Tag Archive: advocacy

5 Ways to Build Increased Support for AAC Within an Organization

November 11, 2019 by - 1 Comment

5 Ways to Build Increased Support for AAC Within an Organization

In many organizations, the AAC practices of individual therapists and teachers outpace the support for AAC by the larger staff or community. Here are some suggestions for building more wide-spread support for AAC in schools and other agencies.  Take advantage of any requirements to attend mandatory training events. Most school districts have mandatory staff development days, and often, the training provided on those days has little or no relevance to those who do AAC work. Perhaps you can offer a more relevant alternative. Work with administrators to be able to provide AAC training on these days to share information on AAC implementation with teachers, paraprofessionals, and therapists. To get a spot on that calendar, it may take a while to establish rapport and relationships with the leadership team and various department heads but this is time and effort well-spent. Invite administrators, department heads, and committee chairs to AAC-related events on... [Read More...]

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How I Do It: Understanding Systems Change

April 4, 2019 by - Leave your thoughts

How I Do It: Understanding Systems Change

Have you ever dreamed of taking a detour in your AAC work to address the needs from a totally different direction? Special educator Sarah Mueller did just that. Follow along as she tells us about her journey from teacher to student. :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: “Autism isn’t something a person has or a ‘shell’ that a person is trapped inside. There’s no normal child hidden behind the autism. Autism is a way of being. It is pervasive; it colors every experience, every sensation, perception, thought, emotion, and encounter, every aspect of existence. It is not possible to separate the autism from the person – and if it were possible, the person you’d have left would not be the same person you started with. This is important, so take a moment to consider it: Autism is a way of being. It is not possible to separate the person from the autism.” – Jim Sinclair... [Read More...]

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5 Ways to Support Self-Advocacy in AAC Learners

July 30, 2018 by - Leave your thoughts

5 Ways to Support Self-Advocacy in AAC Learners

self-ad·vo·ca·cy: self ˈadvəkəsē/ Noun: the action of representing oneself or one’s views or interests. —————————- Empowering AAC learners to advocate for themselves may be one of the most important and impactful things that we can do to help them stay safe and achieve their goals. Here are some ways we can support that process. Provide messages for self-advocacy behaviors: It’s hard to represent your own interests without the appropriate set of vocabulary and messages. Words and prestored messages for protesting and rejecting are essential (e.g., No; Stop; No, thank you; I don’t want to). In addition, consider adding messages which allow the communicator to express disagreement or negative opinions (e.g., I don’t like it; I don’t think so; That doesn’t work for me; This is unfair; That’s disrespectful) and proactively provide self-advocacy information (e.g., Please do what I asked; It’s on my IEP; I have a right to be heard; I... [Read More...]

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Ushering in a New Year of AAC

January 2, 2018 by - Leave your thoughts

Ushering in a New Year of AAC

The new year brings hope and promise, something that the AAC community can always use a little more of. Here are some thoughts on strengthening our sustainability as AAC service providers as we embark on the upcoming year.  View our role in AAC as a marathon, not a sprint. Supporting AAC learners can be an overwhelming experience and requires staying power. Pace yourselves, AAC friends. We have to be in it for the long haul, and that means we can’t use up all of our energy in the first leg of the journey. It’s okay to go home even though there’s more left to do. Remember the flight attendant’s advice: Put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. Keep learning. No matter how much you know about AAC, there is always more to learn. Whether it is reading journal articles to keep up with the latest research, viewing videos... [Read More...]

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Site of the Month: AAC Funding Help

June 8, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts

Site of the Month: AAC Funding Help

Here in the US, there are many paths to getting access to AAC devices and services. Depending on the age of the communicator and other factors, we may pursue AAC funding the through the schools, public or private insurance, government programs for veterans and people with disabilities, and other sources. It is a complex task that requires specialized knowledge and some fortitude. June’s Site of the Month, AAC Funding Help, has been a resource to professionals and families for over a decade. Established by Lew Golinker at the Assistive Technology Law Center, the site has a wealth of resources to explore. Here are some highlights from that site. Overview of US funding options for AAC  Specific details about the requirements and procedures for major avenues to AAC funding  Sample letters of medical necessity and information on coding AAC devices and services for reimbursement purposes  AAC Report Writing Coach  Database of... [Read More...]

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Video of the Week: AACtual Advocacy

May 10, 2017 by - 1 Comment

Video of the Week: AACtual Advocacy

Better Hearing and Speech Month (#BHSM) is all about reaching out and advocating for access to communication supports. As professionals, advocacy is part of our core roles, though we generally struggle with finding the time to do as much as we’d like to. Few of us, however, have the opportunity to speak about behalf of AAC on the floor of the United States Senate. In today’s post, we share the recording of Rick Creech, lifelong user of AAC, speaking to the Special Committee on Aging. In the first part, we hear Rick’s prepared remarks to the Senate. Rick takes questions from the committee in the second video. Aging Without Community: The Consequences of Isolation and Loneliness Rick Answers Senators’ Questions

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Video of the Week: Supporting People with Significant Communication Challenges in Medical Encounters

December 7, 2016 by - Leave your thoughts

Video of the Week: Supporting People with Significant Communication Challenges in Medical Encounters

Encounters with healthcare providers can range from the mundane (e.g., getting a prescription filled) and routine (e.g., doctor’s appointment) to situations which are more complicated and urgent (e.g., Emergency Room visit, hospital stay). People who use AAC are part of a larger group of individuals whose communication challenges make these situations more complex. In today’s featured video, Dr. David Beukelman discusses ways in which effective communication between patients with communication challenges and their healthcare providers can be supported.   This video was part of the USSAAC webinar series, which is made possible through the support of ISAAC. Many thanks to those organizations and the Patient Provider Communication organization whose free resources and information are shared in the presentation. Please consider joining and supporting these organizations so that they can continue to serve the AAC community with information, advocacy, and resources like these. Direct Link to Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uxd-hWODfm8

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Taking AACtion

December 4, 2014 by - 1 Comment

Taking AACtion

Communication is a birthright. No agency or person should be permitted to restrict someone’s access to expression or dictate how communication should occur. Computerized functions for creating messages, emails, and texts are literally lifesaving for people like Mike. Please lend your support by telling CMS how important these things are before Saturday, December 6. You can learn more about the issues from our previous post and visit the public comment section to add your voice here. Thanks to Michael Phillips and the Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology for this helpful video.  

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