Holiday Talk: AAC Conversations Using Partner-focused Questions

December 26, 2016 by - 3 Comments


Holiday Talk: AAC Conversations Using Partner-focused Questions

A great many AAC learners would love to be more actively involved in social conversations but may not have the skills to carry on a conversation. For some individuals, the use of pre-stored messages designed to get their partners talking is a great way take the pressure off and allow the AAC learner to be more actively involved in the conversation. Partner-focused questions serve to get information, opinions, or feedback. By creating these and storing them as whole questions, the AAC learner has a relatively quick and easy means to drive the direction of the conversation. Here are some examples: How were your holidays? What did you get for Christmas/Hanukkah? What do you think? Where did you go over break? How’s your family? What’s going on with you? In general, people love talking about themselves and questions like these are a great way to get the ball rolling or keeping... [Read More...]

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AAC Posts from PrAACtical Week # 52: December, 2016

December 25, 2016 by - 2 Comments


AAC Posts from PrAACtical Week # 52: December, 2016

Hoping you are enjoying the holiday season with friends and family. Here are some posts that may be of interest. Monday: Selecting AAC Apps & Devices: A Handful of Reasons Not to Skip the Trial Period Wednesday: Video of the Week: Implementing Object-based Schedules in the Classroom Thursday: AAC Apps and Devices: Thoughts on Conducting AAC Trials Friday: An AAC Christmas Carol

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AAC Apps and Devices: Thoughts on Conducting AAC Trials

December 22, 2016 by - 4 Comments


AAC Apps and Devices: Thoughts on Conducting AAC Trials

In an earlier post, we talked about why a period of trial use with multiple AAC devices and/or apps is an important part of the process of selecting a communication tool. As with test driving a car prior to purchasing it, giving clients an opportunity to use the AAC options that have the features they need allows us to better determine whether it is likely to meet their needs and expectations. Few of us would purchase a car without taking it out for a spin. It makes a lot of sense, but what does the ‘test drive’ equivalent look like in AAC? What makes for a fair and reasonable period of trial use when we’re trying out an SGD or AAC app? Here are some thoughts to get us started. Clarify the primary purpose of the trial, which generally involves determining a) whether the person can actually utilize it, and... [Read More...]

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Selecting AAC Apps & Devices: A Handful of Reasons Not to Skip the Trial Period

December 19, 2016 by - 2 Comments


Selecting AAC Apps and Devices: A Handful of Reasons Not to Skip the Trial Period

Would you buy a car without test-driving it first? Most of us would not, and for very good reasons. The car might have all the features we need, come with strong reviews from respected organizations, and look great, but there’s other important data that we can only get from driving it. How does the car feel when you’re in the driver’s seat? We might rule it out if the blind spots were too big, the seat was uncomfortable, or the handling didn’t meet our needs. That information can only come from actually trying it out. Prevailing wisdom suggests that a similar process is a critical step in selecting an AAC device or app. There are a lot of things that make it tempting to skip this step. It’s difficult to arrange for trials with multiple devices and apps. It takes a lot of time. We have to train them on... [Read More...]

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PrAACtical Resources: AAC Assessment Modules

December 15, 2016 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtical Resources: AAC Assessment Modules

If you talk to a dozen SLPs about AAC assessment practices, chances are great that at least 10 of them aren’t quite comfortable with the area. That’s why we’re so very appreciative of the efforts of Dr. Janice Murray, Helen Bell, Helen Whittle, and Osman Javaid of Manchester Metropolitan University, Sara Dale from the ACE Centre, and Janet Scott of Scottish Centre of Technology for the Communication Impaired for this terrific set of learning activities. If you want to learn more about doing good AAC assessments, this resource is a fine one to check out. Level 1 Module Level 2 consists of several modules, each of which can be accessed here. Thanks to all involved in this collaboration for sharing it with the rest of us!

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PrAACtical Resources: A Tool for Identifying Features for AT Selection

December 12, 2016 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtical Resources: A Tool for Identifying Features for AT Selection

Professionals who are involved in the selection of AAC and other AT are quite familiar with the concept of determining what features are needed and then selecting tools that have those features to sample. The feature matching process has been the gold standard for AAC device selection , though many practictioners report that its implementation may not be robust. Determining exactly which features an individual might need in their AAC or other AT is a critical part of this process, and one with which many teams struggle. In today’s post, we highlight an online resource designed to make this process easier for school-based teams. The Student Inventory for Technology Supports (SIFTS) is a free, web-based survey tool that helps teams match the needs and abilities of a student to specific AT features. It is not a comprehensive assessment tool but provides guidance to help teams in the process of AAC... [Read More...]

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Supporting AAC Learners in Emergent Writing: 5 Helpful Resources

December 8, 2016 by - 2 Comments


Supporting AAC Learners in Emergent Writing: 5 Helpful Resources

Looking for ways to help AAC learners of any age develop meaningful writing skills? These helpful resources may be of interest. “There is No Can’t” by Jane Farrall and Sally Clendon  Emerging Writers and AAC by Jane Odom  Alternative Pencils: What Does the Research Say?  Emergent Literacy Beginnings and Goals for Children with Angelman Syndrome by David Koppenhaver and Susan Norwell (information applicable to a broader range of people who use AAC) Can Low-incidence Students Become First-time Writers? By Janet Sturm  Happy exploring!

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How We Do It: AAC in the Special Education Classroom

December 5, 2016 by - Leave your thoughts


How We Do It: AAC in the Special Education Classroom

At the ASHA Convention last month, I chatted with an SLP about her secret longing: To take a sabbatical and travel the world to see AAC in action. Wouldn’t that be exciting?! In the meantime, we’ll have to live vicariously and peek into AAC practices through the words and pictures of dedicated professionals. Angi Pearce, a teacher at Kowhai Special School in Hastings, New Zealand, was kind enough to help us out and share her experiences in increasing AAC use in her classroom. Angi is the team leader for the Junior School classes (ages 5-11) and graciously prepared this post with support from SLP Michelle Roberts. As you’ll see, Angi is a highly experienced educator but new to the world of AAC and not afraid to take risks and embrace change. Let’s take a look at how a veteran teacher stretched herself to incorporate more AAC into her classroom. :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: AAC IN THE CLASSROOM My... [Read More...]

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