If you have a child at home who uses AAC, you have probably heard “model, model, model”. Sometimes this is easier said than done. It is easy to get caught up in the labeling trap, and not exploring other types of vocabulary during this naturally social time.
We have created a short cheat-sheet with some ideas of other things to talk about at lunch. Comments about what you are eating, direct the actions of others around you, ask questions about taste and texture, and let your child know how you feel about the food.
Note: “it” can be replaced with the specific food item you are eating (i.e. “apple big”).
PowerPoint can make adapting books a breeze. We recently took the same features we use when making books for the computer or iPad and created a book for an Accent 1400 with NuEye. The Accent 1400 allows the user to download Microsoft with PowerPoint 360. This opens up the endless activity possibilities available through PowerPoint.
AlphaOops! H is for Halloween is the first book we tried this with and it was a hit! Each slide contains 4 icons that the child can click to turn the page, hear audio of the page, go back, or exit the book.
Continue reading for a free template and step-by-step directions.
Most of the activities that we shared during our session are available through our website. If you are searching for a specific activity and can’t find it please let us know through email and we will point you in the right direction. If you are looking for a book that is not available on our website due to copyright reasons, please email us with proof that you own the original book and we can send you the adapted version.
We are so excited about the resources currently available on the Project Core Website. The resources for Universal Core Vocabulary Systems will be sure to help many! And we can’t wait to see how their research progresses while developing a comprehensive implementation program for core vocabulary instruction.
Loved Caroline Musselwhite’s and Gretchen Hanser’s presentation on predictable chart writing. They suggested using a document camera to show the class what students are saying on their AAC systems.
3. Vikki Haddix, Mary Shannon Marcella, and Laura Henry shared how they developed a team of people knowledgeable about AAC in their district. Their 1x/month, 2 hour groups reviewing research studies/ papers and discussing their own tough AAC cases sounds like a great model for professional development.
4. Caroline Musselwhite and Gretchen Hanser made the point that typically developing children get FOUR years to scribble before they begin to form letters and words in their writing. Why do we have different expectations for individuals with CCN, especially the older students who have never been given a chance to write?
5. Kate Anderson recommended providing parents and educators with “hot” and “cold” knowledge about AAC. Parents tend to prefer “hot knowledge” such as information given during a social interaction (i.e. conversation, online forum). So we should provide that in addition to the “cold” knowledge we typically provide in the form of handouts and pamphlets.
Last week we had a request on our Facebook page to write a post about how we make PowerPoint books. I had just started a how-to guide for my co-workers so the timing was perfect. You can download the guide I created by clicking HERE.
Let me know if you use the guide to create a book and feel free to email me if you have any questions.
On Wednesday, Amanda and I received an email from a wonderful SLP we work with, sharing a few great AAC stories from her day. Hopefully they put a smile on your face as well.
“Student A was trying to get his behavior specialist to go away. I’ve insisted that … he use his device or screen shot of the device and they have been great about that. He told him to “leave” about 8 times but he couldn’t leave the room due to safety concerns so Student A stopped, looked at his device, and tried “away” 5 times . I guess we found a motivating request!!!???”
“Student B used two word combo independently again with “[SLPs name] help” while completing her morning journal. While in the kitchen she was not heard over the noise of the students. I had shown her how to “yell” when need be and she did to get [OTs name] attention.”
“[OTs name] and I had THE BEST co treat today I’ve ever had. We took Student C to the sensory room and tried swings, balls, snacks, videos, everything and he not only had a calmer body afterwards but was attending to the device during modeling from [OTs name] and I, as well as tracking if we drew his attention to the device and initiating using the device as well. Still working on finger isolation but all of that is huge improvement.”
I particularly love the story about a student yelling. A few of us have discussed teaching students how to raise their voice when no one is listening to them. I see it as a very important skill, especially when adults are not acknowledging what they are saying or brushing it off as unintentional. I think the next step will be learning how to whisper.
Since we started AACreATively in October, we have enjoyed getting to talk to and share ideas with some amazing parents and professionals. This is our way of saying “Thanks!” to those of you who have supported the blog.
Shrunken Treasures shortens 9 literary masterpieces into beautifully illustrated verse that is appropriate for children of all ages.
The book includes:
Frankenstien (The illustrated monster is adorable.)
Moby-Dick (Written to the tune of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”.)
Jane Eyre (Written to the tune of “Three Blind Mice”.)
A Thousand and One Nights
Remembrance of Things Past
About the Stories (Short, funny blurbs written by the author about each story.)
Good luck and we hope you enjoy this wonderful book!
As part of our “Read The Sentence” predictable chart writing lesson (you can find the 5 plan here), we have been using tap-lights and a Boardmaker activity to increase student engagement. The tap-lights can be purchased on Amazon, hardware stores, CVS, etc. and you can lay out one tap light for each word (the words can be on or above the light). During the lesson, the student says each word and turns on the corresponding light. Our tap-lights decided to give us a little trouble so I made a back-up Boardmaker activity (download here).
The title page introduces the activities and allows students to turn a light on to practice.
The first page has the sentence with the final word blank. Each box will turn yellow and the text will turn black when it is selected. When the board is in “use” mode you can type in the message display bar and when the box surrounding it is selected it will light up.
Recently, a discussion among friends in our AAC community came up, about whether or not we should be customizing devices for AAC users to only include words they understand. To clarify, “understand” seemed to refer to the user’s ability to fully comprehend the meaning of the word. One school of thought was to remove words if the user did not have this “understanding.” Our school of thought is absolutely not! For example, Lauren and I have a context for the word “astrophysics” and might say it when talking about last night’s episode of “The Big Bang Theory;” but if you asked us to describe it or tell you about it… we couldn’t. This does not mean that we can’t use the word. Following this train of thought, we believe our AAC users have the right to say any word they want even if they don’t necessarily know the meaning of it. This creates wonderful, unexpected teaching opportunities.
A point I’d like to make about these teaching opportunities is that they don’t necessarily mean the AAC user will walk away with an understanding of the word. And that’s ok! Their verbal peers might not understand your explanation either, but they can still say the word if they choose to! My cousin recently used a swear word and when asked by her mother if she knew what that word meant, she said “no.” Her mother’s reply was simply, don’t use that word again! Verbal speakers use words they don’t understand, so AAC users can too! There may also be times when you have to level your explanation for the user. For example, when young children ask “where do babies come from?” their parents and teachers don’t usually tell the whole story! Depending on the child’s abilities, you may choose to provide a simplified explanation!