Dos and Donts for Talking with Those with VOCAs


  • DO look at me, not my Talker.
  • DO give me a VERY LONG time to respond.
  • DO ask me how I indicate ‘yes’ and ‘no’ if I don’t have my Talker.
  • DO read my facial expressions and body language.
  • DO ask me to expand/explain, rather than always asking questions to which I can only answer yes or no.
  • DO check that I mean what I said, (check it wasn’t a mis-hit) and also that you have not misunderstood. Just ask ‘did you mean…’
  • DO make sure that I can access my Talker:
    • Is it switched on?
    • Is my switch fully plugged in?
    • Is the light reflecting on my screen?
    • Is the light shining directly on the screen?
    • Is my head-pointer upside down?
    • Is the screen at a good angle?
  • DO talk to me at my eye level.
  • DO tell me things - it is boring to just be asked questions.


  • DON’T ask a question then answer it yourself or immediately turn to someone else for the answer.
  • DON’T talk about me in front of me.
  • DON’T anticipate what I am going to say without asking ‘can I have a guess at what you mean?’
  • DON’T switch off my device because you think I am a pain or you don’t agree with me.
  • DON’T laugh at my mistakes.
  • DON’T just ask me questions.
  • DON’T stand behind me when I am talking to you.
  • DON’T put me on the spot by asking me to demonstrate my Talker unless I have agreed in private.
  • DON’T let others use my Talker.

Supporting Communication Through AAC is an excellent resource which is in pdf format online and is also available on disc. The document is made up of 12 well indexed sections compiled by a wide range of professionals working with young people using AAC. There are practical ideas, descriptions of the policies and programmes that are effective in designated special schools, factual sections relating to access, software etc.

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Last updated: 28 October 2015

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