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Sunday, July 5, 2015

What is the #1 Strategy for Teaching AAC? Forgetting this Can Be Hazardous Your AAC User’s Communicative Health.

Week after week, day after day the number one conversation I have with parents,  teachers, and SLPs is, “Where do I start with AAC?”  
My first answer is always, “With Aided Language Stimulation.”

If your child or student doesn’t have any experience with people using picture systems to communicate, he just doesn’t know what to do with this book or device or page you’re put in front of him.
We need to remember just how kids learn language - by listening to us use it all around and to them.  So, why forget that picture communication users need to learn from all of us around them using pictures when communicating to and with and around them.

Seems so simple, doesn’t it?  Yet it’s the one thing that tends to be forgotten.

One of the most difficult issues with ALgS arrises at IEP time.  Everyone wants to create objectives for this student to use his AAC system.  But if he’s a new AAC user, and hasn’t experienced picture use and has had no models of picture use, we’re going to need to be spending a lot of time introducing him to an environment of others using pictures to communicate.

“But we have to write an  objective for what he’s going to say with it!” I hear.
One of the best objectives I’ve heard for this situation came from Linda Burkhart and Gayle Porter’s PODD training.  And that is, to set objectives to increase the student’s attention to pictures and attention to others using the pictures to communicate.  At the beginning, that is all we want him to do.  
Remember, receptive language (usually) precedes expressive.  If we want him to talk with pictures, we need to have him understand talking with pictures. 

For a great handout on Aided Language Stimulation, go to Linda’s website

Keep talking.  And keep using picture communication when you talk with your aac user.

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