On Wednesday, one of the fabulous teachers we work with asked her student, “Let’s write about Father’s Day today. What do you want to write about your grandpa/uncle?” The student immediately responded “funny to play, little, love” on his Accent.
Hope this put a smile on your face at the end of a long week!
I love seeing pictures people have posted with the #SeeMeSeeMyAAC. Unfortunately, due to privacy protections for our students we have been unable to participate. The other day I was thinking that a lot of the adults and students in our school could benefit from seeing photos of students doing typical activities with their captured voices in the photo as well. Amanda and I created a bulletin board explaining the #. Click here and here to download the documents.
We then sent a template out to teachers and therapists asking them to post pictures of their students with a short blurb about what they were doing when the picture was taken.
Within the hour, one teacher added several pictures of her students giving presentations in class.
My favorite addition is a photo of a teacher and student having lunch after the student said “Should we lunch [Teacher’s name]?”.
Let us know if you decide to start a #SeeMeSeeMyAAC campaign at your school!
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.
I recently discovered the Great Expectations program from the National Braille Press. The program is designed to bring
“… popular picture books to life using a multi-sensory approach — songs, tactile play, picture descriptions, body movement, engaged listening — all designed to promote active reading experiences for children with visual impairments.”
I have found that although some of the activities as specific to students with visual impairments (activities focused on reading braille and using cane), most of the resources on the website can be used for all children. After all, “songs, tactile play, picture descriptions, body movement, engaged listening” are used by effective teachers and therapists across disciplines.
The website has a list of featured books that they provide resources for.
Each title comes with a list of tips and activities you can use when teaching the text. You can also purchase the book in braille through the site. The resources for each book include descriptions of the pictures. This is great for students with visual impairments, but is also a good resource for teachers who are learning how to use the descriptive teaching model to instruct students using AAC.
Thanks to this website, I have fallen in love with the book “Dragons Love Tacos“.
If you have a copy of the book, I am happy to share my adapted, high contrast, PowerPoint version and my PowerPoint for the song. Just send me an email or message me through Facebook or Twitter with proof that you own the book.
I hope you enjoy this resource as much as I do.
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:
- The Odyssey
- 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
- Don Quixote
- The Metamorphosis
- 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!
Lauren and Amanda
Finding ways to motivate older students can be difficult. You want to be age respectful while also providing instruction that is cognitively appropriate. I created this Facebook activity as a way to increase student motivation during writing activities.
Students can write a status at the beginning or end of the day. The teacher can write the morning message as a status. Students can “Like” the status, they can use an emoji to show how they are feeling, check-in at their current location, or tag a classmate.
Click here to download the activity.
This is the main board for the activity (it is called “Facebook”). The other files are pop-up boards.
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!
In trying to become fluent in Unity 84 sequenced, I have failed to explore some of the other awesome features on the Accent. I share an office with a great SLP, who just showed me the books that are available on the Accent. There are several books to choose from and they allow the student to read the words on each page using Unity while they look at the book! It’s a great way for students to learn a new motor plan (or continue to practice an old one) and build literacy skills. Here is how you can access the books:
- Go to PAGES.
- Go to BOOKS
- Book options will open up. Choose one to read (We chose “What Do You Do?”). They mostly focus on different core words but there are some books that are more complex (e.g., Goldilocks). If you pick the book called “I Can Turn…” (the character changes colors throughout the book), you will see the relevant vocabulary for each page (“I can”, “turn”, colors).
- Turn the pages by hitting the blue “prev page” and “next page” buttons on the little book page that opens up. The icons that appear are the first ones in the sequences for the vocabulary on the page. The page will move around the screen so that you can access the vocabulary.Enjoy!
When working with a teacher in a classroom with AAC users, I often direct them to Gail Van Tatenhove’s resources on descriptive teaching (you can also find some great youtube videos modeling it). One of the classrooms I have been supporting in has 5, 5 year olds using high-tech. We have been doing shared reading every day after nap-time, and their teacher has been working on commenting on the text and describing what is happening on each page using their devices (with these supports). He is doing a great job using the supports and is beginning to model for the students without using them. The other day, he was having some difficulty coming up with things to model and one of his students said “DESCRIBE” on her Accent. He immediately began describing what was happening on the page. The timing was excellent and we all had a laugh.
Don’t you love it when the students remind you of what you are supposed to be doing!