Introduction: Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) intervention research is rarely focused on school-age beginning communicators, despite the urgent need to ensure individuals in this population have access to the fundamental human right of communication. Methods: Four school-age children with multiple disabilities who were primarily prelinguistic communicators participated in the current study. The study used a single-subject research design to explore the effects of two interaction approaches – a social routine approach and a directive approach – on prelinguistic communication, compared to independent play and to one another. This study then evaluated the added effects of high-tech AAC within the most effective interaction approach for each participant. Results: All participants demonstrated prelinguistic communication indicating positive affect most frequently when interacting within a social routine. Furthermore, all participants increased linguistic communication while either maintaining or increasing prelinguistic communication when high-tech AAC was added to the social routine interaction. Conclusions: Clinicians should consider building accessible, predictable, engaging, and age-respectful social routines into leisure contexts to promote prelinguistic communication from school-age beginning communicators. Clinicians should also provide access to linguistic communication through high-tech AAC while continuing to honor and promote prelinguistic communication.

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