An AAC Christmas Tale

December 23, 2022 by - Leave your thoughts


An AAC Christmas Tale

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the town Not a creature was stirring, they were all safe and sound. The stockings were hung by their chimneys with care, In hopes that AAC Elves would soon visit there. The teachers were nestled all snug in their beds, With visions of lesson plans banished from their heads. The therapists with data sheets and the strategies they love best, Had just settled in for a good winter-break rest. When outside the schoolyard, there arose such a clatter I rushed toward the window to see what was the matter. Stepping on Legos (does that pain ever fade?) I ran to the window and lifted the shade. With her silvery face, the moon shone from the night sky, Illuminating the landscape from her perch way up high. And what to my sleep-deprived eyes should appear But an accessible sleigh, and 8 AT reindeer.... [Read More...]

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PrAACtically Christmas: AAC-friendly Resources

December 22, 2022 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtically Christmas: AAC-friendly Resources

Looking for some last-minute activities to use in your AAC work? Here are some AAC-friendly materials to explore. Communication Boards for Hanukkah and Christmas for AAC Users by Susan Berkowitz Help Santa by Joyful Occupational Therapy Pete the Cat’s 12 Groovy Days of Christmas Visual Supplement by Paige Sullivan Christmas Helpers Adapted Book EASY READER (Autism Support) by Alicia Mitchell Santa Emotions Boom Cards™ by Speechie Adventures There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell – Companion AAC Materials by Weave Chat AAC The Ninjabread Man (by C.J. Leigh) – AAC Companion Material by Weave Chat AAC How the Grinch Stole Christmas Adapted Book for Autism / Special Education by Anna Waddell Christmas Visual Grounding Mindfulness Activity by Behavior Belle Christmas Conversation Starters Visuals Task Cards Social Skills by LitRead Christmas Cookie AAC Mat by Sped Ventures Christmas Core Vocabulary Book by B and B SLP No Print Boom... [Read More...]

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Resources for an AAC-friendly Hanukkah

December 19, 2022 by - Leave your thoughts


Resources for an AAC-friendly Hanukkah

Yesterday was the start of the 8-day celebration of Hanukkah. In recognition of the holiday, we’re sharing some AAC-friendly resources that might be helpful to those who celebrate or are learning about this festival of lights. This treasure trove of resources from Gateways includes symbols for prayers and songs, social narratives, instructions for lighting the menorah, Hanukkah fire safety, games, and activities. Hanukkah Resources Hanukkah Crafts with Visual Directions by Simply Visual Communication Boards for Hanukkah and Christmas for AAC Users by Susan Berkowitz Hanukkah Short Story Comprehension and Retell with Visuals by MollyB SLP Hanukkah Shared Reading | Project & Trace Chart Worksheet by Cooper’s Crayon Box Digital Token Boards FREEBIE (Hanukkah Edition) – BOOM Cards by Speech Bop Hanukkah/Dreidel Classroom Supports by Miss Laidlaw’s Classroom Free Spanish / English “My Hanukkah” Emergent Reader Mini-book by Miss Shibz Hanukkah recipes and books from PreK Pages Silly Hanukkah Joke Tellers... [Read More...]

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AACidental Mentors: 8 Ways AAC Practitioners Can Help Others Grow Their AAC Skills

December 15, 2022 by - Leave your thoughts


AACidental Mentors: 8 Ways AAC Practitioners Can Help Others Grow Their AAC Skills

Though I’ve participated in several of them, the truth is that I have never been a big fan of formal mentorship programs. Whether arranged by an employer or offered by a professional organization, formal mentorship programs just never seem to live up to their promise.  In my experience, informal mentorships that emerge organically are more appealing and effective. In the field of AAC, there are too few mentors, too many people who need mentorship, and too few opportunities for them to connect. But if we think about mentoring more broadly and characterize it as a learning relationship, solutions start to emerge.  In the spirit of the holiday season and the feelings of generosity and gratitude that it inspires, we offer a few ideas for how each of us can contribute to the AAC learning and growth of others. Notice the positive. Draw attention to it so that others see those... [Read More...]

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PrAACtical Questions: “What other factors should we consider in choosing the symbol type for AAC?”

December 12, 2022 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtical Questions: “What other factors should we consider in choosing the symbol type for AAC?”

If you’ve been following along in our PrAACtical Questions series, you know that we’ve been contemplating the role that symbols play in AAC decision-making. Previously, we addressed: “How can we make data-based decisions about AAC symbols?” “How important is symbol selection in choosing AAC devices/apps?” and, “What symbols are used in AAC apps & SGDs?” If you’ve followed this series, you know that we’ve advocated an individualized approach to determining which type of symbol to use for AAC. Informal assessment tasks, such as the ones we discussed in a past post, can be helpful in gathering data to use in making this decision.  Today, we’re exploring additional factors to consider in symbol selection. When there doesn’t seem to be a clear preference and/or when the performance is similar across symbol types, we turn to some other factors that are worth considering as you make your selection. AAC User Perspective A... [Read More...]

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Throwback Thursday: Teaching Early Language & Literacy through Multimodal Expression

December 8, 2022 by - Leave your thoughts


Throwback Thursday: TELL ME

The Teaching Early Language & Literacy through Multimodal Expression (TELL ME) program that I co-authored with Lori Wise, is a classroom-based approach to supporting core vocabulary learning in preschool students who use AAC. In today’s post, we reach into the archives to revisit past posts on this program. Video Overview: AAC in the Preschool Classroom TELL ME About It Series by Maggie Judson & Jeanna Antrim Creating TELL ME AAC Literacy Kits TELL ME Virtual Classrooms TELL ME Books Max’s Breakfast If You’re Angry and You Know It The Lunch Box Surprise Come Out and Play, Little Mouse No, David Go Away Big Green Monster What Do You Like? Here Are My Hands From Head to Toe I Went Walking Brown Bear, Brown Bear Using the TELL ME Approach with Other Books If You Give a Mouse a Cookie I Like Myself Where’s Spot All Are Welcome! I Know a... [Read More...]

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PrAACtical Questions: “How can we make data-based decisions about AAC symbols?”

December 5, 2022 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtical Questions: “How can we make data-based decisions about AAC symbols?”

Data isn’t the only thing we use in AAC decision-making, but it’s a good-sized slice of the pie. Those using the feature match approach to AAC device/app selection, a gold standard for several decades, use direct assessment procedures to guide the selection of AAC devices and apps based on the features they contain. The symbol set(s) or systems(s) available in each AAC tool is one of the features that we consider.  In this post, we share some of the assessment tasks that can be used to gain insight into how individuals do with different types of AAC symbols. In each one, the task is repeated with a specific type of symbol, so that we can make an apples-to-apples comparison. This part of the assessment is time-consuming and generally done over multiple sessions. These are drawn from the work of the later Dr. David Beukelman, and his co-authors, Dr. Pat Mirenda... [Read More...]

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December Year of Core Vocabulary & School Year of Core Vocabulary Words

December 1, 2022 by - Leave your thoughts


December Year of Core Vocabulary & School Year of Core Vocabulary Words

In 2013, when schools and other clinical programs were expanding their emphasis on teaching core vocabulary words, PrAACtical AAC published a set of resources for families and professionals that included symbol cards, sample sentences to model, activity suggestions, and more. All of these were based on a small set of core words for each month (see that post here). We followed that with a second set of Year of Core Vocabulary Word resources for a new list of words (click here for that post). Over the years, the resources were expanded and grew to include a wonderful series of calendars with daily activity suggestions developed by AAC SLP and co-founder of Talking AAC, Rachael Langley. There were many other contributors over the years who added to these efforts. In 2020, a new series was launched, School Year of Core Vocabulary Words, authored by guest contributors Michaela Sullivan, Alisa Lego, and... [Read More...]

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PrAACtical Questions: “How important is symbol selection in choosing AAC devices/apps?” 

November 28, 2022 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtical Questions: “How important is symbol selection in choosing AAC devices/apps?” 

They are often the first thing we notice in looking at a new AAC app or device. Are they realistic or minimalist? Overly juvenile or age respectful? Dull or appealing? Transparent, translucent, or opaque? Familiar or novel? AAC symbols are among the many things that AAC practitioners have to think about when supporting people with significant communication challenges. Symbols are not the sexiest part of our AAC tools yet they play a critical role. Decisions about how to represent language should be made thoughtfully and with some data to justify our conclusions. Symbol Sets vs Symbol Systems Most AAC symbols are part of a set or collection. There are conventions for things like how movement is represented or how people are depicted, but there aren’t explicit rules governing how symbols are created.  Symbol systems, on the other hand, do have concrete rules for how they are developed and used. In... [Read More...]

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AAC Posts from PrAACtical Week # 48: November 2022

November 27, 2022 by - Leave your thoughts


AAC Posts from PrAACtical Week # 48: November 2022

Happy Sunday, AAC friends. Enjoy some AAC reading and videos. Monday – Using Judgment & Discrimination Activities in AAC Instruction Tuesday – AAC Link Up Wednesday – Video of the Week: AAC Implementation Strategies Thursday – PrAACtically Thanksgiving ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Looking for a few other AAC articles to read? We’ve got plenty for you to choose from. Video of the Week: AAC for Paraprofessionals PrAACtical Guessing: 5 Apps for Interactive Inferencing Supporting Children in the Pediatric ICU 5+ Things to Do to Help AAC Learners Communicate About Illness or Injury “What’s Wrong?” AAC Messages for Negative Emotions and Feelings

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