PrAACtical Resources: Communication Supports Inventory for Children and Youth

December 11, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtical Resources: Communication Supports Inventory for Children and Youth

As AAC practitioners well know, children who use some form of augmentative communication need a wide array of supports in order to be successful. In this post, we share a useful tool to systematically gather information about those supports to help teams with educational planning.  Developed by Drs. Charity Rowland and Melanie Fried-Oken and Ms. Sandra Steiner, The Communication Supports Inventory – Children & Youth (CSI-CY) is designed to make goal writing easier for teachers and SLPs who work with students who have AAC needs. It is a wonderful way to build collaboration and get the team pointed in the same direction. Learn more about the CSI- CY here. You can access it online or download it for a hard copy.

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When Disaster Strikes: USSAAC’s Response to Families with AAC Needs

December 9, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts


When Disaster Strikes: USSAAC's Response to Families with AAC Needs

I’m honored to have AAC pioneer Dr. Sarah Blackstone join us today for a guest post that highlights the work that is being done by the US chapter of the International AAC Society (ISAAC). The US chapter, known as USSAAC, has a long-standing commitment to supporting the AAC community in times of national disaster. Dr. Blackstone is both a past president of ISAAC and a founding member of USSAAC. She has authored many AAC-related texts and articles and is a partner emerita of the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Communication Enhancement. She has served the AAC community with distinction, having been granted honors and awards by ASHA, ISAAC, USSAAC, and other organizations. Dr. Blackstone previously practiced at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, and in a private practice that serving children with AAC needs. Currently, Dr. Blackstone is on USSAAC’s Board of Directors. She and Harvey Pressman co-chair USSAAC’s AAC Disaster... [Read More...]

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PrAACtical Collaboration: Teaming Up to Build Communication with a Treat Cart (Part 1)

December 7, 2017 by - 1 Comment


PrAACtical Collaboration: Teaming Up to Build Communication with a Treat Cart (Part 1)

Looking for ways to give your AAC learners the opportunity to communicate with a broader range of communication partners? Interested in practicing AAC skills outside of the classroom? When I saw this fun learning experience that SLP Kimberly Walker and her colleagues developed, I knew it would spark the imaginations of some of our prAACtical friends. I am continually amazed by the creativity of teachers, SLPs, OTs, and others who are passionate about helping students become more proficient with their AAC and language. Based in Colorado, Kimberly works with students in kindergarten through grade 5 at Tarver Elementary. In this post, she explains how they set up a Treat Cart in order to spice up the opportunities for AAC, language, and literacy learning. ——————————————————— Finding ways for our AAC users to see the power of communication by using their AAC device is hard at times.  My Occupational Therapist and I... [Read More...]

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PrAACtical Research: AAC Intervention for Children with ASD

December 4, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtical Research: AAC Intervention for Children with ASD

Dr. Kathy Howery is back with another helpful post an AAC research. Kathy is based in Alberta, Canada, and has worked in the field of AT and special education for over three decades. In the past year, she completed her doctoral studies where she used phenomenological methods to seek to understand the lived experience of speaking with/through a speech generating device. Kathy is currently working as a consultant to schools and school districts across Alberta focusing primarily on children and youth with complex communication needs. In this article, she discusses research on AAC interventions. Enjoy! ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Almirall, D. , DiStefano, C., Chang, Y.-C., Shire, S., Kaiser, A., Lu X, Nahum-Shani, I., Landa, R., Mathy, P. & Kasari, C. (2016). Longitudinal Effects of Adaptive Interventions with a Speech-Generating Device in Minimally Verbal Children with ASD. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 45(4), 442-456. What this article is all about (the focus... [Read More...]

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PrAACtically Reading with Karen Natoci: Hello, Holidays!

November 30, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtically Reading with Karen Natoci: Hello, Holidays!

Getting ready for the holidays? Karen Natoci has some ideas and downloadable materials to help you plan your therapy and instruction. In today’s post, she shares some PowerPoint books (with audio) that you can download and use, as well as activity suggestions. Karen has supported AAC learners in different capacities throughout her career and is currently an AAC Supervisor with The Speech Pathology Group in Walnut Creek, California. Enjoy! PrAACtically Reading: Hello, Holidays! Books:  Holiday Themed Powerpoint stories (downloadable) This month I want to share a wonderful way to integrate reading through the use of seasonal materials that are meaningful and emotional. This activity works well in preschool and elementary classrooms through the continued sharing of life from home to school.  What could be more fun than sharing holiday traditions through the creation of a power point book! Please download and use the power point stories. Include family input so that you... [Read More...]

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PrAACtically December: AAC Resources for A Year of Core Vocabulary

November 27, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtically December: AAC Resources for A Year of Core Vocabulary

With Thanksgiving behind us, it’s time to look ahead to the month of December. A few years ago, we suggested that one way to help strengthen learners’ abilities with core words is to take a different set of 12-20 core words each month and focus on them for a few weeks. How? By modeling those words, making resource materials (like word cards with the symbols), creating activities in which those words figure prominently, posting them in the classroom/therapy room, reading books that have heavy use of these words, sharing them with families, write stories using them, etc. Core words are a great addition to the highly motivating, learner-specific words that many AAC users start with. If you are looking to expand to more robust language, this approach may be of interest. Here are the specific words we are focusing on in December. Set 1 (2013): ask, favorite, goodbye, hear, of,... [Read More...]

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A PrAACtical Thanksgiving

November 23, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts


A PrAACtical Thanksgiving

Here in the US, it’s a day of thanksgiving and that makes it a perfect time to express my gratitude for the contributions of our guest authors. It is amazing to look back and reflect on the contributions from families, therapists, and teachers, all of whom are incredibly busy. Special thanks to those who’ve come back time and time again to share their ideas, experiences, and resources in one of our recurring series. Vicki Clarke: AAC Assessment Corner and other topics Karen Natoci: PrAACtically Reading Jill Senner and Matthew Baud: How We Do It Amy Devin and Lauren Pawlowski: PrAACtical Teaching in the ASD Classroom Lauren Enders: PrAACtically Pinteresting, How I Do It, and more! Tabi Jones-Wohleber: How I Do It And others! I am grateful to all who make sharing what they know a priority and humbled that some of you choose to do it on PrAACtical AAC. Happy Thanksgiving,... [Read More...]

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“But He Doesn’t Like It!” 5 Things to Try with AAC Learners Who Don’t Like Shared Reading

November 20, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts


“But He Doesn’t Like It!” 5 Things to Try with AAC Learners Who Don’t Like Shared Reading

Have you had an experience like Stacy’s? Stacy SLP knows the importance of building literacy skills in her students who use AAC and was happy to have found an age respectful book that aligns with the curriculum. She downloaded it onto her iPad and practiced reading it so that the push-in session would go smoothly.  Stacy reviewed the students’ SGDs and came up with a plan for targeting specific language or AAC skills. She was determined to infuse more literacy activities into her therapy and began the reading activity with equal measures of excitement and nervousness.  It was both frustrating and disheartening when her students didn’t like the activity, were hard to engage, and even tried to escape. Within the first few minutes, her enthusiasm had turned to fear (’What do I do NOW?’) and dread (‘How am I going to get through this session?!’). Many of us have had... [Read More...]

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On AAC Training: Skill Building for AAC Team Members

November 16, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts


On AAC Training: Skill Building for AAC Team Members

It’s throwback Thursday! Today, we are revisiting some prior posts on the topic of helping parents, colleagues, and classroom staff learn ways to better support people who use AAC. Explore these past posts to get ideas for videos, download presentation slides, and peruse suggestions for hands-on activities to use in your training. Enjoy! How I Do it: AAC Inservices by Tabi Jones-Wohleber  Hands-On Activities for AAC Training  PrAACtical Ideas: AAC Core Vocabulary Practice for Workshops and Inservices  How We Do It: S’MORRES and Partner Augmented Input with Dr. Jill Senner & Matthew Baud Video Explainers for Aided Language Input

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PrAACtical Resources: AT in the IEP

November 13, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtical Resources: AT in the IEP

Looking for information about how to incorporate AT into a student’s IEP? Today, we share a helpful guide, Assistive Technology and the IEP. Originally produced by the Family Center on Technology and Disability, this booklet has been republished by the Center on Technology and Disability. It provides a good overview of some of the important issues and is a great resource to share with families of students who use AAC. Click on the image below to review this guidebook.

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