To integrate reading and writing into communication & language learning we need to have lots of books that are easily accessible. Books should be accessible physically as well as through content and interest. This holds true for ALL learners even those that don’t like books but do like…… wheels. We have made literacy accessible for a young girl who only liked elevators, and a boy who only liked balls, and a young adult who liked Barney books but not much else. It holds true for ALL disabilities, and ALL levels of reading and writing. For our final September Literacy Strategy of the Month, we wanted to share the abundance of resources for making adapted books. Because when we have great adapted books, literacy is more accessible. Check out these awesome resources for making your own adapted books and for printing out already created adapted books and lessons. We love early... [Read More...]
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It’s summer time and hopefully you have some time for some fun meaningful language experiences. There are many resources to help prAACtically support many summer time traditional activities. Check these out: Swimming– Special Education British Columbia- Picture Set has a great visual support for pool routines. Tammy Anderson from Aqua Pros Swim School shares Innovative and Fun Visual Supports for teaching swimming. Cooking– Recipes visualized from Dade County Schools (need boardmaker software to open) OR Recipes visualized from Your Special Chef (no boardmaker necessary) Bubbles are a great outdoor activity for the summer. SLP Tanna Neufeld shares her ideas and communication displays to make bubbles a meaningful language learning experience. Nature Walks- Visual checklists help make nature walks meaningful language experiences. The checklist provides a visual organization that can build in symbol/language learning as well as providing an easy way to talk about the event after it is over. Check Lakeshore... [Read More...]
Now that the school year is winding down, some of you have a little more time to read, process, and prepare for next year. We are really excited to share more ideas from Marlene Cummings, one of the most experienced AAC SLPs that we know. Those of you who have been following Marlene’s posts on the AAC implementation will be pleased to see the next part of the Framework for Success that she developed with the AAC Team at Oakland School District. If you missed her first and second posts, go take a peek at them when you can. 5 Things in our “Implementation Toolbox” When we begin the process of implementing AAC it is important to consider our “thinking”. We always want to approach every student, every team and every classroom with as much wisdom and respect as possible. One of my colleagues, Dr. Penny Hatch, from UNC Chapel Hill... [Read More...]
We continue our celebration of Better Hearing and Speech Month (#BHSM) with our Fresh Look series. In this post, we are delighted to share the insights of SLP Amy Roman, whose expertise in AAC supports for people with ALS is well-known. During the past 13 years, Amy has been a member of the multidisciplinary care team at San Francisco’s Forbes Norris ALS Research and Treatment Center. The AAC Program she developed at the Norris Center was awarded Program of the Year by the California Speech and Hearing Association in 2010. Through her private practice, she also provides AAC direct services and phone/skype consultations to individuals, caregivers and therapists. In addition, Amy is the Director of the Golden West ALS Association’s AAC Lending Library. She is also the author of AlphaCore© communication software available on DynaVox speech generating devices. Amy has presents workshops and at conferences on clinical and research topics in AAC.... [Read More...]
With our love of visually-based communication, it should come as no surprise that we were happy to come across this blog post by Ryan Knobloch. For starters, it’s always gratifying to see examples of how visual supports work for all types of learners in all types of situations. Making language visible is a good thing for all of us. Graphic organizers are one way to add clarity in AAC therapy sessions. It got us to thinking about how to make them accessible to learners with AAC needs by scanning them and making them into forms, for example. We also started reflecting on what goals could be supported through the use of this strategy. Semantic development and building stronger narrative skills immediately came to mind. Do you use graphic organizers in your work with AAC learners? We’d love to hear about it.
Sometimes the pages of communication books can be hard to turn, particularly if the pages are stiff or laminated. Here are some tried-and-true methods of putting spacers between the pages to make the books easier for unruly hands to handle. Use a small square of soft Velcro to a corner of the page. The adhesive-backed Velcro makes this a quick and easy fix, and it’s a good way to use up leftover scraps. Foam stickers from a craft or dollar store work well if you only need a small amount of separation between the pages. We love that you can get them in a wide variety of shapes and themes (e.g., dinosaurs, soccer balls, princess crowns). Great way to personalize the book based on your client’s interests. Colorful pom-pom’s can be hot-glued to one end of a paper clip. Use the other end to clip the fluffer to the page.... [Read More...]
The topic of communication books was introduced this month. We will continue to think about the multitude of decisions to make as we design individual communication books. Obviously, content is the most important issue, but we are often reminded that function and form must go together. Carole gave some great examples of reasons to make the books appealing and personal. I had a situation this week that illustrated this concept perfectly. We continue to learn from the ‘learners’ that we are teaching. I know a little girl with autism who most people think does not care about her peers or how things look. She uses some natural speech and a no-tech communication book. She uses the communication book during her speech-language therapy sessions but only inconsistently outside of the therapy room. She has not expressed interest in taking the communication book with her and although she has some specific visual... [Read More...]
Although every field has its moments, speech-language pathology is not generally known for high levels of controversy and drama. In the AAC world, the glaring exception to that is Facilitated Communication (FC). FC has had many critics and supporters (e.g., Syracuse University’s FC Center, now the Institute on Communication and Inclusion). The editors of Evidence-Based Communication Assessment and Intervention, Drs. Ralf Schlosser and Jeff Sigafoos, have graciously allowed us to share a link to a paper by a former FC facilitator which appears in the EBP Speaker’s Corner section of the journal. You may download the article for free until June at: http://bit.ly/I7JEt4 .
Wishes are wonderful things, seducing us with their promise and possibility. So with the luck o’ the Irish in mind, we’re sending forth a wish for something intangible, the big O: Opportunity. — Our AAC wish list for this month is all about opportunities. Opportunity. It has such a nice ring to it. Our parents and teachers tried to prepare us to recognize opportunity, and promised us that it would come knocking. – But sometimes the knock of AAC opportunity is drowned out by other things. Sometimes we just don’t hear it. We may miss the opportunity to teach a new clinician how to expand the language of a teenager learning to use a speech generating device. We may miss the chance to create the teachable moment for a child just learning to use AAC to make a comment. We might miss the opportunity to encourage a parent to give... [Read More...]
Imagine having one key communication strategy and no one knew that it existed. This horrifying experience was documented in the book ‘I Raise My Eyes to Say Yes,’ the autobiography of Ruth Sienkiewicz-Mercer. For years, she effectively used eye gaze with her family to answer yes/no questions, but when Ruth was placed at a residential facility, things eventually changed. Staff turnover, something we’re all familiar with, was the culprit. With time, new staff came in and didn’t realize that Ruth communicated with her eyes. Ruth was silenced for years until someone noticed that her ‘eyes up’ movement wasn’t reflexive or random. She was talking, but no one was listening. — While this was an extreme example, most AAC practitioners can recount their own stories of people whose AAC messages weren’t effectively translated once they moved to new settings. The transition to a new environment, where untrained partners may fail to recognize... [Read More...]