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.
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...]
Show some AAC love this week! Photo credit: Roman Drits
Tagged With: holiday
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.
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...]
Tagged With: holiday
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...]
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...]
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...]
“He knows what to do. He just doesn’t do it.” “He’s prompt-dependent. How can I get him to use AAC on his own?” “I love his strong-willed nature, but it works against him sometimes. He doesn’t initiate.” If any of these remarks sound familiar, it may be time to think about alternative approaches to build independent communication. Here are a few things to try with AAC users who’ve learned to wait for support before communicating. Exaggerate the pause time: Many of our AAC learners need at least 5 seconds of pause time after a communication opportunity presents itself. This helps them process the experience, organize their thoughts, decide on a response, and then begin to execute that response. Sometimes, though, we work with people who’ve learned that if they just wait, the communication partner will start to help (whether or not they need it). We can sometimes nudge the learner... [Read More...]
The good news is this: A growing number of people with complex communication needs are getting access to AAC. Educators whose students had AAC only at circle and snack time are now using it more consistently with their students throughout the day and teaching lessons specifically designed to build skills with AAC systems. SLPs who had eschewed AAC or who had focused their AAC efforts on choicemaking, requesting, and labeling are now embracing their role as language specialists and teaching a fuller array of semantic, morphological, and syntactic skills to AAC learners. AT specialists who had been doling out the same few SGDs and AAC apps are now digging deeper and using established practices for AT selection in supporting minimally verbal and nonverbal students. Behaviorists who had previously focused primarily on receptive identification and verbal imitation are supporting the expressive needs of their clients in new ways. Families who had little... [Read More...]