Tips and Tricks: Using Speech Generating Devices at Home



Getting your child a speech generating device (SGD) is an exciting step towards improving their communication and independence. It’s an exciting time, but it is not a quick fix and doesn’t mean that your child can immediately begin to communicate with you. A baby is consistently hearing verbal communication every day for a year or more before they begin using words and phrases to communicate, and the same goes for a child being introduced to a speech generating device (SGD).  This is done in many places- therapy, school, the community, and most importantly, HOME! Language learning does not stop when your child walks in the door from a long day of school or therapy, and their SGD needs to be introduced and modeled by other people at home when communicating with the child. Here are some tips to help you incorporate your child’s speech generating device into your daily routine at home-


– Learn about your child’s device. Know where the vocabulary “buttons” are, how to navigate across the pages, and how to customize it to your child. Don’t be afraid to ask your therapist for help during this time, they are a great resource!


– Have their device present at all times. Think of the SGD as their voice, and remember to take it anywhere you would expect your child to talk with you while playing, eating, cleaning, or even doing homework.


– Model for the child on their device, and don’t be afraid to use the SGD yourself when communicating with them! Show your child how to activate the “buttons” of one or more vocabulary words from the phrase you’re saying verbally. This video can help you better understand this idea!


– Try to stay a step ahead of your child. A child doesn’t wake up using verbal phrases, and they aren’t going to do this with a device either. When modeling, try to show your child phrases that are a step longer than what they typically produce- if they are using a single word or button activation on the SGD to communicate, try to model two to three-word phrases on their device so that they are consistently seeing and hearing gradual expansions of their productions.


– Help the child use their device outside of the home as well. Places like the park, grocery store, and restaurants have many opportunities to model new vocabulary and encourage requesting from your child!


It’s important to consistently reinforce what your child is learning at therapy and school at home so that they are generalizing their skills to new environments, and home practice can make a big difference in a child’s ability to communicate in a variety of places.


If you have any questions about the use of speech generating devices or how to better help your child with their device, reach out to us at We are here to educate you and inspire your child.

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