Video of the Week: The Importance of Using Visual Supports

February 24, 2013 by - 1 Comment


Video of the Week: The Importance of Using Visual Supports

We’re always looking for great materials to share with colleagues and parents about topics related to AAC. This video by OCALI (the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence)  has been one of our favorites. It gives a brief overview of why visual supports are so important in the educational and clinical services provided to individual with ASD and other developmental disabilities.

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PrAACtical Puppet Power

February 17, 2013 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtical Puppet Power

We are huge fans of using music in AAC intervention and have learned so much from talented music therapists who really understand how to use their medium to support language learning. In this video, Ryan Judd, of the Rhythm Tree, discusses why hand puppets can be such a valuable addition when singing with language learners. He demonstrates the method with a child with Williams Syndrome who is practicing the use of prepositions. It’s clear that this strategy has lots of prAACtical potential. –

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A Language Lost

February 10, 2013 by - Leave your thoughts


In this week’s video, Dr. Melanie Fried-Oken discusses how AAC can benefit individuals who are losing their language abilities due to Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA). She reviews the disorder, provides great examples, and clearly explains AAC strategies that can be used to support these patients. We love the skillful way in which Dr. Fried-Oken balances current research with prAACtical guidelines for goals and therapy in this helpful video.

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A PrAACtical Look at Video Modeling

January 20, 2013 by - Leave your thoughts


The research base for using video modeling as a tool to help AAC learners understand what to do is well-documented. The folks at SCAAC-N make it look easy! Here are a few that they shared for communicating while doing a job (shredding paper). Asking for ‘more’ Asking for a break Asking for help Want to know more about using video modeling in your own practice? Here’s a great resource document from the National Professional Development Center on ASD. Want more info on how to do this with mobile technology? Tony Gentry from Autism Center at Virginia Commonwealth University explains in this video.

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How to Use a Countdown Board

January 13, 2013 by - 3 Comments


We’re big fans of visual supports and strategies that help individuals with AAC needs have a clear understanding of what is being expected of them. This video demonstrates a simple countdown board (called a visual timer here) that is used to show the AAC learners how much they need to do before moving onto another activity.  Sue King, the teacher who made this video and blogs at TeacherSpace, did a great job of clearly explaining how to use a countdown board. We also love the prAACtical way that Ms. King individualizes the countdown board based on a learner’s individual interests. We’re ready to make some based on coffee, or maybe chocolates of the world. Who’s in?

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Teaching Prelinguistic Communication to Beginning Communicators

January 6, 2013 by - 2 Comments


Although we are eager to get our AAC learners communicating with symbols, there are some times when we have to intervene at the prelinguistic level. Goals at this level center on communicating intentionally using overt behaviors, such as pointing, reaching, showing, and leading. We try to provide them with many opportunities to learn and practice these behaviors. Today, we’d like to share a set of brief videos from the website on Literacy for Children with Combined Hearing and Vision Loss. Because literacy develops from a good foundation in communication, the site demonstrates intervention designed to teach early communication skills. As you watch each of these videos, look for how the interventionist does these 7 things: Uses a context that is meaningful to the child Communicates warmly and enthusiastically, but does not overwhelm the learner Focuses on a single target behavior Uses language to label what is happening Provides physical guidance... [Read More...]

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In the Treasure Bag: Using Sharing Time To Focus on Vocabulary

December 30, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


Over the past few months, we’ve been advocating for a multi-stage process for vocabulary teaching that begins with focused (aided) language stimulation and explicit instruction. The approach we described then moves into engaging practice activities while we continue to provide exposure and opportunities for retrieval, with periodic comprehension checks. This cycle allows SLPs to make use of research-based strategies in their semantic intervention and get the best outcomes for their AAC learners. So, when we came across this video about how to use ‘Sharing Time’ to build vocabulary, we knew we wanted to share it. It describes a classroom activity that could also be adapted for therapy groups in which students take turns bringing in an time from home to share with the class. We love the visual support that helps the students know what to talk about. It is a great reminder that visual supports are part of good... [Read More...]

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Why Introduce a Pictured-based Communication System?

December 23, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


In an earlier screencast, we gave some clinical rationales and empirical evidence for using AAC. In this post, we share two screencasts that continue this train of thought. In part 1, we talk about why to use pictures for individuals at the intentional presymbolic level. In the second part, we’ll talk about some specific advantages that picture-based communication has over a speech-only approach. Part 1 Part 2

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