Beyond the Big Core Board

July 19, 2018 by - Leave your thoughts


Beyond the Big Core Board

Poster-sized communication boards with core vocabulary have become popular additions to many classrooms and therapy rooms. Having these AAC options so readily accessible made it easier for some therapists, educators, paraprofessionals, and families who were relatively new to AAC, begin to embed it in conversations, lessons, and naturally-occurring routines throughout the day. And that’s a good thing! But…it’s just the beginning. Effective AAC service providers know that there are many more steps on the path to communicative competence. Let’s keep going! One important thing to do at this stage is to customize the AAC display to meet the specific needs and abilities of our individual students. One size doesn’t fit all. If you’re ready to move forward in your own AAC support practices, here are a few questions you can ask yourself to identify some potential next steps. How can I ensure that my beginning communicators have access to words... [Read More...]

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Beyond the Basics: Thoughts On Effective Language Instruction for AAC Learners

July 16, 2018 by - Leave your thoughts


Beyond the Basics: Thoughts On Effective Language Instruction for AAC Learners

Have you worked with students like these? Gaby has been using SGDs since kindergarten. As she approaches high school, Gaby is able to express many things but her language is significantly below those of her peers. This makes it difficult for Gaby to read grade-level textbooks with comprehension, complete writing assignments, and perform well on academic tests. Ian’s SLP and teacher are trying to understand why he is able to learn new language skills but seems to lose some of them when they start working on new goal areas. When the time came for a speech-language re-evaluation, they were surprised that Ian scored so poorly in areas where he made mastered his IEP goals. Brandon is a fifth grader who wants to go to college someday. His language skills have been growing steadily since he got his first AAC device several years ago, but are still remarkably delayed. In situations... [Read More...]

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PrAACtical Perspectives on Part-time AAC Use

July 12, 2018 by - 1 Comment


PrAACtical Perspectives on Part-time AAC Use

Can AAC be of benefit to people who speak? Today, we welcome Alyssa Hillary, an Autistic PhD student in the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program at the University of Rhode Island, who shares their experiences with part-time AAC use. :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Think about a person who uses AAC. I’m probably not the person you thought of. For one thing, I’m an autistic adult, and the AAC research I’ve seen relating to autism is generally about kids. Services are generally aimed at kids too. For another, my AAC use isn’t the result of having consulted with a specialist who evaluated me and suggested possible strategies. Oh, and my speech sounds pretty fluent, in two languages — when I can talk. That’s not always, and there is the reason I use AAC. I’ve always had somewhat intermittent speech – that is, I can talk, but only sometimes. For this reason, I use a variety of AAC... [Read More...]

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Insufficient Options: Messages to Consider Adding to the AAC Device

July 9, 2018 by - Leave your thoughts


Insufficient Options: Messages to Consider Adding to the AAC Device

How would it feel to be really hungry but allergic to everything on the menu at the only place in town that is still serving food? Can you imagine finding comfortable shoes that you were dying to buy to wear with your navy suit except that they only had fuschia and neon yellow in your size? Have you ever been frustrated by filling out a form that gave only choices for racial groups that you don’t identify with? Let’s face it: It’s incredibly, maddeningly, and impossibly frustrating when our options are overly limited or the choices don’t include things that we want or need. We feel trapped. It’s frustrating, demeaning, and downright infuriating to be constrained in those ways.  And yet, most people who use AAC face that situation every day. Their language is limited by the options available to them in their SGDs, communication books, or AAC apps. Until... [Read More...]

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5 Visual Supports for Emotions and Feelings

July 5, 2018 by - Leave your thoughts


5 Visual Supports for Emotions and Feelings

“I wish he could tell me what he is feeling.” Families and professionals often share the desire to help AAC learners become more proficient at expressing their emotions. Goals for identifying and/or labeling emotions are common in beginning AAC users, but even communicators with more advanced language skills can benefit from expanding their vocabulary of terms related to feelings. In this post, we share visual supports that can be helpful in increasing the emotional vocabularies of individuals with AAC needs.  Click on the title to get downloadable copies of each visual support. Inside Out Chart  Emotion Wheel Plutchik Wheel Emotions Wheel Worksheet from Childhood 101 Primary and Secondary Emotion Wheel

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PrAACtical Resources: Core Vocabulary Flipbook for July Words

July 2, 2018 by - Leave your thoughts


5 Visual Supports for Emotions and Feelings

Following along with our Year of Core Words or another approach to building core vocabulary? Our latest flipbook has suggestions for sentences you can model throughout the day. This set corresponds to our Year of Core Vocabulary July words but can be used with any AAC system that contains these words. You can print them in black and white or colored paper for a bit of fun. Click here for the link to download this file.  

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Using Vest Displays with Preschoolers on the Autism Spectrum

June 28, 2018 by - Leave your thoughts


Using Vest Displays with Preschoolers on the Autism Spectrum

We’re so pleased to welcome back Dr. Carol Goossens’, an AAC pioneer who is an internationally-recognized consultant, SLP, and Special Educator from New York. Throughout her career, she has consulted extensively in a variety of classrooms serving the full spectrum of children with special needs. Dr. Goossens’ has presented both nationally and internationally about her collaborative work with teachers, therapists, and families. In today’s post, she shares a treasure trove of ideas on using wearable AAC. Learn more about her approach to using vest displays in this extensive post. :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Using Vest Displays with Preschoolers on the Autism Spectrum When working with students on the spectrum, we often struggle to gain and maintain their attention, especially during group activities such as Circle Time/Morning Meeting. The songs offered during Circle Time, however, create a great forum for working on a variety of communication skills, e.g., claiming a turn, announcing a song, choosing... [Read More...]

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PrAACtically July: AAC Resources for A Year of Core Vocabulary

June 25, 2018 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtically July: AAC Resources for A Year of Core Vocabulary

Know anyone who has access to AAC tools but doesn’t yet use them throughout the day? Keiran has a new AAC app that is well-populated with core vocabulary. Gabbie has had an SGD for awhile but doesn’t use it as frequently as her team had hoped. Hudson is transitioning from PECS to an AAC device with more robust language. While different in many ways, each of these learners has a common need: frequent opportunities to learn about and use core vocabulary. To accomplish this, their SLPs, teachers, and families select a dozen or so core words and pay special attention to those each month. That allows them to highlight this small group of words using focused language stimulation, aided language input, and specific activities designed to teach or practice them. In previous years, we shared lists of some core words to help you do just that.    Set 1 (A... [Read More...]

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5 Ways to Use Books to Build Interaction with AAC Learners

June 18, 2018 by - Leave your thoughts


5 Ways to Use Books to Build Interaction with AAC Learners

Looking for more ways to build AAC skills? Book reading can be incorporated into therapy sessions and instructional lessons, as well as part of the daily routine at home. Here are some ideas for using books to support AAC and language learning. Choosing a book: In most cases, we want the AAC learner to have the autonomy to choose a book. However, we can make this part of the AAC learning process by teaching the skill of choosing something to read and talking about it before the learner makes his/her choice. Goal Areas: We can use this time to build basic turn-taking skills, requesting, sentence-building, and new vocabulary, among other things. It’s also a great opportunity to develop more advanced syntax using words like ‘since’ and ‘because’ (e.g., “I want to read about sport because it is World Cup time.”) and various sentence structures (e.g., “First, let’s read a sports... [Read More...]

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