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Episode #116: Collaboration and AAC with Barb Weber
We all know collaboration can be tricky when it comes to working across many fields of expertise, especially with a shared tool like AAC. Today I am delighted to have Barb Weber as my guest. Barb is an SLP, BCBA, author, and AAC specialist.
When it comes to AAC, especially considering the differences in AAC training for SLPs and BCBAs, navigating collaborating can be hard. Barb emphasizes the importance of matching the AAC device to the skills and relevant activities of the user. She also notes that the person whose voice it is and their close circle should be involved in the decision-making process. Functional and socially relevant vocabulary should be prioritized, taking into account different perspectives from the SLP, BCBA, teacher, and family.
There is a fine line between collaborating and “too many cooks in the kitchen”. Barbs asks the question; whose device is it? It is crucial to manage the device with agreed-upon procedures and involve one programmer who considers the communication and thoughts of all providers. But the most essential piece is to remember who we are serving, always supporting and honoring the user’s needs.
Difficult conversations are part of the process, Barb actually calls this an important skill for therapy providers. She recommends that providers learn how to say hard things to ensure they are providing the best possible care. Negativity can circulate in areas of collaboration, but you can combat that by always talking to everybody and building opportunities with different perspectives.
Our conversation might help your collaboration go smoothly and even avoid disagreements, but if they do happen consider these tips:
- Have a direct (maybe difficult) conversation.
- Gathering information to understand perspective.
- Summarizing the discussion and informing the team.
- Documenting and building a history of decision-making.
This was great information from Barb who is a member of ASHA’s SIG 12. I hope these tips can help you in your practice and collaborating with other providers on your journey to help your learners!
Barb Weber is an SLP and BCBA in private practice. She has co-authored two books on Early Intervention with Paul H. Brookes and wrote a chapter on AAC in a book by Plural Publishing. She is also a volunteer with the ASHA Professional Development Committee and the Coordinating Committee of the Special Interest Group for AAC (SIG 12). She has been practicing as an SLP for decades, and about a decade ago, she decided to add to her skill set by going back to school to become a BCBA. It has been wonderful to have the ability to utilize a wide array of skills and strategies in her therapy.
- How to navigate AAC collaboration?
- Remembering the user of the AAC device: Whose device is it?
- Using common vocabulary to create common ground.
- Managing AAC devices with agreed-upon procedures.
- How to handle difficult conversations with other providers.
- Addressing disagreement among providers effectively.
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