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

January 27, 2020 by - 1 Comment

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

It’s just about time to turn the page on the calendar and that means we’re looking ahead to ways we can highlight more of the core vocabulary words in our clients’ AAC devices and communication aids. One approach to boosting practice opportunities is to select a dozen or so core words to focus on each month. Throughout the month, we can then pay special attention to that small group of words by highlighting them with focused language stimulation, aided language input, and specific activities designed to teach or practice those words. In previous years, we shared lists of some core words to help you do just that and every month we share some ideas for prioritizing a small set of words. You can use these materials to remind yourself which words to highlight this month, with using aided language input and focused language stimulation. What else? Here are some ideas... [Read More...]

PrAACtically January: Some AAC Resources for A Year of Core Words

December 26, 2019 by - Leave your thoughts

PrAACtically January: Some AAC Resources for A Year of Core Words

It’s almost time to switch to a new calendar so we’re looking ahead to January and gearing up to model and teach some more core words to our AAC learners. If you have some prep time this week, join us! This is a great time to get the word cards and other materials for the Year of Words (Set 1; Set 2) ready to use with the AAC learners in our lives. Thanks to the generous spirit of PrAACtical AAC readers we have posts with a variety of resources: Templates for you to plug in your own symbols: Set 1 words, Set 2 words Minspeak/Unity version: Set 1  PCS versions: Set 1, Set 2 Speak for Yourself version: Set 2 SymbolStix version: Set 1 Lesson Pix: Set 1 Smarty Symbols: Set 1 words, Set 2 words CoughDrop: Set 1 words; Set 2 words WordPower: Set 1 words (Note: This is a large file... [Read More...]

AAC Awareness Month Ideas

October 1, 2019 by - Leave your thoughts

Decorative image with text: AAC Awareness Month Ideas

In our part of the world, October brings pumpkin spice lattes, Halloween costumes, and apple cider. But no matter where you live October is more than pumpkins and Halloween. It’s internationally recognized as AAC Awareness Month and it offers a wonderful opportunity for spreading the word as to how we can support people with complex communication needs. Here are a few ideas to get you started. Make an AAC Awareness Bulletin Board in your school or clinic. These materials can be used to create an AAC Awareness display.   Download the files, print on color paper, and you are ready to assemble your display. Punch up the display with an AAC poster, like Lauren Enders’ AAC Boot Camp-Getting AAC Users to Communicate or Kate Ahern’s The Periodic Table of AAC . Other ideas: Print, hang, or give someone an AAC awareness image 10 Commandments of AAC Devices Spice up your AAC instruction with... [Read More...]

PrAACtically October: AAC Resources for A Year of Core Vocabulary

September 26, 2019 by - Leave your thoughts

Decorative image reading PrAACtically October: AAC Resources for A Year of Core Vocabulary

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 therapy, in... [Read More...]

How We Do It: The Talk Flock – Taking Care of Caregivers

July 1, 2019 by - 2 Comments

How We Do It: The Talk Flock - Taking Care of Caregivers

How can we better support parents and caregivers of children with AAC needs? Meredith Laverdure and Jaime Lawson, who are SLPs and former co-workers, wanted to do more for the families they served. Meredith is currently a doctoral student at Old Dominion University.  Her clinical and research interests include building communicative competence for children with complex communication needs with group interventions, as well as family- and community-level support.  Jaime has predominately worked with pediatric clients, focusing on AAC/AT evaluations and intervention. Her clinical and research interests include enhancing communicative opportunities for children across settings and in various social settings, group intervention, family-centered therapy, and communication partner training. In this post, Meredith and Jaime share their experiences in developing The Talk Flock, a parent education and support group. Enjoy! The Talk Flock: Taking Care of Caregivers As speech-language pathologists in the outpatient pediatric setting with a busy AAC/AT clinic, we tried to... [Read More...]

AACtual Therapy: AAC, Literacy and Squishy Books

May 23, 2019 by - Leave your thoughts

AACtual Therapy: Literacy and Squishy Books

Looking for a fun way to integrate more emergent literacy into your AAC work? You’re in the right place! Today, SLPs Maggie Judson and Jeanna Antrim share one of their many ideas for engaging therapy sessions. Maggie and Jeanna 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. You can see a previous guest post that Jeanna wrote here. Let’s hear how they make and use squishy books in their therapy sessions. ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: AAC, Literacy and Squishy Books If you’ve done any reading or research around the topic of AAC and literacy, you know that students with complex communication needs do not typically get the same kinds of experiences with literacy activities as do their peers (Light & Kent-Walsh, 2003).  So we are always on the... [Read More...]

Let’s Play! Using Switch-accessible iPad Games for AAC Learning

May 16, 2019 by - 1 Comment

Let's Play! Using Switch-accessible iPad Games for AAC Learning

If you’ve been planning to begin using switch-accessible iPad games in your AAC work but haven’t quite gotten it all figured out, this post is for you. We’re delighted to introduce PrAACtical AAC readers to Daniel Rigney, an SLP who with students who have complex communication needs at the Rosedale School in Austin, Texas. Daniel’s professional interests include the AT/AAC Maker Movement (see this post for info on that topic), language development for students with moderate to severe disabilities, and disability rights. He also maintains a YouTube channel, Assistive Technology ATX, with helpful AT content and tips. In this post, Daniel shares the process he uses for integrating iPad games into AAC therapy for students who use switches rather than direct selection. :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Let’s Play! Using Switch-accessible iPad Games for AAC Learning iPad games can be a great teaching tool for core vocabulary. From having your angry birds “go” to... [Read More...]

PrAACtically Reading: Over on the Farm with Karen Natoci & Karen Baca                           

May 6, 2019 by - Leave your thoughts

PrAACtically Reading: Over on the Farm with Karen Natoci & Karen Baca                           

Are you ready for some reading, AAC style? In today’s edition of PrAACtically Reading, Karen Natoci and Karen Baca share a preschool book about farm animals. Karen Natoci is an AAC Supervisor who is well-known to the readers of this site (see her wonderful contributions here.). Her colleague Karen Baca is an AT and AAC Specialist with over 30 years in the field of AT, specializing in AAC, alternative access, and literacy for all students with disabilities. They both work for The Speech Pathology Group in the San Francisco Bay area. Book:  Over on the Farm by Marianne Berkes and illustrated by Cathy Morrison (Copyright © 2003, Little, Brown and Company; Hachette Book Group, www.lb-kids.com) Vocabulary focus:  All core words Fringe Vocabulary focus: horse/foals/neigh, cat/kittens/meow, cow/calves/moo, goat/kids/maa, chicken/chick/cheep-cheep, owl/owlets/hoot-hoot, mouse/pups/squeek, turkey/poults/gobble-gobble, duck/ducklings/quack, pig/piglets/oink Actions: peck, nibble, swish, wash, gallop, hide, fly, strut, waddle roll Communication Matrix (Rowland, 2009) level:  I-VIII... [Read More...]

PrAACtically March: AAC Resources for a Year of Core Words

February 25, 2019 by - Leave your thoughts

PrAACtically March: 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 helps our AAC learners develop new skills, and keeps the team focused on the same destination.  It’s... [Read More...]

PrAACtically February: AAC Resources for a Year of Core Words

January 24, 2019 by - 1 Comment

PrAACtically February: AAC Resources for a Year of Core Words

As we prepare to bid January a fond farewell, we’re looking ahead to ways we can highlight more of the core vocabulary words in our clients’ AAC devices and communication aids. One approach to boosting practice opportunities is to select a dozen or so core words to focus on each month. Throughout the month, we can then pay special attention to that small group of words by highlighting them with focused language stimulation, aided language input, and specific activities designed to teach or practice those words. In previous years, we shared lists of some core words to help you do just that and every month we share some ideas for prioritizing a small set of words. You can use these materials to remind yourself which words to highlight this month, with using aided language input and focused language stimulation. What else? Here are some ideas to get you started. Print them... [Read More...]