Two Messages Are Better Than One: Making the Most of Two Message Voice Output Devices

The following activities provide ideal opportunities for using two message communication devices. Ideas for specific messages are included in parentheses.


  • Be “it” in a game of Duck Duck Goose (Duck/Goose)
  • Control whether an activity (meal, craft, book reading, etc.) continues or ends (More/Finished, Let’s do it again/I’m sick of that, let’s try something else)
  • Be a greeter at a store/church (Welcome to ___/Thanks for coming in today)
  • Summon a particular parent (Mom/Dad)
  • Be a food critic (Yum/Yuck)
  • Play Red Light/Green Light
  • Direct someone to turn the channel on the radio or television (Turn the channel/That’s the one I want)
  • Give instructions to the person pushing your wheelchair (Go/Stop)
  • Tell a riddle/joke with the question on one side and the punch line on the other
  • Wish people of different religious traditions happy holidays (Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah)
  • Talk to the family pet (Come here, Fido/Good dog!)
  • Participate in a cheer for your favorite team (Tar/Heels)
  • Play games with two necessary phrases (Do you have a ___?/Go Fish)
  • Be the “construction foreman” for building block activities in class (More blocks/Okay, knock it down!); be independent – connect switch adapted car to knock blocks down
  • Lead the class in preparing for transitions (Let’s line up/Okay, let’s go)
  • Make deliveries to the school secretary (Here’s the attendance sheet/You’re welcome)
  • Request help and respond appropriately to receiving it (I need help/Thank you)
  • Cheer on your team, boo the officials (Go Vols/Booooooo)
  • Play Hide and Seek (1, 2, 3, 4…/Ready or not, here I come!)
  • Work on concept development (same/different, big/little, fast/slow, etc.)
  • Select overlays for another AAC device (Yeah, that one/I don’t want to talk about that stuff)
  • Give feedback to younger siblings (Good job!/Nice try!)
  • Have a “generic” choice maker by having communication partner hold options right above the activation areas (I want this one/I want that one)
  • Give clues during guessing games (You’re getting warmer/You’re ice cold!)
  • Participate in church traditions (Peace be with you/Amen)
  • Go Trick-or-Treating (Trick-or-Treat/Thank you!)
  • Review a book or movie (I liked it!/That was awful!)
  • Give directions at the hair salon/barbershop. (cut off a lot/cut just a little bit)
  • Ask others what recreational activity they want to do (What do you want to do: listen to a CD/ watch TV, etc.)
  • Make requests during meal/snack time. (More drink please, another cookie, please)
  • Give others a choice at snack time
  • Begin and end an activity (Let’s get started. Time to finish.)
  • Take surveys (what’s your favorite food/drink/TV show/book?)

Combining Single Message Devices

Enabling Devices makes single message devices with options for connecting and using two single message devices as a two message device. This option permits the AAC user to transition to communicating with two messages using a familiar device. It also supports use of devices in multiple situations where more than one message is needed.

Additional Resources

Many of the communicative functions, opportunities and interactions performed using single message voice output devices and/or sequencers can also be performed using two message devices. Refer to “Making the Most of Single Message Voice Output Devices” or “Making the Most of Voice Output Sequencers” Print and Share Brochures by Libby Rush.

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(c) Libby Rush 2020 –