10 Ways to Improve Staff Buy-In for Students' Augmentative Communication Systems

 Navigating the challenges of getting staff buy-in for AAC use is, well...... challenging. It's something I've struggled with for years, and the same lament I've heard from SLPs everywhere.  Why the resistance?

1. Lack of awareness: Many educators - and especially paraeducators - are not completely aware of the benefits of AAC, or they may harbor misconceptions about it.

2. Resistance to change: Implementing AAC requires some shift in teaching methods and adds a new dimension to what they do in the classroom. Nobody likes change.

3. Time: Staff are already stretched for time - and so are you! This makes it challenging to invest the time required to learn and implement new AAC strategies.

4. Concerns about speech development: Some staff members may worry that the use of AAC could hinder speech development rather than enhance it. We hear this one all the time.

So how can we turn this around?

1. Comprehensive Training Programs:

   Offer comprehensive training programs on AAC systems and strategies. These programs should address the basics of AAC, its benefits, and practical ways to incorporate it into the learning environment.

2. Highlight Success Stories:

   Share success stories of students who have thrived with the help of AAC. Real-life examples can inspire and demonstrate the positive impact of AAC on communication and overall development.

3. Individualized Approach:

   Emphasize that AAC is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Highlight its adaptability to suit the unique needs and preferences of each student, making it a valuable tool for diverse learners.

4. Incorporate AAC into Existing Practices:

   Demonstrate how AAC can seamlessly integrate into existing teaching methods, minimizing disruption while enhancing communication opportunities for students.

5. Address Concerns Head-On:

   Provide opportunities for staff to express their concerns about AAC. Address these concerns head-on, offering evidence-based information and dispelling myths surrounding AAC, such as concerns about hindering speech development.

6. Provide Ongoing Support:

   Establish a system of ongoing support, including access to resources, workshops, and consultation with experts. This support can help staff feel confident and well-equipped in their efforts to implement AAC effectively.

7. Collaboration with Speech-Language Pathologists:

   Foster collaboration between educators and speech-language pathologists. SLPs can offer valuable insights, guidance, and assistance in the successful integration of AAC into the curriculum.

8. Celebrate Small Wins:

   Recognize and celebrate the small victories and progress made with AAC implementation. Positive reinforcement can boost morale and motivation among staff members.

Keep on doing what you're doing, what you can. Some days that's all we can do. And some days it's really really worth it!

1 comment

  1. All those ways are important on the way to improve staff buy-in. Thank you for such great lecture!

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