Getting Started with Stepping into AAC

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Take a look at this roadmap to get an overview of where we’re headed.

Let’s get started. 

Choosing an AAC Tool for the Journey: From the very first week, you’ll be actively using AAC on a daily basis. If your learner is new to AAC, we will guide you through the process of choosing a communication board to print out and use. It will be a generic board at first, but we’ll help you customize it later in the journey to meet your AAC learner’s needs. 

  • If you already have an AAC device or app, take a few moments to look it over and decide if you will use it for your journey. A primary consideration is whether it has the specific words we’ll focus on over the next 20 weeks. We’ll explore those words in detail later, but for now, you can take a look at the word list here. If your current device/app does not have these words, you may need to use one of the communication board options we will offer in Week 1.

Connect with Your Team: Consider how you want to involve others who care about and support your AAC learner. Ideally, it is best to involve family, therapists, and the school team so that everyone is working toward the same goal or at least aware of what you will be focusing on for the next 20 weeks.  You can share the news with them informally, invite them to participate, and/or share weekly resources with them. If that feels a little intimidating, take a look at the sample verbiage we provide in this document. 

Getting Organized: Each week, you will engage in 5 hands-on activities, view 2-5 short videos (up to 12 minutes each), and review some print resources. These include handouts and a weekly AAC newsletter.  If you wish, you can print out a chart showing what will be covered in each week.

  • Involving the Team: You may wish to set up a weekly routine of sending a weekly email to team members with the Stepping Into AAC material for each week. Give some thought to when and how you will do that so that it doesn’t get overlooked in your busy life.

Each week has a consistent structure. While you can use the resources in any way you wish, here is a recommended sequence for families just starting their AAC journey.

AACtion Steps (Hands-on Activities)

AACtion Steps are short and simple activities that get you from thinking about AAC to actually doing the work. It’s tempting to skip these, but we encourage you to engage with the process and use your AAC tool to complete 5 days of easy hands-on activities. You’ll deepen your understanding of the AAC tool and gain confidence in its use. For your AAC learner to become effective in communicating with a communication board or AAC device/app, it’s critical that they see you using it. The AACtion Steps will help you with that as we gradually explore how to incorporate a set of target words into our daily experiences.

Signposts (Videos & Companion Handouts)

Signposts are an engaging way for you to learn more about key elements of AAC. There are 2-5 videos each week that run for 3-12 minutes each. Weekly themes are covered in these exploratory and instructional videos, which feature our Stepping into AAC team and contributors, parents of children, teens, and adults who use AAC, as well as clips of AAC users in action. There are over 30 digital handouts that emphasize key points and strategies. You may want to print these out or download them for later reference. These may be helpful to your AAC learner’s teams, so consider sharing ones that are particularly relevant to your situation.

Travelogs (Newsletters)

 Travelogs are our weekly AAC newsletters that further explore some of the AAC concepts covered in the videos and hands-on activities. Each one features two short articles, a Question of the Week, and additional resources to explore. These are ideal for sharing with family members and teams.

100 Days of AAC Starts Here

The Stepping into AAC program offers 100 days of AAC practice, designed to be utilized over 20 weeks. Each week contains unique resources centered on a theme.  You can follow the program in chronological order or choose the resources most relevant to your needs. 

  • Choose a week from the images below to open the stepping stones for that week.  
  • If you’d prefer to see a complete list of the resources in this project, visit the resource list.

Skip to a Resource

Looking for something specific?  You can skip to any resource in the program from the resource page. 

Connecting with the AAC Learner’s Team

AAC is a team effort, and keeping everyone informed so we can work toward the same goal can be challenging. In most situations, sharing Stepping Into AAC materials and resources with the AAC learner’s therapy and educational teams will be helpful. In this first week, you can use verbiage from the sample letters we created to inform team members about your Stepping Into AAC journey.

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