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Communication Partner Training for AAC and Aphasia

Updated: Jun 6, 2023

Did you know? A component of AAC intervention for individuals with aphasia includes communication partner training (Simmons-Mackie et al., 2010).

  • According to the NIDCD (n.d.), approximately 1 million people in the United States today currently live with aphasia. Individuals with aphasia are typically multi-modal communicators meaning they use many communication modalities such as residual speech, gestures, written communication, and use of AAC systems (Beukelman & Light, 2020). Simmons-Mackie and colleagues (2010) completed a systematic review of communication partner training in aphasia to identify research evidence to support this intervention. Through this review, evidence determined that communication partner training is efficient in supporting communication and participation for individuals with aphasia. With communication partner training the SLP works with both the AAC user and his or her communication partner to identify strategies that are then practiced in scripted conversations (ASHA, n.d.).

  • Many of the apps available on our Proslate device support communication for individuals with aphasia who utilize AAC as a means of communication. Contact your local rep to learn more:

In AAC intervention, communication partners play an important role in the assessment and treatment process. This can include spouses, children, caregivers, and friends. Training communication partners as part of the intervention process can play an important role in communication success for the AAC user.


  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (n.d.). Aphasia (Practice Portal). February, 1, 2022, from

  • Beukelman, D. R., & Light, J. C. (2020). Augmentative and alternative communication: Supporting children and adults with complex communication needs (5th ed.). Brookes.

  • National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. (n.d.). Aphasia. Retrieved January 24, 2022, from What Is Aphasia? — Types, Causes and Treatment (

  • Simmons-Mackie, N., Raymer, A., Armstrong, E., Holland, A., & Cherney, L. R. (2010). Communication partner training in aphasia: A systematic review. Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 91, 1814–1837. doi:10.1016/j.apmr.2010.08.026

Katie Threlkeld, M.S., CCC-SLP is a licensed, ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist and the Educational Program Developer at Forbes AAC. She has over eight years of experience in AT and AAC assessment and treatment with both the pediatric and adult populations. Katie has presented at the state and national level on AAC topics and she has University teaching experience at the undergraduate and graduate level.

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