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TELL ME About It: AAC Learning with ‘Dear Zoo’!

November 9, 2020 by - Leave your thoughts

TELL ME About It: AAC Learning with ‘Dear Zoo’!

Ready for another post with book-related ideas for supporting core vocabulary learning in preschool classrooms? We’re excited to welcome Jeanna Antrim and Maggie Judson back to these pages with another guest post the TELL ME About It series. Today, they share ideas for core vocabulary experiences with an old favorite, Dear Zoo.If you’re in search of ways to support preschool teachers who are implementing the TELL ME program with their young students, this post is for you. There are quite a few resource links embedded in this post, ready for you to download. Maggie and Jeanna are speech-language pathologists who work in the Assistive Technology Department for the Belleville Area Special Services Cooperative (BASSC) in southern Illinois. They are AT/AAC facilitators and provide evaluations, direct therapy, consultations, and trainings with school teams. ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: TELL ME About It: AAC Learning with ‘Dear Zoo’! TELL ME About The Book The third book... [Read More...]

How I Do It: Functional Ideas for AAC Use at Home

October 22, 2020 by - Leave your thoughts

How I Do It: Functional Ideas for AAC Use at Home

Speech-language pathologists who serve individuals with complex communication generally have less time than they’d like to support families in implementing AAC at home. In today’s post, guest author Jesse Kleinman shares her ideas for using functional activities to support AAC learning. As an SLP in Brooklyn New York, she provides in-person and remote therapy to students with AAC needs. Enjoy! ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: How I Do It: Functional Ideas for AAC Use at Home During this time, we have all been spending a lot of time at home to stay safe. It has been a trying time in these past couple of months, but as therapists, we are always adapting. As a speech-language pathologist, I was thrown into the world of teletherapy for about 6 months, and I’m now doing a hybrid approach where I see some of my students in person and others remotely. I’ve been seeing a majority of my... [Read More...]

How I Do It: Supporting Spanish-speaking AAC Learners

October 19, 2020 by - Leave your thoughts

How I Do It: Supporting Spanish-speaking AAC Learners

We’ve been on a mission to add our support to the population of AAC users from Spanish-speaking communities, so when AAC SLP Deanna Wagner shared this piece she wrote on strengthening her Spanish language skills, we knew we wanted to share it. Here in the US, where speaking a second language isn’t as highly valued as it should be, many professionals struggle to become confident in languages other than English. In this post, Deanna shares her tips for strengthening her Spanish so that she can better serve the families she supports. In addition, she provides a helpful table of AAC apps that are available in Spanish that you won’t want to miss. :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Building Spanish Language Skills As an AT professional who supports families who speak Spanish at home, I am always looking for ways to brush up on my AAC vocabulary and Spanish terminology.  I am not a native... [Read More...]

PrAACtically October: AAC Resources for A Year of Core Vocabulary Words (Remote or In-person Learning)

September 28, 2020 by - Leave your thoughts

PrAACtically October: AAC Resources for A Year of Core Vocabulary Words (Remote or In-person Learning)

Do you know any AAC learners like these? Jeremiah has an SGD with thousands of core and fringe words, but he uses less than 100 of them in day-to-day life. Bella used an AAC app with visual scene displays to interact at playtime and during daily routines for the past several months. Her team just added an app with a grid-based vocabulary so that she can begin to create novel sentences and expand her language abilities. Mason was recently evaluated for an AAC device, but it will likely take a few months to get the funding situation straightened out. In the meantime, his team created a manual communication board that mirrors the main screen of the SGD’s language software. Each of them needs lots of practice to become fluent with the core words in their AAC systems. Are you looking for resources to support your use of core words in... [Read More...]

Growing AAC Professionals: Resources for Mythbusters

September 10, 2020 by - Leave your thoughts

Growing AAC Professionals: Resources for Mythbusters

We’re excited to have another guest post today by Vicki Haddix, an AAC SLP and Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Memphis. Vicki joins us periodically to share some of the work completed by her SLP graduate students. Under her leadership, they create videos, handouts, and other materials that can be used by families, clinicians, and educators. Let’s take a look.   ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: As I have said in previous posts about teaching the graduate class on AAC, I find Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to be a very helpful framework when designing the course, although I’ve realized I don’t typically name UDL when I discuss activities or assignments. But I was thrilled when Lindsey Hull came to me wanting to look at integrating students who use AAC within the general education classroom, and we got to talk about UDL. She put together a narrated PowerPoint full of great ideas for... [Read More...]

When Repetition Becomes Problematic

July 2, 2020 by - 2 Comments

When Repetition Becomes Problematic

Have you worked with learners like these? Shameka wore a favorite t-shirt, featuring her beloved Moana, to her teletherapy session. She pointed to it to show her therapist and used her AAC device to say “Moana.” After acknowledging her Moana shirt and having a brief conversation about it, the therapist was ready to move on to the activities planned for that session. Shameka continued to bring up Moana many times throughout the session.  Bryce’s love of pizza is no secret. It’s so important to him that Bryce can say ‘pizza’ with a word approximation, sign it with his unique version of the manual sign, or use a manual communication board or SGD to say the word. Most days, that’s a very good thing. But sometimes, Bryce starts mentioning pizza early in the morning and brings it up a few times an hour for the rest of the day.   Many of... [Read More...]

Growing AAC Professionals: When Learning Meets Service

May 21, 2020 by - 2 Comments

Growing AAC Professionals: When Learning Meets Service

Teaching AAC to future SLPs is a longstanding passion of mine so when a fellow instructor, Vicki Haddix, reached out to talk about the AAC projects her graduate students had done, I knew that I wanted to share them with you. In today’s post, Vicki, a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Memphis, tells us about her most recent students and their projects. The materials they created can be used by parents and professionals alike. Make sure to check out the link at the bottom to access the full array of materials that these talented students created. Enjoy! ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: As a professor, it’s always exciting when you see the great work that graduate students are doing and think about the potential that they are bringing to the field. I’ve taught the AAC class at the University of Memphis’s SLP graduate program for 5 spring semesters, and I always learn... [Read More...]

Video of the Week: Tech Tips for Modeling in Tele-AAC Activities

May 20, 2020 by - Leave your thoughts

Video of the Week: Tech Tips for Modeling in Tele-AAC Activities

Everywhere you look, therapists and clinicians are providing remote services to support AAC learners. They’re working through the challenges of remote learning and figuring out ways to support their clients and families, sometimes with little or no guidance from their own agencies. And through it all, they are finding making time to support other AAC practitioners throughout the world.  It’s pretty impressive! We’re really pleased to feature a video by PrAACtical AAC contributor and AAC SLP Sarah Gregory in today’s post. In this video, Sarah helps us with some of the technical aspects of AAC modeling while running an online activity.  Take a look.  Direct Link to Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbVSndMvlMg You can see some of Sarah’s previous contributions here.

Connecting Intubated Patients with Loved Ones: Co-VidSpeak

April 30, 2020 by - Leave your thoughts

Connecting Intubated Patients with Loved Ones: Co-VidSpeak

One of the most heartbreaking aspects of the Covid-19 situation is the necessity of separating desperately ill patients from their loved ones. In most instances, visitors are not allowed or are severely limited. The sense of isolation makes this terrible situation worse, both for patients and for families. So several weeks ago when I first saw the prototype for Co-VidSpeak, I could instantly see its potential to make life more tolerable for patients who are unable to speak and their families. In today’s post, you can learn more about Co-VidSpeak from its founders, Bill Binko (LessonPix) and Brian Whitmer (CoughDrop) who are offering this at no cost to eligible individuals. If you are so inclined, please consider supporting their efforts through a donation (details below). Another way that you can make a meaningful contribution to these efforts is to share this with healthcare providers, especially those with decision-making power in... [Read More...]

PrAACtically March: More AAC Resources for a Year of Core Words

February 24, 2020 by - Leave your thoughts

PrAACtically March: More AAC Resources for a Year of Core Words

Do the AAC users in your life use only a fraction of the core words in their SGD, AAC app, or communication board? One way to help them move forward is to make a concerted effort to use, highlight, and provide additional teaching on a variety of words. It’s hard to do this without getting overwhelmed, so find a strategy that works for you.  A few years ago, we decided to approach this by focusing on 12-16 core words each month. (If this is too much for the teams with whom you work, that’s not a problem. Just cut it back to 4-6 words/month.) Each month, we can highlight those words in our conversation (aided language input), direct intervention, and home programming activities with AAC learners. The repeated experiences with those 12-16 (or 4-6) words help our AAC learners develop new skills, and keeps the team focused on the same destination. ... [Read More...]