Tag Archive: beginning communicators

Hold That Core: When Do You NOT Use a Core Vocabulary Approach?

January 4, 2018 by - 16 Comments

Hold That Core: When Do You NOT Use a Core Vocabulary Approach?

Thoughtful interventionists make AAC decisions based on the nature of the situation, not trends or personal preferences. Still, it’s easy to get caught up in the groundswell when you’ve been to a training, gotten hold of a promising resource, or had success with a particular approach. Core vocabulary has done a world of good for the AAC field as a whole and the individual clients we serve. But, like anything else, it’s not appropriate in all situations. When I was a doctoral student, poring over every issue of the new journal, AAC, I was struck by an editorial Dave Beukelman wrote, entitled “When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” They were different times and different issues, but the sentiment still applies. In some cases, core vocabulary has become a shiny hammer that we seem to hold onto whether or not it will get the job done. There’s... [Read More...]

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PrAACtical Supports for the Young AAC Learner: Recipes for Success, Part 4

July 28, 2016 by - 2 Comments

PrAACtical Supports for the Young AAC Learner: Recipes for Success, Part 4

Thanks to all of you who have reached out with appreciation for Sara Barnhill’s guest series entitled PrAACtical Supports for the Young AAC Learner. Sara and her colleagues at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU (CHoR) are generously sharing some of the resources they created to help families implement AAC at home. Through CHoR’s AT Program, one of few comprehensive AT programs in Central Virginia, a series of parent-friendly handouts were created to help families in Central Virginia facilitate core vocabulary learning by their young children. In the final post, we get to play with dolls and beach balls. You can get the link to download these parent handouts at the end of the post. ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Let’s Play with Core! Recipes for Success Abandonment of AAC systems is a recognized problem in the field of AT.  Therapists, teachers, and caregivers alike often feel uncomfortable and intimidated by AAC.  We can all acknowledge that “it takes a village,” but... [Read More...]

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PrAACtical Supports for the Young AAC Learner: Recipes for Success, Part 3

July 21, 2016 by - Leave your thoughts

PrAACtical Supports for the Young AAC Learner: Recipes for Success, Part 3

Looking for resources so you can help families get comfortable with implementing AAC at home? SLP Sara Barnhill has you covered! In the third installment of the PrAACtical Supports for the Young AAC Learner, she generously shares some parent handouts created along with her colleagues at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU (CHoR). As a member of the Assistive Technology (AT) Core team, she is involved in AAC evaluations and therapy in the hospital’s clinics, out-patient program and Transitional Care Unit. CHoR’s AT Program is one of few comprehensive AT programs in Central Virginia. The program provides AT evaluations, equipment and training to people of all ages, enabling children and adults with disabilities to function more independently.  CHoR’s AT team consists of four SLPs, two OTs, one PT, and one Therapy Practice Assistant.  In addition to completing transdiciplinary evaluations and treatments, CHoR’s AT team is responsible for supporting staff and sharing AT information to five CHoR... [Read More...]

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PrAACtical Supports for the Young AAC Learner: Recipes for Success, Part 2

July 14, 2016 by - 2 Comments

Parent training? Check! Preschoolers? Check! Language and play? Check! Core vocabulary? Check! SLP Sara Barnhill is back to share some resources she created along with her colleagues at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU (CHoR). As a member of the Assistive Technology (AT) Core team, she is involved in AAC evaluations and therapy in the hospital’s clinics, out-patient program and Transitional Care Unit. CHoR’s AT Program is one of few comprehensive AT programs in Central Virginia. The program provides AT evaluations, equipment and training to people of all ages, enabling children and adults with disabilities to function more independently.  CHoR’s AT team consists of four SLPs, two OTs, one PT, and one Therapy Practice Assistant.  In addition to completing transdiciplinary evaluations and treatments, CHoR’s AT team is responsible for supporting staff and sharing AT information to five CHoR therapy centers throughout Central Virginia. In this post, Sara shares two resources developed at the CHoR AT Program... [Read More...]

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PrAACtical Supports for the Young AAC Learner: Recipes for Success, Part 1

July 7, 2016 by - 4 Comments

One of the most gratifying things about the AAC field is being able to connect with talented professionals who love what they do and are passionate about supporting learners with little or no functional speech. I am humbled by the incredibly generous ways in which clinicians are supporting their clients and one another. Today’s post, by SLP Sara Barnhill, is a case in point. Sara has worked at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU (CHoR) for seven years.  She is a member of the Assistive Technology (AT) Core team and completes multiple AAC evaluations per week as well as AAC therapy.  Her caseload includes patients in clinics, out-patient therapy, and on the Transitional Care Unit which provides pediatric long-term care.  Through her specialty areas, Sara has discovered a love for sharing information and training others.  Sara has presented in multiple conferences at the local, state, and national levels.  Sara has... [Read More...]

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The Baby, The Bathwater, and Core Vocabulary

July 20, 2015 by - 16 Comments

The Baby, The Bathwater, and Core Vocabulary

When we first started writing to advocate for core vocabulary, it was as a counterpoint to the noun-heavy, activity-specific AAC supports that were widely used among beginning communicators. Many times, those communication aids were great for getting communication started with our beginning communicators, but limited their ability for generative language development. Adding core vocabulary provided a lot of linguistic power, and for many learners, that’s a great thing. These days, most clinicians serving people with AAC needs are well aware of the need to populate their AAC systems with a sizable array of high-frequency core words. SLPs have, by and large, gotten the message that core vocabulary plays an important role for AAC learners. In some cases, though, the pendulum has swung a bit too far. An AAC a system built exclusively of single words with only core vocabulary is not likely to meet the needs of most AAC learners.... [Read More...]

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Throwback Thursday: Past Posts about Pre-Intentional & Beginning Communication

December 19, 2013 by - Leave your thoughts

THROWBACK THURSDAY: PAST POSTS ABOUT PRE-INTENTIONAL AND BEGINNING COMMUNICATORS

The Strategy of the Month for December is about Pre-Intentional and Beginning Communication.  We knew this topic meant a lot to us because these learners are often overlooked or given up on just when they need help the most.  We didn’t realize how important it was to us, until we started ’rounding up’ our past posts and found so many. We are fortunate to have worked with many pre-intentional and beginning communicators because they often teach us the most, and we love learning. Presuming Competence 3 Responses to Programs that Make Kids “Prove Worthiness” Prior to Providing Access to AAC Does AAC Benefit Individuals with Profound & Multiple Disabilities Strategy of the Month Strategy of the Month: Supporting Pre-Intentional Communicators Breaking Through with Pre-Intentional & Beginning Communicators of All Ages Supporting Pre-Intentional Communicators Teaching Basic Requests Making it Work: The PrAACtical Side of Therapy to Teach Requests Literacy Lessons for... [Read More...]

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10 Premises for Teaching Requests to Beginning Communicators

January 9, 2013 by - Leave your thoughts

10 Premises for Teaching Requests to Beginning Communicators

Requesting is a communication skill that is often a fun goal to target because the end result should be ‘giving’ the learner what they want.  Here are some underlying premises when teaching requests: The learner LOVES or places IMPORTANCE on what they are requesting The facilitator may need to LOOK for & ACCEPT what the learner prefers MOTIVATION and INTEREST can be TAUGHT with frequent and varied practice in predictable routines Communication temptations give requesting more CLARITY for the learner Learners can request WITHOUT  being asked a question (in fact, it helps with spontaneity) Requests can be facilitated through CHOICE MAKING Requests and choices GO WAY BEYOND  food & objects The facilitator can MODEL requesting and choice making and then give the learner a turn There can be monthly, daily, hourly,  minute, or even second CHANGES in preferences, motivations, and interests Frequent OPPORTUNITIES for requests and choices are the key... [Read More...]

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Sites We Love: Online AAC Assessment Tool

February 7, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts

Sites We Love: Online AAC Assessment Tool

Looking for some well-grounded, yet concrete ideas for assessment of early communicators? Communication Matrix is one of my ‘Go To’ places for just that sort of thing. The site is home to a tool that allows you to develop a clear communication profile for someone at the earliest stages of communicative learning. It is not a direct assessment instrument, but rather a systematic way of capturing knowledge gained through observation, interaction with the communicator, and interviewing families and other professionals. The tool itself has been around for over 20 years (I have the paper version on my shelf). Its primary author, Dr. Charity Rowland of the Oregon Health and Science University, has been refining it over the years and developed the online site with the support of the US Department of Education. The profile covers 7 levels of communication, 4 communicative intents, and 9 communication modalities. I’ve been using the online... [Read More...]

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