Prerequisite Myth 2: The Child Must Understand that a Picture Represents an Object
One common problem for non-verbal children is that they don’t understand that the picture of the cheerio in front of him represents that cheerio in your hand that he wants. Fortunately, AAC devices can be used to teach your child that as well!
If you are using a one-button talker, like the one mentioned above, simply attach a picture of what your child is requesting to the button. You can Velcro it on so that you can switch it out when your child wants something else. This will help your child begin to associate that picture with what he requests.
Once your child is doing well at that, you can try a talker with two buttons, such as Mayer Johnson’s iTalk2 Communicator. For this device, put a picture of something the child really wants on one button (such as the cheerio) and then on the other button, put a picture of something the child really dislikes (such as anchovies).
Then, when the child pushes the wrong button, give him the thing he dislikes. Once he figures out which button gets him which thing, start switching the pictures around so that he really has to look at the picture to make sure he requests the correct thing. This will help him understand that the picture of the cheerio is what will get him what he wants.