Now that we are just getting started with school in the southern hemisphere it’s timely to mention the Learning Path called AAC in the Classroom. But you might also like a number of other topics around AAC and Autism, ALS (more commonly referred to as Motor Neuron Disease in Australia), Adults and lots more. All resources are free to download when you sign up and register with your email address.
The latest article for AAC in the Classroom is called 25 Ways to Increase Classroom Participation for Students who Use AAC. There are some great ideas for teachers to encourage use of communication using any high tech AAC device or app or low tech AAC system. Some of my favourites tips are:
- Create a positive communication environment with 1) wait time, 2) accepting all forms of communication and 3) provide support when needed as we all need support when we learn something new.
- Give your students with AAC devices at least one “communication job” every day. This gives them meaningful ways to use their device in the school and opportunities to practice their skills eg. take a message to the principal’s office, deliver canteen orders, lead the school prayers
- Support social interaction with peers by adding photos to the photo album on the device
- Use peers to gather “cool” vocabulary to program new vocabulary and phrases into the device
- Add new information often as saying the same thing over and over gets old quickly. Find out how to modify buttons to add new information.
- Take 5 minutes to review classroom activities and locate the appropriate vocabulary on the student’s device before your start an activity. You need to know where the words are so that you can help your students if they get stuck.
I encourage you to read the rest of the article and think laterally about how it could apply to students using AAC in your classroom.
And continue to explore the range of articles, handouts, videos, assessment checklists and various other tools while you’re at it. They’re easy to read and very practical. Enjoy!