Building a Foundation with Stepping into AAC (Weeks 2-5)

June 3, 2024 by - Leave your thoughts

Building a Foundation with Stepping into AAC (Weeks 2-5)
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Ready to continue your Stepping into AAC journey? Now that you have your communication board (or an AAC device), we can dive into some of the key information you’ll need to support a beginning AAC user. Over the next four weeks, you’ll build or strengthen a foundation of critical AAC concepts. More importantly, you’ll begin daily use of AAC with quick and easy hands-on activities. 

Here’s what to expect.

Target words for Weeks 2-5: different, go, good, like, look, me, not, some, stop, want

Hands-on activities: Try your best to complete the 5 daily activities, each of which takes less than 10 minutes. While they are short and simple, these AACtion steps guide you in building the new habits of AAC use that will help your AAC learner be successful. Each day, you will be interacting with your communication board (or AAC device, if you have one) to

  • Find,
  • Look,
  • Observe,
  • Point,
  • Practice,
  • Say,
  • Share,
  • Tell, and
  • Watch.

Knowledge of AAC is important but it is only through the application of that knowledge can we create positive change in communicative development. 

Videos: Make time to watch each of the videos, which range in length from 2-12 minutes. These introduce terminology that will help you build credibility with your AAC learner’s team and share information about key concepts in AAC practices. These can be viewed on your computer or on a mobile device. 

Print Resources: Plan to view and/or download the print material for Weeks 2-5 as these provide essential information in an easy-to-digest format, There are 8 handouts that are companions to the videos and 4 AAC newsletters (1 per week). You may wish to share some of these with your AAC learner’s team and others who would like to use AAC support strategies. 


What will be covered in this 4-week period?

Week 2 Topics 

  • What words will we focus on using with our communication boards?
  • Understanding shared and joint attention and how to establish or maintain it when interacting with your AAC learner
  • Learning about different ways we communicate and the role that these modalities play in successful interactions
  • Becoming an AAC role model for your learner
  • Gain insight into the role that feedback plays in language learning for AAC users

Week 3 Topics

  • Understanding core and fringe words and how they each contribute to successful AAC use
  • Dive into issues in symbolizing words with pictures 
  • Navigating and using communication boards
  • In AAC vocabulary, size matters. Why having a larger grid of many picture symbols is so important

Week 4 Topics

  • Explore issues in motivating AAC learners to engage with AAC
  • Learn about two key strategies: “Say what you see” and “Show what you say” 
  • Learn how to make meaning together
  • What does progress look like in beginning AAC users?
  • Having the right mindset: Presuming potential

Week 5 Topics

  • Using AAC to make requests and how to use that to maximize language learning
  • Empowering AAC learners to share their thoughts, ideas, and feelings
  • Timing is important. Learn about pausing in our interactions and the role of wait time
  • Making space for engaging interactions using AAC
  • Learn about modeling AAC without putting pressure on your AAC learner

Learning to support a beginning AAC user takes time, effort, and patience. Do what you can to stay on this journey. We’ll see you next time with an overview of the next segment of Stepping Into AAC.

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This post was written by Carole Zangari

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