This chat on AAC in practice will be filled with ideas, tips and strategies for applying AAC to communicate in many settings. We all know that it takes a lot more than the tools, to get AAC in use in day-to-day situations. So what do people find helps to actually translate the strategies, techniques, and tools that have been recommended, into daily life? Let’s focus on children who are trying to move their language skills into interactions with other children. Let’s think about actual strategies during everyday and even uncommon activities and ways of using AAC in those activities, that will help children to get enjoy communicating with others.
Perhaps more than any other field in speech pathology, AAC demands not only a person-centred and family-centred, but a multi or cross-disciplinary, collaborative approach, and one that includes people with the communication disability and their families. To add to this, AAC is ‘multi-modal’ (low tech, high tech, and no-tech) with a myriad of strategies, approaches, tools, and techniques that might be employed (a) in sequence, (b) concurrently, or (c) in isolation. Sometimes, it is the tools and techniques in combination that is helpful, and other times, just one action will make a big difference. Focusing on the tools first, and the person second, leads to a lot of false starts in finding the correct combinations of strategies, techniques, approaches and tools – since all of these things influence the other.
It’s not always easy to balance doing something ‘quick’ and ‘easy’ with doing something that takes more resources – and relies on a full assessment, detailed information from a range of professionals, and waiting for funding and funding applications to come through that might provide something more tailored and complex. We need to do both – we can do quick helpful things, and we can advocate that children and adults who need it have access to a full assessment for communication supports. We would not accept any less than this if it related to mobility options, such as wheelchairs, for which we expect having a proper assessment , fitting, and alignment with the person’s body and mobility needs as to make their mobility comfortable, safe, and effective.
So, this chat will move across the continuum of ‘quick and easy’ ideas to ‘slow and steady’ with a little in-between topic on ‘full assessments’. It does not matter how much training you have had, or
how much ‘expertise’ you think you have. This is not about finding flaws in various AAC systems – it is about tips and strategies for overcoming limitations and removing barriers to successful use.
Question 1: What is ‘Quick and Easy’ to do in AAC practice? tell us your ideas for using AAC that are relatively simple, that might not rely on a full assessment before you get started : these might be general tips, do no harm measures, principles of good multimodal communication, use of picture supports for understanding, promoting emergent literacy – anything at all!
Question 2: Let’s talk about ‘Full AAC Assessment’. What do you usually find are included in a full assessment? What should be? What is sometimes left out? Are there any ways to improve this process?
Question 3: What more complicated AAC systems are you using in practice? This could be high or low tech options. Share your tips and strategies for ensuring that children with higher needs are not ‘left behind’ just because the environment does not yet support a ‘top of the range’ AAC system. What helps you to overcome the limitations of all of the devices that you are using in your practice?
Question 4: What types of devices are you using in your practice? Here we will discuss high tech vs low tech, specific devices, the use of communication books with the PCS symbols and so on. What are the limitations of these devices?
The two chats will occur at 7 pm EDT (New York/Toronto) on Sunday, September 9th, and 8 pm AEST (Sydney) on Monday, September 10th. If you need to know what time that is where you are, you can use everytimezone.com to help.
We hope to see you there!