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Sunday, August 2, 2015

What Are the 2 Things That Need to Happen in Classrooms with AAC Users?

Anyone who has seen my article in the ASHA Leader magazine this month or who has followed this blog or listened to me preach (  - I mean "speak"), or looked at my training handouts or teaching resources knows that literacy instruction for AAC users is a HOT topic for me.

If you missed the ASHA article, here is a link.  And if you've missed any of the posts about literacy for AAC users, here is a link to one of them from a little ways back.

I've usually written about reading skills, although I do have some writing resources that I sell.  But Jane Farrall has talked about writing in her blog post here, much more eloquently than I can, so do please take a look at her post.  She has some specific things you should be doing for emergent and conventional writers in your classroom or on your caseload.  Check it out.

One of the best resources I've seen in a long time for teaching kids with significant disabilities to write is the First Author software from Don Johnston (this is not an affiliate link, I have no financial connection to them).  The concept of teaching writing using core words intrigued me so that I created a  more simplified, no-tech way for some of my students to do it.
It lacks all the great bells and whistles, and takes more teacher prep time, but it works for so many students who do not have access to the computer software.
The pages of symbols and words are laminated, cut apart, and (the hard side) velcro added to the backs.
Take a plain piece of paper (or one with widely spaced writing lines) and place the words in an array size that works for the specific student at the bottom.  Put velcro on the top/on the line(s) for students to construct their writing.  
Choose a picture prompt that will resonate to that student - letting them choose is preferable. 
Provide whatever level of scaffolding they need to select a word, or group of words, to write about the picture.

You can see my resources here and here and here.

Keep on talking, reading, and writing.

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