Communication resources for adult settings

There’s no doubt in my mind that alternative and augmentative communication (AAC ) is an important consideration for adults with complex communication needs (CCN). It is especially essential for encouraging social participation and getting individuals involved in life activities. But finding resources about implementing AAC with adults can be tricky.

The DynaVox implementation toolkit has some great newsletters that they release on a regular basis. These are linked on our website with a range of different ideas for using AAC in adult settings whether it be someone with a congenital or acquired communication disability.

Some of the articles relate to use of speech generating devices and you can easily relate this to any device an adult might be using. Other articles provide techniques for the communication partner to develop social interactions. There are also some great articles about strategies for organisation and memory.

One of my favourite newsletters is the one about telling your stories. We all love a good story and older adults, in particular, use stories to entertain, teach and establish social closeness with their peers. Most of my memories of my Nanna and Poppa are of the stories they told us over a cuppa tea or in my Pop’s case a cold beer and a rolled cigarette.

The need to socially connect with other adult individuals becomes important as individuals lose their spouses and move to retirement and care facilities. Storytelling becomes a vehicle for developing these connections and has become practical and possible with improved AAC technology.

So check out the range of newsletters and think about how you could be using these strategies with adults with CCN.

And don’t forget to check back and see if any new articles have been added.

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About Charlene Cullen

Charlene has worked as a speech pathologist, supporting people with complex communication needs and learning disabilities for the past 15 years. She has worked in a variety of roles within the Disability Services of Western Australia, including Senior Speech Pathologist, Rural and Remote Resource Therapist and Regional Team Manager.

Charlene is a trained Key Word Sign (formerly Makaton) presenter, certified Hanen It Takes Two to Talk presenter and a member of the Apple Consultants Network. Charlene is also an official Proloquo2Go / Proloquo4Text trainer, and TBoxApps Trainer for Therapy Box.

Charlene has developed strong skills in and a passion for, the area of AAC and assistive technologies. She enjoys presenting workshops and providing consultancy services to support and educate parents, teachers and therapists in the use and application of inclusive technologies.

Charlene is a full time member of the Professional and Consultancy Services Team at Spectronics.

AGOSCI State Representative for Victoria (2012-present); Key Word Sign Victoria committee member (2012-present).

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