Tag Archive: schools

How We Do It: Changing AAC Mindsets & Outcomes

November 21, 2019 by - Leave your thoughts

How We Do It: Changing AAC Mindsets & Outcomes

As AAC interventionists, we spend a lot of time helping therapists, teachers, families, and others develop their appreciation for multimodal communication and build their skills in using supportive strategies. In today’s post, Deidre Dobbels, a speech-language pathologist specializing in AAC, language and literacy development in young children, shares her thoughts on how we can do this effectively. Deidre is employed by Barrington CUSD #220 in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago in which a Universal Core Approach to Language and Literacy has been in place for nearly a decade. Deidre authored a multi-media early developing core vocabulary curriculum used by her school district as well as by therapists and teachers throughout the Midwest. In her guest post, Deidre talks about her experiences in addressing the AAC needs of young children with complex communication needs. Changing Mindsets, Changing Outcomes As a young Speech Language Pathologist working in Early Childhood classrooms, I was... [Read More...]

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Video of the Week: Using the AAC Participation Model to Guide Implementation Planning

November 13, 2019 by - 3 Comments

Video of the Week: Using the AAC Participation Model to Guide Implementation Planning

The AAC Participation Model, originally developed by Drs. David Beukelman and Pat Mirenda, has been a guiding force in AAC practices for many years. In today’s featured video, we turn to Kelly Fonner, a former teacher and highly experienced AT and education consultant, to share some thoughts about how we can use this to strengthen our plans for AAC implementation.  This recorded session was part of the 2019 AAC in the Cloud Conference, which is hosted each spring by CoughDrop.  We are grateful to Kelly and to CoughDrop for their generosity in making this session available. You can access Kelly’s handout for this session here. Direct Link to Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PO2fXruxk1w

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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 We Do It: Getting to the CORE of Communication (Part 1)

August 5, 2019 by - 2 Comments

How We Do It: Getting to the CORE of Communication (Part 1)

Looking to create a sustainable AAC program in your school? Today, we learn about the way one school district in Illinois created a core vocabulary initiative that has been up and running for almost a decade. Kelly Key, the Assistive Technology (AT) Coordinator for Barrington School District 220 serves as our tour guide. Kelly is passionate about giving students a voice through core vocabulary and empowering others to support students.  She has been in the field for over 22 years as a special education teacher, an administrator, and AT Coordinator.  Kelly presents at local, state, and national conferences and colleges on various AT topics including core vocabulary and AAC implementation. ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: How We Do It: Getting to the CORE of Communication (Part 1) Rolling Out a Core Vocabulary Initiative- How this District has been going strong for a decade! The Importance of Using Core Vocabulary As we all know, individuals with complex... [Read More...]

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Video of the Week: Important Considerations in the AAC Selection Process

January 23, 2019 by - 2 Comments

Video of the Week: Important Considerations in the AAC Selection Process

What are some of the ‘big ideas’ that we should have in mind as we approach the process of selecting AAC supports for an individual student? There is much to consider during this process, as SLP and AT Specialist Chris Bugaj notes in today’s featured presentation. Thank you to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s TTAC Program for making the archived sessions from their TechKnowledgy Conferences available to all. Click here for the handout for this session. Note: You may need to create a free account in order to view this video. Also, you can check out their upcoming TechKnowledgy Conference here. 

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Video of the Week: Aided AAC and the IEP

July 18, 2018 by - Leave your thoughts

Video of the Week: Aided AAC and the IEP

Last month, CoughDrop held the 2018 AAC in the Cloud conference, offering 3 tracks of presentations and online discussions with the presenters. I was thrilled to find this ‘meaty’ session by Amy Goldman, Technical Assistance Specialist and AAC SLP, at the National AT Act Technical Assistance and Training Center. Amy is a tireless advocate for AAC and has shared some of her work here in the area of emergency preparedness and on the activities of the NJC. In this video, she gives us a solid overview of the IEP as it relates to AAC and AT. There’s something to learn even if you’ve already done a lot of work around the topic of AAC and the IEP. Many thanks to CoughDrop for putting on another wonderful, online conference and offering it to the AAC community without charge, and to Amy for sharing such valuable information. Enjoy! Direct Link to video... [Read More...]

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Video of the Week: Be More with Core

June 20, 2018 by - 1 Comment

Video of the Week: Be More with Core

Looking to improve the AAC implementation practices in your school? Today, we hear from Kelly Key, the Assistive Technology Coordinator for Barrington School District in Illinois, who discusses the ways in which their schools boosted AAC use by focusing on core vocabulary. Many thanks to Kelly and the Kansas Technical Assistance Network (TASN) for offering this presentation. You can learn more about TASN here. Direct Link to Video – https://www.ksdetasn.org/resources/1628

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PrAACtical Resources: Lockdown, Code Red, & Other School Safety Drills

May 14, 2018 by - Leave your thoughts

PrAACtical Resources: Lockdown, Code Red, & Other Safety Drills

Recent events, such as the horrific mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, have led us all to re-examine policies and procedures that impact school safety.  Throughout the country, school communities are re-evaluating and fine-tuning their processes for keeping students and staff safe in the unlikely event of violent acts, such as bomb threats and active shooters. It seems surreal that we have to think about and plan for this, but that is our reality. We look at school safety drills for Code Red and lockdowns with a greater degree of importance and a heightened level of urgency. Our students with AAC needs are among the most vulnerable in any emergency situation and this is no different. Our students may have difficulty understanding what is happening in a drill or its implications. They may have difficulty moving quickly to get to a safe space or staying quiet once they get there.... [Read More...]

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PrAACtical Resources: Promoting Inclusion and Participation for People Who Use AAC

April 19, 2018 by - Leave your thoughts

PrAACtical Resources: Promoting Inclusion and Participation for People Who Use AAC

We’re so pleased to discover a new resource created by Talking Mats through a partnership with Scotland’s National Health Service Education. This guide, Promoting Inclusion and Participation A holistic approach to working with children and young people who use AAC, has lots of useful information, embedded video clips, discussion questions, and more. You can download the book here. (Note: It is a large file that takes awhile to download.) Kudos to the wonderful team at Talking Mats for their fine work on this project, and to NHS Education Scotland for making it available on their website!

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“We don’t ‘do’ AAC.”

April 12, 2018 by - 2 Comments

“We don’t ‘do’ AAC.”

Armando’s parents were so disappointed when they inquired about AAC supports for their son during a recent visit to his classroom. “We don’t ‘do’ AAC,” they were told. “We’d love to, but we just don’t have the resources.” When Mia’s family moved to a new school district, they were expecting her to be able to continue using the Minspeak-based device that Mia had been learning to use in her previous school. Instead, they were told that this school uses ‘other’ kinds of AAC and that Mia would be provided with one of the AAC apps used by some of her new classmates. After all the time and effort of an AAC evaluation, and then struggling to learn the basics when Mia first got her device, it seemed unreasonable to start over with a new AAC system. But, Mia’s parents were told, ‘once she gets used to it, she’ll be able to... [Read More...]

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