There seem to be a million and one ways to keep in contact with friends and family floating around the internet right now. Marco Polo is one that I have been using for quick video messages to my loved ones. It is also a great resource for video messages that include AAC.
There are a few features in this app that make it a fun and easy way to communicate or use for video modeling with someone who is far away right now.
Today, I’d like to share some low tech AAC options you can implement at home. Working in a school, I typically have access to many resources to make AAC systems including a printer and laminator for low tech boards in addition to having access to mid tech devices and high tech loaner systems. But I also work in early intervention and don’t always have access to the same resources. Many times, while we’ve submitted for a high tech device trial, my families and I want to put some sort of AAC system in place. We often turn to no/low-tech options!
This video shares some of the ideas we’ve used. There are many ways you can use items you have at home to make simple AAC systems. In the video I shared that many robust AAC systems have a back-up manual board. I often print and laminate these (you can use packing tape if you don’t have a laminator!) and introduce them to my clients while waiting for their high tech device. Here are some manual board resources.
The AAC Language Lab has Unity, CoreScanner, and LAMP manual communication boards.
Saltillo has manual communication boards for WordPower.
In case you missed it, I discussed making reading experiences accessible with story boxes, language experiences books, and book modification ideas. I also talked about alphabet instruction, phonological/phonemic awareness, and vocabulary/ concept development. A reminder that my background is in speech-language pathology and many of my accommodations and activity ideas for children with low vision come from collaborating with a TVI.
The recorded session should be posted soon through CBSS. Here is the link for the original listing. I’ll try to update this post when there is a link for the recorded presentation!
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.