Tag Archive: visual supports

Using Visual Sidekicks to Support Language Intervention

May 10, 2018 by - 3 Comments

Using Visual Sidekicks to Support Language Intervention

SLPs Lori Sanzeri and Chelsea Collins, creators of Core City,  are back to share ideas for implementing AAC in the classroom. Today, they share their experiences in using visual supports as a supplemental strategy for their students who are beginning to use AAC. Enjoy!   :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::   Using Visual Sidekicks to Support Language Intervention   Have you ever tried to read a book to your students without providing any visual supports? Do you find yourself having difficulty thinking about what questions to ask? Do you ever feel like the story is too “wordy” or difficult for your students to understand? Have no fear, Visual Sidekicks are here! Visual Sidekicks provide a color-coded communication board of target core and fringe vocabulary along with sentences of 3-5 symbols that simplify the text throughout the story. Children with special needs often demonstrate difficulties during structured literacy activities in the following areas: attending to... [Read More...]

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Dealing with Feelings: 5 Ways to Encourage Emotion-related Expression by AAC Learners

February 22, 2018 by - Leave your thoughts

Dealing with Feelings: 5 Ways to Encourage Emotion-related Expression by AAC Learners

Words for emotions and feelings are pretty common in AAC devices and non-electronic communication aids, like PODD books and eye gaze boards. It’s wonderful when our clients can tell us they are sad or angry with words rather than using challenging behaviors or suffering in silence. What can we do to further their skills in this area? Here are some suggestions to get us thinking. Beyond the Basics: Consider going beyond the basic feeling words (i.e., happy, sad, mad, tired, scared) and including additional emotion words in the AAC system (e.g., frustrated, embarrassed, disappointed, lonely, worried). Don’t assume that this is inappropriate just because an individual has lower language levels or cognitive delays. To learn language, we have to have access to it. Model, model, model: Use these emotion words throughout the day to express your own feelings, and narrate your observations of how others are feeling (e.g., “Joey’s crying... [Read More...]

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Video of the Week: AAC Teaching Tips on Scaffolding and Visual Supports

July 19, 2017 by - 1 Comment

Video of the Week: AAC Teaching Tips on Scaffolding and Visual Supports

Once AAC systems are in place, therapists, teachers, and parents often turn their focus on how to help learners use those to express themselves and to better understand their world. Today, we once again turn to Gail Van Tatenhove, an AAC master clinician, for teaching tips and ideas for resources and materials. This video is part of the Power AAC series from PaTTAN. Many thanks to Gail and PaTTAN for making this available. You can see other posts from the series here.  

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Video of the Week: Using Structure to Support Participation

February 15, 2017 by - 1 Comment

Video of the Week: Using Structure to Support Participation

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. Sally SLP planned an adorable craft activity, but her students with autism and AAC needs just didn’t take to it. Tara Teacher brought out some age-respectful stickers to decorate cards, but several of the students stopped after placing just one sticker and got frustrated when encouraged to add more. Olivia OT pushed into the classroom as they were painting hearts to help with fine motor skill development, but some of the kids resisted doing anything more than a few brush strokes. Sound familiar? Art activities offer great potential for communication learning and practice, but they aren’t always preferred activities for some of our AAC students. There can be several good reasons for that, but a common problem is that the activity itself may be too open-ended. Some of our students do best with activities that have a clear beginning and ending. Open-ended activities, like many of... [Read More...]

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Video of the Week: Designing & Using Visual Supports for Older Students

February 8, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts

Video of the Week: Designing & Using Visual Supports for Older Students

Chances are, you are already using visual supports with your AAC learners. If they aren’t as effective as you imagined they would be, or if you need ideas for how to make them more appropriate for middle and high school students, this video is worth watching. Karine Gleason helps us learn more about making age respectful visual boundaries, cues, and schedules, and gives us tips for fine-tuning our implementation. Many thanks to TASN and the Tri-State Autism Spectrum Disorder Network for making and sharing this video.

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AAC and Visual Supports for Storms and Hurricanes: 10 Useful Resources

October 5, 2016 by - 1 Comment

AAC and Visual Supports for Storms and Hurricanes: 10 Useful Resources

With Hurricane Matthew bearing down on us, we began thinking about ways to support people with significant communication challenges. Here are a few resources that you might find helpful. Hurricane Matthew is Coming! by UCF CARD It is Hurricane Season by Autism Educators  Hurricane Preparation by Mary Grace Hektner via Boardmaker Online (need Boardmaker to use)  What Is A Hurricane? by Mary Grace Hektner via Boardmaker Online (need Boardmaker to use)  Tornado Vocabulary by Mary Grace Hektner via Boardmaker Online (need Boardmaker to use)  Storm Social Narrative by Sandy K via Boardmaker Online (need Boardmaker to use)  Making a Thunder Box from the Practially Speeching blog Webinar on Disaster Preparedness for People with Complex Communication Needs by AAC RERC  Emergency Preparedness for Children with Autism from the Preparedness Mama Emergency Communication Board by Temple University Institute on Disabilities English  Spanish  Haitian Creole  Stay safe out there!

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Video of the Week: Implementing Visual Supports

January 14, 2016 by - 2 Comments

Today, we return to The Watson Institute for information on the implementation of visual supports. Their style of creating brief video explanations focused on specific strategies makes these clips perfect for sharing with colleagues and families. Visual Support    Power of Pairing: Reinforcers with Visual Supports Build Your Own Schedule: A Structured Choice Strategy You can browse through previous posts featuring the work from this fine team here.

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Tri-Fold Love: 5 Visual Supports for AAC Learners

December 21, 2015 by - Leave your thoughts

Tri-Fold Love: 5 Visual Supports for AAC Learners

Tri-folds are visual displays that are folded in thirds to make a triangular shaped display that can sit on a desk or table top. Like any other visual support, they can be created to suit a variety of purposes. We love them having these visual reminders out and available for quick use. Here are some we found on the amazing sharing site for Boardmaker Online that you may want to check out. First-Then Tri-fold by Alissa Plaisance  Story Grammar Marker by Marcia Piersall  Picture Schedules by Stephanie Besio: Side One has symbols for the individual activities. Side Two has ‘finished’ symbols that can be folded over each activity symbol when that task is completed.  Work First, Then Play by Clavelle  Behavior support by TASN Autism and Tertiary Behavior Supports Do you use this format for visual support with some of the AAC learners in your life? We’d love to hear... [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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5 Thoughts on Using Scripts in AAC Therapy

September 7, 2015 by - 3 Comments

5 Thoughts on Using Scripts in AAC Therapy

As we all know, it’s a big leap from having an AAC system to being able to use it functionally. For many of our prAACtical friends, one of the areas in which they struggle is conversation. It is no easy thing to have even a brief social interaction. We’ve written before about the use of scripting, a powerful strategy that we can use to help learners build conversational skills.` Scripts provide structure. As clinicians and educators, we understand that many of our learners do best when there is a clear beginning, middle, and end to an activity. For many people learning to use AAC, conversation is a VERY challenging thing because it can be quite amorphous. Scripting gives the learner practice getting comfortable with some of the skills that they need to use in conversation by adding the element of structure. The script has a clear starting point (e.g., “Look... [Read More...]

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