Tag Archive: collaboration

Using the AAC Device/App: Getting the Team On Board

February 18, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts

Using the AAC Device/App: Getting the Team On Board

Families and professionals often share a common frustration when a new SGD, communication aid, or AAC app is introduced: Getting people to use it. Whether we’re fighting with insurance companies or navigating the educational maze, our attention is often consumed by getting access to the device. Then, oh happy day, it arrives.  Round 1 is over. We won! We get it set up (no small feat). We start teaching the communicator to use it and everyone shares the excitement of this new tool. For awhile, anyway. – And then, reality sets in. – We realize that learning to communicate through this tool and building language skills with it is a p-r-o-c-e-s-s. There’s an arc to that process. It slowly sinks in that this new tool is necessary but not sufficient for real communication and language learning to occur. Though we knew that having the AAC device or app wasn’t going... [Read More...]

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What Gets Lost

February 4, 2012 by - 2 Comments

What Gets Lost

Imagine having one key communication strategy and no one knew that it existed. This horrifying experience was documented in the book ‘I Raise My Eyes to Say Yes,’ the autobiography of Ruth Sienkiewicz-Mercer. For years, she effectively used eye gaze with her family to answer yes/no questions, but when Ruth was placed at a residential facility, things eventually changed. Staff turnover, something we’re all familiar with, was the culprit. With time, new staff came in and didn’t realize that Ruth communicated with her eyes. Ruth was silenced for years until someone noticed that her ‘eyes up’ movement wasn’t reflexive or random. She was talking, but no one was listening.  — While this was an extreme example, most AAC practitioners can recount their own stories of people whose AAC messages weren’t effectively translated once they moved to new settings. The transition to a new environment, where untrained partners may fail to recognize... [Read More...]

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