Tag Archive: semantic instruction

5 Ways to Make Semantic Maps More Effective in AAC Therapy

July 17, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts

5 Ways to Make Semantic Maps More Effective in AAC Therapy

Graphic organizers, such as semantic maps, are a well-established means of teaching word meanings. Both SLPs and educators frequently use this research-supported strategy to build word knowledge when working with AAC learners. Like any instructional tool or strategy, though, the learning gains our students make are tied to how we implement this kind of graphic organizer in our teaching and therapy. Here are some thoughts in maximizing the effectiveness of this powerful tool. Don’t expect graphic organizers to be the primary way that students learn their new vocabulary words. These tools are most effective when supplemented with other intervention strategies, like focused language stimulation. Make it interactive. While some professionals use graphic organizers as a worksheet that is completed in school or assigned as homework, that probably isn’t the best approach for AAC learners. Instead, plan to complete the graphic organizers WITH your student, so that you can guide the... [Read More...]

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Beyond The Core: Guide to Teaching New Words for Students Who Use AAC

July 13, 2015 by - Leave your thoughts

Beyond The Core: Guide to Teaching New Words for Students Who Use AAC

Teaching AAC learners to expand their vocabularies beyond a basic set of core words is an important goal to target in language development, and a topic that we’ve written a lot about in this space. For the student to be successful, SLPs need to think of vocabulary instruction as an ongoing process that has a clear 3-part structure.       Introduction: Word is used in context, defined, and produced by the learner. Students assess their own knowledge of the word.       Explicit Instruction: Activities are created to help the student really understand what the word means and how to use it. Students begin using it throughout the session.       Continued Practice: We continue to use these words and help the student use the target words in the session. Engaging activities, often with technology, are used to help our learners deepen their understanding of the word. This will be accomplished over multiple sessions. In this... [Read More...]

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Vocabulary Instruction: When Definitions Don’t Work

March 9, 2015 by - 3 Comments

Vocabulary Instruction: When Definitions Don’t Work

Vocabulary instruction and definitions generally go hand-in-hand. We’re used to creating learner-friendly definitions for the new words we teach, then using those definitions to introduce the word with focused language stimulation. In some situations, though, working with definitions is not the way to go. Here are some examples. Limited receptive skills: When we’re working with learners whose receptive vocabularies are very small, it can be impossible to define a new vocabulary term using only words that the learner already understands. Simone is a beginning communicator who is just starting to get the hang of symbolic communication. On a good day, she can pick out symbols for things that she wants to do (like play and eat) without any help at all, but following single step directions, identifying symbols, and matching them is more of a challenge. Giving her a definition for our new words, (open and big), isn’t likely to... [Read More...]

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More on Teaching Core Vocabulary

April 20, 2013 by - Leave your thoughts

More on Teaching Core Vocabulary

Last week, we talked about two key strategies for teaching core language: using aided language input and creating frequent opportunities to teach and elicit core words. In today’s post, we’ll expand the number of words and discuss two additional considerations for teaching core words. Aided language input is always important in working with beginning users of AAC. It exposes them to their new means of communication, provides them with a competent model of their AAC system, and introduces them to words and symbols they don’t yet know within a meaningful context. It also forces us to slow down when talking, something that can be very beneficial when you consider that many beginning users of AAC also have difficulty processing oral language. (It may take them longer to decode what they’re hearing and they may have to concentrate more than the average kid.) If you’ve actually tried pointing to symbols as... [Read More...]

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