Communication and Everyday Routines

Quick Overview

This presentation focuses on embedding communication strategies into everyday routines for individuals with Angelman Syndrome. The presenters, a speech therapist and an occupational therapist, provide practical examples and tips for supporting communication and independence. They emphasize the importance of motivation, identifying language levels, and modelling the use of AAC systems. The presentation also covers daily living adaptations, such as using adaptive equipment and creating visual schedules. The presenters offer strategies for activities like getting dressed, mealtime, going for a walk, bathing, reading, and bedtime. They provide resources and encourage open communication with therapy teams.


Welcome to our presentation, “From Grandiose to Real Life: How to Embed Communication into Your Everyday Routines.” We, Lauren DeValk and Caroline Woeber, are speech and occupational therapists who are passionate about our jobs. We are excited to share practical examples and strategies to help you communicate more effectively and promote independence for your child. In this presentation, we will discuss communication strategies, daily living adaptations, and how to integrate them into your everyday activities.

About Us

Caroline Weeber, a speech therapist and AAC specialist at Children’s Hospital Colorado, became interested in Angelman Syndrome after a friend’s son was diagnosed with the condition. She is dedicated to bringing her AAC background to help children and families in the Chromosome 15 Clinic.

Lauren DeValk, an occupational therapist at Children’s Hospital Colorado, was inspired to work with individuals with Angelman Syndrome after caring for a 10-year-old girl with the condition. She is passionate about finding new ways to promote independence and access for people with Angelman Syndrome.

Communication Strategies

Motivating Your Child

One important strategy is to identify what motivates your child. By understanding their interests and preferences, you can make communication more exciting and engaging for them. For example, if your child is socially motivated, you can add songs, tickles, or one-on-one time during activities like teeth brushing. If your child is sensory-seeking, you can incorporate sensory activities like body brushing or bouncing into the routine. The key is to find what your child loves and use it to make communication more enjoyable.

Identifying Language Level

It is essential to understand your child’s language level and use appropriate communication methods. For emerging communicators, you can model communication by using gestures, pictures, or speech generating devices. Supported communicators may need help learning when and how to use their communication system, while independent communicators can expand their vocabulary and use more complex phrases. It is important to continue teaching new words and providing access to their communication system.


Modeling, or aided language stimulation, is a powerful way to teach your child how to use their AAC system. By using their communication system yourself, you show them that it is an accepted form of communication. Start by modeling words and phrases, and then wait for your child to imitate or respond. Repetition is key, and over time, your child will learn to use their communication system independently.

Daily Living Adaptations

Daily living adaptations are changes you can make to everyday activities to help your child reach their goals. For example, you can modify utensils to make them easier to grasp, use visual schedules to create routines, or create boundaries to decrease throwing behavior. By making small changes, you can increase your child’s independence and participation in daily activities.

Activities to Try at Home

We have selected seven activities that you can try at home to integrate communication strategies and daily living adaptations. These activities include getting dressed, mealtime, going for a walk, cleaning up, bathing, reading, and going to bed. For each activity, we provide examples and suggestions for different language levels, as well as adaptations and resources to support your child’s needs.


We hope that you will pick one activity from our presentation to try at home. Remember, these strategies take time and practice, but they can have a significant impact on your child’s communication and independence. We encourage you to have open conversations with your therapy and school teams and utilize the resources we have provided. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you for joining us on this journey to embed communication into your everyday routines.

Talk details

  • Title: Communication and Everyday Routines
  • Author(s): Lauren DeValk, Caroline Woeber
  • Author(s)’ affiliation: Children’s Hospital Colorado
  • Publication date: 2020-12-31
  • Collection: 2020 FAST Educational Summit