AAC Implementation Framework: Step 5 – Talk!

June 19, 2023 by - Leave your thoughts

AAC Implementation Framework: Step 5 – Talk!
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Vicki ClarkeToday  we wrap up our series describing an AAC Implementation framework, guest authored by AAC SLP Vicki Clarke. The founder of an AAC-focused private practice, Dynamic Therapy Associates, Vicki is also the Director of DTA Schools. Join us as we explore the results of our efforts in this implementation journey.

If you are new to this series you can find the earlier posts through the links below.


AAC 101: Steps To Learning

Step 5:  Talk!

We have finally reached the finale! Our students are ready to talk. Now by “talk” we of course, mean “communicate using their AAC system, sign language, picture symbols or the communication devices!” We expect our students to now be able to choose what to say, when to say it, and remember how to say it using their AAC system. We expect them to be able to use their word or message independently.

Like how we presented these opportunities in Step Four, we are going to provide opportunities for independent communication in structured activities first. This typically occurs in a therapy or classroom setting during activities that are planned and directed by a partner. In Step Four, we engaged in the same activities that we are going to engage in now. The difference is that we expect our students to produce autonomous messages independently within the activity. The student is selecting the messages that he wants to say, when he wants to say them, to meet his own self-determined purposes.

In this video, you will see my friend using his AAC system at times independently and the times following my prompts. You’ll see that we’re not targeting a single word or message anymore. We are targeting multiple messages following his lead to direct the activity and make comments. He is in the final stages of learning to communicate these types of messages within this type of activity.

Watching T.V. with AAC Video

Direct Link to Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgxhBSSDd_s

Step 5 is our final step! Our student is ready to communicate what he wants to communicate when he wants to communicate, to whomever he wants to communicate, in a natural environment. The interaction is occurring authentically, and communication is not the end goal of the activity.

Communication has now simply become the tool that we use to interact within naturally occurring activities.

This video occurred during a typical lunchtime in the school cafeteria. You will note that I turn the sound off, and I bet you can figure out why! It was quite loud! This young man is using an AAC Flipbook to negotiate for more juice. Unfortunately, they were all out! He had been told the sad fact but was unwilling to take no for an answer. Like any typical elementary school student, he negotiated vigorously to get more juice. His teacher finally explains using his communication book.

Our student never did get that juice, but he knew that he had been heard. He knew that he communicated his message. He knew that his partners respected him and cared for him. And that’s what communication is all about!

Lunchtime Negotiations Video

Direct Link to Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLSQbiUJtyY

About the Guest Author

Vicki Clarke is the CEO of Dynamic Therapy Associates, Inc and Director of DTA Schools, a division of DTA Inc, supporting both individual student growth and, system-wide focus on the development of augmentative communication skills, supports, and best practices in special education programs. Additional professional activities include professional consultation and training through publications, workshops, and presentations at local, state, and national conferences in the areas of AAC, speech-language pathology, special education, and Autism.

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This post was written by Carole Zangari

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