Friday, 1 February 2013

I can...tell you about my favourite things!

Everyone has a favourite sport, activity, celebrity, tv show or toy.  Don't you love to talk about things that matter to you? It's fun to share your passion with others and a great way to make a new friend! In this month's issue, we'll share some ways to encourage kids who use AAC to tell others about their favourite things! 
You can encourage your child to talk about their favourite things by using low tech strategies.  If your child loves hockey, Justin Beiber or teddy bears...use a sticker, clothing, or a symbol to help your child tell others about their interests. By sharing the topic, communication partners have the context they need to better understand their messages.  It also means the communication partners the can bring up the topic of hockey when a child is wearing their Toronto Maple Leafs jersey.

Teach your child how to get the conversation started by using a prompt for communication partners.  This can occur in a variety of ways including using: 

  • a symbol on their tray such as "I want to talk about..." that they can combine with symbol of a teddy bear, 
  • a recorded message on a Step by Step "Have you heard the latest Beiber song?",
  • a post it note which says "Did you see the hockey game last night?"
Help your child share their knowledge about their favourite topic by adding topic specific vocabulary. Together with your child, write down what they'd like to say. You can build on their existing vocabulary by adding a page to their SGD or additional words/symbols to their low tech display.

Remnant Books

A remnant book is a small portable book in which "remnants" can be added to share with others.  Remnants can be items such as movie tickets, photographs, flyers, restaurant menus or post-it notes with specific written information to share.  It can be used to engage a listener in topics of conversation or for clarification purposes.

For more information on remnant books: 

Remnant books are also a useful tool to help students pick a topic for their writing.  For more information:

No Tech Strategies
- Create an "All about me" book using an online photo company such as Walmart Photo where you can include captions on your photos to give communication partners more information. Walmart Photo
Blacks Photo also has ready made "All about me" books for preschool and teens that you can print and write down information your child may want to share with communication partners.

-Add a pad of sticky notes to a communication display to share current information with communication partners.

-Make a list of your students favourite things.  Each day, ask your students to write or say something about that topic.  

Low Tech Strategies 
-Empower your child to ask for specific preferred activities using a simple speech generating device such as a Step by Step.  Record a message such as "Can we watch a You Tube video about One Direction at lunch today?."

High Tech Strategies
- If your child is using an idevice, you can create a photo album for your child to share with others.  There are also a variety of apps that can be downloaded.  The SPOKEnPHOTO app (currently free) allows you to add messages to the photos.

An interview with....

If your student admires a famous person, ask your student to pretend to be that celebrity.  Ask the student some questions so that he/she can share their knowledge with you and others.  Take some time to determine what kinds of questions that can be asked and whether the student has the vocabulary to answer them. 

Give your student the opportunity to ask questions to other students too.  It's a great way to teach kids who use AAC how to keep the conversation flowing and build friendships.

Upcoming Events:

TVCC ACS Education Events 2013
If you are a TVCC client, please take a moment to check out our upcoming education sessions:

How to Talk So Your Child Will Too: February 13th, 2013
How to Choose Powerful Words: April 10th, 2013
Adapted Books December 4th, 2013

For more information and registration: 

Attention TVCC clients! We have big Forest City Road Race NEWS!
The Forest City Road Race is fast approaching on April 28th, 2013! The net proceeds from this event support enhanced programs at Thames Valley Children's Centre, such as the Resource Centre, the Adapted Fitness Facility and the Equipment lending library. 
This year the Forest City Road race committee is offering 
FREE registrations to all TVCC clients if you register in the month of FEBRUARY!
Follow this link, click on 
Registration and enter TVCC2013 in the promo code box, to sign up.

We're All Stars!
Celebrate the 20th anniversary of this event - meet some sport celebrities and listen to some inspiring stories from our very own TVCC clients. If you are a child or youth with special needs, 10 years of age and older (accompanied by an adult) you are invited to join in a magical experience, be inspired by peers and share a pizza lunch & cookies at the We’re All Stars event!
When: February 11th, 2013 10-2pm
Tickets available through TVDSB or LDCSB.
Where: London Convention Centre

It's time to play the music, it's time to light the lights, it's time to get things started...with this year's theatre camps:
Setting the Stage and On with the Show!
These camps are for TVCC clients who use a Speech Generating Device (SGD) as primary means of communication and want to try out acting. This is a joint partnership with the Original Kids Theatre Company.

When: August 12-16th, 2013

Check the TVCC website in February for more details and registration.
Performance day is open to everyone!  Mark your calendar to come see the stars on August 16th, 2013 at the Spriet Family Theatre!

AAC Leadership Project is offering...
mentorship to youth and service providers using AAC in Ontario!

The AAC Leadership Project is designed for people who live in Ontario, who have significant speech or language disabilities and who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). The project supports adults who use AAC to acquire leadership skills that they can mentor youth who use AAC, aswell as provide support to parents and service providers.

How They Can Help:
Leaders who use AAC have overcome challenges in their educational, vocational and personal lives.  They can help by answering your questions and providing support for the challenges you and your child are facing.
For more information and how to get involved: