Tag Archive: language intervention

Video of the Week: Building Linguistic Fluency with AAC Learners

March 16, 2016 by - Leave your thoughts

Video of the Week: Building Linguistic Fluency with AAC Learners

AAC learners often require a good deal of practice to become fluent enough with their language skills that they use them spontaneously across activities and environments. In this week’s featured video, we take a peek at Katya, who is learning to speak in longer sentences and to change singular nouns into plurals, and her SLP. The guided practice allows Katya to firm up her skills in these areas and develop the fluency she needs to be able to retrieve language during ordinary life experiences. Many thanks to Lindsey Cargill and Katya for posting this video.  

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Efficiency or Precision? Striking a Balance for AAC Learners

February 16, 2016 by - 3 Comments

Efficiency or Precision? Striking a Balance for AAC Learners

Elliott has been using some form of high tech AAC since he was in kindergarten and can express wants/needs easily. Though his language is simplistic compared to his 5th grade peers, he is able to use his SGD to give opinions, explain them, ask questions, engage in small talk, and tell short narratives. His SLP has targeted skills in inferencing, use of prefixes (‘un’ and ‘re’), verbal reasoning, Tier 2 vocabulary, and embedded clauses to help Elliott acquire the language skills that will allow him to be more successful in his academic work. She is keenly aware that, as he transitions to middle school, the academic and social demands on him will increase significantly. Although Elliott can spontaneously produce 9-12 word sentences, he usually communicates in short, simple utterances. In a recent interaction he used a single word, ‘good,’ to describe a video, and a short sentence (‘I was mad’)... [Read More...]

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Supporting Language Growth in AAC Learners: Part 3

December 7, 2015 by - Leave your thoughts

Supporting Language Growth in AAC Learners: Part 3

In some earlier posts, we looked at conversations with AAC learners who communicate with single words or short utterances, and began thinking about ways to stretch their language learning. In this post, we’ll continue to explore ways in which our intervention can facilitate language growth. Let’s start with an example of a typical conversation between an AAC learner and his/her therapist. Activity: Book reading [with aided language input] SLP: Look at all these animals! [Expectant pause]  Marcus: Bird.   SLP: Yes, lots of birds there. Those are seagulls. What else do you see? Marcus: Fish. SLP: It looks like a fish. That’s a dolphin. Dolphins are mammals. Remember from Ms. Louis’s class when you read Day of the Dolphins? Marcus: Swim SLP: Yes, they are really good swimmers. From the standpoint of shared meaning, this conversation has some good features. But even just reading the dialogue online, I bet you... [Read More...]

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From Activity-based AAC to Robust Language: Part 2

November 2, 2015 by - 4 Comments

From Activity-based AAC to Robust Language: Part 2

Last week, we talked a bit about activity-based communication displays (ABCDs), and the role they play for AAC learners. The analogy of feeding someone (with ABCDs) versus teaching them to fish for themselves (with robust AAC), resonated with many of you. In some cases, ABCDs can be a good way for therapists, educators, and families to take steps forward in their implementation of AAC. They allow students with little or no functional speech a way to participate in activities by making choices and comments, and that is a very good thing for those who don’t have a better option. There are a few drawbacks to ABCDs, though. Here are some of them. ABCDs limit language development. The learner can only experience the exact words and configurations that appear on a particular display. The learner has no way to expand his/her utterance by including other words or concepts. ABCDs are time-consuming... [Read More...]

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Supporting Language Growth in AAC Learners: Part 2

October 8, 2015 by - 5 Comments

Supporting Language Growth in AAC Learners: Part 2

Last month, we began some musings about the sad reality that the percentage of people who use AAC to communicate in a grammatically correct fashion is woefully small. In that post, we explored some of the reasons for that and looked at conversations in which the communication partner does a lot of vertical scaffolding. While the term vertical scaffolding may be new to some of you, the concept is one with which you are quite familiar. Here’s an example: Learner: Olaf. Elsa. Clinician: Are you telling me about Frozen? Learner: Nods Clinician: What about Frozen? Learner: Book. Clinician: Oh, did you get a Frozen book for your birthday? Learner: Nods excitedly Clinician: Awesome! You should bring it next time so we can read it together.   Scenarios like this are very common in AAC, especially among communicators who use their AAC to say 1-2 words at a time. Because their... [Read More...]

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Throwback Thursday: 10 Posts on Activity Ideas for Language Therapy with AAC

September 17, 2015 by - Leave your thoughts

Throwback Thursday: 10 Posts on Activity Ideas for Language Therapy with AAC

Great kid. Check! Appropriate AAC system. Check! Well-developed intervention goals. Check! Key intervention strategies. Check! Where do we go from here? Well, if you are anything like the young clinicians with whom I’ve been speaking, you might be thinking about therapy activities and materials. Here are some past posts that may be of interest. Magic Moments with Tellagami New Word Teaching: A Look Inside Some PrAACtical Therapy Sessions 5 Ways to Use Word Clouds in AAC Therapy and Magic Moments with Word Clouds Magic Moments: Painting with Time Teaching the Use of Social Phrases and Comments Let’s Go Outside! 5 PrAACtical Ideas Magic Moments with Disneyland Explorer “Can I Ask You a Question?” Language Experience Surveys 5  PrAACtical Thoughts on Catch-up Conversations Magic Moments with Sentence Builder

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Video of the Week: Narrative Skills in Students with ASD

July 15, 2015 by - Leave your thoughts

Video of the Week: Narrative Skills in Students with ASD

As much as we love working with beginning communicators and helping to create a solid foundation of early language, it’s also important for SLPs to be skilled in building higher level language skills. In this post, we hear from Dr. Paola Colozzo, assistant professor in the Audiology and Speech Science at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Our video today is from UBC’s Centre for Interdisciplinary Research and Collaboration in Autism (CIRCA) and provides a wonderful overview of narrative skills and intervention for people with autism.

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Magic Moments with Toca Train by Nerissa Hall and Hillary Jellison

March 26, 2015 by - Leave your thoughts

Magic Moments with Toca Train by Nerissa Hall and Hillary Jellison

Many of us have worked with learners who have a special interest in trains, but even kids who don’t give trains more than a passing glance still generally love the Toca Train app by Toca Boca. In this post, we welcome back SLPs Nerissa Hall and Hillary Jellison of Communicare, LLC who share how they use Toca Train in their clinical work with young AAC learners. In addition to their prAACtical suggestions, they generously share a train-themed communication board and their data sheet for the phrases that can be targeted in this activity. iPad applications are fun and engaging, and can be a great addition to any clinician’s intervention toolkit. We use iPad applications to engage our learners in play-based activities that address a range of speech, language, and communication goals. One of our learners’ favorite applications is Toca Train; a bright and colorful application that involves a train moving around a track at different speeds, controlled... [Read More...]

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3 Ways to Promote Interest in Language Therapy for AAC Learners

July 30, 2014 by - Leave your thoughts

3 Ways to Promote Interest in Language Therapy for AAC Learners

In an earlier post, we raised this question: Why work hard at something you don’t care about? The truth is that all of us put more effort into learning things that allow us to accomplish something important to US. As SLPs, we can spout many reasons why learning to use and comprehend more advanced language is a good idea. Making that meaningful to our clients, though, is another thing altogether. How can we align our therapy objectives with things of true value to our clients? Figure out what the AAC learner wants: More friends? A job? Good grades? Link the language and AAC objectives to those things. Seek the AAC learner’s input on goals and objectives: If the learner can’t nominate his/her own goals for consideration, maybe you can offer choices or help them use a rating scale to give their opinion on the suggested goals. Provide rationales for why... [Read More...]

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3 Ways to Suggest That AAC Learners Be More Specific in Their Messages

July 3, 2014 by - 4 Comments

3 Ways to Suggest That AAC Learners Be More Specific in Their Messages

Do you work with AAC learners who seem perfectly content saying things that are vague or non-specific, despite their ability to communicate more precisely? It puts a burden on the partner to use context to figure out the meaning, and sometimes this is efficient and quite necessary. Other times, however, it makes sense to seize the opportunity to teach them about saying things that are clear enough to be understood without relying on context or the partner’s knowledge of the AAC user. Like you, we sometimes work with people who are learning to be more specific in the things that they say. For those learners, we try to balance enthusiasm and interest in the message with cues that direct them to add more information. We’ve noticed that some AAC practitioners are reluctant to press the learner to communicate in more specific terms, and we certainly agree that there are times when the... [Read More...]

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