How We Do It: AAC in the Special Education Classroom

December 5, 2016 by - Leave your thoughts


How We Do It: AAC in the Special Education Classroom

At the ASHA Convention last month, I chatted with an SLP about her secret longing: To take a sabbatical and travel the world to see AAC in action. Wouldn’t that be exciting?! In the meantime, we’ll have to live vicariously and peek into AAC practices through the words and pictures of dedicated professionals. Angi Pearce, a teacher at Kowhai Special School in Hastings, New Zealand, was kind enough to help us out and share her experiences in increasing AAC use in her classroom. Angi is the team leader for the Junior School classes (ages 5-11) and graciously prepared this post with support from SLP Michelle Roberts. As you’ll see, Angi is a highly experienced educator but new to the world of AAC and not afraid to take risks and embrace change. Let’s take a look at how a veteran teacher stretched herself to incorporate more AAC into her classroom. :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: AAC IN THE CLASSROOM My... [Read More...]

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PrAACtically December: Resources for A Year of Core Vocabulary

November 28, 2016 by - 3 Comments


PrAACtically December: Resources for A Year of Core Vocabulary

A few years ago, we suggested that one way to help strengthen learners’ abilities with core words is to take a different set of 12-20 core words each month and focus on them for a few weeks. How? By modeling those words, making resource materials (like word cards with the symbols), creating activities in which those words figure prominently, posting them in the classroom/therapy room, reading books that have heavy use of these words, sharing them with families, write stories using them, etc. Core words are a great addition to the highly motivating, learner-specific words that many AAC users start with. If you are looking to expand to more robust language, this approach may be of interest. Here are the specific words we are focusing on in December. Set 1 (2013): ask, favorite, goodbye, hear, of, please, silly, surprise, these, use, way, work Set 2 (2014): already, clear, doctor, fix,... [Read More...]

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PrAACtical Resources: AAC Partner Training Strategies

November 25, 2016 by - 2 Comments


PrAACtical Resources: AAC Partner Training Strategies

Helping families build their AAC support skills is an important part of what we do. In today’s post, we have a return visit from Alicia Garcia, a lead SLP at the AAC Clinic at One Kids Place, a children’s treatment centre in northern Ontario. Alicia has more than two decades of clinical experience in a variety of settings and locales. You can see a guest post Alicia did on avoiding pitfalls in aided language input here. Today, she shares a booklet of handouts on AAC facilitation skills that can be used when working with families and other stakeholders. Many thanks to the AAC Team at One Kids Place for allowing us to share this helpful resource.  

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AAC Learning at ASHA 2016: Day 1

November 21, 2016 by - 8 Comments


AAC Learning at ASHA 2016: Day 1

As usual, the ASHA Annual Convention was so chock full of AAC learning opportunities that there was no way to get to everything of interest. Here are some handouts on AAC topics from the first day of the conference. Aided Language Stimulation for All Communication Partners of Children Who Use AAC by Eric Sailers of Expressive Solutions and Jhoselle Padilla at Chula Vista Elementary School District  AAC Multidisciplinary Treatment for Communication & Functional Participation by Amy Sonntag of Ohio State University and Lindsay Ripple of Akron Children’s Hospital  “A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words.” An AAC Intervention for Children With Complex Communication Needs by Jamie Boster and John McCarthy of Ohio State University  Expanding & Customizing Spanish Core Vocabulary for Augmentative & Alternative Communication by Amy Munekata, Bridget Carlile, and Lisa Domby of the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill  An Analysis of Conversational Interaction of an Individual With... [Read More...]

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Connecting with Caregivers to Support AAC Learning: 3 Things to Try

November 17, 2016 by - Leave your thoughts


Connecting with Caregivers to Support AAC Learning: 3 Things to Try

One of the best things about providing AAC services in a university-based clinic is that we have regular contact with parents and other caregivers. That gives them the opportunity to observe the session, or, better yet, become an active participant. This allows us to talk to them about issues with the AAC system and help them develop the skills and routines to support AAC learning outside the therapy session. Most practitioners, however, don’t have this luxury. How can we impact AAC use outside of therapy and the classroom when we have infrequent face-to-face time with families and other caregivers? Here are some things to try. Video: Make a short screencast using free tools (like Jing, from Techsmith). In less than 10 minutes, you can make a recording of your computer screen and narrate it with implementation tips and information, then upload it, and share the link with families. For more... [Read More...]

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PrAACtical Resources: Using Visual Systems to Promote Communication

November 15, 2016 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtical Resources: Using Visual Systems to Promote Communication

Looking for a handy guide to help families who are new to communication disability get familiar with visual supports for communication? In today’s post, we share a wonderful booklet intended just for that purpose. Australian SLP Dolly Bhargava created this book, Getting Started: Using Visual Systems to Promote Communication, with support from the School for Parents and the Non Government Centre Support for Non School Organisations of Western Australia.  You can see the accompanying video here.  

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How We Do It: A Collaborative Approach to Implementing Core Language within a School-Based Setting, Part 2

November 10, 2016 by - Leave your thoughts


How We Do It: A Collaborative Approach to Implementing Core Language within a School-Based Setting, Part 2

We’re excited to welcome back SLPs Lori Sanzeri and Chelsea Collins, creators of Core City, to tell us more about implementing this approach. They both work for the NYC Department of Education and created Core City to promote classroom-wide support of AAC.  Last month, they introduced us to Core City. In this post, they share some of the ways that they get everyone involved in using and teaching AAC.   STAFF TRAINING The most difficult part of training all staff is finding the time. We are fortunate to have a supportive administration that understands the importance of communication and works to find time to allow us to meet for professional development.  If you are not afforded this time, our experience has shown us that the most successful staff training occurs by us modeling our strategies while we are working with the children in the classroom.  We encourage the following strategies to... [Read More...]

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Site of the Month: ARASAAC

November 7, 2016 by - Leave your thoughts


Site of the Month: ARASAAC

Symbols, templates, software, tools, and more. That’s what you’ll find on the November PrAACtical Site of the Month: ARASAAC, the Aragonese Portal of Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Supported by the Department of Education, Culture and Sports of the Aragonese Government and the General Directorate of Innovation, Equality and Participation, this award-winning site has been serving the AAC community for over two decades. They may be best known for the picture symbols that they share so freely, which allows professionals, users of AAC, and families to create free resources in Catalan, Euskera, English, French, German, Italian, Galician, Portuguese, Spanish, and more. The online tools section has a variety of things to explore including tools to make communication boards, animations (gifs), schedules and calendars, custom symbols, and games. There are also wonderful resources for Spanish Sign Language in pictures and videos. There is also a Materials Exchange section where you can download communication... [Read More...]

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AAC and ASD: Beyond Scripting

November 3, 2016 by - 5 Comments


AAC and ASD: Beyond Scripting

Today, we welcome Dr. Kimberly Ho, SLP and Director of Speech, Language and AAC Services at Confidence Connection in Needham, Massachusetts. In this post, she discusses how professionals in her organization are supporting AAC learners with autism on the journey toward flexible, generative language. I am the Director of Speech, Language and AAC Services at an ABA clinic, so naturally we serve many individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) of all ages.  A vast number of learners with ASD can speak, but their speech is not functional to meet their communication needs. We have begun to provide word-based AAC systems for these students to move beyond scripting. Many individuals with ASD “script.”  That is, they may not produce novel utterances, but rather chunks of phrases and sometimes entire sentences they have memorized.  Sometimes this scripting is based on a character from a TV show or movie. Other times the script has been memorized in... [Read More...]

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