Tag Archive: language therapy

Supporting Language Growth in AAC Learners: Part 1

September 22, 2015 by - 8 Comments

Here’s a sobering thought. Relatively few users of AAC use grammatically correct sentences when they communicate. There are lots reasons for that, but in this post, we focus on understanding the things that contribute to that problem. In Part 2, we’ll look at ways to address the issue. Let’s reflect on the problem of why many AAC learners don’t communicate with complete, grammatically correct utterances. When communication is time-consuming and difficult, it makes sense to put your effort to saying things that convey a lot of meaning and skip the rest. If you are trying to get your point across with as little effort as possible, content-heavy words, like agents, actions, and places, pack a punch. As clinicians, we are often so driven to understand the main points of what the learner is trying to convey that we promote that strategy. Here are two snippets to illustrate. Clinician: Look at... [Read More...]

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Throwback Thursday: 10 Posts on Activity Ideas for Language Therapy with AAC

September 17, 2015 by - Leave your thoughts

Throwback Thursday: 10 Posts on Activity Ideas for Language Therapy with AAC

Great kid. Check! Appropriate AAC system. Check! Well-developed intervention goals. Check! Key intervention strategies. Check! Where do we go from here? Well, if you are anything like the young clinicians with whom I’ve been speaking, you might be thinking about therapy activities and materials. Here are some past posts that may be of interest. Magic Moments with Tellagami New Word Teaching: A Look Inside Some PrAACtical Therapy Sessions 5 Ways to Use Word Clouds in AAC Therapy and Magic Moments with Word Clouds Magic Moments: Painting with Time Teaching the Use of Social Phrases and Comments Let’s Go Outside! 5 PrAACtical Ideas Magic Moments with Disneyland Explorer “Can I Ask You a Question?” Language Experience Surveys 5  PrAACtical Thoughts on Catch-up Conversations Magic Moments with Sentence Builder

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5 Ways to Use Judgment Tasks in AAC Therapy

July 9, 2015 by - 2 Comments

5 Ways to Use Judgment Tasks in AAC Therapy

Judgment tasks refer to situations in which we present some examples and have the learner pass judgment on them. They can be examples of words used correctly/incorrectly, word endings used properly/improperly, or responses that fit well/poorly with a situation. We can set them up so that the learner weighs in with a binary judgment (e.g. thumbs up/down), gives them points (e.g., 2 points=perfect, 1=good, 0=wrong), a letter grade (e.g., A+ to F), or rates on a scale (e.g.,Excellent Okay Terrible). There are several reasons why I love judgment tasks. It can be a fun, low-stress way to increase their awareness of specific linguistic concepts. Think of it as giving them receptive exposure to the concept. In these tasks, we’re highlighting the concept but not expecting them to produce it. They put the learner in a position of power. Our prAACtical friends often don’t get enough experiences with that role, so... [Read More...]

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5 Ways to Use Magazines in AAC Therapy

June 4, 2015 by - Leave your thoughts

5 Ways to Use Magazines in AAC Therapy

Magazines are one of my favorite therapy materials for AAC learners. There is a lot to love about these inexpensive, engaging materials.  They’re readily available, novel, and easy to tote around. But most importantly, they work really well because you can find a magazine on practically any topic. From Justin Bieber to sharks to the Miami Heat and everywhere in between, there is likely to be a magazine that is age respectful and aligns with the interests of any AAC learner. There are so many options for using magazines in our AAC therapies. Here are some ideas to get you started. Beyond choicemaking: We all love to give our clients choices to promote engagement and support personal autonomy. (What’s the point of AAC if people aren’t also learning to speak up and use their voices to impact their lives?) Offering a choice of magazines is a fine, of course, but in... [Read More...]

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5 Ways to Use Word Clouds in AAC Therapy

April 27, 2015 by - 3 Comments

5 Ways to Use Word Clouds in AAC Therapy

Like many of you, I enjoy using fun websites in AAC therapy sessions. Word clouds are popular therapy tools, both because of their versatility and because they are fun and easy to make. Word clouds are images composed of words on a given topic, where the frequency of use of a word determines its size in the word cloud image. There are lots of websites and apps for this, and most are free. If you are looking for a way to build literacy into your language therapy activities, this may be an option worth exploring. Here are some ideas for prAACtical things to do. Build word knowledge: Use the word cloud to define new words, provide examples, and given synonyms. Once created, you can print these out for a word notebook or display on a vocabulary word wall. You can also keep a digital copy for a vocabulary notebook that... [Read More...]

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3 Ways to Promote Interest in Language Therapy for AAC Learners

July 30, 2014 by - Leave your thoughts

3 Ways to Promote Interest in Language Therapy for AAC Learners

In an earlier post, we raised this question: Why work hard at something you don’t care about? The truth is that all of us put more effort into learning things that allow us to accomplish something important to US. As SLPs, we can spout many reasons why learning to use and comprehend more advanced language is a good idea. Making that meaningful to our clients, though, is another thing altogether. How can we align our therapy objectives with things of true value to our clients? Figure out what the AAC learner wants: More friends? A job? Good grades? Link the language and AAC objectives to those things. Seek the AAC learner’s input on goals and objectives: If the learner can’t nominate his/her own goals for consideration, maybe you can offer choices or help them use a rating scale to give their opinion on the suggested goals. Provide rationales for why... [Read More...]

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3 Ways to Suggest That AAC Learners Be More Specific in Their Messages

July 3, 2014 by - 4 Comments

3 Ways to Suggest That AAC Learners Be More Specific in Their Messages

Do you work with AAC learners who seem perfectly content saying things that are vague or non-specific, despite their ability to communicate more precisely? It puts a burden on the partner to use context to figure out the meaning, and sometimes this is efficient and quite necessary. Other times, however, it makes sense to seize the opportunity to teach them about saying things that are clear enough to be understood without relying on context or the partner’s knowledge of the AAC user. Like you, we sometimes work with people who are learning to be more specific in the things that they say. For those learners, we try to balance enthusiasm and interest in the message with cues that direct them to add more information. We’ve noticed that some AAC practitioners are reluctant to press the learner to communicate in more specific terms, and we certainly agree that there are times when the... [Read More...]

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Helping People with AAC Needs Develop Personal Narratives

March 30, 2013 by - Leave your thoughts

Helping People with AAC Needs Develop Personal Narratives

Where I come from, we value our independence. We look forward to the day when we can move out of our childhood homes into our first apartments. We’re intensely proud of our kids when they first do things on their own. We feel honored do to our first professional presentations or fly solo on a publication. We are driven to be independent in our professional and personal lives. Independence is all well and good, but sometimes we get caught up in thinking that it’s the most important thing for our clients who use AAC. Many times, it’s not. As SLPs well know, communication is a social act. Without the cooperation of another person, there is no communication.We need other people in order to communicate and we need them even more when we’re just learning.  Independence is something, but it isn’t everything. For AAC learners, interdependence plays an important role. We love... [Read More...]

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Beyond Requesting: Thoughts on Teaching Interrogatives

February 16, 2013 by - 2 Comments

Beyond Requesting: Thoughts on Teaching Interrogatives

. A few weeks ago we talked about AAC intervention to teach someone how to convey information that others want or need. Giving instructions, answering comprehension questions, and retelling a story all fit into the Light’s category of ‘information transfer.’ Communicating in order to give information is only part of that story. Today, we complete the story by talking about getting information from others. Not all questions are about getting information, of course. We also ask questions for other reasons, like getting something we want or need (e.g., “May I have a drink, please?”) and socializing with friends/family (e.g., “How was your weekend?” “What did you do for your birthday?”).  But in this post, we focus on interrogatives that serve the purpose of getting needed information from a communication partner. Many times when we think of interrogatives in language therapy, the focus is on answering them accurately and appropriately. The skill... [Read More...]

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