step directions how I did it! Click here to check out the post and learn more!


Do you love all things SLP?

Enter your email below to get the Speechy Musings newsletter. Once you sign up, you'll get instant access to an exclusive freebie library.

I respect your privacy. You can unsubscribe at any time.

You Might Also Like

Previous Story
Next Story

15 Comment

  1. Reply
    October 13, 2015 at 4:08 PM

    Are your core vocabulary sheets available someplace?

  2. Reply
    Christine Reeve
    October 13, 2015 at 11:47 PM

    I love these ideas! Thanks so much for sharing them…the idea of attaching it to the ipad is awesome!


  3. Reply
    October 14, 2015 at 5:11 PM

    Are you going to be offering the Increasing AAC Core Vocabulary Carryover in your TpT store?

    1. Reply
      October 14, 2015 at 6:21 PM

      I hope to! The ones I use now use screenshots from Proloquo2Go so I wouldn’t be able to sell them. I hope to switch it all over using Smarty Symbols and uploading for sale in the next few months, along with some AAC handouts! Thanks for asking!

  4. Reply
    October 18, 2015 at 1:23 AM

    Thank you for the great ideas. One question, what are your thoughts about using symbols on low tech boards/classroom visuals… that are not exactly the same as what is on a person’s proloquo2go/ device? For example, I use Boardmaker to make therapy and classroom activities but my students all use proloquo2go. Students are being exposed to the Boardmaker Educational Solutions as well.

    1. Reply
      October 19, 2015 at 9:52 AM

      I still think it’s great! It’s not always possible to get symbols to match, especially with the variety of apps and devices available. I think my kids usually have an easier time with this than me 🙂

  5. Reply
    October 25, 2015 at 7:21 PM

    I was so happy to find your blog through the slp tpt store today. I am new to working with students using AAC. Are there videos anywhere that I could watch of your low-tech sheets (or other’s) being used. I get overwhelmed seeing all of options out there and then don’t know where to start with my students. I am very excited to get started! Thank you!

  6. Reply
    February 25, 2016 at 2:29 PM

    I love this idea! I have a student with a fairly new device and I am trying my best to teach core vocabulary. I love the way you have this set up. Is the core vocabulary sheet available somewhere?

    1. Reply
      February 25, 2016 at 5:30 PM

      Thank you! It’s not as the symbols used on devices are copyrighted! I wish I could offer them though!

  7. Reply
    April 3, 2016 at 11:39 AM

    What does your core vocabulary sheet say down the left side? Is this your level of cuing?

    1. Reply
      April 4, 2016 at 9:51 AM

      It says something like, “Please help us practice by using these words as much as possible throughout the week!”

  8. Reply
    Diana Angeles
    November 26, 2017 at 3:46 PM

    Hello, I really like your data sheets for core words. However, I am having a hard time understanding how to get a percentage to write on the progress reports or goals. For example, many of my kids have goals that they will learn 10 core words with 80% accuracy and minimum cues. How can you get that information from the data sheets you made?

    1. Reply
      November 27, 2017 at 10:03 AM

      Good question! I typically don’t write goals like that for my AAC students. I might write goals based on a number of activations during a specified amount of time or using a certain number of different words independently, etc… Here’s some examples of how I write goals: http://speechymusings.com/middle-school-speech-language-therapy-goal-bank/

  9. Reply
    May 15, 2018 at 6:18 AM

    This is a fantastic post! I am a parent of a child using Proloquo2go. He just started a month or so ago. I am really worried about regression over the summer so I was searching for ways to carryover at home. Do you happen to have any videos to show demonstrating how you teach parents to implement at home?

    1. Reply
      May 22, 2018 at 5:33 PM

      I do not but I have something in the works! Stay tuned! 🙂

I'd love to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment below.