Do you have children on your caseload who use an Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) device? It can be pretty overwhelming working with AAC especially if you have a full caseload. Here are some suggestions to help make their therapy meaningful and beneficial for everyone involved.
Don’t reinvent the wheel:
First make sure you are in contact with your district appointed AT specialist/ AT team for any additional resources and guidance you need to serve the AAC users on your caseload. Don’t have an AT team? You can create a mini team of support to include: the parent, the private therapist, teacher, aide, and even the company rep if necessary.
Keep it relevant:
Consider featuring a core WOW–word of the week. Feature a new core word a week (slow the pace and repeat words if necessary). Remember even though you are featuring 1 word, you are still encouraging the student to use all the words available to them on their device. Make lists of words per activity that you want to model, and provide natural cues to elicit the word, phrase, or sentence.
Get to know the device:
Is your student using a particular device, communication software, or app? Learn it! You can be the expert by taking advantage of any company sponsored free training for that particular device, software, or app. Not all apps have training available, but most of the major apps and devices have training on the creator’s website. Check it out today!
Create a Communication Passport:
Make sure you are not the only one who can program, operate, or troubleshoot the device. Create a personal communication passport for each child, so that no matter where the student transitions, the adults in the school environment know how to communicate with them. The passports should at least include: basic device features (on/off/restarting); “how to communicate with me;” tech support number with serial number of device; and simple programming tips-such as how to add, edit, and delete a button.
You can aide in creating Achievable Attainable Communication with all the AAC communicators on your caseload, so don’t run from AAC!
Author: Rachell Johnson, SLP