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We should inspire and not require students when on our journey to beginning communication. Anne Page emphasizes this as she joins me today to discuss her role as an Assistive Technology Lead and the importance of how we use AAC with our students. 

Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) is a tool that can be used for students with varying needs and  accesses. We discuss the wide variety of applications on the market for use as AAC. Anne gives us some points of thought for parents and professionals as they are choosing AAC for their students. 

  • What are the individual’s needs?
  • How is the individual able to access the app?
  • What is the history and future for the development of the app?
  • Will the app sustain rich language for the long term use of the individual?

In addition to applications, we discuss the physical device used by our students. There are many AAC apps specifically designed for use with an iPad. However, there are still dedicated devices in use out there. The type of device is really important when considering the access point of the child and the insurance coverage of the device. As iPads are becoming more common as AAC, Anne has noted that some apps with heavy-duty iPad cases are now being approved via insurance. 

It doesn’t have to all be high tech. There are many low tech options out there that can be used in addition to devices. These can be great to overcome the barriers AAC can have such as use in an outdoor or pool environment, a problem with the device’s battery, and so on. Anne tells us about the Core Board she created that is available free on her website!

When beginning AAC, start with preferred activities. Use AAC with things that bring your students joy. Once students are successful using their device and applications, then teaching using non-preferred activities can start. 

AAC should help our students find their voice because communication is a human right. Anne highlights throughout this episode that this should be a positive experience that inspires our students. I hope you found this show informative and can put these ideas and strategies to use with the AAC users in your life!

What's Inside:

  • What is an Assistive Technology Lead?
  • What AAC apps are available and how to choose one.
  • How to help every single student find their voice.
  • Inspiring not requiring students.

Today's Guest:

Anne is an ASHA certified speech language pathologist with a Master of Science degree in Speech Language Pathology from Nova Southeastern University.  She is an award-winning blogger and international speaker.  She has worked as a speech therapist for a Title I school for the past 13 years.  She is currently the Assistive Technology Lead serving 19 schools in Phoenix. Anne is passionate about AAC. She loves the challenge of finding the best communication support system for her students.

Mentioned In This Episode

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