Tag Archive: language therapy

Core Values: Suggestions for Language Building with AAC Learners

January 16, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts

Core Values: Suggestions for Language Building with AAC Learners

Here in the US, we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr  on the third Monday of January. It presents, among other things, a wonderful opportunity to talk and teach about concepts like tolerance, fairness, dignity, respect, and peaceful protest. Many of our AAC learners have a deeper understanding of these concepts than we will ever realize but they lack the language skills to discuss them in the same ways as their speaking peers do. Today, we share some ideas for continuing the conversation about these issues to help our AAC learners continue to develop their language skills. You may already have books, videos, and other resources that are useful in teaching about the life of Dr. King and the values he fought for, but here are some previous posts with a few more suggestions. Martin Luther King, Jr Holiday: 5 Resources for AAC Learners AAC and Anti-bullying... [Read More...]

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Holiday Photos in AAC Learning: 3 Ideas for Using Them to Build Language

December 28, 2016 by - 1 Comment

Holiday Photos in AAC Learning: 3 Ideas for Using Them to Build Language

Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or some combination of holidays, these events offer rich opportunities for building language in people who use AAC. There’s a good chance that someone took photos which can be a terrific source of motivating materials. In this post, we’ll look at a few ideas for using those to strengthen language and communication skills. Collect them into a photo album: Use PowerPoint, Keynote, or an app to pull the photos together into a collection that can serve as a highly motivating context for language learning activities. With these albums we can: Page through them together to practice making comments (e.g., cold; I see tree, That is pretty), Co-create a narrative about the picture, Work on morphological goals such as pluralization and verb tenses, and, Build longer sentences (e.g., ‘hot chocolate’ becomes ‘drink hot chocolate’ or ‘make more hot chocolate’). Create a photo collage: Work with the... [Read More...]

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Holiday Talk: AAC Conversations Using Partner-focused Questions

December 26, 2016 by - 3 Comments

Holiday Talk: AAC Conversations Using Partner-focused Questions

A great many AAC learners would love to be more actively involved in social conversations but may not have the skills to carry on a conversation. For some individuals, the use of pre-stored messages designed to get their partners talking is a great way take the pressure off and allow the AAC learner to be more actively involved in the conversation. Partner-focused questions serve to get information, opinions, or feedback. By creating these and storing them as whole questions, the AAC learner has a relatively quick and easy means to drive the direction of the conversation. Here are some examples: How were your holidays? What did you get for Christmas/Hanukkah? What do you think? Where did you go over break? How’s your family? What’s going on with you? In general, people love talking about themselves and questions like these are a great way to get the ball rolling or keeping... [Read More...]

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AAC Core Vocabulary Instruction: Indirect Teaching Strategies

May 9, 2016 by - 1 Comment

AAC Core Vocabulary Instruction: Indirect Teaching Strategies

  It has been so exciting to see that AAC learners are increasingly provided with communication boards, books, SGDs, and apps that feature a robust set of core vocabulary words. For many years, ‘providing AAC’ used to mean access to topic and choice boards or activity-specific communication displays (ABCDs). Now, we recognize the limitations of those approaches and do our best to move beyond them in favor of more linguistically robust options. AAC systems with core vocabulary that is organized to support the development of a motor plan allows learners to build and grow their skills over time. For a long time, the AAC field has known that providing access to appropriate tools (in this case, a core vocabulary set) is only the first step toward successful use of augmentative communication. Providing it is necessary but not sufficient for most AAC learners to develop any sort of linguistic competence. For... [Read More...]

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Video of the Week: Visual Supports on the Fly

October 28, 2015 by - 2 Comments

Video of the Week: Visual Supports on the Fly

For several years, we’ve written many posts on the use of visual supports with AAC learners. One thing we haven’t talked about, though, is what to do when you’re in the midst of therapy or a lesson, and the need for an additional visual support arises. In this week’s featured video, SLP Shannon Hennig does an amazing job of explaining how she improvises to make visual supports on the fly. Like you, I appreciate the plethora of visual supports that have been appearing on Teachers Pay Teachers, SLP blogs, materials exchange sites, and Pinterest. Most of them are just adorable, some of them are well-designed, and all of them make using visual supports more convenient for busy professionals and families. In the end, though, the best visual supports are the ones that meet the needs of the situations. And, while we do our best to predict what will be needed... [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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Supporting Language Growth in AAC Learners: Part 1

September 22, 2015 by - 8 Comments

Here’s a sobering thought. Relatively few users of AAC use grammatically correct sentences when they communicate. There are lots reasons for that, but in this post, we focus on understanding the things that contribute to that problem. In Part 2, we’ll look at ways to address the issue. Let’s reflect on the problem of why many AAC learners don’t communicate with complete, grammatically correct utterances. When communication is time-consuming and difficult, it makes sense to put your effort to saying things that convey a lot of meaning and skip the rest. If you are trying to get your point across with as little effort as possible, content-heavy words, like agents, actions, and places, pack a punch. As clinicians, we are often so driven to understand the main points of what the learner is trying to convey that we promote that strategy. Here are two snippets to illustrate. Clinician: Look at... [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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5 Ways to Use Judgment Tasks in AAC Therapy

July 9, 2015 by - 2 Comments

5 Ways to Use Judgment Tasks in AAC Therapy

Judgment tasks refer to situations in which we present some examples and have the learner pass judgment on them. They can be examples of words used correctly/incorrectly, word endings used properly/improperly, or responses that fit well/poorly with a situation. We can set them up so that the learner weighs in with a binary judgment (e.g. thumbs up/down), gives them points (e.g., 2 points=perfect, 1=good, 0=wrong), a letter grade (e.g., A+ to F), or rates on a scale (e.g.,Excellent Okay Terrible). There are several reasons why I love judgment tasks. It can be a fun, low-stress way to increase their awareness of specific linguistic concepts. Think of it as giving them receptive exposure to the concept. In these tasks, we’re highlighting the concept but not expecting them to produce it. They put the learner in a position of power. Our prAACtical friends often don’t get enough experiences with that role, so... [Read More...]

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