How I Do It: Addressing the 4 Most Overlooked Operational Skills for High-Tech AAC Users

March 23, 2017 by - 4 Comments


ow I Do It: Addressing The 4 Most Overlooked Operational Skills for High-Tech AAC Users

Like many of you, the best part of the work week is when I get to teach language. As amazing as it is to help people with AAC needs become more linguistically competent, we have to be sure not to shortchange some of the operational skills that allow AAC learners to be successful. In this post, SLP Rachel Madel helps us think about supporting the development of operational competence in our AAC learners. The 4 Most Overlooked Operational Skills for High-Tech AAC Users When I first began helping children use high-tech AAC systems, I focused all of my energy on building strong communicators who could navigate through complex systems and use powerful language. I quickly realized that if I wanted to optimize the use of AAC I also needed to teach my students the mechanics of the machines they were using. Once I began teaching basic operational skills, I noticed... [Read More...]

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Using Metaphors to Support Vocabulary Teaching

March 20, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts


Using Metaphors to Support Vocabulary Teaching

One of the really fun things about writing posts about vocabulary is that it gives us a great excuse to browse some teacher and SLP blogs. Sometimes their creativity blows me away, not to mention how incredibly engaging and cute they are! I especially love the creative themes that they use to go way beyond the ‘Vivid Verbs’ concept. Metaphors and visual imagery are both research-backed strategies for retaining new information. That’s important, especially as we move beyond core vocabulary and expose our AAC learners to a richer lexicon. Both can be used in a variety of games and activities and go a long way toward build engagement about new word learning. In the hands of an enthusiastic instructor, a metaphor can be developed into a theme that boosts the ‘fun factor,’ which is important when we’re trying to build the buzz around new word learning.  Here are some of... [Read More...]

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How We Do It: AAC Videos for Core Word Learning

March 16, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts


How We Do It: AAC Videos for Core Word Learning

Have you ever thought of making short videos to illustrate the meaning of the core words you are teaching to your AAC learners? If so, this post is right up your alley. Teacher Angie Sheets and SLP Nicole Wingate have teamed up to bring the power of video to core vocabulary instruction and are here to share the fruits of their labor. For the past 17 years, Angie has been teaching Intense Interventions to students from kindergarten through grade 4 at Bluffton Harrison Elementary School. Her AAC experiences range from “DIY on the fly” (anything that can be made in a classroom at little to no cost and meets an immediate need) to high tech.  (You can follow her on Twitter @asheetsroom14). Nicole also works for the Bluffton Harrison school system, servicing pre-k through 12th grade students. Her AAC experience includes no tech (e.g., picture boards, PECS), low tech (e.g.,... [Read More...]

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PrAACtical Resources: Living with AAC

March 13, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtical Resources: Living with AAC

As professionals involved in AAC service provision, we have much to learn from people who are the most directly impacted by limitations in speech and language. AAC users, learners, and family members. Children and adults. People with congenital disabilities and acquired disorders. They all have something to teach us, and, luckily, many of them have shared their views and experiences on the internet. Today’s post features a growing collection of videos, blogs, and articles by people who use AAC and their families.  Happy exploring!    

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Site of the Month – AAC-related Resources from Scope

March 9, 2017 by - 2 Comments


Site of the Month - AAC-related Resources from Scope

Looking for information of use to service providers, people who use AAC, and their families? Our March Site of the Month features a website that fits the bill. Scope, an Australian disability service agency, has information and downloadable resources that you may want to explore. Here are some of the highlights. CIRCus Blog The agency supports a blog with content from Scope’s Communication and Inclusion Resource Centre and includes several topics related to AAC. Eye gaze: For people with significant motor difficulties, eye pointing or eye gaze may play an important role in their access to communication. Having communication partners who know how to maximize the success of this strategy can make the difference between incredible success and perpetual struggle. In this post, they walk us through the process of supporting people who use eye gaze.  Schedules: Therapists and teachers regularly use visual schedules to help people with AAC needs... [Read More...]

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AAC on TpT: 5 Free Downloads

March 6, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts


AAC on TpT: 5 Free Downloads

  Looking for some AAC materials to round out your collection of resources? Teachers Pay Teachers, the online marketplace for materials made by teachers and therapists, has quite a few. Here are a couple of freebies to check out. AAC Myths by Susan Berkowitz  Preverbal Communication-AAC Checklists by Ricki Block of Preschool Speechie Plus AAC Home Information Questionnaire by Tarra Bailey  AAC Brochure for Teachers and Support Staff by Sublime Speech  Leveled Core Communication Boards by Sister SLPs  What are your favorite AAC resources on Teachers Pay Teachers? We’d love to hear about them.

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PrAACtical Teaching in the Autism Classroom: Instructional Activities for Core Vocabulary

March 2, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts


AAC Posts from PrAACtical Week #9: February 2017

“But I don’t have just one student who needs AAC in my class – I have a bunch! How can I work AAC teaching into an already hectic day?” Teachers Amy Devin and Lauren Pawlowski are back with real-world suggestions for situations like these. Last year, they introduced us to Big Core, gave us tips for implementing it in the classroom, and explained how they integrate it into shared reading lessons and predictable chart writing activities. Today, they’re back with prAACtical information on how they provide explicit instruction on core vocabulary words. Amy and Lauren are public school teachers in Michigan who began teaching in resource rooms and moved to self‐contained ASD elementary classrooms in 2009. There was not much talk about core language when they started teaching and even less about incorporating into classroom lessons. AAC devices have changed a bit over the years, too. Initially, they worked with a 32-location core board on... [Read More...]

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PrAACtically March: AAC Resources for A Year of Core Vocabulary Words

February 27, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtically March: AAC Resources for A Year of Core Vocabulary Words

Do the AAC users in your life use only a fraction of the core words in their SGD, AAC app, or communication board? One way to help them move forward is to make a concerted effort to use, highlight, and provide additional teaching on a variety of words. It’s hard to do this without getting overwhelmed, so find a strategy that works for you.  A few years ago, we decided to approach this by focusing on 12-16 core words each month. (If this is too much for the teams with whom you work, that’s not a problem. Just cut it back to 4-6 words/month.) Each month, we can highlight those words in our conversation (aided language input), direct intervention, and home programming activities with AAC learners. The repeated experiences with those 12-16 (or 4-6) words helps our AAC learners develop new skills, and keeps the team focused on the same destination.  It’s... [Read More...]

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