HijAACked! Putting An AAC Twist on Gen Ed AACtivities: The Hallelujah Flight

February 19, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


HijAACked! Putting An AAC Twist on Gen Ed AACtivities: The Hallelujah Flight

This is the first in an occasional series of posts in which we take activities designed for students in general education and tweak them a bit to make them into opportunities for AAC teaching. We’ll be building on great ideas from clinicians, parents, and educators (giving credit where it is due, of course). – The first HijAACked activity is from the Classroom Magic blog by Selina Smith.  We chose this one because it gives us a chance to promote one of our favorite online book sources, We Give Books and share a wonderful book that supports Black History Month. We Give Books is a project of the Pearson Foundation and Penguin Books (you can find out more here). The Hallelujah Flight is the story of pilot James Banning and his good friend, mechanic Thomas Allen, flew cross country during the Great Depression. Written by former teacher Phil Bildner, this book... [Read More...]

Filed under:

Tagged With: , , , ,

People are Similar Even if They Speak Different Languages

February 18, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


People are SImilar Even if They Speak Different Languages

We just had a conversation (one of many) about teaching someone how to  USE an AAC device.  A colleague who is learning about  AAC brought up the idea  that teaching AAC  was like  teaching someone a different language.  Thinking about that made us realize it was also like learning another language for both the communicator and the communication partner.   In fact was not ‘like’ learning another language, it really WAS  another language.  It may be another form of English (for us, Spanish for others, Mandarin for others still)  but  for our students/clients, learning an AAC system is just like trying to learn a new language without ever going to the country that the language is spoken and very rarely hearing other people speak this new language.  People may also have trouble understanding this new language.  There are few opportunities for an AAC user to be fully immersed in AAC... [Read More...]

Filed under:

Tagged With:

PrAACtical Resources: AAC Symbols

February 18, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtical Resources: AAC Symbols

  One of the first things that many SLPs ponder when doing an AAC assessment is about how language will be stored on an SGD, no-tech communication tool, visual support or AAC app. The issue is this: What symbols are best for this person’s communication aid? This is never an easy question to answer, but the proliferation of symbols used in visual supports, communication aids, SGDs, and AAC apps has made the process even more challenging. – There are several ways in which we go about answering that question, but that’s a post for another day. In this post, we want to share some of the most comprehensive sources for identifying your symbolic options. Here are some sites you may want to bookmark. – 1. A Guide to Selecting Pictures and Symbol Sets for Communication by Sally Millar 2. Comparison chart of AAC symbol sets and systems by Spectronics 3.... [Read More...]

Filed under:

Tagged With: ,

Advocate in Your Pocket: Free App to Support Inclusive Education

February 17, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


Advocate in Your Pocket: Free App to Support Inclusive Education

The thought of an IEP meeting fills many parents we know with dread and anxiety, particularly if they are in a district where inclusive education is not running very smoothly. Jillian, a very passionate and competent mom of a youngster who uses high tech AAC, was pretty blunt about it. “I’d rather have root canal,” she said, and the parents within earshot gave her a round of applause. — So when we came across an app that provides support to families in this process, we had to check it. Developed at the Syracuse University School of Education, iAdvocate is an app designed to share information that parents can use to support their request for inclusive education. It lists some of the common roadblocks that families sometimes encounter, such as: “Your child needs small group instruction with few distractions and that can only be provided in a separate classroom.” “Meeting your chid’s needs is... [Read More...]

Filed under:

Tagged With: , ,

Magic Moments: AAC Intervention with Stop and Go App

February 17, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


Magic Moments: AAC Intervention with Stop and Go app

We’re always looking for engaging ways to give our preschool children practice with their core word vocabulary. Stop and Go by ShortStack is an app that will get your little friends using core language without even realizing how much practice they are getting. — We love the simple structure of the app, which shows vehicles stopped at a traffic light. We see and hear the name of the vehicle and then press the green light for the vehicle to go. It has an English or a Spanish option and lots of interactive elements to try and then talk about. — Magic Moments with Stop and Go 1. Core Word Practice: As expected, there are tons of opportunities for the child to move the vehicles in this app. Using the strategy of controlled access, we can elicit ‘stop’ and ‘go’ multiple times in this game. 2. More Core Word Practice –... [Read More...]

Filed under:

Tagged With: , , ,

PrAACtical Solutions: AAC Goes to High School

February 16, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtical Solutions: AAC Goes to High School

One of the reasons that we fell in love with AAC community was the seemingly boundless capacity for creativity. Creativity is something that most people associate with art and writing more than clinical work, but the reality is that creative problem-solving is a key skill among successful SLPs. As clinical educators, we’re always interested in finding ways to help our students (future SLPs) to analyze a problem situation and come up with a host of possible solutions. Creativity is enormously valuable in that process and we’re always looking for great examples of creative approaches to tough AAC problems. – So I was very intrigued by the way that educators, administrators, and therapists in British Columbia set out to help high school students with AAC needs master their systems. Approximately 5 years ago, SET-BC began the process of developing an AAC course that could be used for credit in provincial high... [Read More...]

Filed under:

Tagged With: ,

PrAACtical Questions: What Happens to SGDs When Kids Move?

February 15, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtical Questions: What Happens to SGDs When Kids Move?

This is the first in an occasional series in which we attempt to address questions posed to us by families, SLPs, and others who are providing AAC services. The first question we’ll tackle came from a school administrator who asked about what happens to AAC devices during transitions.  — The Situation: School district A had purchased an AAC device for a student following sound educational practices, such as a feature match assessment in which all key stakeholders played a significant role. The student then moved to a different part of the state but the device did not. The administrator from School District B wondered, “Shouldn’t the student be able to keep her AAC device?” The administrator from the original school district didn’t think so. The device was costly, she reasoned, and while it had been customized for this particular student, it could easily be re-programmed for a different student. Budgets are... [Read More...]

Filed under:

Tagged With: ,

Getting Here From There

February 15, 2012 by - 2 Comments


Getting Here From There

We wanted to take a breather from all the busyness to reflect on the year and to offer up some words of appreciation. For us, 2011 started with our version of a retreat: a long walk in the sun, a half day of venting our frustrations and a half day of planning new projects interspersed with lunch at the beach. (There might have been a bottle of wine in there somewhere, too.) We’d both been feeling more than a bit discouraged that the quality of AAC services is still so spotty. There are some fantastic SLPs and teachers, of course, but not enough to go around. The ‘good ones’ are too busy. And the not-so-good ones were doing too much damage. It seemed to us that too many folks with significant communication challenges weren’t getting what they needed and that stressed us out to no end. Just when we had calmed down, we... [Read More...]

Filed under:

Tagged With: ,

5 Great Places to Get AAC Therapy Materials

February 14, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


5 Great Places to Get AAC Therapy Materials

1. Various activities for the K-12 set from the SLPs and educators in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. 2. For AAC systems that use DynaVox SGDs make sure to explore the DV Implementation ToolKit 3. For AAC systems that use Pixon symbols 4. All kinds of goodies in Ms. Click’s classroom site. (Those of us here in South Florida especially love the materials for hurricane preparaton.) 5.  For AAC systems that use Minspeak/Unity, the AAC Language Lab has a host of resources.

Filed under:

Tagged With: ,

Eye love…

February 13, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


Eye love...

So much to love about Speakbook, a lovely and hugely functional tool for people who communicate by eye gaze.  – Love the generosity of its designer, Patrick Joyce, in making this available under a Creative Common license Love the creative approach of blending an eyegaze board with a communication book Love the use of color encoding so that the communicator has access to more words/messages Love the plentiful access to the alphabet for spelling novel messages Love the beautiful feel of the Speakbook website – Check out this video when you can and share the eye love.

Filed under:

Tagged With: , ,