Practical Perspective: Giving Thanks with AAC


Having an attitude of gratitude means developing a habit of expressing thankfulness and appreciation in all parts of your life; for the big and small things alike.

New York Times best-selling author, Lewis Howes, writes extensively about cultivating a grateful mindset in his highly inspirational book, The School of Greatness. Howes’ message is that, “life is better if you develop an attitude of gratitude. . . If you concentrate on what you have, you’ll always have more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you’ll never have enough.” By reframing your perspective in this way, it helps to keep your focus on the present, rather than looking to the future.

How can we apply this concept to the AAC users we support? Many students who are nonverbal rarely have their device programmed with ‘thank you’ or even have a symbol on their board to communicate thankfulness. Why? Because we (team members) have not provided the vocabulary words or phrases for the student to practice an attitude of gratitude. Saying the words “thank you,” can be as rewarding as hearing the words “thank you!”

In an effort to provide ideas on how to assist students with complex communication needs to express their gratitude, I’ve created a few overlays that can be printed and used as manual communication boards or used as inspiration for creating overlays for GoTalks, or pages on the GoTalk NOW app. If you use a different communication tool, feel free to program this vocabulary or something similar into any communication device!

These overlays are based on suggestions from students who have been asked to assist a nonverbal peer in their regular education classroom.

General Thankfulness Board


2nd Grade

5th Grade

Here at Attainment Company, I know I speak for the entire team when I say “Thank YOU” for using Attainment products in your homes, classrooms, and communities. We are incredibly grateful for the work you and your teams do to support individuals with communication needs. Also, I want to express my appreciation that you are reading this blog. I hope that you gain an idea or two that will support you or one of the individuals you serve.

Thank you for all you do!

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