Sunday, May 26, 2019

What to Tell Parents (and Teachers) about Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) Before Asking Them to Use It




So many of us work with students/clients using speech-generating devices or low tech options such as core vocabulary boards. We want our students to use their AAC beyond the therapy setting but, do parents and teachers know where to begin?

It takes about 45 minutes, in a small group setting, to get parents and teachers excited about using the AAC. There will need to be follow-up, but covering the information below will help parents and teachers understand why certain vocabulary is used and how to begin. 

Before you begin training parents and teachers, you need to be comfortable with what you are telling them. There is so much more to AAC than setting up the device. All of these links are NOT for you to pass on to parents and teachers. These links are for you (SLPs) to use as you prepare training materials. 



1. Parents and teachers need to know we didn't randomly choose the words on the AAC system. Make sure you tell them a little about the research! The most popular dynamic display applications use research to determine their vocabulary setups. If using a dynamic display, try one of that company's recommended setups. If you are creating your own board, using a static display, or creating a communication book, look at these research-based lists before choosing your words. 
  • AssistiveWare’s Ordered Core Words is based on the frequency of use, developmental order of acquisition, and flexibility of use for effective communication. You will need to be registered at the FREE AssistiveWare Core Word Classroom download this list. 


2. Introduce core and fringe vocabulary. Show them where the core vocabulary and fringe vocabulary are located on the student's AAC system. Create a PowerPoint, outline, or other documents to guide you through your explanations. Find good resources at these sites. 

  • Project Core's Professional Development Modules are part of A Stepping-Up Technology Implementation Grant directed by the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies at UNC Chapel Hill. 

Too Busy? Too Small? How many children, with
limited expressive language skills,
easily use tablets or their parent’s phones?
3. Parents and teachers need to understand that communication is more than requesting. Their student/child needs a robust vocabulary to communicate for a variety of functions.  Experts tell us not to underestimate the amount of vocabulary needed and to begin with the number of cells the student can see and touch. More cells, on a single screen, require less navigation and will allow for more modeling opportunities. 


  • This article, Choosing a Grid Size, supports using a larger grid size and is a must-read for SLPs. 
  • Read Pat Mervine's blog post, Colorful Language talking about the ability to use multiple parts of speech and multiple functions of language on AAC systems. AND, check out her poster, Sure, I can request, but can I…?, illustrating the many functions of language.  







4. Tell parents and teachers about aided language input. Use the term you are most comfortable using. Parents and teachers like the term "modeling." They need to know that if they are using aided language input, they are teaching language on the AAC device the way typically developing children learn language. 

Parents and teachers also need to know that aided language input takes practice. It's not easy at first. I suggest to parents and teachers that they plan ahead and choose a few activities to model daily during the first week or so. Know the words they will model prior to the activity. Gradually increase the number of activities where modeling occurs until the modeling occurs naturally throughout the day. 





Diana

© 2019

“Choosing a grid size.” https://www.assistiveware.com/learn-aac/choosing-a-grid-size. Accessed 18 Apr. 2019.

Paine, Steve. “Baby Sees The iPad Magic .” Flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/umpcportal/4581962986/. Accessed 18 Apr. 2019.

The Picture Communication Symbols ©1981–2019 by Tobii Dynavox. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Used with permission.  Boardmaker® is a trademark of Tobii Dynavox.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Gotta Go Buffalo - A Book About Saying Goodbye

I just purchased this book for my grandson and know I will enjoy reading it to him.  However, I couldn't stop thinking about how I could use it in therapy. Gotta Go, Buffalo, by Kevin and Haily Meyers, is a great book to read at the end of the school year. Practice greetings and learn about rhyming. Pair it with an animal or transportation theme. 

 If you want to know more before you buy, see the complete book at Storytime with Mama Emi. 

Pair the book with Time to Go!: An End-of-the-Day Chant, a fabulous PowerPoint Freebie from PB and J at Teachers Pay Teachers. 

Make a Hello/Goodbye Elephant and more - visit Sunflower Storytime.




Make a classroom or take home book. Make your own or use one of the following.






Practice saying hi and goodbye to a variety of animals. This is a great whole classroom activity. Quickly give each child an animal. Tell the children to say hi to the animals. Set a timer for just a few minutes. With your animal, demonstrate actions and/or position words (go up, go under the chair, fly, walk, etc.) and ask your students to imitate. When the timer goes off, the children say goodbye and pass their animal to the child on the left so that everyone gets a new animal. Say hi, set a timer, and repeat the activities with the new animals. 

Roll in vehicles, each containing an animal. Greet the animals as they come in and say goodbye as they leave the area. 


Check out these sites containing Goodbye and Hello songs and rhymes. 

Hello and Goodbye Lyrics from Dr. Jean 

Good Bye Friends a goodbye song from Maple Leaf Learning and The Singing Walrus  

STORY TIME STARTER: HELLO and GOODBYE from the Mansfield Richland County Public Library in Ohio.  

The Goodbye Song for Kids from Kindergarten and Preschool Songs by ELF Learning

Goodbye, See You Soon from Super Simple Songs.



Diana

© 2019

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Video Modeling - Timesaving Resources

One of my first attempts at video modeling. "Legos do NOT go in the microwave."
Middle school students were learning about kitchen safety and
using the core vocabulary phrase "not go in."

I have a colleague who makes video models that work wonderfully with her most difficult students. I know she must spend an incredible amount of her family time preparing these videos. As I watched her in therapy, I thought of all the possible ways I could use video modeling but wondered where I would find the time. 

Recently, a parent told me how well a particular online video modeling program helped her child with speech production and sadly discontinued it due to the cost. Are there any FREE or low-cost resources? I did a little digging and this is what I found. 

iMovie



If you want ready-made video models, here are a few no-cost resources. 

Lindsey at Speechy Things wrote Using First Person Video Modeling as a Tool to Teach Children on the Autism Spectrum How to Play with Toys. Her post and the accompanying video links are fabulous.  

There are many other videos modeling play on YouTube. Start with Playing with Trains, Let's Play Ball, and  Playing Memory

Find a huge number of videos at That Speech Lady. She models using LAMP Words For Life™ in several videos. Watch AAC: LAMP WFL EAT! You will also find numerous videos modeling the production of phonemes and language concepts. 

Yak Back Pack's YouTube channel has quite a few videos you can use to model phoneme production. 

Search YouTube for modeling of specific phonemes. I couldn't resist this video of an orange demonstrating the production of /l/
      Greeting and My Turn by autismvideomodeling are two of the many videos modeling social skills found on YouTube. Browse Watch Me Learn, Meredith Harrah, and villaspeech to find a video or search YouTube for specific skills. 


      More . . . 

      The FREE app, Story Creator, allows the addition of short video clips on each page. Great for modeling sequenced activities.

      Look at this list of Social Stories & Video Modeling Apps. It includes some FREE and low-cost apps. 

      No Ads!!!


      If you find a video you like but want to show only a portion (and get rid of the ads), use SafeShare.tv. I really like Deborah Brooks' YouTube post, Color in Speech Book 6.  However, I only want to use the portion pertaining to /b/. I used SafeShare.tv to shorten the video and eliminate the ads. Check out the shortened video here


      Diana

      © 2019

      “Film Strip - Free Clip Art.” http://sweetclipart.com/film-strip-956. Accessed 21 Apr. 2019.