Video of the Week: AAC for Students Who Can Speak
“But my student can speak. Why would we use AAC?”
We often get this question from our fellow SLPs, particularly those who work with students who have autism. From the question alone, it seems like AAC is not needed, and would be a step backward for this particular student. But what happens when we dig a little deeper?
The last time this question was posed to me, it was about Marcella, an 8 year old with ASD. As the conversation progressed, we learned more about Marcella’s communication profile. Independently, she uses 2-3 word sentences to ask for things she wants (e.g., “Want that popsicle.” “More Dora”) and single words to protest (“No!”). With prompting Marcella uses 1-2 words for greeting (e.g., “Hi Tony”), labelling (e.g., “Dora book”), answer questions, (e.g., “here,” “sunny”) and a few other social purposes.
So, what’s the problem? For starters, Marcella is capable of more. In fact, the teacher suspects that Marcella has a lot more she could say in daily classroom activities and routines but that she can’t think of the words she needs at the right time. There are issues at home, too. Her parents would love for Marcella to be able to tell them what happened in school and just have social, chit-chat conversations.
AAC has much to offer learners like Marcella who have some natural speech, but use it sparingly and for a limited number of purposes. In this video from The AAC Chicks, we look at how an AAC tool is a bridge that helps this speaking student tell about something that happened in the past. AAC will play a temporary and limited role for students like this, but can really help them improve the length, complexity, and novelty of their spoken language.
Filed under: Video of the Week
This post was written by Carole Zangari