Monday, 1 October 2012

I can...take 5!

September has gone by in the blink of an eye.  We are all so busy that it's difficult get through everything on our "to do" lists. In our September haze, we forgot to send out the notice that the blog was posted! Eeek! In this issue, we will look at quick and easy ways to "take 5" to make a difference in your students' lives.  Think about what you could achieve by introducing 5 new strategies, 5 core words or by spending 5 minutes brainstorming new vocabulary.  Every journey begins with a first step.

We asked the TVCC ACS clinicians to share some of their "Top 5" AAC tips with all of you.  Here's a selection of their comments:

Top AAC Strategies:
  • model symbol use, especially core words
  • look for opportunities for your child to communicate
  • share how your child communicates with others
  • tell your child what you think they are communicating and why
  • brag about your child's ability to communicate (within earshot)
  • Make sure the communication system is always available, " See child, see book/device" Linda Burkhart and Gayle Porter (Partner assisted communication strategies for children who face multiple challenges)
  • Believe in your child
  • Create a communication dictionary listing all of your child's communication behaviours and how to respond.
  • Include your child in conversations that are about him/her.
  • Encourage people to communicate with the child using AC rather than the adult or person with them.

If you have 5 minutes:
  • set up your child's communication system
  • plan opportunities in the day for your child to communicate
  • provide an opportunity for your child to make choices
  • ask a question or learn something new by looking online or in a book
  • read to your child
  • use no tech strategies to make choices 
  • co-construct a message to put on a single message device
  • model core words
  • play a game to encourage fun use of vocab or literacy
    • I'm thinking of a word that rhymes with door; Guess "more", four", "store"
    • I Spy things that start with the "b" sound....
  • help your child practice a conversational routine to use with the next person who comes into the room.
  • have your child share some news to/from home/school by programming a message in their SGD

  • model real-life writing with child e.g. "Look Suzie, we need some ice cream so mommy is going to put that on her shopping list" 
Top are some of the first words that our AC clinicians introduce

                             more                       all done
                             want                        like
                             not                          stop
                             eat                          drink
                             go                           help

Top FAQ questions about AAC

  • Will using AAC stop my child from talking or writing? 
    • In fact, numerous studies have found that the introduction of AAC frequently has a positive affect on speech; children who are given AAC often develop speech faster than they would have otherwise (Bodine & Beukelman, 1991; Van Tatenhove, 1987).
  • How can I get an iPad? Can we do this on an iPad?
    • We love iPads!!!  However, they may not work well for everyone.  Check out our past issue all about iPads for more information: I can...get connected!
  • What is the best way to use the device? 
    • Every child is unique and has different things he or she may want to communicate. Gather information about your child's interests and consider his/her motivators. 
  • Why do we need to use AAC at home if we know what they want to say/do?
    • Each time you shape your child's communication, you are paving the road to successful communication with their teachers, friends, and others.
  • How do I find out what my child understands?
    Connect with your child's teacher and therapists.  You may want to consider having a psycho-educational testing if you are having difficulty figuring out your child's learning strengths.
  • I"m not comfortable with computers/technology, do I have to program it? 
    • If your child is an ACS TVCC client, contact your clinicians if you need additional support.  There is also a variety on online resources to help you become more comfortable.   
  • What if child doesn't have strong preferences - how will we motive child to communicate? Shouldn't we start with requesting to go to the bathroom?
    • Make a list of your child's favourite toys, foods and activities.  Your child may not be motivated to communicate his/her bathroom needs.  Check out this great resource about motivation and AAC: Motivation Formula 

 Top AAC related websites:
TVCC Holiday Home Tour!
Time to get into the holiday spirit and get your tickets for TVCC's Holiday Home Tour!!!!  They are $25 for daytime tickets and $50 for twilight tickets.  Check out their website for more information on the event and ticket options.
If you've never been to this fantastic event, check out this video from the 2011 tour:

Educational Opportunities

Ablenet's FREE Online Professional Development Courses

October 3, 2012 1:00pm CDT - 30 minutes
Choice making...there's an app for that (and more!
Learn More or Register Now

October 3, 2012 2:00pm CDT - 30 minutes
VHS - Visually Helping Social Skills
Learn More or Register Now

October 9, 2012 11:00am CDT - 1 hour
Course 3 - Positioning for Optimal Access to Assistive Technology
Learn More or Register Now

AAC Awareness Month 
Check out these great ideas to celebrate AAC Awareness Month on this blogspot: 

Save the Date: 
TVCC's We're All Stars 20th Anniversary event will take place on February 11th, 2013.