Visual Supports and Video Models for AAC

Quick Overview

Today’s discussion focuses on visual supports and video models for augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), specifically for individuals with Angelman Syndrome. Visual supports, such as aided language displays, can be used to create a communication-rich environment and facilitate aided language input. Video models, on the other hand, are effective tools for teaching language and other skills. They can be watched repeatedly and are often more engaging for individuals with Angelman Syndrome. Tips for creating video models include using preferred people, filming in favorite places, and keeping the videos short and relevant. Various apps and resources are available to assist in creating and accessing video models. Overall, visual supports and video models are valuable tools for supporting communication and language development in individuals with AAC needs.


In this talk, we will discuss the use of visual supports and video models for augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). While our focus is on individuals with Angelman Syndrome, these strategies can be applied to many individuals who use AAC. Visual supports and video models are effective tools for supporting alternative communicators and can be used both at home and in the classroom.

Aided Language Displays

Aided language displays are large communication displays that are used for aided language input, also known as modeling. By hanging up aided language displays in the home or classroom, communication becomes a priority from the moment one enters the room. These displays serve as a reminder to use AAC and make it easier to provide fast aided language simulation or modeling on the fly. Aided language displays can also be used for peer modeling and interactive activities in the classroom.

To create aided language displays, one can make poster-sized printouts at stores like Staples or order them online. Another option is to use a projector in the classroom to project a child’s actual communication system. This allows for dynamic modeling and engagement from both the teacher and peers.

Descriptive Teaching Method

The descriptive teaching method is a way of teaching vocabulary without the need for specific pages or buttons on a communication device. It focuses on teaching core words and using descriptive labels in the environment. Descriptive labels can be placed around the classroom or home to provide visual support and help children understand their surroundings. These labels can be color-coded to match the AAC user’s communication system and encourage peers and visitors to use them as well.

Color Coding

Color coding is a visual support strategy that can be used to support language learning and organization. There are different color coding systems available, such as the Fitzgerald key and Goosen, Elder, and Crane. Color coding can help with modeling, teaching parts of speech, and finding words on a communication system. It is important to consider the specific color coding system used in the AAC device or app being used.

Video Models

Video models are an effective way to teach language and other skills. They can be used to address specific communication needs and provide targeted modeling. Video models can be watched repeatedly, allowing for increased exposure and learning. They can be created using a communication system or duplicate, a video camera (such as a smartphone), and a plan. Video models can be stored on devices or online platforms for easy access and independent viewing.

Tips for Creating Video Models

When creating video models, it is important to be engaging and motivating. Preferred people, puppets, and favorite places can be incorporated to increase interest and excitement. Videos should be kept short, based on the child’s attention span. Contextual video models, filmed in the actual environment where the skill will be used, can be more relevant and understandable for the child. It is also helpful to have a plan for accessing and organizing the videos, using apps or platforms that allow for easy playback and storage.


Visual supports and video models are valuable tools for supporting individuals who use AAC. Aided language displays, descriptive labels, color coding, and video models can all contribute to effective communication and language learning. By incorporating these strategies, individuals with Angelman Syndrome and other communication needs can enhance their communication skills and participate more fully in their environments.

Talk details

  • Title: Visual supports and Video Models for AAC
  • Author(s): Kate Ahern
  • Author(s)’ affiliation: None
  • Publication date: 2022-05-25
  • Collection: Angelman Academy