Tag Archive: beginning communicator

Beginning Communicators: Learning Through Touch Cues

January 28, 2019 by - Leave your thoughts

Beginning Communicators: Learning Through Touch Cues

15-year-old Jodi has cerebral palsy and significant intellectual disability, among other things. In the most recent assessment of her motor, cognitive, communication, and self-help skills, scores ranged from 6-15 months. She spends most of her school day in her wheelchair. Jodi’s teacher affixes interesting toys to the lap tray so that she can explore them, but has become discouraged that Jodi mostly bangs them, puts them in her mouth, or tosses them to the floor. Her team struggles to find ways to teach Jodi to communicate more effectively. 10-year-old Nathaniel’s team notes that he shows little awareness of his classmates or teachers throughout the day, though he will smile and laugh when they take his hands and clap with him. As a younger child, he demonstrated more awareness of his surroundings but after his seizure activity spiked, it became more and more difficult to get him to engage. 6-year-old Jarrod... [Read More...]

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Video of the Week: Language Development Across the School Day

January 16, 2019 by - Leave your thoughts

Video of the Week: Language Development Across the School Day

How can we support the language development of AAC learners throughout the school day? In today’s featured video, Erin Sheldon examines ways in which we can facilitate early concept development, build background knowledge, and support vocabulary learning. Many thanks to Kathy Howery and the Edmonton Regional Learning Consortium for making this archived webinar available.   You can learn more from Erin here. Direct Link to Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ILegvpt9bw

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Video of the Week: Strategies for Helping Early AAC Users Engage and Interact

September 5, 2018 by - Leave your thoughts

Video of the Week: Strategies for Helping Early AAC Users Engage and Interact

“He has an AAC device but he doesn’t use it much.” “I have great toys but she doesn’t seem to like any of them.” “How can I build language if he doesn’t want to interact with me?” “The only time she uses her SGD is to ask for things.” Connecting with clients who are beginning to use AAC and helping them use their communication tools is a challenge in some clinical and educational settings. Today, we revisit a session from CoughDrop’s 2nd Annual AAC in the Cloud conference held last spring, to get some prAACtical advice about building engagement and interaction. In our featured video, SLP Chana Feinstein of All Kinds of Voices provides concrete suggestions that will help our beginning communicators want to communicate and use their AAC devices for a variety of purposes. We are grateful to CoughDrop for hosting this wonderful conference and allowing us all to... [Read More...]

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AAC Assessment Corner with Vicki Clarke: Evaluating Skills For Use of Comprehensive AAC Systems, Part 2: Language Representation Elements – Noun Symbol Use for Functional Communication

June 11, 2018 by - 1 Comment

AAC Assessment Corner with Vicki Clarke: Evaluating Skills For Use of Comprehensive AAC Systems, Part 2: Language Representation Elements - Noun Symbol Use for Functional Communication

Vicki Clarke, CEO of Dynamic Therapy Associates and Director of DTA Schools, is back with another wonderful edition of AAC Assessment Corner.  In addition to their clinic, Vicki and her team support school districts in AAC evaluation, equipment procurement, and implementation for individual students in the academic environment.  DTA Schools also supports district-wide AAC implementation through the Classroom Communication Goals Project, training, and supporting all team members in classroom AAC implementation. In today’s post, Vicki shares her thoughts on how we can look at the use of AAC symbols for nouns as part of our evaluations for comprehensive AAC systems. You can view her previous contributions to the AAC Assessment Corner here. :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Evaluating Skills For Use of Comprehensive AAC Systems, Part 2: Language Representation Elements – Noun Symbol Use for Functional Communication It was a crazy, busy month full of evaluations, trainings, and report writing.  I’ve spent a lot of time with... [Read More...]

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On the Same Page: Helping Team Members Recognize and Respond to Unconventional Communication Signals

April 30, 2018 by - 3 Comments

On the Same Page: Helping Team Members Recognize and Respond to Unconventional Communication Signals

Joaquin grabs my wrists when he wants me to play. Ariella bangs her fists together when she wants more of something. Brayden paces anxiously when he needs to use the restroom. Do you work learners like these? Beginning communicators often use signals that are unconventional to express their emotional states, wants, needs, and ideas. That can work really well when the people in their lives recognize those signals and respond to the communicator’s intent. But when the signals are subtle or idiosyncratic, team members may miss them or misinterpret them. That’s unfortunate because when we accidentally ignore the beginning communicator’s signal or when we don’t respond in a way that reinforces their use, communication progress stalls out. One way to help get everyone on board in recognizing those unconventional or subtle forms of communication is to create learner-specific ‘dictionaries’ that help those who are not intimately familiar with the individual... [Read More...]

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Throwback Thursday: Support for Beginning AAC Communicators

July 27, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts

Throwback Thursday: Support for Beginning AAC Communicators

Do you work with people who are just starting to get the hang of communicating with symbols and using SGDs? Today. we’re revisiting some posts that may have some helpful information on ways to support beginning users of AAC. Recommended Practices for Beginning Communicators  Using Symbols with Beginning Communicators  5 Facebook Groups for Families of Beginning Communicators  Helping Beginning Communicators Expand Their Sentences  A PrAACtical Literacy Activity for Beginning Communicators 

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Data Collection for the Beginning AAC User: Essential Things to Measure to Expedite Progress

February 16, 2017 by - 11 Comments

Data Collection for the Beginning AAC User: Essential Things to Measure to Expedite Progress

It’s exciting to see more and more teams on the road to implementing AAC in therapy and in the classroom. Often, though, our initial expectations for student progress don’t pan out. Consider these examples. Aleksander’s SGD has robust vocabulary that is customized specifically for him. He uses it consistently at snack and lunch time, but rarely uses it in other activities. Ariel uses her AAC app to ask for things, make comments, and answer questions but rarely goes beyond the single word level to express herself. Jayson had a PECS book for over a year and learned to request his favorite foods but not much else. His team switched Jayson over to a more robust AAC system, and while he learned to communicate for other reasons, he still doesn’t use his communication book very frequently unless he’s prompted to do so. Do these situations seem vaguely familiar? Helping AAC learners become... [Read More...]

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Video of the Week: AAC in the Classroom for Students with Significant Disabilities – Implementation & Data Collection

July 13, 2016 by - Leave your thoughts

Video of the Week: AAC in the Classroom for Students with Significant Disabilities - Implementation & Data Collection

Today, we head back to AbleNet University for the second part of AT specialist and consultant Kelly Fonner’s presentation on advancing the communication skills of students with the most significant disabilities. In this video, Kelly goes deeper into implementation issues and discusses strategies for meaningful data collection. Missed the first part? You can check that out here. Kudos to Kelly and AbleNet University for hosting this series and making these videos freely available.   Direct Link to Video: https://www.ablenetinc.com/resources/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Fonner-AAC-in-the-Classroom-for-Students-with-Significant-Disabilities-Implementation-and-Data-Collection-on-Low-Tech-AAC-and-Apps.mp4

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Video of the Week: AAC in the Classroom for Students with Significant Disabilities

July 6, 2016 by - 2 Comments

Video of the Week: AAC in the Classroom for Students with Significant Disabilities

Most classrooms that include children with the most significant disabilities are comfortable with low tech AT and use it frequently throughout the day. In today’s video, AT consultant Kelly Fonner, discusses strategies for maximizing the use of those technologies and progressing to more advanced communicative options. A frequent presenter at international, national, and state conferences, Kelly shares ideas for taking what already works in these classrooms and moving to the next level. As always, she provides clear explanations, rationales, and the all-important ‘how-to’ for implementing additional strategies and technologies. Many thanks to Kelly and AbleNet University for making this video available.   Direct Link to Video: https://www.ablenetinc.com/customer/account/login?referer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuYWJsZW5ldGluYy5jb20vcmVzb3VyY2VzL3JlY29yZGVkX3dlYmluYXJzP3M9a2VsbHkrZm9ubmVyJnNvcnQ9JnBvc3RfdHlwZT1yZWNvcmRlZF93ZWJpbmFycw

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Video of the Week: Observational Assessment of Beginning Communicators

June 22, 2016 by - Leave your thoughts

Video of the Week: Observational Assessment of Beginning Communicators

In last week’s video, we heard from SLP Maureen Nevers about the principles and practices used in assessing individuals who are at the beginning stages of communicative development. Today, we continue that theme and focus more specifically on using observation to collect assessment data on the form and function of communication. In this video, Maureen works through some video examples to demonstrate how brief observations of interaction can yield useful information about how and why the individual is communicating. You can visit their Communication Training Series webpage to see more from this wonderful team and get the specific resource documents for this presentation. Many thanks to the Angelman Syndrome Foundation for creating and sharing these videos. Direct Link to Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qvvKNZEGMs&list=PLihsTkrStCHZVZBHDC0Qr7z10cYWC0ltx&index=36  

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