Saturday, 1 January 2011

I can...set goals!


January is traditionally a time for reflecting on the year that has passed and for making plans and setting goals for the year to come.  Here are some ideas to consider as you set goals related to using your augmentative communication system. Here’s to a wonderful 2011!

Ready, Set, Goals!

Start simple….
Learning how to use all the features of a complex speech generating device or communication system can be overwhelming. Set yourself one or two small goals to get started. For example, aim to learn how to program a news message onto a single button. Decide what is going to make the most difference to your student / child. If adding photographs to a symbol display will be highly motivating, set a goal to learn about adding photos in Boardmaker. Make your goals SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely).

Work as a team….
Involve your child in selecting the goals – what is important to you may not be motivating to your child. Use scaling questions to find out what is important to your child (e.g. on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being “not at all” and 5 being “very”, how important is it for you to have a turn doing the weather?).  Using a visual representation of the scale may help students understand and may allow for eye gaze to be used to indicate a response. 

Finding help….
Find out what resources are available to help you meet your goals…. Talk to your ACS clinician(s) to find out what is available in terms of teaching and training different aspects of communicating with an AAC system. For example, if the identified goal is for your student to become more familiar with the core vocabulary on his/her device, it may be possible to provide individualized Functional Communication Training Sessions directly in the classroom.
Other support can be found on manufacturers’ and vendors’ websites, including online sharing of resources. Collaboration with others involved with your student can be invaluable. Don’t forget to seek out input from the person using AAC!

How do you know if you are meeting your goals? Scale your satisfaction with your progress (on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 meaning you are highly satisfied with the progress you’re making towards the goal(s) and 1 meaning you’re not at all satisfied). What it would take to move 1 point higher on the scale? Think about what is going well and what is not going well. Identify what can be done to change it. ….

Little Bytes:
If your device batteries are not what they used to be… Monitor the battery life of your device for a week or two and keep a record. Your clinician will then be able to determine whether it is time to request replacements if your system is leased through CEP 

No-Tech Ideas
  • Make a resolution to update your child’s vocabulary this year. Keep a pad of Post-it notes handy and use them to write down words that need to be added to a display as you think of them. You can then make the changes and print out the new display when you have time available.

Light Tech Ideas

  • One of your goals could be to use a simple speech-generating device to participate in a new activity.  E.g. playing Go Fish, program the following messages on your device: “Go Fish”, “I have a pair!”, “I win!”, “Do you have one of these?”

High Tech Ideas

  •  Program a button on your communication device that explains the goal(s) you are currently working on. That way, you can tell people what your goal is, and share how they can help you to achieve it. It also serves as a reminder, so that current goals are not lost in the ongoing day-to-day routines. For example, program a message that says “I want to learn how to send and receive e-mails all by myself. My goal is to send 3 e-mails to my friends each week. Will you share your e-mail address with me? I’ll show you where to program it on my device.”
I Can…be a Star!
Congratulations to Hailey Ash for completing 10 Functional Communication Training sessions with her very first AAC device. She's been talking to a lot of people and her peers think it’s awesome!
"I think it's good for her because she can talk now to everyone, and tell us how she feels."

Upcoming Device Training

Introduction to Springboard Lite
Mon, Jan. 10 from 11:00 – 1:00

Introduction to Vantage Lite
Tues, Jan.11 from 11:00-1:00
Register for this WebEx meeting at:
Both sessions include an intro to the device, training re: vocabulary and basic programming. 

Check your device manufacturer’s website for other upcoming device workshops.