PrAACtically September: Resources for a Year of Core Vocabulary

August 29, 2016 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtically September: Resources for a Year of Core Vocabulary

It’s wonderful to hear so many stories of AAC interventionists who are providing learners with access to a larger lexicon, including a growing set of core words. If you are looking for ways to model, practice, and teach these words, it can help to narrow the focus to a subset of words so that there are plenty of learning opportunities.  The Year of Core approach isn’t a developmental list of words to be introduced in a specific order, but rather a way of gradually exposing learners to more and more words over time. We do that by modeling them on their device or communication aid when we talk, and plan specific instructional activities to teach word meanings, play games to help them better recognize and understand the symbols for those words, and, elicit them frequently from those who are just learning their AAC systems. Our prAACtical friends need practice, practice, and more practice. Over time,... [Read More...]

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LiveBinders: 5 Online Notebooks on AAC Implementation

August 22, 2016 by - Leave your thoughts


LiveBinders: 5 Online Notebooks on AAC Implementation

At the ISAAC 2016 conference in Toronto, I had the opportunity to talk about using technology to share information with families, colleagues, and pre-professionals. LiveBinders, is one of the tools that were discussed both in the pre-conference session with Chris Bugaj and in my seminar on pre-service AAC education. LiveBinders are digital notebooks that make it easy to collect, curate, and share information. We’ve been writing about this tool for the past four years, but there is new material being created all the time. Here are some AAC-related LiveBinders that I’ve been exploring. AAC by Jill Beall/Region 7  ABCs of AAC (Preschool AAC) by D. McLauchlin  Literacy and AAC/Balanced Literacy by Deanna Wagner  TAAT 2015 by Janice Reese  Visuals for ASD by Penelope Arp  For more information on LiveBinders and features that you may not know about, check out their tutorials and blog. Do you make or use LiveBinders? We’d... [Read More...]

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PrAACtical Supports for Older Learners: AT Recipes for Success, Part 7

August 18, 2016 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtical Supports for Older Learners: AT Recipes for Success, Part 7

Welcome back to the PrAACtical Supports series, highlighting the work of the AT team at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU (CHoR). Meghan Reitz, an SLP who has worked at CHoR for over 3 years, returns to share activity ideas for older learners and downloadable handouts for their caregivers. She received her Master’s in SLP from the University of Virginia., which provides comprehensive services for pediatric healthcare. The CHoR AT Program is one of few comprehensive AT programs in Central Virginia, providing 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 4 SLPs, 2 OTs, a PT, and a 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. Meghan has a passion for working... [Read More...]

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The World’s AAC Conference: 10 Presentation Handouts from ISAAC 2016

August 15, 2016 by - 6 Comments


The World’s AAC Conference: 10 Presentation Handouts from ISAAC 2016

It was so wonderful to meet and learn from so many colleagues and families at the 2016 ISAAC Biennial Conference last week. What an amazing experience to participate in an AAC event withcolleagues from 40 countries! ISAAC 2016 really was the world’s AAC conference. There was an active Twitter thread with a running account of the activities in sessions, social events, and the exhibit hall (see tweets from #ISAAC2016 here). The opening ceremonies started off strong with Vic Valentic’s performance (using AAC) of “I’ve Got a Lot to Say,” a song written by Vivian Butch. You can learn more about their collaboration and see an earlier performance of that song here. Keynote speaker John Draper, founder of Together We Rock, then gave a funny, engaging talk that addressed the contributions of clinicians, educators, researchers, and technologists alike. I was honored to be invited to present two pre-conference sessions on Day 1... [Read More...]

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PrAACtical Supports for Older Learners: AT Recipes for Success, Part 6

August 11, 2016 by - 1 Comment


PrAACtical Supports for Older Learners: AT Recipes for Success, Part 6

Welcome back to the PrAACtical Supports series, highlighting the work of the AT team at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU (CHoR). Meghan Reitz, an SLP who has worked at CHoR for over 3 years, returns to share activity ideas for older learners and downloadable handouts for their caregivers. She received her Master’s in SLP from the University of Virginia., which provides comprehensive services for pediatric healthcare. The CHoR AT Program is one of few comprehensive AT programs in Central Virginia, providing 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 4 SLPs, 2 OTs, a PT, and a 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. Meghan has a passion for working... [Read More...]

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Goodbye, Summer! A Clinician Preps AAC Materials for the New School Year

August 8, 2016 by - 6 Comments


Goodbye, Summer! A Clinician Preps AAC Materials for the New School Year

Here in the US, many SLPs who work in educational settings are getting ready to head back to school. In today’s post, we hear from Elizabeth Levy, an SLP at Wasatch County School District in Utah. Elizabeth, who earned her Bachelors and Master’s degrees from Towson University in Maryland, worked in early intervention for several years before joining the team at Midway Elementary two years ago. She has always had a passion for working with children who are nonverbal and require AAC, and is a member of ASHA’s Special Interest Group 12 (AAC). She also serves as part of her district’s AT team. In this post, Elizabeth shares a little bit about how she used the summer to gear up for an initiative to provide additional AAC support for students with significant learning challenges. ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: This year, with a new team, I have a great opportunity to go big and... [Read More...]

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PrAACtical Supports for Older Learners: AT Recipes for Success, Part 5 – Let’s Cook!

August 4, 2016 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtical Supports for Older Learners: AT Recipes for Success - Let's Cook

Thanks to all of you who reached out with appreciation for the ideas and resources shared in last month’s PrAACtical Supports posts (you can see those here). We’re delighted to continue the series and grateful to the AT team at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU (CHoR), which provides comprehensive services for pediatric healthcare. The CHoR AT Program is one of few comprehensive AT programs in Central Virginia, providing 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 4 SLPs, 2 OTs, a PT, and a 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. Today’s guest blogger is team member Meghan Reitz, an SLP who has worked at CHoR for the past... [Read More...]

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Make It PrAACtical: DIY Switch-accessible Scanner

August 1, 2016 by - Leave your thoughts


Make it PrAACtical: DIY Switch-accessible Scanner

A few years ago, I ran across someone who had difficulty getting the school staff to scan documents for an AAC learner who needed them to be in electronic format for accessibility purposes. The problem ultimately got solved when we helped the student program in two prestored messages to her SGD. The first was a politely-worded attempt at self advocacy: “Can you please scan this for me?” It usually worked, but when it didn’t, the student was able to follow-up with a second message. “It’s in my IEP.” The image of this young lady advocating for her needs still makes me smile. So when I ran across an adaptation that makes document scanners switch-accessible, I knew I had to share the Instructable with you. Kudos to Irete Hamdani and her colleagues for this wonderful modification.  

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AAC Posts from PrAACtical Week #31, July 2016

July 31, 2016 by - 2 Comments


AAC Posts from PrAACtical Week #31, July 2016

Hope to see some of our prAACtical friends at the 2016 ISAAC Biennial Conference starting August 6th. If you’re headed to Toronto, let’s connect for some prAACtical conversations! Monday – PrAACtically August: Resources for A Year of Core Vocabulary Words Tuesday – AAC Core Word Calendars for August Wednesday – AAC Assessment Corner with Vicki Clarke: Standardized Tests for AAC Users Thursday – PrAACtical Supports for Young AAC Learners: Recipes for Success, Part 4  

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PrAACtical Supports for the Young AAC Learner: Recipes for Success, Part 4

July 28, 2016 by - 2 Comments


PrAACtical Supports for the Young AAC Learner: Recipes for Success, Part 4

Thanks to all of you who have reached out with appreciation for Sara Barnhill’s guest series entitled PrAACtical Supports for the Young AAC Learner. Sara and her colleagues at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU (CHoR) are generously sharing some of the resources they created to help families implement AAC at home. Through CHoR’s AT Program, one of few comprehensive AT programs in Central Virginia, a series of parent-friendly handouts were created to help families in Central Virginia facilitate core vocabulary learning by their young children. In the final post, we get to play with dolls and beach balls. You can get the link to download these parent handouts at the end of the post. ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Let’s Play with Core! Recipes for Success Abandonment of AAC systems is a recognized problem in the field of AT.  Therapists, teachers, and caregivers alike often feel uncomfortable and intimidated by AAC.  We can all acknowledge that “it takes a village,” but... [Read More...]

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