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Sunday, February 28, 2016

February is National Children's Dental Health Month (NCDHM): Can Your AAC User Talk About It?

Routine activities are a great way to build language skills for any child.  These activities are predictable and familiar.  Children know what is coming, and learn to anticipate the steps or parts of the activity.

For kids with language disorders, they are especially useful for developing language skills because of the routine nature of….well, routines.
By adding language to the actions, we build receptive language.  Then, adding delays and expectant pauses, more models and some visual cues, we build expressive language, too.

So, in the spirit of this month’s posts on building AAC skills in every day activities, with no special materials, let’s talk about tooth care.

Think about all of the great language involved in brushing teeth: up and down, back and front, side, inside, outside, wet, put on, turn on, turn off, rinse, spit out.  That’s a great list of core words just to be starting with.

Of course, you’re not going to start with all of them for the beginning AAC user, but just targeting a few in an activity that occurs every single day, gives you lots of opportunity to work on core words in just that one routine.

There’s been a lot of debate over the years about whether to teach opposite concepts at the same time, or separately.  Recent wisdom tells us to teach a concept and “not” the concept.   Then introduce the opposite at a later time.  
“Not” is such a great word on it’s own, and a very important core word, so we often teach it relatively early.  Then we have it, ready to use with words like “on” and “hot” and “wet.”

Can you think of some other routines where you can use some of these same core words?

While you’re thinking, here is a free picture sequence for you to use with your students/child for sequencing tooth brushing.  Practice the sequence in the class, put it up as a visual cue in the bathroom.

Have a good, well-brushed February.  And…. Keep on talking!


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