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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Free Resources for Making AAC and Visual Supports

February 23, 2017 by - 1 Comment


Free Resources for Making AAC and Visual Supports

For comprehensive AAC systems, there is no doubt that we need access to tools with the communication symbols that match our client’s needs. There are times, though, when ‘free’ and ‘simple’ fits the bill. Whether you are a graduate student clinicians/teacher, parent, or professional, these tools may come in handy. Picto4Me: This executable program works with Google Chrome and allows you to create communication boards and other visual supports at no cost. You can view and use the boards online via computer or mobile device or print them. This program offers voice output and scanning, too. ARASAAC: We’ve written about the wonderful resources at the Aragonese Portal of AAC in previous posts. Keep them in mind as you are searching for symbols or creating AAC supports. Trial versions: Some companies offer a free trial of their symbol software or programs so that consumers can try before they buy. We love... [Read More...]

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PrAACtical Resources: Data Collection Form for Communication Partners

February 20, 2017 by - 6 Comments


PrAACtical Resources: Data Collection Forms for Communication Partners

Last week, we posted about taking data on communication partners, something that can be very helpful when we are looking for ways to expedite the AAC user’s progress. Based on feedback from that post, we’re sharing a sample data collection form for this purpose. Do you have another idea for collecting data on the behavior of communication partners? We’d love to hear about it.

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Data Collection for the Beginning AAC User: Essential Things to Measure to Expedite Progress

February 16, 2017 by - 11 Comments


Data Collection for the Beginning AAC User: Essential Things to Measure to Expedite Progress

It’s exciting to see more and more teams on the road to implementing AAC in therapy and in the classroom. Often, though, our initial expectations for student progress don’t pan out. Consider these examples. Aleksander’s SGD has robust vocabulary that is customized specifically for him. He uses it consistently at snack and lunch time, but rarely uses it in other activities. Ariel uses her AAC app to ask for things, make comments, and answer questions but rarely goes beyond the single word level to express herself. Jayson had a PECS book for over a year and learned to request his favorite foods but not much else. His team switched Jayson over to a more robust AAC system, and while he learned to communicate for other reasons, he still doesn’t use his communication book very frequently unless he’s prompted to do so. Do these situations seem vaguely familiar? Helping AAC learners become... [Read More...]

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PrAACtical Resources: Downloadable AAC Posters

February 13, 2017 by - 1 Comment


PrAACtical Resources: Downloadable AAC Posters

Looking for some additional AAC-related resources?  CALL Scotland has some wonderful resources that can be displayed as posters, and/or used as handouts for meetings/trainings (click here). Here’s a sampling of what you’ll find.   And don’t miss this interactive flyer that takes you to PowerPoint books.  ‘Thanks to the wonderful team at CALL Scotland for making and sharing these terrific resources.

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PrAACtically Valentine’s Day: Core Vocabulary Activities

February 9, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtically Valentine’s Day: Core Vocabulary Activities

Looking for ways to build fluency with core vocabulary as you prepare for Valentine’s Day festivities? Here are a few suggestions. Making Cards: Get your crafting on and make some cards, like these from Christine Dunbar. Core word practice: pronouns (I, you, it, they); verbs (do, make, get, help, like); descriptors (pink, little, some), prepositions (on), determiners (this, that, these, those); interrogatives (what, where) Deliver the Cards: Have some fun being a mail carrier, delivering Valentine cards, and interacting with all the recipients. We love this mini schedule by the Considerate Classroom.  Core word practice: pronouns (I, you, it, we); action verbs (go, give, get, see, take); locatives (here, there); social words (hi, thank you); determiners (this, these); interrogatives (who, where) Play Valentine Bingo: Thanks, Katie Millican and Jessica Maldonado! Core word practice: pronouns (me, my, he, she); verbs (can, have, need, get, want, play); descriptors (big, round, red); interrogatives (where,... [Read More...]

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Make It PrAACtical: Switch Mounts

February 6, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts


Make It PrAACtical: Switch Mounts

If you haven’t been following the AT Makers movement, you might want to check out the wonderful projects and activities of this group. In this post, founder Bill Binko shows us how to use 3-D printing to adapt camera mounts for switches to make an affordable solution for those with access difficulties. Wait, what? You don’t have a 3-D printer? We love Bill’s suggestion of collaborating with robotics clubs and STEM groups at local high schools, scouting organizations, or community agencies who have the skills and equipment to make this happen. They are usually quite receptive to projects that help others. The design for this adaptation is shared freely with a Creative Commons/Attribution/Share license, making it a great project for students, church groups, scouts, and others. If you give this a try, be sure to go to their Facebook page to share your project. Tag us so we can see what... [Read More...]

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Privacy and AAC: A Few Reflections

February 2, 2017 by - 1 Comment


Privacy and AAC: A Few Reflections

Helping people become effective communicators through AAC involves having intimate knowledge about them, their experiences, what they like and do, where they go, and how they feel, among other things. In short, we’re privy to information from and about our clients that can be sensitive. There are several privacy implications for our work with AAC learners, some of which is governed by laws and regulations. In this post, we explore some of those issues. Vocabulary and Message Selection Until our clients are fully literate or competent with a linguistically robust AAC system, they depend on others to select the words, phrases, sentences, and questions that populate their communication devices/aids. This means that we have to obtain intimate knowledge of their lives in order to know what they might want to say and find ways to provide access to those words. We sometimes end up knowing things about our clients and their... [Read More...]

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PrAACtically February: Resources for A Year of Core Vocabulary Words

January 30, 2017 by - 1 Comment


PrAACtically February: Resources for A Year of Core Vocabulary Words

As we tick off the final days of the month, we’re looking ahead to ways we can highlight more of the core vocabulary words in our clients’ AAC devices and communication aids. One approach to boosting practice opportunities is to select a dozen or so core words to focus on each month. Throughout the month, we can then pay special attention to that small group of words by highlighting them with focused language stimulation, aided language input, and specific activities designed to teach or practice those words. In previous years, we shared lists of some core words to help you do just that and every month we share some ideas for prioritizing a small set of words. You can use these materials to remind yourself which words to highlight this month, with using aided language input and focused language stimulation. What else? Here are some ideas to get you started. Print... [Read More...]

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