Can You Make 200 of Them?

Research indicates that we need to provide at least 200 opportunities each day for aac users to become effective communication system users. 
This seems like a lot to many people, but looking at all of the possibilities that exist in the average classroom for requesting, answering, asking, greeting, commenting, giving opinions, and more communication functions makes it more believable.

Many students are easily observed making requests and either rejecting or accepting. But other functions are less easily observed. Many students miss multiple opportunities every day.

This variety of communication functions was taken from another author (Carrillo, 2009):

Initiate or Call Attention           Comment on action/object
Greet/Close                               Express feelings
Accept                                       Assert independence
Reject                                        Ask questions
Protest                                       Share information
Request Objects                        Relate events
Share/show Objects                  Talk about past/future
Request Information                 Negotiate/bargain
Name                                        Tease
Acknowledge                           Threaten
Answer                                     Make up stories
Express manners                      Identify same/difference

There are many opportunities within the school day to engage kids in the practice of using their AAC systems.  While some of these may be more “academic test” type interactions, rather than genuine communication interactions, they do provide some practice time.  As much as possible, keep the interactions ‘real.” Give kids the opportunities to say what they want to say (not just respond to what you ask them).  Make communication fun and interesting.

Looking for some examples? Try these:

Cooking and Snack Activities:
Make Choices,  Ask How Much,  Ask for More, Give Opinion (tastes good/bad, too salty - all comments), Give Directions
Game and Leisure Time:
Whose Turn, Count Spaces, Comment on the activity,  Ask for More,  Ask to Stop, Request Items and Actions,  Ask for Help, Tell to Hurry Up or Wait, Give Directions or Ask For Them
Story Time or Shared/Guided Reading:
By using a Before-During-After format to book reading, Teachers create multiple opportunities for students to use AAC to respond to questions, identify story elements (character, setting, action), predict what’s next, give an opinion, ask teacher to turn the page or read it again.  Within each of those activities (B-D-A), multiple chances for using the AAC system to respond, comment, request, and ask are created.

For a copy of this information, and more, in a handy handout, go here.


  1. Great tip about 200 ways to improve communication for and with your kids. I never thought of this, but it makes so much sense.

    1. I think we forget just how much practice it takes. Thanks for reading

  2. Excellent point! 200 seems like a lot, but we have so many opportunities to practice every day!

    1. Yes, there are more than we might think. Thanks for reading.

  3. We take so many of our thought processes for granted; 200?! This is a terrific reminder of being intentional for this practice. Thanks!

    1. Thank you for reading! We can all be more intentional.

  4. Do you have a link to the research that shows this? I would love to share with my colleagues! Thank you!

  5. Unless otherwise noted, the publisher, which is the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), holds the copyright on all materials published in Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, both as a compilation and as individual articles. Please see Rights and Permissions for terms and conditions of use of Perspectives content:
    200 A Day the Easy Way: Putting It Into Practice
    Kim Baker
    Debbie Carrillo
    Freda Stanton
    Beaverton School District
    Beaverton, OR
    The 200 Opportunities a Day program originated from many years of experience as well as a plethora of research. Leaders in the field, including Musselwhite and Burkhart (2001), challenged clinicians to provide 200 switch activations a day for students with significant physical disabilities. Goosens, Crain, and Elder (1994) discussed the importance of engineering the environment and using activity-based overlays to increase vocabulary development beyond requesting. Beukelman and Mirenda (2005) introduced the participation model and encouraged students using AAC to be active participants in classrooms