“But I don’t have just one student who needs AAC in my class – I have a bunch! How can I work AAC teaching into an already hectic day?” Teachers Amy Devin and Lauren Pawlowski are back with real-world suggestions for situations like these. Last year, they introduced us to Big Core, gave us tips for implementing it in the classroom, and explained how they integrate it into shared reading lessons and predictable chart writing activities. Today, they’re back with prAACtical information on how they provide explicit instruction on core vocabulary words. Amy and Lauren are public school teachers in Michigan who began teaching in resource rooms and moved to self‐contained ASD elementary classrooms in 2009. There was not much talk about core language when they started teaching and even less about incorporating into classroom lessons. AAC devices have changed a bit over the years, too. Initially, they worked with a 32-location core board on... [Read More...]
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We are pleased to have a return visit from special educators Lauren Pawlowski and Amy Devin with ideas for supporting AAC learners in the classroom. Amy and Lauren, who work in the public school system in Michigan, taught in resource rooms for years and have been teaching in self‐contained ASD elementary classrooms since 2009. At that time, there were few classrooms who were integrating core language instruction, but they didn’t let that stop them. Currently, they use manual communication boards, large instructional core boards, and individual AAC devices with their students. They are passionate literacy teachers and, in today’s post, tell us about their approach to shared reading lessons. Their video is chock full of tips to help you make these lessons successful. Enjoy! Shared Reading: It’s Not What They Know, It’s What They THINK! Happy Fall AAC users and facilitators! This month we would like to share some of our tips for... [Read More...]
While I’m soaking up AAC knowledge at the ASHA Convention, here’s a post from the past. :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Among the many changes that the AAC field has experienced in the last decade is the notion that core vocabulary is (or should be) an integral part of any AAC system. We grew to understand the limitations of AAC supports that consist primarily of nouns and descriptors, realizing that those kinds of communication displays restricted our clients to requesting and labeling. Our field realized the inadequacy of providing only prestored messages (e.g., limited the client’s ability to communicate anything novel, not flexible enough to meet most communication needs, etc.). In essence, we realized that without core vocabulary, we were imposing a ceiling on language development. We’re thrilled to see so many communication boards, books, SGDs, and AAC apps reflect this knowledge. Having tools with the appropriate vocabulary is a big step in the... [Read More...]
Although Better Hearing and Speech Month is ending, we want to continue best prAACtices in all teaching interactions throughout the year. Here are 9 AAC facilitator tips to help with this goal. Provide Aided Language Input (ALI)– ALI is modeling AAC style. Speak AAC to the AAC user. Use Scaffolding– Scaffolding is a verbal and visual strategy that has the facilitator build upon prior knowledge of the learner in order for the learner to integrate a new concept or skill. Model words and concepts to add information onto what the AAC user already knows and uses. Provide Expansions and Extensions– A form of modeling. Add a word to the spontaneous communication from the learner. The facilitator models a conceptual or grammatical word in the form of a model. Use Recasting– Recasts serve to add or correct information without obstructing the natural flow of communication. Recasting is another form of modelling. The... [Read More...]
We love so many blogs, websites, and videos. Parents and professionals take their own time and effort (and often money) to share AAC strategies that have worked for them and their children and students. Here are just a few great ones that we use often when working with graduate students and other professionals to help demonstrate a variety of ways AAC strategies make a difference. Enjoy! Beach Trip (and on the Road) by Dana Nieder at Uncommon Sense Helping an AAC User Learn New Vocabulary by Deanne Shoyer at Small but Kinda Mighty AAC Tips at Kreeds World Complex Needs and Switches: It Could Be You! by Ian Bean at SENICT- Special Education Needs ICS How AAC and Assistive Tech Make Classrooms Better for All by Paula Kluth at Paula Kluth Toward Inclusive Classrooms and Communities
Among the many changes that the AAC field has experienced in the last decade is the notion that core vocabulary is (or should be) an integral part of any AAC system. We grew to understand the limitations of AAC supports that consist primarily of nouns and descriptors, realizing that those kinds of communication displays restricted our clients to requesting and labeling. Our field realized the inadequacy of providing only prestored messages (e.g., limited the client’s ability to communicate anything novel, not flexible enough to meet most communication needs, etc.). In essence, we realized that without core vocabulary, we were imposing a ceiling on language development. We’re thrilled to see so many communication boards, books, SGDs, and AAC apps reflect this knowledge. Having tools with the appropriate vocabulary is a big step in the right direction. But to really shatter the ceiling of language development, we have to be good at... [Read More...]
We are so happy to have Deanna Wagner back with more AACtual Therapy. In her previous post, Deanna talked about her work with AAC groups for adults. Today, she shares a lesson plan and some implementation ideas. As a veteran AAC interventionist, Deanna’s therapy plan has many wonderful features that undoubtedly contribute to the success her students experience. Lesson/therapy Session: Using Social Phrases/Comments Intended audience & type of AAC: All devices/AAC users should have access to social commenting. Our Class: Middle school, self-contained classroom. Group of 3 students, SLP leading activity, paraprofessional, and Teacher of Visually Impaired supporting Goal for Overall Lesson: Use word/icon combinations to express opinions or make social comments Specific Student Goals: Student #1 will combine 2 icons for social interjections – please, thank you, cool, awesome, yum, yuk, ok (ECO2 from PRC) Student #2 will functionally use new phrases to chat or indicate an opinion (Dynavox... [Read More...]
One of the most frequent questions that we have been asked lately seems to be about which strategies to use to teach a student (child, adult) how to use the AAC app or device that was just just purchased. Often training was provided on the technical aspects of programming but not on teaching strategies. Without knowing how to TEACH a student to USE the AAC app or device or communication system, the tool becomes almost meaningless. Here are some of our favorite AAC teaching strategies and resources: 5 High Impact PrAACtical AAC Teaching Strategies: Use Aided Language Input Use Modeling Use the Perfect Pause Use Many Meaningful Communication Opportunities Use an AAC Way of Thinking 5 PrAACtical AAC Teaching Resources: Getting Started with Steps and Video: aackids.psu.edu/index.php/page/show/id/1 Free Webinars: www.ablenetinc.com/Support/AbleNet-Educational-Resources Rationales, Explanations, and Ideas: talksense.weebly.com/whats-new.html Strategies, Ideas, & Resources: prekese.dadeschools.net/AS/aac.html General Teaching Tips: aac.unl.edu/yaack/d0.html
Happy Sunday, AAC friends! Here are some posts that you may have missed. Monday – PrAACtical Resources: AT in the IEP Wednesday – Video of the Week: Assessing AAC Learners of Different Ability Levels Thursday – On AAC Training: Skill Building for AAC Team Members ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Looking for a few more places to browse? Here are some selected posts on making and using visual supports. Free Resources for Making AAC and Visual Supports How I Do It – Using an App to Make AAC Materials and Visual Supports AAC Teaching Tips on Scaffolding and Visual Supports Designing and Using Visual Supports for Older Students 5 Visual Supports for the AAC Classroom Wishing a meaningful week to all who celebrate Thanksgiving!
The hot and hazy days of summer are upon us but the AAC work continues. Here are some posts that may be of interest. Monday: 5 Ways to Make Semantic Maps More Effective in AAC Therapy Wednesday: Video of the Week: AAC Teaching Tips on Scaffolding and Visual Supports ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: If you’re looking for ways to build AAC and language skills during book reading, here are some suggestions from guest bloggers. Erin Sheldon on books for beginning readers of any age Karen Natoci’s series on classroom lessons based on various books Sara Barnhill and the AT Team at Children’s Hospital of Virginia on Pete the Cat Rocking My New School Shoes, Bear Wants More, Bark George, and Sometimes I Feel Sunny. Happy reading!