Tag Archive: classroom

PrAACtical Teaching in the ASD Classroom: Little Tips for Big Core

April 4, 2016 by - 6 Comments

PrAACtical Teaching: Little Tips for Big Core

Special educators Lauren Pawlowski and Amy Devin are back with tips for making AAC work in the classroom. In their first post, they talked about using a large communication board that is rich in core vocabulary for aided language input and AAC instruction. Today, they share some of the things they’ve learned to make this more manageable in a busy classroom. Enjoy! ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: We hope that many of you were able to make your Big Core boards for group instruction.  Now what?? Using Big Core can take a while to get used to.  Even after using it for several years, sometimes we still struggle with finding the words quickly.  Don’t worry about this because our students can’t always find words quickly and it is good for them to see that everyone struggles with language at times.  It can also be empowering to them if you ask for their help! The... [Read More...]

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PrAACtically Reading with Karen Natoci: April Fool’s Day

March 24, 2016 by - Leave your thoughts

It’s gratifying to hear from so many of you who are including storybook reading in your AAC instruction and therapy. We welcome back Karen Natoci, Assistant Professor and SLP Oregon Health and Science University’s Child Development Rehabilitation Center. She serves on the Neurodevelopment and Rett Evaluation teams and has a caseload of children with Complex Communication Needs and AAC. Karen tells us that “I know very well the feeling of being overwhelmed by the high needs of students with complex communication needs and will readily admit that you have to have a very large ‘toolbox’ of ideas!” Currently, she is on the charter development team to create the Communication Matrix- Virtual Community of Practice with Charity Rowland. At the end of the day, Karen enjoys running, practicing piano, and exploring Portland and the Oregon coast. :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Book: April Fool’s Day Written and Illustrated by Dee Smith (Also available from Deesignery.com) Core Vocabulary focus:  Look,... [Read More...]

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PrAACtical Teaching in an ASD Classroom: Bigger is Better with Core Vocabulary

March 14, 2016 by - 11 Comments

PrAACtical Teaching in an ASD Classroom: Bigger is Better with Core Vocabulary

Today we launch a new series, PrAACtical Teaching in an ASD Classroom, which will address the nuts and bolts of infusing AAC throughout the school day. I couldn’t be more delighted to introduce you to two talented special educators, Amy Devin and Lauren Pawlowski, who work in the public school system in Michigan. Amy and Lauren began teaching in self‐contained ASD elementary classrooms in 2009 and taught in resource rooms prior to that. When they first started with their own classrooms, there was not much talk about core language, let alone how to implement it on a classroom-wide basis. They started with a 32-cell core board on a digitized speech device and now use a 64-location core vocabulary on a manual communication board, large instructional core boards, and individual AAC devices. They are passionate literacy teachers and believe that every child can read, write and communicate. Enjoy their post and... [Read More...]

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Video of the Week: Classroom Support for the Beginning Communicator

November 25, 2015 by - Leave your thoughts

Video of the Week: Classroom Support for the Beginning Communicator

Gabriella doesn’t seem to notice what her teachers and peers are doing in the classroom. When offered a choice of toys, she seems to reach for one rather randomly, has little interest in the one she chose, and knocks it to the floor after 30 seconds. Elliot is assertive in greeting visitors to his classroom, and eagerly leads them around the room, vocalizing excitedly as he shows them around. When he needs help with a toy or material, he hands it to an adult with clear intent and expectation. He’s not using actual words just yet, and his interest in PECS has been limited. Alyssa uses a communication board to make requests and answer questions, but only with a lot of prompting. She uses single symbol utterances in planned communication opportunities during a few activities during the school day. Team members have observed spontaneous use of her AAC tools a... [Read More...]

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How We Do It: Co-Teaching with PODD by Dana Brown and Sara Olsen

November 24, 2015 by - Leave your thoughts

How We Do It: Co-Teaching with PODD by Dana Brown and Sara Olsen

When SLPs and teachers work together for the benefit of students with little or no functional speech, the results can be magical. Today, we travel to Wisconsin to visit with SLP Dana Brown and Special Educator Sara Olsen who work together at the elementary school level. In this post, Dana and Sara tell us about their experiences using PODD in a classroom of students with intellectual disability. You can learn more about their work on YouTube (Watch Your Language) where they post Word of the Week videos and snippets of AAC use in different clasroom activities. Regular readers know that we’ve posted a few articles and videos on PODD. ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: We write as a team of special educators, a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) and an Intellectual Disabilities teacher, and one thing that we’ve learned working closely together is that AAC is difficult and ongoing.  In this post, we are excited to share... [Read More...]

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How We Do It: A Classroom Journey with PODD by Rachael Langley

November 9, 2015 by - 4 Comments

How We Do It: A Classroom Journey with PODD by Rachael Langley

Let’s face it. Good AAC implementation takes commitment and requires a lot of effort from those who are with the AAC learners throughout the day. Sometimes an AAC tool or strategy that seemed promising at first, doesn’t pan out to be as successful as expected. Other times, it’s a challenge to keep up with the demands of the classroom, therapy session, and life and still find the energy to consistently implement good AAC practices. In the real world, teams struggle with these issues every single day. So when Rachael Langley, a Michigan-based SLP and AAC specialist, offered to provide insight into what that process has been like in classrooms she supports, I was thrilled. Rachael’s original post about using PODD in the classroom and her follow-up post on implementation tips gave us insight into the journey that one elementary school classroom team is taking to better serve their students with little or no... [Read More...]

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Beyond “Train and Hope” 5 Ways to Support Carryover of Skills by AAC Learners

October 22, 2015 by - 2 Comments

Beyond “Train and Hope” 5 Ways to Support Carryover of Skills by AAC Learners

  With her SLP, Marissa conjugates verbs and includes function words to make the sentence grammatically correct (e.g., “She is going home with me”). With others, she tends to use her AAC more telegraphically (e.g., “She go home me”). In therapy, Marcus uses his AAC to create 3-4 word sentences. In the classroom, he communicates mostly in single word utterances. Sound familiar? Marcus and Marissa have both learned skills in therapy sessions that they are not using in their daily lives. Data from their therapy sessions show that these students have mastered the target language skills, so the SLP is understandably disappointed when they revert back to using less sophisticated utterances in the classroom. Problems with carryover and skill generalization are not unique to AAC. Ask any SLP who does articulation therapy or teaches kids who stutter how to speak more fluently. Getting them to use the skills demonstrated in... [Read More...]

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AAC in the Classroom: Presentations You May Have Missed

August 25, 2015 by - Leave your thoughts

AAC in the Classroom: Presentations You May Have Missed

It’s so gratifying to see the growing number of AAC presentations that are being offered around the country. If you serve school-aged children, here are a few presentation handouts that might be of interest. Building Classroom Communities to Support AAC Users by Ashley Robinson AAC Implementation Strategies by Vicki Clarke and Jenna Coyer Making AAC Work in the Classroom by Ann Kuhlmeier  

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How I Do it: AAC Inservices by Tabi Jones-Wohleber

August 6, 2015 by - 9 Comments

How I Do it: AAC Inservices by Tabi Jones-Wohleber

Many SLPs involved in AAC service provision are called upon to provide inservice training on implementation strategies. In this post, we are very fortunate to have Tabi Jones-Wohleber back to share both her thoughts and training materials. Tabi, an SLP on the AT Team for Frederick County Public Schools in Maryland, wrote two previous posts for us. In those posts, Tabi shared her All-in-One Visual Support Tool and Classroom CORE Tool. Today, we hear about her experiences with professional development for teachers, aides, and therapists who serve students with AAC needs. :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::   Implementing AAC:  A Picture…AND…A Purpose   As I work with staff and students to support implementation of AAC, I’ve learned 2 important things about making it work: 1) Folks need to know what it looks like “in their classroom/life” AND 2) effective implementation does not emerge from directives, but rather evolves from understanding, engagement and ownership of the WHAT... [Read More...]

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How I Do It: Classroom CORE Book by Tabi Jones-Wohleber

June 15, 2015 by - 5 Comments

How I Do It: Classroom CORE Book by Tabi Jones-Wohleber

Although summer is just beginning, many SLPs in our region are already thinking about the next school year. If you are trying to increase classroom use of AAC, you will want to check out the core vocabulary resources developed by Tabi Jones-Wohleber. Tabi is a Maryland-based SLP who works on the Frederick County Public Schools AT Team. You can view her earlier post (and accompanying downloads) here. In this post, Tabi shares her wonderful Communication Opportunities Ready to Engineer (CORE) book and explains how she uses these materials. ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Classroom CORE (Communication Opportunities Ready to Engineer) Book: When posed with the question “How can I use core more?” by a group of teachers inspired to make communication a priority, I was thrilled to be part of a team motivated to investigate this exciting question.  These talented Rock Creek School educators teach a diverse population of students with all manner of physical,... [Read More...]

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