Top Tips: Supporting your child to use their communication book and devices at home


  • Use Core Vocabulary:

These are the small words we use, which make up most of what we say e.g. go/stop/turn/more. We can use these words in different ways, so we don’t always have to have every single word e.g “go more”, “stop turn”. 


  • Descriptive Labels:

Describe what something looks like, instead of just labelling it. Label the colour, texture, size e.g for flower “top part pretty” and “has seed”. This helps develop descriptive language.


  • Questions:

Use different vocabulary when asking questions: For example when baking a cake:


What do we need BEFORE we start? “open”

What goes in FIRST? – “soft yellow” ( cake mix)

What goes in NEXT? –  “wet” (oil)

What shall we do AFTER? “ more mix”


  • Descriptive questions:

Use language to encourage the use of different responses e.g “I wonder if you can….”, “ what do you think?….”


  • Label the environment:

Practice putting words together in different situations e.g “TV on/off”, “shoes on/off”. In a soft play activity help your child to use words related to place and actions e.g “in ball pit”, “throw ball”.

  • Label and categorise toys in boxes e.g. “soft/hard/big/small”. This will encourage your child to use descriptive language before labelling what they want e.g “I want soft.” You can then ask which specific soft toy they want e.g teddy or ball?


  • Model vocabulary:

use your child’s communication book or device alongside them. This will help them to see where different words are, and develop their confidence.

  • Ask open questions,

which need your child to use different responses to just “yes” or “no” e.g:   “what does your bike look like?”

  • Respond:

allow time for your child to respond : “red”

  • Recast:

add descriptive language onto what they have said:  “shiny red bike!”

  • Be creative!

don’t worry if the book or device doesn’t have a specific word, use the vocabulary that is already there to describe it e.g “wet full” for a bottle of oil. There isn’t always one exact answer.

  • Use it all the time!

use the book or device as your child’s voice. Even if you know what they want, encourage them to use it at all times.