Privacy and AAC: A Few Reflections

February 2, 2017 by - 1 Comment


Privacy and AAC: A Few Reflections

Helping people become effective communicators through AAC involves having intimate knowledge about them, their experiences, what they like and do, where they go, and how they feel, among other things. In short, we’re privy to information from and about our clients that can be sensitive. There are several privacy implications for our work with AAC learners, some of which is governed by laws and regulations. In this post, we explore some of those issues. Vocabulary and Message Selection Until our clients are fully literate or competent with a linguistically robust AAC system, they depend on others to select the words, phrases, sentences, and questions that populate their communication devices/aids. This means that we have to obtain intimate knowledge of their lives in order to know what they might want to say and find ways to provide access to those words. We sometimes end up knowing things about our clients and their... [Read More...]

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PrAACtically February: Resources for A Year of Core Vocabulary Words

January 30, 2017 by - 1 Comment


PrAACtically February: Resources for A Year of Core Vocabulary Words

As we tick off the final days of the month, we’re looking ahead to ways we can highlight more of the core vocabulary words in our clients’ AAC devices and communication aids. One approach to boosting practice opportunities is to select a dozen or so core words to focus on each month. Throughout the month, we can then pay special attention to that small group of words by highlighting them with focused language stimulation, aided language input, and specific activities designed to teach or practice those words. In previous years, we shared lists of some core words to help you do just that and every month we share some ideas for prioritizing a small set of words. You can use these materials to remind yourself which words to highlight this month, with using aided language input and focused language stimulation. What else? Here are some ideas to get you started. Print... [Read More...]

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AAC Posts from PrAACtical Week # 5: January 2017

January 29, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts


AAC Posts from PrAACtical Week # 5: January 2017

Can it really be the last week of January?! It was a great month for AAC learning, checking in with on-going projects, and planning for new ones. I’m looking forward to conversations with AAC stakeholders from around the world this Wednesday on Twitter, as I host the #ATchat (Feb 1, 8:00 pm ET). If you are new to Twitter or Twitter Chats or just don’t ‘get’ how it can support professional growth, you can learn more about that here. Even if you are an infrequent Twitter user, or if you are more of a lurker than a participant, we welcome you to join us.  In the meantime, here are some of last week’s posts that you may have missed. Monday: AAC Mythology v2.0: A Few Misconceptions About AAC Intervention Wednesday: Video of the Week: Embedding AAC Throughout the Day Thursday: Reducing Prompt Dependence in AAC Learners: 5 Things to Try While you’re thinking about... [Read More...]

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Reducing Prompt Dependence in AAC Learners: 5 Things to Try

January 26, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts


Reducing Prompt Dependence in AAC Learners: 5 Things to Try

“He knows what to do. He just doesn’t do it.” “He’s prompt-dependent. How can I get him to use AAC on his own?” “I love his strong-willed nature, but it works against him sometimes. He doesn’t initiate.” If any of these remarks sound familiar, it may be time to think about alternative approaches to build independent communication. Here are a few things to try with AAC users who’ve learned to wait for support before communicating. Exaggerate the pause time: Many of our AAC learners need at least 5 seconds of pause time after a communication opportunity presents itself. This helps them process the experience, organize their thoughts, decide on a response, and then begin to execute that response. Sometimes, though, we work with people who’ve learned that if they just wait, the communication partner will start to help (whether or not they need it). We can sometimes nudge the learner... [Read More...]

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AAC Mythology v2.0: A Few Misconceptions About AAC Intervention

January 23, 2017 by - 3 Comments


AAC Mythology v2.0: A Few Misconceptions About AAC Intervention

The good news is this: A growing number of people with complex communication needs are getting access to AAC. Educators whose students had AAC only at circle and snack time are now using it more consistently with their students throughout the day and teaching lessons specifically designed to build skills with AAC systems. SLPs who had eschewed AAC or who had focused their AAC efforts on choicemaking, requesting, and labeling are now embracing their role as language specialists and teaching a fuller array of semantic, morphological, and syntactic skills to AAC learners. AT specialists who had been doling out the same few SGDs and AAC apps are now digging deeper and using established practices for AT selection in supporting minimally verbal and nonverbal students. Behaviorists who had previously focused primarily on receptive identification and verbal imitation are supporting the expressive needs of their clients in new ways. Families who had little... [Read More...]

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AAC Posts from PrAACtical Week # 4: January 2017

January 22, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts


AAC Posts from PrAACtical Week # 4: January 2017

It was an action-packed week at the ATIA Conference, filled with AAC learning, new products,  and connecting with colleagues. Here are a handful of posts that you may have missed in your busy week. Monday: Core Values: Suggestions for Language Building with AAC Learners Wednesday:  Video of the Week: Supporting Preschoolers with AAC Needs-A Case Study Thursday: PrAACtical Resources: Developing Touchscreen, Switch and Eye Gaze Skills

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PrAACtical Resources: Developing Touchscreen, Switch and Eye Gaze Skills

January 19, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtical Resources: Developing Touchscreen, Switch and Eye Gaze Skills

As a speech-language pathologist, most of my attention goes to strategies for building language and communication, but there is, of course, much more to AAC. The Independent Living Centre Western Australia (ILC)  has a wonderful set of resources that focus on the operational aspects of AAC, a critical area for many individuals with complex communication needs. This is a great site to check out for ‘how-to’ information on how to help AAC users develop skills with direct selection (eye gaze, touch screen) and scanning. Many thanks to ILC and the Unlocking Abilities Project for making these available.  

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Core Values: Suggestions for Language Building with AAC Learners

January 16, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts


Core Values: Suggestions for Language Building with AAC Learners

Here in the US, we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr  on the third Monday of January. It presents, among other things, a wonderful opportunity to talk and teach about concepts like tolerance, fairness, dignity, respect, and peaceful protest. Many of our AAC learners have a deeper understanding of these concepts than we will ever realize but they lack the language skills to discuss them in the same ways as their speaking peers do. Today, we share some ideas for continuing the conversation about these issues to help our AAC learners continue to develop their language skills. You may already have books, videos, and other resources that are useful in teaching about the life of Dr. King and the values he fought for, but here are some previous posts with a few more suggestions. Martin Luther King, Jr Holiday: 5 Resources for AAC Learners AAC and Anti-bullying... [Read More...]

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AAC Posts from PrAACtical Week # 3: January 2017

January 15, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts


AAC Posts from PrAACtical Week # 3: January 2017

Here are a handful of posts you may have missed. Monday: PrAACtical Resources: Step-by-step Guide to Making a Tabbed Communication Book Wednesday: Video of the Week: A School-based Approach for Supporting the AT Needs of Young Children Thursday: Catching Up with National Joint Committee for the Communication Needs of Persons with Severe Disabilities  

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Catching Up with National Joint Committee for the Communication Needs of Persons with Severe Disabilities

January 12, 2017 by - 3 Comments


Catching Up with National Joint Committee for the Communication Needs of Persons with Severe Disabilities

The NJC has been one of my go-to resources for many years, so I was delighted when Amy Goldman agreed to write an update on recent activities. Amy is one of my AAC heroes but you may know her best from her long career of advocacy with AAC and AT through professional organizations (e.g., ASHA, USSAAC, ATIA, PSHA, ATAP). Amy is now one of three technical assistance specialists with the national Assistive Technology Act Technical Assistance and Training Center (AT3). She recently retired from her position as Co-Executive Director of the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University, PA’s University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities where she directed local, state, and federal projects related to assistive technology.  She is honored to represent ASHA on the National Joint Committee for the Communication Needs of Persons with Severe Disabilities (NJC).  She and I co-chair the ATIA strand on AAC and hope to see many... [Read More...]

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