How We Do It: AAC at the Larc School with Kaitlyn Connors and Rachel Egbert
In honor of ASHA’s Better Hearing and Speech Month, we’ve invited clinicians who use AAC in their schools to share a bit about their work here on PrAACtical AAC. Today’s post is from Kaitlyn Connors and Rachel Egbert, two school-based SLPs in New Jersey. For the past 8 years, Kaitlyn has worked with children who use AAC. She earned her Master’s degree from Ithaca College and remains passionate about AAC, and helping each student communicate to the best of their abilities. Rachel earned her Master’s degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2013. She eagerly keeps abreast of the latest advances in AAC, which help her to deliver the most positive outcome possible for her students. Both Kaitlyn and Rachel currently serve students at Larc School.
Beyond Requesting: PrAACtical Ideas for Building Language in the Classroom
To take one student beyond requesting during snack time we implemented a core language board on a Go Talk 9+. Previously, this student was limited to a few snack specific choices on a GoTalk 4+. Snack time is a highly preferred activity for her, so it is a perfect opportunity to build language to transfer throughout a range of activities.
Working on core language during snack has allowed for more repetition and exposure to novel phrases.
We vary communicative functions to give the student multiple exposure to language beyond requesting. We also have the flexibility to model a variety of utterance lengths. Here are some sample core phrases we model using aided language stimulation during snack time:
- 1 word: want, like, good, more
- 2 word combinations: want more, no more, I finished, you help, look good
- 3 word combinations: I want more, you want help
Here are some resources we find helpful for building language in the classroom:
- Placemats to encourage conversation at mealtimes by Caroline Musselwhite and Deanna Wagner
- Amanda Hartmann’s post on AAC activities for the classroom
- Chris Reeve’s post on Engineering the classroom to support language and communication
- Cha Cullen’s post on Supporting AAC in the classroom
- Resources from Tobii-Dynavox on AAC in the classroom and 25 ways to increase classroom participation for AAC users (various authors)
Low Tech Love: Maxing Out the BIG Mack and Other Simple AT That You Already Have
There are many ways to incorporate no tech and low tech devices into everyday classroom activities. One way we make it work is to have everything available, set up, and ready to go. We love to use language boards pertaining to centers in our preschool to encourage use of many functions of language and promote aided language stimulation. By using language boards containing core and some fringe vocabulary, we are able to model many different phrases for our students from one word utterances “go” to multiple word phrases “car crash, uh-oh!” Here are some photos of how we max out simple AT in our classrooms.
Here are some resources we find helpful for using simple AT in the classroom:
- Great language boards from Miami-Dade Preschool ESE Program
- 50 ways to use voice output devices by Glenda Anderson
- Ideas for All – Turn – It – Spinner by Glenda Anderson
- 101 ideas for a Big Mack by Tony Jones
- 101+ ideas for single message devices by Barbara Solomonson
- What can I do with a BIG Mack? from the Liberator/Prentke Romich Company
- Ideas and setup for BIG Mack and Little Mack by AbleNet (via Inclusive Solutions)
Filed under: PrAACtical Thinking
This post was written by Carole Zangari