Working with students who use AAC devices can be overwhelming at first. Knowing what vocabulary and skills to address can be daunting. Understanding how to program and use the device, let alone teach the student and team can be a challenge!
Amanda Marks 2018 stated in her article about collaborative services and AAC that “the acquisition of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) skills is an especially broad undertaking. It is reliant on specialized instruction and characterized by a wide range of people involved, modalities encompassed, and barriers to access.”
Often times, when we work with a student who uses AAC to communicate, they do in fact have a team of people with whom they work. This can allow for multiple opportunities to practice communication skills. This can also be a barrier, as it can be difficult for team members to know exactly what words are in a student’s device. This may seem like a small barrier but it is quite large.
Below I will list ways to help support team members in learning more about student AAC vocabulary.
- If you have a student using Proloquo2Go show the team this video on how to use the word finder function.
- If you have a classroom ipad available put the exact AAC template on the ipad. This will allow classroom staff to navigate the student’s vocabulary. This will allow them to prompt the student to use their device across the day.
- If you have a student using LAMP. Use the picture resource list on the AAC language lab site. You can print off the picture icons and share with staff. If you have a student working on labeling or requesting bubbles. Print off the icons and share with the team. They can keep this up in the classroom, to help remind them of the sequence of buttons to use. Go to the bottom of this post and see the chart I have created for frequently used preschool and elementary words.
- Take a short video clip of the student using their device to select a word and share it with the team.
Understanding and feeling comfortable with the vocabulary and it’s location in the AAC device is essential! These tips and strategies will help your team facilitate communication across the learner’s day.
Download my free LAMP guide for frequently used preschool and elementary AAC words.
Reference: Marks, Amanda. (2018). Interprofessionalism on the Augmentative and Alternative Communication Team: Mending the Divide. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, pages 70-79.