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Learning Language for the Long Term

Practice Report
  • Andrea McGuinness (ATtherapy)
  • Hayley Power (ATtherapy)

In AAC, the challenge of teaching true expressive language is ongoing. We will discuss how to support individuals with complex physical and/or learning needs to make novel, spontaneous utterances. Within the field of AAC much focus is placed upon physical access with the complexities of learning language often assumed to follow behind naturally. These issues will be discussed in the context of supporting case studies and available research.


In LAMP we focus on the language learning aspect of AAC without access difficulties. However, we also support people with complex access and learning needs. We need to consider whether the LAMP principles can be applied to people who require alternative access methods.

We looked at different vocabulary organisations and will discuss how these can be adapted to give those with alternative access methods a true long term generative language learning pathway. We will consider case studies and refer to research.


Our conclusions on teaching language will be shared at the presentation.


We conclude that a greater consideration needs to be applied to the long term learning of language for all, including those who have complex access and learning needs. Long term planning from the outset is vital.

Level of Session 
Age Group 
All Ages
Primary school
Secondary school
Special school
Further/Higher Ed.