PrAACtical Supports for the Young AAC Learner: Recipes for Success, Part 3

July 21, 2016 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtical Supports for the Young AAC Learner: Recipes for Success, Part 3

Looking for resources so you can help families get comfortable with implementing AAC at home? SLP Sara Barnhill has you covered! In the third installment of the PrAACtical Supports for the Young AAC Learner, she generously shares some parent handouts created along with her colleagues at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU (CHoR). As a member of the Assistive Technology (AT) Core team, she is involved in AAC evaluations and therapy in the hospital’s clinics, out-patient program and Transitional Care Unit. CHoR’s AT Program is one of few comprehensive AT programs in Central Virginia. The program provides AT evaluations, equipment and training to people of all ages, enabling children and adults with disabilities to function more independently.  CHoR’s AT team consists of four SLPs, two OTs, one PT, and one Therapy Practice Assistant.  In addition to completing transdiciplinary evaluations and treatments, CHoR’s AT team is responsible for supporting staff and sharing AT information to five CHoR... [Read More...]

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Open Source AAC

July 20, 2016 by - Leave your thoughts


Open-Source AAC

What’s better than a bunch of bright, dedicated professionals who love improving the state of AAC? How about a group that facilitates the collegial sharing of this kind of information?! In today’s post, Dr. Joe Reddington discusses his efforts to promote open-source AAC solutions. You can read about an earlier project, CommuniKate, here. ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: AAC Wins the Inclusive Technology Prize A few months ago, the nonprofit I run was given £50,000 to make open licensed resources (both materials and software) a key part of the AAC world. Figure 1: Kate McCallum and Dr Joe Reddington, winners of the Inclusive Technology Prize There are lots of definitions of open-licencing that make it sound more than what it is.  Open-licencing is nothing more or less than letting people share.   One of the reasons we really like PrAACtical AAC is that they release their work under Creative Commons,  letting people make use of... [Read More...]

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Make It Monday: More Words, Please! Expanding Our Manual Communication Boards

July 18, 2016 by - 2 Comments


Make It Monday: More Words, Please! Expanding Our Manual Communication Boards

It’s another Make It Monday, our series on preparing core vocabulary materials for use with AAC learners. When we left off last week, we selected or created manual communication boards (MCBs) with a starter set of core words. Today, we pick up that thread by adding more words. If you are working with teams that are new to AAC implementation, have a difficult time with change, or are showing resistance to this “whole AAC thing,” you might want to start off slowly and use just the main communication board for a few weeks to build everyone’s confidence. You can add more words once they are implementing it fairly well. The way I see it: Strong implementation of a basic core board is better than weak implementation of a more robust board. It doesn’t take very long, though, to realize that as versatile as our core word MCB is, there simply... [Read More...]

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PrAACtical Supports for the Young AAC Learner: Recipes for Success, Part 2

July 14, 2016 by - 2 Comments


PrAACtical Supports for the Young AAC Learner: Recipes for Success, Part 2

Parent training? Check! Preschoolers? Check! Language and play? Check! Core vocabulary? Check! SLP Sara Barnhill is back to share some resources she created along with her colleagues at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU (CHoR). As a member of the Assistive Technology (AT) Core team, she is involved in AAC evaluations and therapy in the hospital’s clinics, out-patient program and Transitional Care Unit. CHoR’s AT Program is one of few comprehensive AT programs in Central Virginia. The program provides AT evaluations, equipment and training to people of all ages, enabling children and adults with disabilities to function more independently.  CHoR’s AT team consists of four SLPs, two OTs, one PT, and one Therapy Practice Assistant.  In addition to completing transdiciplinary evaluations and treatments, CHoR’s AT team is responsible for supporting staff and sharing AT information to five CHoR therapy centers throughout Central Virginia. In this post, Sara shares two resources developed at the CHoR AT Program... [Read More...]

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Make It Monday: Manual Communication Boards with Core Vocabulary

July 11, 2016 by - 8 Comments


Make It Monday: Manual Communication Boards with Core Vocabulary

Welcome to Make It Monday, a series in which we hope to inspire your team to create communication boards and instructional materials for students who need or already use core vocabulary. In the first post, Getting Ready for a Core Vocabulary Journey, we talked about getting set up to make materials for expressive and receptive language use. Today, we get into making manual communication boards (MCBs). About Manual Communication Boards The term manual communication board refers to a ‘no-tech’ AAC support that students can use to express themselves. Typically printed on paper and laminated, most MCBs have grids of words organized by part of speech (e.g., verbs in one area, adjectives in another). MCBs that are designed for use in a particular activity, such as doing an art project or participating in Circle Time, are called activity-based communication displays, or ABCDs. ABCDs were very popular in the early days of... [Read More...]

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PrAACtical Supports for the Young AAC Learner: Recipes for Success, Part 1

July 7, 2016 by - 1 Comment


PrAACtical Supports for the Young AAC Learner: Recipes for Success, Part 1

One of the most gratifying things about the AAC field is being able to connect with talented professionals who love what they do and are passionate about supporting learners with little or no functional speech. I am humbled by the incredibly generous ways in which clinicians are supporting their clients and one another. Today’s post, by SLP Sara Barnhill, is a case in point. Sara has worked at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU (CHoR) for seven years.  She is a member of the Assistive Technology (AT) Core team and completes multiple AAC evaluations per week as well as AAC therapy.  Her caseload includes patients in clinics, out-patient therapy, and on the Transitional Care Unit which provides pediatric long-term care.  Through her specialty areas, Sara has discovered a love for sharing information and training others.  Sara has presented in multiple conferences at the local, state, and national levels.  Sara has... [Read More...]

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Getting Ready for a Core Vocabulary Journey

July 5, 2016 by - 7 Comments


Getting Ready for a Core Vocabulary Journey

Summer is a great time to prepare materials for the busy year ahead. Next week, we launch a new series, Make It Monday, to help you do just that. We’ll focus on creating one thing at a time so that you’re ready to start the school year with an ample supply of core vocabulary resources that you can use in therapy, instruction, and informal conversation. Later in the series, we’ll be making individual and classroom communication boards and instructional materials. For now, though, we’ll spend some time getting organized and prepared. Before you make the investment of time and resources, it helps to make a few key clinical/educational decisions. This will keep us from wasting color ink, laminating pouches, velcro, and, most of all, time. Here are the things to think about before you begin. Symbols In order to make AAC materials, you’ll need to decide on how language is... [Read More...]

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