Welcome to the next stop on the blog hop!! I hope you've been having so much fun with this! I'm really glad you're here. Happy Better Speech and Hearing Month to you as well!
If you are just starting the hop, start here with my friend Jenn's blog. (click on the picture)
If you collect all of the letters, they will form a phrase. Figure out the phrase and enter the rafflecopter on the last blog. Here's a list of the great prizes:
- $50 TpT Giftcard
- $25 TpT Giftcard
- $15 TpT Giftcard
Today, I'm talking a little bit about tips for working with students with augmentative and alternative communication systems. It is an area that gets skimmed over a lot of times, so I thought I would tell you a little bit about what I do know so that you can take it back to your speech rooms!
I had the great opportunity of being a student intern for therapy services under the AAC team lead. I had hours and hours of AAC evaluation and treatment time. It was something I was super nervous about at first but something I turned out to love!
-There are many different levels of AAC They start out low-tech with PECS systems and printed communication boards and go up to high-tech, which are dedicated devices (electronic) and iPads with specific apps on them.
-Most insurance companies will cover a dedicated device and will likely not cover an iPad with an app because it cannot be locked.
-There are different layout types or styles, if you will. There can be a static display, where the pictures or buttons stay the same. They can also be dynamic displays, where there are different pages and buttons based on what the student chooses.
Now let's get down to some common questions/beliefs and see what the evidence says.
1) AAC intervention can begin earlier than you may initially think. In fact, a child needs only natural actions/behaviors before some level of AAC intervention can take place. It is when those behaviors are difficult to understand that the child would benefit from some form of AAC (Cress & Marvin, 2003).
2) AAC does NOT inhibit a child's natural development of speech. Let me repeat--it does NOT. I had several parents that were unaware of this, and I do understand why they might think it does. I want the SLPs to understand this concept so that they can have their students' parents understand it as well. Mirenda (1998) said that children will use the fastest, most efficient way possible to communicate their message. Locke (1996) stated that speech is generally the most likely form of communication children will use. Cumley (1997) found that children did not decrease their use of speech after beginning use of an AAC device. For example, children may only use an AAC device to clarify their message if it cannot be understood using natural speech.
3) Intervention should not necessarily begin with "yes" and "no." Think about how it would be to have to answer a yes/ no question for absolutely everything. It would be awful! No one speaks like that--it's not natural! Instead, we started with simple concepts of "want" or "more," which allow the students to initiate, request, and direct (Cress & Marvin, 2003)! Lots of communicative functions there. In fact, we started with just those and then moved on to other salient words. These were taken from the most commonly used word list from Banajee, Dicarlo, and Stricklin (2003) found here. This allowed our patients to say so much more and use more communicative functions.
So that's just a very brief overview of AAC. I could spend a LONG time on everything I learned from my internship. I wanted to give you a quick snapshot of the evidence related to AAC though! Hope this helps you get started a little bit!
Here's my letter for you:
Happy Hopping! I hope you learn a lot along the way.