PrAACtical Resources: Teaching Peers About AAC

September 21, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtical Resources: Teaching Peers About AAC

It is not overstating things to say that Gail Van Tatenhove’s resources have shaped the way AAC is practiced all around the world. In this post, we share a terrific booklet that she created to help those who are supporting students in inclusive settings. While this specific resource is designed to teach the basic idea of Minspeak, the student-friendly approach she has used is a wonderful example that can inspire those of us who support students working with a wider variety of AAC systems. Enjoy this little gem!

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How We Do It: Using AAC to Repair Communication Breakdowns

September 18, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts


How We Do It: Using AAC to Repair Communication Breakdowns

We’ve had many nice comments about the resources shared by AAC SLP Alicia Garcia, clinical lead of the AAC Clinic at One Kids Place, a children’s treatment centre in northern Ontario. With over two decades of experience in pediatric rehabilitation practice in private and public settings, Alicia’s ideas for how to support AAC learners and their families are tried and true. In today’s post, Alicia shares thoughts and materials for situations in which the AAC is needed to repair communication breakdowns. :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Children with unclear speech not only have different intelligibility levels but also different levels of awareness, focus, and interest on repairing their communication breakdowns. We use different approaches based on how they react and respond when they are not understood. As a general guideline when a communication breakdown occurs, regardless of the child’s profile, we first try determining the level of urgency or importance of the child’s intended... [Read More...]

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Emergency Preparedness for the AAC Family

September 7, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts


Emergency Preparedness for the AAC Family

Many of us live in areas prone to storms or other game-changing weather events, but even those who don’t should prepare for emergency situations. Today, as we continue our preparations for Hurricane Irma, one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the open Atlantic, my friend, Amy Goldman, takes the reins. With her broad background in AAC and AT and her incredible advocacy work, we are in no better hands. If you’re inclined toward prayers or even if you’re not, we here in South Florida could use any positive energy you can send our way. Stay safe, friends, and remember to take care of those around you. ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: With the images of the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in front of us, and with Irma and possibly Jose in the forecast, it is actually a little late to be talking about emergency preparedness.  However, it is good to reflect on some of... [Read More...]

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PrAACtical Resources: Storm Preparation and Recovery

September 4, 2017 by - 1 Comment


PrAACtical Resources: Storm Preparation and Recovery

Before, during, and after – storms can be scary business and people with AAC needs are among the most vulnerable in extreme weather events. Our neighbors in Texas and the Gulf Coast are recovering from the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey, and we’ve got our eye on Hurricane Irma’s path. Here are some resources that you can explore to help in storm preparation and recovery. Hurricane Harvey Please consider helping however you can. Get or Give Help AAC Relief for for Hurricane Harvey organized by USSAAC, Communication Circles, Disability Connections,  and CERV of Monterey Matching donations by Prentke Romich Company Texas SLP Fund by Teachers Pay Teachers SLPs Therapy Materials for Flooded SLPs request TSTS Lite Version access (by email: Carrie@SpeechAndLanguageKids.com) Help for Harvey SLPs by Help for Harvey SLPs Facebook group Pass It On Reuse Center (for AT) Hurricane Resource page by Tobii Dynavox          ... [Read More...]

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PrAACtical Resources on Language Development

August 31, 2017 by - 1 Comment


PrAACtical Resources on Language Development

Are you planning language therapy or vocabulary instruction with AAC learners? For more than three decades, families, professionals, and people with complex communication needs have benefited from the insights and support of master clinician Gail Van Tatenhove. Among other things, Gail’s work has shaped the design of AAC technology and the practice of AAC in clinical and educational settings around the world. In today’s post, we share two of Gail’s resources on language development and academic vocabulary. Enjoy! Normal Language Acquisition & Children Using AAC Systems Academic Vocabulary

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PrAACtically September: AAC Resources for a Year of Core Vocabulary

August 28, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtically September: AAC Resources for a Year of Core Vocabulary

Are you supporting AAC learners who have SGDs or communication boards/books with high-frequency words? If so, join us as we work to model, practice, and teach these words throughout the day. It can feel overwhelming, so we tend to focus on a subset of words each month. The Year of Core Vocabulary 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 AAC friends need practice, practice, and more practice. Over time, they will gain more fluency and automaticity with the words in their AAC... [Read More...]

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PrAACtical Ideas for Repurposing Older AAC Technology

August 21, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtical Ideas for Repurposing Older AAC Technology

If you’ve been working in this field for awhile, chances are you’ve got some older voice output technology lying around. Poke around in the back of a closet or tucked way on top of the cupboards and you might encounter some hidden treasures. If you look w-a-a-a-y back there, you just might find a few digitized (recorded) speech devices that haven’t been used for some time. With only 2, 4, 8, 9, or 32 locations, these are generally insufficient for individuals with complex communication needs to use as their personal communication devices. When matched to the right purpose, though, these are wonderful tools that often have a lot of life left in them. How can we put those low tech AAC devices to work? Here are a few ideas to get us started. Build letter-sound knowledge: Program each cell with the sound of each letter so that the AAC student... [Read More...]

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AAC Intervention: 5 Activities with PrAACtical Potential

August 18, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts


AAC Intervention: 5 Activities with PrAACtical Potential

Across the world, therapists, teachers, and parents are getting ready for AAC lessons or therapy sessions. Robust AAC systems? Check! Goals that matter? Check! Effective intervention strategies? Check! Let’s put them all together with some engaging activities that won’t break the bank in terms of materials. Here are some suggestions for tried-and-true activities. Language Experience Surveys: Looking for a fun activity that gives your AAC learner an opportunity to prAACtical his/her skills with a variety of communication partners? Language experience surveys are a great tool for that not just because they are a great way to build generalization in a way that kids really love, but also because it helps the communication partners have supported conversations with AAC users. This helps them get comfortable in interacting with our AAC learners which, in turn, increases the chances that they will want to interact with these students in the future. This is... [Read More...]

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Using Multiple AAC Symbol Sets and Systems with AAC Learners: Considerations for Thoughtful Interventionists

August 10, 2017 by - 6 Comments


Using Multiple AAC Symbol Sets and Systems with AAC Learners: Considerations for Thoughtful Interventionists

PCS, Pixons, Minspeak symbols, Smarty Symbols, Symbol Stix, CoughDrop Symbols, ARASAAC symbols, Mulberry symbols, Lesson Pix, Sclera symbols, and more. In terms of AAC symbol options, we are living in plentiful times.  It isn’t uncommon to see situations like Jonah’s. On a typical school day, Jonah is likely to encounter at least three types of pictures for the same words. He has Smarty Symbols on his AAC app and a classroom core board with PCS, and is using instructional materials using Symbol Stix. These are each great ways of visually representing language, but here’s something to think about: Does it help or hurt Jonah to have 3 different pictures for the same word? There are many options in symbol sets and systems, and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Here are some things to think about as you and your team are making these decisions. There is no empirical... [Read More...]

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