Tuesday, 1 September 2009

I can... gear up for school!

Welcome back! Fall is here and with it comes a new start in school, a chance to meet new friends, goals to be reached and endless opportunities for successful communication. However, as we all know, time is short and the months will fly by. Remember your monthly “I Can …” newsletter for some quick and easy ideas to help those who use AAC.

Vocabulary suggestions for going back to school:
How was your summer?
Wanna know what I did?
I missed you.
What’s your name?
What are we doing next?
Tell me about your summer.
Can I play with you at recess?
Guess what I did this summer!  You can ask me ‘yes’ ‘no’ questions.
Do you have any photos?
Can we schedule a play date?
Can you add your name to my communication display?
Check out my photos.  They’re in my backpack.
“I Can…participate in class" - ideas for getting things off to a good start

New school year, new class, new teacher and new friends to make. When a student uses augmentative and alternative communication it can take some time for new listeners to become familiar with how to interact successfully with that student. Here are some suggestions to help facilitate this:
·        Make sure the student has their device or symbol board in front of them
·        Have your student show his peers how he indicates ‘yes’ and ‘no’
·        Make peers aware of all the ways the student uses AAC to express himself
·        Help peers understand how best to present information, to ask questions and what to look for as a response
·        Organize a ‘Show and Tell’ during which all students have an opportunity to use a communication board or device
·        Remember that using AAC takes time – your student may need a prompt that his turn is coming to answer a question so that he can get his response ready
·        The student using AAC may not have the exact vocabulary needed to participate – think of how to ask a question so that general vocabulary rather than specific can be used (e.g. ask student to describe dinosaurs – loud, big, noisy, dirty etc. rather than asking for specific names)
·        Learning new concepts – let parents or caregivers know if vocabulary needs to be added to a device or communication display to facilitate the student’s learning
·        Become familiar with the vocabulary on your student’s display so that you can easily model communication and so that you are aware of the words that the student is able to use. Sometimes it helps to have a larger copy of the display available in the classroom for reference
 ·        Explore resources to increase AAC awareness in the school – your student’s AC clinician can make a presentation for the class upon request

·        Device problems – technology often breaks down - let parents, caregivers or clinicians know if there are any problems with batteries, screens or cables as soon as they happen

 No-Tech Ideas
  • Use photo albums to talk about what happened in the summer – add post-it notes for details.
  • Have your child participate in “writing” a summer report by selecting between sentence starters, information and endings.

Light Tech Ideas

  • It’s never too early to start planning! Start creating overlays for Trick or Treating now, so that your child can practice before the big night.

High Tech Ideas

  • Create word or phrase based toolbars within IntelliTools software to allow students who use alternative access to generate creative writing.
Talking with our mouths full!      In celebration of AAC Awareness Month, we’re getting together for a special lunch! Tuesday October 27, 2009 at Shelley’s restaurant in London. See the attached flyer for more details.

Don’t miss out!!!  Device Training opportunities!!!
ACS will be hosting the following full day workshops at TVCC: 
September 28
Dynavox V and VMax
September 29

Resources: Check out some websites ….

AdaptedLearning.com is a free web resource from Mayer-Johnson and DynaVox that combines file sharing, powerful search capabilities, implementation articles, open discussion forums, and community functions. Start finding what you need among thousands of Boardmaker boards and sharing what you have created to help others.

http://aex.intellitools.com/ sign up for the IntelliTools activity exchange, which provides access to hundreds of free Classroom Suite activities.

Check out manufacturers’ websites for new products, such as Ablenet’s “Equals”, a mathematics curriculum for students of differing abilities http://www.ablenetinc.com/Home/Curriculum/Equals/tabid/460/Default.aspx

http://closingthegap.com/ Closing the Gap strives to provide parents and educators alike, the information and training necessary to locate, compare, and implement assistive technology.