361 Search Results for complex communication

Don’t Ask: 5 Reasons to De-Emphasize Questions in Your AAC Therapy

October 8, 2012 by - 3 Comments

Don’t Ask: 5 Reasons to De-Emphasize Questions in Your AAC Therapy

Questions are more like assessment than they are like instruction. Don’t believe us? Look at the questions these therapists posed and see if you didn’t feel like you were being quizzed. What’s your name? Where do you live? Do you know your address? How old are you? When’s your birthday? What school do you go to? What’s your teacher’s name? What’s that called? What do we do with that? Can you tell me more about it? Just to be clear, we think data-based decision-making always plays an important role in good therapy. However, assessment is assessment. Assessment helps us figure out what to teach and how to teach it. But it should look and sound very different than instruction. So when the SLP tells us she is going to teach a new skill by asking a question, we start to tense up. Here’s why we’re de-emphasizing questions in our AAC... [Read More...]

ISAAC 2012, Day 2: AAC Goes to Preschool

July 29, 2012 by - 23 Comments

ISAAC 2012, Day 2: AAC Goes to Preschool

It was another wonderful day here in Pittsburgh at the 15th Biennial ISAAC Conference. It was a special day for me because I had the opportunity to speak about a really fun topic, core vocabulary teaching for young children with AAC needs. It was certainly a group effort! A talented graduate student of ours, Tathiane Paiva, and I shared a framework for developing a curriculum to teach core language in preschool classrooms, and used the curriculum I developed with Lori Wise (special educator and literacy specialist with UM NSU CARD) as an example. The basic principles behind the approach we shared are listed below. – •Language and literacy learning happen all day long. •Children learning AAC need high-quality instruction to learn and use basic vocabulary. •Children learning AAC need frequent opportunities for learning and practice. They need dozens of carefully planned opportunities to use their new words each day. •The focus is on... [Read More...]

Behavior-It’s All about Perspective: Funny Time in the Funny Area

July 21, 2012 by - 2 Comments

A ‘funny area’ is not a technique or strategy you will see in a behavior or speech-language therapy text-book.  But here is how we came to know and love ‘funny time’ & the ‘funny area’ A Little Background Tommy, a 9-year-old boy, seemed to be getting the ‘giggles’ each session. The graduate student clinician was not sure how to ‘control the situation’.  Tommy typically worked hard using his Vantage Lite to build long and complex sentences for communication during natural age-appropriate activities (i.e., golf, art, and reading).  But then the ‘giggles’ would start… and less and less communication was getting done. Initially, the clinician spent time redirecting Tommy.  She would have him sit straight, pay more attention, and re-focus, but in the long run it would be more about what the clinician wanted then about Tommy communicating.  We prompted the graduate student to think about how more could be accomplished,... [Read More...]

Language Facilitation Strategies

June 2, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts

Language Facilitation Strategies

Well, it’s Week 4 of the new semester and, in our AAC classes, we’ve been talking a lot about how language is represented and organized in communication boards/books, SGDs, and AAC apps. We’ve talked about the pro’s and con’s of representing language in various ways, and discussed the options for how to set up displays so that people can easily access the words they need. At this point, we know how to choose appropriate symbols, select appropriate vocabulary, and arrange it in an appropriate format. In short, we know how to put language ‘in.’ Now comes the hard part: Getting it out. How do we get people to actually use the language that’s been so carefully stored in the no tech, low tech, and high tech AAC tools? Our June Strategy of the Month is about techniques for language facilitation. If you’re an SLP well-versed in language therapy with speaking children,... [Read More...]

PrAACtical Suggestions: 10 Ways To Help Families Make Informed Decisions About AAC

May 17, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts

PrAACtical Suggestions: 10 Ways To Help Families Make Informed Decisions About AAC

– In one of my AAC classes, we’ve been talking about how to help families make informed decisions. To do that, they need to have solid information presented clearly, in digestible bites from a trusted source. When we don’t have that information, it is easy to fall prey to fads and/or adopt a herd mentality and do what everyone else is doing. Here are some suggestions for supporting families through the AAC decisions they will need to make. – 1. Have direct conversations about the pros and cons of the available options. For example, if the family expressed interest in an iPad with AAC apps over a full fledged SGD, then we’d have to be prepared to reiterate the merits and drawbacks of each. 2. Share a process for making AAC decisions rather than attempting to take the decision out of their hands. For example, you may want to encourage... [Read More...]

PrAACtical Questions: How Do I Find Good AAC Service Providers?

April 28, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts

PrAACtical Questions: How Do I Find Good AAC Service Providers?

AAC is a field that involves many different disciplines, including OT, PT, SLP and education.  In the best-case scenario, professionals in these disciplines work together to evaluate and provide intervention for the individual with little or no functional speech. If that option is not available, consider what discipline makes sense in your particular situation.  For example, individuals with complex motor impairments may be best served initially through an OT who knows how to identify the best means of accessing AAC devices as the primary AAC service provider.  For a child who is just learning to communicate, a speech-language pathologist (SLP) may be the best person to coordinate AAC services. A comprehensive AAC evaluation will always have the SLP playing a central role, which is important because of the special knowledge that they have about language and communication. How do you find an SLP with adequate skills in AAC? While there... [Read More...]

Ideas for Teaching the Use of Visual Schedules

March 24, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts

Ideas for Teaching the Use of Visual Schedules

There’s nothing more depressing to us than walking into a classroom in the spring and seeing pristine visual schedules. Why? Because it probably means that the students aren’t really using them. We cheer when we see schedules that are rumpled and dog-eared, not shiny. Show me a battered and tattered visual schedule, and I’ll show you one that gets used every day. Sadly, that’s not always the case. – The bridge between having a visual schedule and consistently using it is one that many learners don’t seem to cross. Here are some of our ideas for helping your AAC learners to the other side. – 1. Have a plan to teach the schedule. If you are working one-on-one with a learner, you can easily implement the schedule and get them using it with most-to-least prompting. If you’re working with a group or a classroom, consider staggered implementation. Teaching 12 beginners... [Read More...]

Emergencies and Resources to Help

March 19, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts

Emergencies and Resources to Help

It has been a really long weekend.  A very close relative had a significant medical emergency this week.  The emergency involved intubation, an air ambulance (that is helicopter), and many many procedures.   With the intubation, there was a temporary loss of speech which made communication difficult to say the least.  This was a time that the patient (my relative) needed communication most, yet there were multiple barriers to effective communication (no speech sounds, tubes in the mouth obscuring lip movement, noise, etc..).  Although the hospital staff was amazingly wonderful, communication was not their priority.  Lucky, for us, I just happened to have some AAC apps on my iPhone.  At one point, the AAC app was literally a lifesaver (thanks so much to Verbally for providing  an easy way to communicate complex questions, reminders, and comments). As I was waiting around for many hours, texting Carole, we started thinking about... [Read More...]

Hearing the Knock

March 13, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts

Hearing the Knock

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...]

AACtual Progress: Learning to Use Aided Language Input

February 25, 2012 by - 2 Comments

AACtual Progress: Learning to Use Aided Language Input

The only thing better than watching someone who uses AAC get the hang of it, is having the privilege of seeing this develop in future SLPs. Turn up the music, it’s time for the Happy Dance! I had the distinct pleasure this week of watching some of our graduate student clinicians ‘get it’ with respect to using the Strategy of the Month, Aided Language Input. It’s taken a few weeks, but then again they only see their AAC friends for a short amount of time. – Here are a few things we learned along the way. – 1. It takes time to get good at this. We’re speaking pidgin AAC until we get fluent, so just keep at it. Give yourself permission to be halting at first. Keep at it and the fluency will come. 2. It helps to start small. If the communication aid, SGD, or app is complex,... [Read More...]