Tag Archive: How I Do It

How I Do It: Connecting with Colleagues in a Shared Community of Practice by Karen Natoci Florka

November 25, 2014 by - 3 Comments

How I Do It: Connecting with Colleagues in a Shared Community of Practice by Karen Natoci Florka

I had the pleasure of meeting Karen Natoci Florka last month when I visited Michigan and am delighted that she was willing to introduce us to the Shared Community of Practice from the team at The Communication Matrix. Karen is an SLP who has served students aged 3-26 with various physical, sensory and intellectual challenges at Wing Lake Developmental Center (Detroit area) since 2001. She is a part time lecturer at Wayne State University where she teaches a course entitled “Communication Acquisition and Educational Interventions for Students with Moderate to Severe Impairments.” She is part of the Communication Matrix Charter group. Click on the image below to learn more. The Communication Matrix is growing into a Shared Community of Practice!  I remember the first few weeks in my new job at a wonderful, magical, school for children with complex communication needs. It was time for my first evaluation. These amazing students were challenging!  They seemed... [Read More...]

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How I Do It: Preparing AAC Learners for Their First SGD

November 13, 2014 by - 3 Comments

One of the greatest privileges of being an AAC SLP is getting to see kids grow and mature when they are given the appropriate communication tools and supports. The other day, I observed a tall, strong young man with significant autism arrive at this therapy session carrying a padded case. Once in the room, he gently laid it on the table, carefully opened it, took out his SGD, and gingerly placed it on the table in front of him.  He had gotten his first SGD this summer as a tween, after having used the one in our AAC lab in his therapy sessions for the preceding months. There were some concerns that when he got his own SGD, he might be a little confused at first. Additionally, some were worried that he might be rough with it and cause it to break. It wasn’t particularly worrisome to us, but these... [Read More...]

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How I Do It: Implementing Aided Language Input with Alicia Garcia

October 3, 2013 by - Leave your thoughts

How I Do It: Implementing Aided Language Input with Alicia Garcia

We are so pleased to have reconnected with SLP Alicia Garcia and are even more delighted that she agreed to do a guest post. Alicia is the clinical lead of the AAC Clinic at One Kids Place, a children’s treatment centre in northern Ontario. She has over 20 years of experience in pediatric rehabilitation practice in private and public settings, including clinical practice in AAC clinics and programs in Wisconsin, Florida, and now in Ontario. In this post, Alicia addresses one of our favorite clinical strategies in a very prAACtical way. Implementing Aided Language Stimulation: 8 Frequent Mistakes and How to Avoid Them Aided Language seems like a simple concept: Partners should model or demonstrate picture communication when talking to children who are learning to use picture communication, so that they would learn by example. Yet, when it comes to implementation we see frequent mistakes and misinterpretations. The most commons being:... [Read More...]

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How I Do It: 5 Ways to Tell If Your Students are Becoming Competent Communicators with Marlene Cummings

July 18, 2013 by - Leave your thoughts

5 Ways to Tell if Your Students are Becoming Competent Communicators with Marlene Cummings

It’s always a good day when we get to share the thoughts of veteran AAC SLP, Marlene Cummings. In this post, Marlene  talks about the signs to look for as clients gain skills with AAC and wraps up her series of posts on her yearlong experience in providing embedded professional learning  experiences in Oakland Schools.  You can see her earlier posts on cultivating the right mindset, their framework for AAC success, her AAC implementation toolbox, and the communication environment. 5 things in our “Destination Toolbox” “Are we there yet?” or “Five Ways to Tell That Your Students are Becoming Competent Communicators” Students are: Participating in the purposes of communication by novelly generating multiple word phrases demonstrating a variety of communicative functions Taking multiple communicative turns with multiple partners in multiple environments Using words from many different word classes Using words to talk about words Using language to communicate and communicating to learn... [Read More...]

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How I Do It: A Framework for Success-Getting Started in the Exciting World of Communication and AAC

May 30, 2013 by - Leave your thoughts

How I Do It: A Framework for Success-Getting Started in the Exciting World of Communication and AAC

 We couldn’t be  more excited to have a return visit from Marlene Cummings, a wonderful SLP who is currently serving as an AAC Consultant to the AAC Team at Oakland Schools. In her first post, Marlene talked about strategies for cultivating the right mindset for AAC teaching. In this post, Marlene continues sharing elements of her Framework for Success in discussing the Knowledge Toolbox, developed with the Oakland Schools AAC Team.     5 Things in Your “Knowledge Toolbox” What is already in my “knowledge toolbox” of communication, language and learning? Yes, you do have a full toolbox. You just don’t realize it. And of course there are always new and exciting things to add. You already know this stuff!! REMEMBER??? It is important to step back and think broadly about communication and what it really does. Sometimes we get caught in the details of our work and can’t see the forest through the... [Read More...]

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How We Do It: Essential TRICKs for Supporting AAC in Schools, Part 2

May 9, 2013 by - Leave your thoughts

Today we welcome back 3 SLPs from the Orange County Public School (OCPS) AT team, Cathy George, Marcia Sterner, and Marcia Piersall. They are part of a very active and competent AT Team that supports over 700 students with dedicated AAC devices. It is no surprise that they’ve come up with a list of  5 essential TRICKs that they count on to help them support these students and their educational teams. You can read about the first 2 TRICKS, Try It and Resources, here and download some of their terrific resources. Today, we learn about the rest of their TRICKs: Information, Can’t Live Without It, and Kick It Up A Notch. Give Me Five: Essential TRICKS, Part 2 INFORMATION about the student Student interests What systems previously tried What tasks s/he is struggling with Trial data sheet– Communicative competence organizer CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT IT: In addition to AAC devices, these... [Read More...]

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How I Do It: Writing IEP Goals for Students Who Use AAC with Lauren Enders

April 25, 2013 by - 5 Comments

How I Do It: Writing IEP Goals for Students Who Use AAC with Lauren Enders

We’re so happy to welcome Lauren Enders back to share some more thoughts on AAC and the IEP. In her first post on this topic, Lauren addressed some frequently asked questions. Today, she provides a very valuable perspective on writing IEP goals for students who use or need AAC and some wonderful resources. Very often, I receive requests for support from teachers and speech therapists that are writing IEP goals for their students who use AAC.  When we sit down to discuss their questions, the first thing I remind them is that AAC goals are no different from any other IEP goal.  I recall a workshop I attended years ago presented by Gail VanTatenhove that helps put IEP goals for AAC into perspective.  Gail said that AAC therapy is just language therapy.  Isn’t that true? Aren’t we just teaching language?  For this student, language is simply being expressed in a... [Read More...]

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How I Do It: Cultivating an “I Can” Mindset with Marlene Cummings

March 21, 2013 by - Leave your thoughts

How I Do It: Cultivating an "I Can" Mindset with Marlene Cummings

As much as we love fresh new voices in the AAC community, there is simply nothing like the voice of experience. When a program has had more than 40 years of experience providing AAC services, we listen! Today, we are honored to have Marlene Cummings, an AAC SLP from Michigan, share the collective wisdom of her team. I have found that one of the joys in my professional life is asking hard questions about my present work and then figuring out ways to address those questions. Much of my 30 + years have been spent designing and implementing programs, systems and materials to support young children with complex communication needs in the role of the teacher in these classrooms. I explored ways to design environments and develop curricular frameworks and instructional materials, which would provide students with the instruction and opportunities to become competent communicators, all from the view of... [Read More...]

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How I Do It: AAC in the IEP

March 7, 2013 by - 5 Comments

How I Do It-AAC in the IEP

We’re happy to welcome back, Lauren Enders, an AAC specialist from Pennsylvania. You can read her earlier post here. This month, Lauren shares some of ways she addresses AAC learning in the IEP. Frequently, SLPs and teachers contact me in a complete panic because they need to generate an IEP and write IEP goals for a student who is using (or beginning to use) Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC).  These folks have lots of questions and most often, have no idea where to begin.  There are a number of questions that come up repeatedly in these panicked requests.  When approached by PrAACtical AAC to write a post about IEPs and AAC, I thought it might be helpful to share some of the most common questions I hear along with the answers I provide.  I will structure the post in a Question & Answer format in the hopes that the post... [Read More...]

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How We Do It: Essential TRICKs for Supporting AAC in Schools, Part 1

February 28, 2013 by - Leave your thoughts

How We Do It: Essential TRICKs for Supporting AAC in Schools, Part 1

When I first moved to Florida almost 20 years ago, there was a plethora of AAC trainings for special educators, school-based SLPs, and other related service personnel. The AAC professionals in the Orange County area could always be counted on for top-notch information and engaging presentations that kept all of us learning and growing. Florida since moved into a different model for professional development in AT and I am still mourning the loss of access to this fabulous team. We are so lucky that they agreed to share some of their ‘Go – To’ resources with us in this post. The OCPS AT Team has 5 TRICKS to share with us and all of them are very prAACtical. In this post, they share the first two (stay tuned for the other 3 TRICKS in a future post). Get ready to check out their prAACtical ideas and download some of their... [Read More...]

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