The Dynamic AAC
Goals Grid 2
DAGG-2
Developed by Tobii Dynavox in conjunction with Dynamic Therapy Associates of Kennesaw, GA. (2014).
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Copyright notification: User may not copy or distribute these materials except for use with the students, patients, clients, or other individuals who receive instruction, therapy,
supervision, assessment, care or other service directly from the User. Otherwise, these materials may not be copied without the written consent of Tobii Dynavox
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The primary objectives of the Dynamic AAC Goals Grid-2 are to provide a systematic means to assess (and reassess) an individual’s
current skills in AAC and to assist partners in developing a comprehensive, long-reaching plan for enhancing the AAC user’s
communicative independence. This tool strives to assist with the team’s consideration of the myriad of components that make for
successful AAC use.
A comprehensive assessment should help us determine the level at which the individual is currently communicating. During the
evaluation stage, the DAGG-2 serves as a checklist for ensuring that all areas of Light’s (1989) communicative competencies are
considered. It allows the AAC team to analyze patterns of strengths and weaknesses to better assist in determining the appropriate next
steps for intervention.
During reassessment and progress measurement, the prompting hierarchy (Chain of Cues) for each goal allows a team to acknowledge
increased independence at even the most dependent level of communicative ability. It allows the individual to demonstrate progress
towards independence in very small increments. Goals can be set and met based on minor improvements.
It is our goal that the DAGG-2 presents a big picture view of the individual when assessing and developing goals for today and
tomorrow. Today goals are reflected in promoting success within the individual’s current level of communicative independence across the
four competency areas. Tomorrow goals are based on projections of future opportunities, needs, constraints, and capabilities resulting
from instruction within those competencies (Buekelman & Miranda, 2005).
Introduction to the DAGG-2
There is no “one size fits all” to use the DAGG-2 in assessment and intervention planning. Consider the following steps*:
If using the DAGG-2 for initial assessment:
STEP 1: For initial assessment, use the Ability Level Continuum as a starting place to determine target goal areas. The Ability
Level Continuum helps to provide insight to current and potential skills and strengths based on an individual’s observable
communication behaviors.
STEP 2: Choose appropriate goals to address in one or more areas of communicative competence. Mark the level of cueing
currently needed for successful communication.
STEP 3: Use the AAC Goals Worksheet to write specific long and/or short term goals for the individual. Think about what the
individual does during the course of his/her day to identify activities and communication partners in which to address the target skills.
Activities that occur frequently and are motivating will provide more opportunities to practice skills.
When using the DAGG-2 for reassessment:
STEP 1:
Return to the Dynamic AAC Goals; mark any progress in the level of cueing using a different color pen or by date
of reassessment.
STEP 2: Use the AAC Goals Periodic Progress Report to record progress towards goals in each competency area and/or at
each Ability Level at intervals appropriate for your facility or setting.
STEP 3: Revise goals to reflect progress.
How to Use the DAGG-2
Using this tool, an individual’s progress could be measured in several ways:
Movement along the Ability Level Continuum
Mastering more goals in a specific communicative competency
Mastering more goals in more areas of communicative competence
Mastering more goals within an Ability Level
Reducing the levels of prompting needed to meet a specific goal
Increased complexity of a goal
Note:
*For a more detailed description of the DAGG-2 components and case study, please refer to the addendum on page 17.
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*Adapted from Patricia Dowden, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, University of Washington, Communicative Independence Model.
Limited or no understanding that symbols
(e.g., pictures, words) represent ideas.
Pictures may or may not help increase
understanding and expression.
Difficult to determine how much he/she
understands verbally.
Responds to common gestures (e.g., come
here, go away, greetings).
Shows understanding of the use of common
objects.
Pictures seem to help increase both
understanding and expression.
May be starting to follow simple directions
within familiar routines and activities.
May communicate most successfully using
facial expression, body language, gestures,
and/or behavior (either socially appropriate or
challenging).
May indicate acceptance (e.g., smile) or
rejection (e.g., turn away) but does not reliably
answer other yes/no questions.
May desire or try to communicate in familiar
and motivating activities.
Requires help from communication partner
to communicate successfully (e.g., narrowing
choices, interpreting gestures/body language/
behavior).
Sensory behavior is very important for
calming (e.g., rocking, mouthing objects) and
determining likes and dislikes.
Understands symbols (e.g., objects, pictures)
for basic, common or concrete items.
Starting to use clear and simple symbols
(including objects, photographs and picture
symbols) in motivating situations or favorite
activities.
If using picture symbols, he/she will use one
picture at a time to communicate messages.
May use gestures, body language, facial
expression or behavior intentionally to
communicate (e.g., pointing, showing,
giving); however, reliability varies from day to
day or activity to activity.
Reacts to familiar people and/or motivating
activities.
Takes turns in familiar and motivating routines
(e.g., “high five” or when someone spreads
arms to receive a hug).
May respond to close physical interaction by
looking, smiling, or reaching.
Shows clear preference for certain objects,
activities, and people.
May be starting to show some interest in
social interactions, especially in specific
situations.
May not use symbols to interact socially.
May not be interested in reading or
book activities.
May demonstrate a beginning interest in
participating in shared reading and/or is
beginning to engage with books more
independently.
May be able to identify own name and a few
other frequently seen words.
Performance with forms of AAC may be
inconsistent.
Benefits from help from his/her communication
partner as skills are developing.
Ability Level 1: Emergent
Ability Level 2:
Emergent Transitional
Understanding Understanding
Expression Expression
Social
Interaction
Social
Interaction
Literacy
Skill
s
Literacy
Skills
Other Other
Performance with forms of AAC may be
inconsistent.
Benefits from help from his/her communication
partner as skills are developing.
Use this guide to help provide insight to current and potential target skills and strengths. Mark the statements
that best describes an individual’s observable communication behaviors. You may not check all of the boxes
in any skill area. You may also find that you check boxes in more than one Ability Level.
Ability Level Continuum
*
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Ability Level Continuum
Understands photographs or picture symbols
representing objects, common actions (e.g.,
run, paint, eat), people or situations.
Starting to understand more abstract picture
symbols (e.g., think, big, hot, few).
Follows simple instructions in both familiar and
unfamiliar routines.
Understands and follows general
conversations.
Understands conversations as well as same
age peers.
Follows simple to complex directions given
verbally.
Uses a combination of communication
methods to express messages (e.g., gestures/
pointing, symbols, speech/vocalizations, and
device).
Uses symbols and objects spontaneously to
communicate basic needs and make a variety
of requests.
Beginning to use symbols to comment and/or
ask questions with support.
Communicates best in routines, about familiar
topics, and with familiar communication
partners.
Beginning to combine two or more symbols
to create longer messages (e.g., uses carrier
phrases “I want; I like; I see___”).
Communicates about a broad range of
topics with both familiar and unfamiliar
communication partners.
Consistently combines 2 or more symbols
to create longer, more complex and/or an
increased variety of messages for different
communicative functions (e.g., comments,
questions, or sharing information).
Uses a wider variety of vocabulary or
communication tools within his/her
communication device.
Initiates conversations and social interactions
with familiar communication partners.
Benefits from help to take additional turns in
conversation.
Answers routine questions appropriately with
familiar communication partners.
Uses socially appropriate comments/questions
to initiate with familiar communication
partners.
Appropriately answers routine questions with
a variety of communication partners.
Literacy skills growing to include:
identifying letters of the alphabet,
connecting some letters with
corresponding sounds, understanding
word boundaries, reading a small number
of high frequency sight words, reading and
writing name, beginning to spell words but
not necessarily with conventional spelling.
Literacy skills growing to include: increased
letter-sound awareness, additional sight words,
conventional spelling of simple words; adding
word endings as appropriate (e.g., past tense
“ed”, plural “s” or “ing), and solid understanding
of the connection between spoken words and
print.
May be beginning to utilize word prediction with
symbol support.
Reads printed material that is somewhat below
an age-appropriate level.
May continue to benefit from the help of his/
her communication partner to communicate
successfully, especially when the topic,
partner or environment is unfamiliar.
Able to use simple strategies (e.g., repeat) to
repair communication when not understood
with support from the communication partner.
Strong “mental mapping” of where things
are in his/her device including navigational
symbols.
Able to use a variety of strategies to repair
communication when not understood;
and, in some cases, with the support of
communication partners.
Programs content in the communication
device when it’s desired or missing given
support as needed (e.g., add favorite foods in
Word List food category).
Understanding Understanding
Expression
Expression
Social
Interaction
Social
Interaction
Literacy
Skills
Literacy
Skills
Other Other
Ability Level 3: Context-Dependent Ability Level 4: Transitional Independent
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Understands communication and directions
the same as same-age peers.
Combines single words, spelling and
phrases together to communicate about
avariety of subjects as others would at
his/her age.
Able to expand on a thought in conversation.
Social interaction skills, environments, and
activities are similar to other of his/her age.
Literacy abilities are on par with same-age
peers.
Able to use various strategies to repair
communication when he/she is not
understood.
Able to utilize rate enhancement features of
the device (e.g., word prediction) though he/
she may not choose to do so.
Able to program desired content (e.g.,
personal narratives, etc.) into device.
Understanding
Expression
Social
Interaction
Literacy
Skills
Other
Ability Level 5: Independent
ABILITY LEVEL SUMMARY
In the chart below, mark the individual’s Ability Level for each skill area to provide you with a “big picture” view.
SKILLS ABILITY LEVEL
Notes:
Emergent
Emergent
Transitional
Context-
Dependent
Transitional
Independent
Independent
Understanding
Expression
Social
Interaction
Literacy
Skills
Other
Notes: Additional observations of communication characteristics
in each skill area such as strengths, barriers, other communication
modes, etc.
Understanding
Expression
Social Interaction
Literacy Skills
Other:
(e.g., environment, favorite communication partner/s, motivating
activities/topics, behavior, etc.)
Ability Level Continuum
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Linguistic Competency
Ability Levels Goals Chain of Cues
Emergent
GM
Communicates behaviorally (e.g., eye gaze, point, pull partner toward) to
request/respond/comment and socially interact.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Rejects undesired propositions or items behaviorally (e.g., brief glance, nod,
eye contact, smile or touch).
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Accepts propositions, activities and/or offered items behaviorally.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Demonstrates intent to communicate with a partner such as selecting single button
message in a joint action routine (e.g., repeated story line, request repetition of preferred
activity).
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Signals a desire for something (e.g., gesture, device, speech).
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Engages in turn-taking for one communication exchange (can include gestures, pointing,
facial expression, eye movement).
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Demonstrates joint attention toward an object with partner.
IC DVC DPC PA
Emergent
Transitional
GM
Uses at least 3 reliable signals (e.g., sign/sign approx., obj/pic symbol,
verbal/verbal approx.) to control their immediate environment (e.g., “More.”
All done.” or “Stop!”).
IC
DVC
DPC
PA
GM
Requests/comments/labels a tangible object with single noun symbol given an
array of 2 or more symbols in familiar routine/context.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Requests/comments/labels a familiar concrete action with single verb symbol
given an array of 2 or more symbols during a familiar routine/context.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Selects single button messages in familiar contexts to participate in or move
an interaction along.
IC DVC DPC PA
Context-
Dependent
GM
Uses a variety of nouns in categories to include 7 categories with 5 examples in each
category.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Uses abstract descriptive concepts: quantitative/qualitative/spatial (at least 2 in each
category).
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Uses learned sentence constructions (carrier phrases) for creative 2+ word phrases (e.g.,“I
want ___.” “I see __.” “I have ___.”) in structured or routine activities.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Uses action concepts (at least 10 verbs across situations).
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Generates novel or creative 2+ word simple sentences.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Uses plural “s” to denote more than one.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Recognizes letter/sound associations.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Demonstrates early use of letter combinations (e.g., initial sound recognition, creative
spelling).
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Generates simple grammatical sentences using present (“ing”) and past
(“ed”) tense.
IC DVC DPC PA
Chain of Cues Prompting Hierarchy
GM: Goal Met (Natural Cue) IC: Indirect Cue DVC: Direct Verbal Cue DPC: Direct Pointer Cue PA: Physical Assistance
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Linguistic Competency - Continued
Ability Levels Goals Chain of Cues
Transitional
Independent
GM
Sequences information in a logical manner to tell or retell a story (narrative).
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Asks and answers a variety of pre-stored question forms.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Generates creative messages (at least 3 words) by combining individual
words/phrases/spelling in novel activities.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Uses abstract descriptive concepts: quantitative/qualitative/spatial (at least 6 in each
category).
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Able to use available words/messages to convey a new meaning or substitute for
a word/concept that is not available (i.e., circumlocution).
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Recognizes and uses high frequency onsets and rhymes to spell familiar words.
IC DVC DPC PA
Independent
GM
Generates creative messages with more than 3 individual words/phrases/spelling.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Creatively combines existing vocabulary to describe new word/concept not
in device (i.e., flexible vocabulary use).
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Constructs complex and compound sentences (e.g., uses “because” “and”
or “that”).
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Uses question reversals conversationally (e.g., “Can I?” “Did you?” or
Are they?”).
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Demonstrates independent spelling skills at age level with or without
word/symbol prediction.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Understands and uses morphological endings to qualify verbs (“er”or “ly”).
IC DVC DPC PA
Chain of Cues Prompting Hierarchy
GM: Goal Met (Natural Cue) IC: Indirect Cue DVC: Direct Verbal Cue DPC: Direct Pointer Cue PA: Physical Assistance
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Ability Levels Goals Chain of Cues
Emergent
GM
Demonstrates visual, auditory or physical attention to AAC system by quieting, orienting to
or moving into action.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Demonstrates active engagement with the AAC system (e.g., exploring, touching screen,
hitting the switch, etc.) not necessarily with intent.
IC DVC DPC PA
Emergent
Transitional
GM
Transports AAC system in routine or familiar activity with partner reminders
as needed.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Positions AAC system for use with partner reminders as needed.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Locates high frequency and/or high interest vocabulary in routine or familiar activities (e.g.,
basic functional categories such as requesting highly motivating objects/activities, feelings,
needs, greetings).
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Demonstrates early developing navigational skills to include “next page” or
“go back” navigation.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Demonstrates recognition that AAC system requires adjustment (e.g., volume change or
system not working) by looking, quieting or moving into action.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Demonstrates ability to turn system on/off (or asks) when appropriate.
IC DVC DPC PA
Context-
Dependent
GM
Asks for assistance if equipment requires adjustment.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Adjusts volume appropriate to environment.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Demonstrates ability to charge and care for device (or asks).
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Adjusts screen or position (or asks) for best visibility and access.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Navigates to logical page/message/vocabulary during familiar topic or context.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Navigates by noun categories.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Demonstrates ability to manage simple Message Window operations
(e.g., clear, delete).
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Participates in adding vocabulary by selecting symbols, location or choosing from offered
message choices.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Recognizes the need to transfer AAC system from one activity or environment to another by
moving into action or requesting help from partner.
IC DVC DPC PA
Operational Competency
Chain of Cues Prompting Hierarchy
GM: Goal Met (Natural Cue) IC: Indirect Cue DVC: Direct Verbal Cue DPC: Direct Pointer Cue PA: Physical Assistance
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Operational Competency - Continued
Ability Levels Goals
Chain of Cues
Transitional
Independent
GM
Recognizes the need for additional topics or vocabulary in system and is beginning to
actively participate in programming or in the process of programming (e.g., selects edit/
modify button).
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Adjusts volume and speech controls (rate/voice) appropriate to environment.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Navigates to logical page/message/vocabulary for novel topics and partners.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Navigates between different message types or tools (e.g., pre-programmed messages,
single words, keyboard).
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Navigates by grammatical categories.
IC DVC DPC PA
Independent
GM
Meets communicative needs by creatively combining different message types or tools (e.g.,
pre-programmed and/or generative messages/words/phrases/spelling) within system.
IC
DVC DPC PA
GM
Arranges equipment upgrades, troubleshoots, initiates repair procedures.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Independently adds vocabulary specific to constructs of the system.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Demonstrates ability to access external equipment independently (e.g., phone, email, text,
computer, IR).
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Independently stores files, customized messages and sequences.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Demonstrates understanding of the operation of device software features
(e.g., word prediction, pronunciation exceptions, editing features).
IC DVC DPC PA
Chain of Cues Prompting Hierarchy
GM: Goal Met (Natural Cue) IC: Indirect Cue DVC: Direct Verbal Cue DPC: Direct Pointer Cue PA: Physical Assistance
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Social Competency
Ability Levels Goals
Chain of Cues
Emergent
GM
Interacts socially through behaviors such as smiling, object-based turn taking or waving
(demonstrating basic understanding of social cause and effect).
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Responds to communication by facial expression, gesturing, quieting or
moving into action.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Periodically references communication partner during interaction through brief glance, nod,
eye contact, proximity or touch (joint attention).
IC DVC DPC PA
Emergent
Transitional
GM
Uses simple communication to replace challenging behaviors (e.g., “More.” or
All done.”) with partner reminders as needed.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Demonstrates conversational turn taking in errorless or familiar interaction/activity.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Responds to initiating or terminating interactions using a single word message
such as “Hi!” and “Bye!”
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Maintains attention to partner in conversation (e.g., eye contact, orientation).
IC DVC DPC PA
Context-
Dependent
GM
Comments appropriately when engaged in activity with navigation support
as needed.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Uses polite social forms (e.g., “Please.” or “Thank you.”).
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Initiates/terminates conversations using scripted or pre-programmed messages
for more than two conversational turns.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Shares several pieces of pre-programmed “news”/information with partner navigational
assistance and/or reminders as needed.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Demonstrates conversational turn-taking (social/activity based) for more than
two turns.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Uses humor.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Demonstrates ability to continue a conversation by selecting comments or general
questions.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Requests a variety of actions (e.g., “Turn the page.” or “Get the __ for me.”).
IC DVC DPC PA
Chain of Cues Prompting Hierarchy
GM: Goal Met (Natural Cue) IC: Indirect Cue DVC: Direct Verbal Cue DPC: Direct Pointer Cue PA: Physical Assistance
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Social Competency - Continued
Ability Levels Goals
Chain of Cues
Transitional
Independent
GM
Maintains topic with a non-obligatory turn (e.g., comments “Cool!” “Yuck!” or
“Me too.”).
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Shares personally meaningful novel information using phrases, word lists, core words, and/
or keyboard.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Shifts topics smoothly with suggestions (e.g., common segues such as “I have something to
tell you.” or “Guess what?”).
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Selects topic of mutual interest to self and communication partner.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Shifts communication style based on partner and/or situation.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Knows when/how to interrupt an interaction.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Requests information (e.g., “When?” or “Where?”).
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Asks partner-focused questions specific to the conversation.
IC DVC DPC PA
Independent
GM
Requests clarification.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Uses non-obligatory commenting and/or questions related to conversational topic.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Initiation/closure of conversation using a variety of both pre-programmed
and/or generative messages.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Uses partner-focused questions to continue conversation with specific subject
related vocabulary.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Demonstrates ability to initiate, maintain, extend and terminate conversations appropriately.
IC DVC DPC PA
Chain of Cues Prompting Hierarchy
GM: Goal Met (Natural Cue) IC: Indirect Cue DVC: Direct Verbal Cue DPC: Direct Pointer Cue PA: Physical Assistance
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Strategic Competency
Ability Levels Goals Chain of Cues
Emergent
GM
Understands that his/her communication (regardless of modality) has an effect on the
environment or communication partner.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Recognizes the intended message was not conveyed by exhibiting
non-communicative behaviors.
IC DVC DPC PA
Emergent
Transitional
GM
Recognizes the need to obtain the communication partner’s attention before initiating a
message.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Recognizes the need to repeat message when intended message is misunderstood, ignored
or system did not activate/speak.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Uses different mode of communication (e.g., gesture, vocalization, behavior)
for misunderstood message.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Requests or obtains the communication system when appropriate.
IC DVC DPC PA
Context-
Dependent
GM
Uses an introduction strategy with unfamiliar communication partner (e.g., “I use
this device to talk.” or pointing to the device to show they use it to communicate).
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Actively engages communication partner during the interaction to monitor their attention and
understanding.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Uses a repair strategy for communication breakdowns (e.g., repeat, rephrase, provide
additional key word or information, draw attention to message window,
use non-verbal cues, gesture/body or facial expression, first letter cue).
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Demonstrates beginning use of simple rate enhancement strategies
(e.g., telegraphic strategy).
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Persists in repeating message when intended message is misunderstood, ignored
or system didn’t activate/speak.
IC DVC DPC PA
Transitional
Independent
GM
Independently uses an introduction strategy with unfamiliar communication partner (e.g.,
descriptive instructions on how to best communicate with him/her).
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Communicates intent to contribute to a conversation (e.g., “I have a question.”)
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Recognizes the intended message was not understood and uses a message to alert
(“Wrong try again.” “Let me tell you another way.” or “Wait.”)
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Proactively manages the interaction (e.g., interjects with “Wait.” or “Hang on.” while he/she
retrieves message; or “Yeah.” letting listener know he/she is engaged).
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Signals a topic change with appropriate message.
IC DVC DPC PA
Independent
GM
Independently utilizes several strategies to prevent or repair communication breakdowns.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Plans ahead to contribute effectively in a conversation (e.g., compose and stores messages
for the doctor before appointment).
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Selects a communication mode appropriate to a variety of situations and listeners.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Creatively uses system features to communicate effectively and efficiently.
IC DVC DPC PA
GM
Independently analyzes errors in communication interactions and devises strategies to
address it.
IC DVC DPC PA
Chain of Cues Prompting Hierarchy
GM: Goal Met (Natural Cue) IC: Indirect Cue DVC: Direct Verbal Cue DPC: Direct Pointer Cue PA: Physical Assistance
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Goal
Skill
from AAC Goals Grid
Partner
Familiar/Unfamiliar
Activity
Routine/Novel
Prompting
Type
Criteria
% or # of
Occurrences
A
Long-Term
Goal
NC
IC
DVC
DPC
PA
1
Short-Term
Goal
NC
IC
DVC
DPC
PA
2
Short-Term
Goal
NC
IC
DVC
DPC
PA
Goal
Skill
from AAC Goals Grid
Partner
Familiar/Unfamiliar
Activity
Routine/Novel
Prompting
Type
Criteria
% or # of
Occurrences
B
Long-Term
Goal
NC
IC
DVC
DPC
PA
1
Short-Term
Goal
NC
IC
DVC
DPC
PA
2
Short-Term
Goal
NC
IC
DVC
DPC
PA
Chain of Cues Prompting Hierarchy
GM: Goal Met (Natural Cue) IC: Indirect Cue DVC: Direct Verbal Cue DPC: Direct Pointer Cue PA: Physical Assistance
AAC Goals Worksheet
14
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Goal
Skill
from AAC Goals Grid
Partner
Familiar/Unfamiliar
Activity
Routine/Novel
Prompting
Type
Criteria
% or # of
Occurrences
C
Long-Term
Goal
NC
IC
DVC
DPC
PA
1
Short-Term
Goal
NC
IC
DVC
DPC
PA
2
Short-Term
Goal
NC
IC
DVC
DPC
PA
Goal
Skill
from AAC Goals Grid
Partner
Familiar/Unfamiliar
Activity
Routine/Novel
Prompting
Type
Criteria
% or # of
Occurrences
D
Long-Term
Goal
NC
IC
DVC
DPC
PA
1
Short-Term
Goal
NC
IC
DVC
DPC
PA
2
Short-Term
Goal
NC
IC
DVC
DPC
PA
Chain of Cues Prompting Hierarchy
GM: Goal Met (Natural Cue) IC: Indirect Cue DVC: Direct Verbal Cue DPC: Direct Pointer Cue PA: Physical Assistance
AAC Goals Worksheet
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COMPETENCY ABILITY LEVEL
Emergent
Emergent
Transitional
Context-
Dependent
Transitional
Independent
Independent
Linguistic
% % % % %
Operational
% % % % %
Social
% % % % %
Strategic
% % % % %
COMPETENCY ABILITY LEVEL
Emergent
Emergent
Transitional
Context-
Dependent
Transitional
Independent
Independent
Linguistic
% % % % %
Operational
% % % % %
Social
% % % % %
Strategic
% % % % %
COMPETENCY ABILITY LEVEL
Emergent
Emergent
Transitional
Context-
Dependent
Transitional
Independent
Independent
Linguistic
% % % % %
Operational
% % % % %
Social
% % % % %
Strategic
% % % % %
COMPETENCY ABILITY LEVEL
Emergent
Emergent
Transitional
Context-
Dependent
Transitional
Independent
Independent
Linguistic
% % % % %
Operational
% % % % %
Social
% % % % %
Strategic
% % % % %
Date:
Date:
Date:
Date:
Notes:
AAC Goals Periodic Progress Report
16
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AAC Goals Periodic Progress Report
COMPETENCY ABILITY LEVEL
Emergent
Emergent
Transitional
Context-
Dependent
Transitional
Independent
Independent
Linguistic
% % % % %
Operational
% % % % %
Social
% % % % %
Strategic
% % % % %
COMPETENCY ABILITY LEVEL
Emergent
Emergent
Transitional
Context-
Dependent
Transitional
Independent
Independent
Linguistic
% % % % %
Operational
% % % % %
Social
% % % % %
Strategic
% % % % %
COMPETENCY ABILITY LEVEL
Emergent
Emergent
Transitional
Context-
Dependent
Transitional
Independent
Independent
Linguistic
% % % % %
Operational
% % % % %
Social
% % % % %
Strategic
% % % % %
COMPETENCY ABILITY LEVEL
Emergent
Emergent
Transitional
Context-
Dependent
Transitional
Independent
Independent
Linguistic
% % % % %
Operational
% % % % %
Social
% % % % %
Strategic
% % % % %
Date:
Date:
Date:
Date:
Notes:
17
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Influenced by the work of Patricia Dowden, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, the Ability Level Continuum describes an individual’s observable communication
behaviors to help provide insight into current and potential target skills and strengths. These levels are represented on a dynamic continuum to
provide direction in assessing how an individual is communicating right now, what goals to address to support increased independence at the
current level, and what “tomorrow goals” to introduce to further develop communicative competency skills.
The ability to communicate with others is not inherent. We all must learn the skills required to communicate effectively and efficiently with
a variety of people and in a variety of situations. For individuals using an AAC system, competency is impacted by the demands of the
natural environment, the communication partner as well as the challenges imposed by the constraints of their disability and communication
systems. It is imperative that we address goals across the following four competencies in order to achieve the highest level of communicative
independence possible.
Overview of the DAGG-2 Components
A. Ability Level Continuum
B. Communicative Competencies
LinguisticExpressing and understanding language; learning and using vocabulary in increasing number, variety and complexity;
learning and using linguistic codes unique to one’s AAC system.
Operational – The ability to operate and maintain the communication system to the greatest extent possible.
Social – Skills needed to communicate effectively in social situations (discourse strategies).
Strategic – Strategies to overcome or minimize the functional limitations of the AAC system (e.g., speed, lack of prosody) and to
prevent or repair communication breakdowns.
1. Chain of Cues
The Chain of Cues provides a progression and structured (least to most) cueing
hierarchy to elicit a communicative response. It can be a systematic way to measure
progress as well as teach communication partners. The ultimate goal is that the
individual recognizes the opportunity to communicate with the least directive and most
natural conversational and environmental cues.
2. Goals
The intersection of Ability Levels and each area of communicative competence
determines the goals within the Dynamic AAC Goals Grid. The goals are “dynamic”
because they are based on the best we know now—through current research and
clinical experience. It is important to keep in mind that the goals reflected in the
DAGG-2 are BROAD goals to help keep the bigger picture of communicative
competence in the forefront.
3. AAC Goals Worksheet
The AAC Goal Worksheet helps you to plan annual, long-term and/or short-term goals
based on targets identified in the DAGG-2. Selected goals would then be transferred
to your facility’s required documents (e.g., IEP or written plan of care).
4. AAC Goals Periodic Progress Report
Use this tool to record progress towards goals in each competency area and/
or at each Ability Level at intervals appropriate for your facility or setting. Record
a percentage of goals achieved in a specific competency area/level. For example,
under Linguistic, Sarah has met 40% of the goals in Emergent and 10% at Emergent
Transitional. Sarah’s Linguistic skills are at the Emergent Ability Level; however, she is
demonstrating progress towards the next Ability Level.
Note: In your facility’s records, you can also address progress at the cueing level to reflect
smaller amounts of progress for specific skills/goals. For example, Sarah has met 40% of
Linguistic goals at the Emergent Level; however, she continues to demonstrate progress as
she now requires only DVC (direct verbal cues) for ¾ of the target goals.
C. Intervention Planning
Situation: Entering a room
Communication Opportunity
Targeted: Greeting others (“Hi!”)
Natural Cue: Others saying hello.
Indirect Cue:
- Search light – randomly moving
light/pointer over device
- Verbal – “Did you hear what
they said?” or “I wonder
if there is something you could
say back.”
- Visual/Gestural – waving hand
or pointing to the people
Direct Verbal Cue: “They said, hello
to you.”
Direct Pointer/Light Cue:
Showing the location of “Hi!” on the
device without activating it.
Physical Assistance: Brief physi-
cal help to select the correct button
or picture.
CHAIN OF CUES EXAMPLE
Addendum: Part One
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SKILLS ABILITY LEVEL
Emergent
Emergent
Transitional
Context-
Dependent
Context-
Dependent
Transitional
Independent
Understanding
Expression
Social
Interaction
Literacy
Skills
CHOOSING GOALS FOR LAURA:
Laura overall appears to be at the Emergent Transitional Ability Level. She is Emergent in Literacy skills; however, we also
notice the potential for growth toward Context-Dependent (Comprehension). From the AAC Goals Grid, we chose the
following goals and marked the type of cues she would presently need to support successful communication:
Case Study: Laura
Laura is 4 years old and just received her new communication system. She understands and follows general conversations. She is
starting to use clear and simple symbols in motivating situations or favorite activities. In addition, she is beginning to show more interest
in social interactions which is one of the main reasons the school SLP suggested an evaluation for a high-tech communication device.
Below is her overall picture from working through the Ability Level Continuum.
Recognizes the need to repeat message when intended message is misunderstood,
ignored or system did not activate/speak.
IC DVC DPC PA
Uses at least 3 reliable signals (e.g., sign/sign approx., obj/pic symbol, verbal/ verbal approx.)
to control their immediate environment (e.g., “More.” “All done.” or “Stop!”).
IC
DVC DPC
PA
Requests/comments/labels a tangible object with single noun symbol given an array of 2 or
more symbols in familiar routine/context.
IC DVC DPC PA
A
A
A
A
B
B
B
Transports AAC system in routine or familiar activity with partner reminders as needed.
IC DVC DPC PA
Locates high frequency and/or high interest vocabulary in routine or familiar activities (e.g.,
basic functional categories such as requesting highly motivating objects/activities, feelings,
needs, greetings).
IC DVC DPC PA
Operational:
Strategic:
Social:
Linguistic:
Demonstrates conversational turn taking in errorless or familiar interaction/activity.
IC DVC DPC PA
Responds to initiating or terminating interactions using a single word message such as
“Hi!” and “Bye!”
IC DVC DPC PA
Addendum: Part Two
19
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WRITING GOALS FOR LAURA:
Thinking of her daily schedule and motivating activities, we used the AAC Goals Worksheet to create the following goals for her IEP:
1. Long-Term Goal:
Using her communication device, Laura will identify main characters and places with familiar partner during story reading
activity with IC with 80% accuracy.
a. Short-Term Goal: Laura will identify main characters and places with familiar partner during story reading activity with
DVC with 80% accuracy.
Note: This goal would address both the Linguistic (B) and the Operational (A & B) goals.
2. Long-Term Goal:
Using her communication device, Laura will initiate interaction and engage in turn taking (at least 2 turns) by commenting (e.g., more,
fun, your turn) with familiar partners during game activity (e.g., bubbles, simple board game) with IC with 80% accuracy.
b. Short-Term Goal: Laura will initiate interaction and engage in turn taking (at least 2 turns) by commenting (e.g., more, fun, your turn)
with familiar partners during game activity (e.g., bubbles, simple board game) with DVC with 80% accuracy.
Note: This goal would address the Linguistic (B) Operational (A & B), Social (A & B) and Strategic goals.
3. Long-Term Goal (Operational A):
Laura will transport her communication device to all activities in her daily schedule with IC with 80% accuracy.
a. Short-Term Goal: Laura will transport her communication device to 3/6 activities in her daily schedule with DVC with
80% accuracy.
REPORTING LAURA’S PROGRESS:
At our first interim reporting, we used the AAC Goals Periodic Progress Report to help us write the following narrative for Laura:
Laura continues to make progress towards her long-term goals. She continues at the Emergent Transitional Ability Level in Linguistic
Competency. She has made progress in 2/4 Linguistic goals. At time of initial assessment, she required either PA or DPC and
presently requires only DVC to support successful interactions. Socially, she is participating in turn taking at least two turns during
motivating activities with fewer cues (DVC) from time of initial assessment (PA). In addition, she has met her short-term Operational goal.
She consistently brings her communication device to half of her daily activities with DVC.
Addendum: Part Two – Continued
20
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References and Bibliography
Acknowledgements
We wish to thank and recognize:
The clinical team of Speech-Language Pathologists at DynaVox
Mayer-Johnson and Trina Becker, MS, CCC-SLP, who continually
provide ongoing encouragement and insight from start to….the
next revision!
The Speech-Language Pathologists at Dynamic Therapy Associates,
Inc. who implement each new version.
The Creative Team at DynaVox Mayer-Johnson for bringing this
resource to life!
All parents & professionals who have welcomed the information
provided with enthusiasm to keep moving ahead.
~ V. Clarke & H. Schneider
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