AAC Communication Partners

Module 6: Changing Lives

In this last module, we focus on one communication partnership to show how AAC can change a life.  Then, Jeeva, Nerissa and Hillary reflect on the broader context in which communication partnerships are modeled, enabled and supported as the key foundations for the successful implementation of AAC.

The learning objectives for this module are:

  • Appreciate the richness and complexity of a successful and committed communication partnership

  • Have an appreciation of how AAC support can be best incorporated into everyday professional practice as a speech and language pathologist

  • Be able to summarize the essential components for the successful and effective development of communication partnerships for AAC

 

 

 

6.1 Commitment
In this video, we meet Kate and her grandmother Beth, who is also Kate’s communication partner. Nerissa describes Beth as a “para extraordinaire,” a “professional at heart,” and “a communication partner at her absolute best." With Beth’s commitment, Kate’s life is set to be changed through the power of independent communication.

Beth shares her experience of becoming Kate’s communication partner. For example, she describes learning to offer open conversation, rather than closed choices: “is it red? is it blue?”. We see Beth working with Nerissa to program Kate’s talker, a sophisticated Tobii Dynavox that uses eye gaze technology. As a result, Kate is flourishing.

After you have watched this video, consider the following:

  1. Kate uses one of the most sophisticated communication devices currently available. Why is this particularly challenging for her communication partner?

  2. Notice how Beth, previously a professional practitioner, now appreciates the role of paraprofessionals in new ways. Do you think that there is a general tendency to take paraprofessionals for granted?

  3. Nerissa stresses that Beth is developing a communication system for Kate for the years to come. Relate this to the concepts of AAC as a language and of independent communication that you have learned about in earlier modules.

 

 

 

6.2 AAC in Practice
Here, Jeeva looks ahead to the challenges of incorporating AAC into everyday professional work as a school-based speech pathologist. How can a busy professional best serve the needs of AAC users in the face of a full spectrum of pressures and competing demands?

Jeeva, as an experienced speech and language pathologist specializing in AAC, acknowledges that the demands of AAC can seem overwhelming. The challenges become more acute as the sophistication of AAC technology increases. Jeeva stresses that the anchor point is always to fall back on the fundamentals of language development.

In mapping out how AAC is best incorporated into general practice, Jeeva emphasizes the role of paraprofessional communication partners. By recognizing their role, and the benefits of fully incorporating paraprofessionals into training, planning and decision making, everyone benefits.

Jeeva concludes by taking us back to the grounding objective of empowering an independent communicator with AAC. This can only be achieved if AAC technologies come to be accepted as extensions of the body, rather than as removed from the natural body of a person.

After you have watched this video, consider the following:

  1. What are the key strategies that you would now use, in order to best serve the needs of those using AAC and in the context of the pressures and diversity of everyday professional practice?

  2. Jeeva emphasises that, as the pressure of distraction mounts and there is the risk of AAC slipping into the background, communication partners must “believe in the tools”. Based on what you have learned in this course, how can this belief best be achieved?

  3. Jeeva describes an AAC device as removed from the natural body of the child - as alien. Our aim should be to make a talker as natural as reliance on the larynx for the purposes of communication. How would you model for the normalization of AAC technology?

 

 

 

6.3 Recipes that Work
In this final video, Nerissa and Hillary discuss the essential criteria for communication partnerships – recipes for success. They stress that it is not about the tech, but rather about a comprehensive approach to communication.

After you have watched this video, consider the following:

  1. Nerissa uses Debbie, Tony and Colleen as exemplars for effective communication partnerships. Why have these partnerships worked so well?

  2. How does a summer camp such as Camp Communicare provide insights into evidence based practice?

  3. Based on what you have learned in this course, what would be your recipe for success in incorporating AAC into your practice?

 

 

Congratulations! You've reached the end of this course. Here's an overview of what you can expect to have learned as you've worked through this series of six modules:

 

Module 1: Working Together

  • You should now understand why a range of communication partners is essential for successful AAC implementation

  • You will now be able to define AAC as a specialism within the broad field of speech and language pathology

  • You understand how a wide variety of tools, from paper-based improvisation through to specialised digital applications, are used together in the classroom for developing AAC language competence

 

Module 2: The AAC Environment

  • You are able to conceptualize an effective strategy for modeling an appropriate and effective environment for an individual using AAC

  • You have gained an insight into how effective communication opportunities can be established through environmental modeling

  • You understand the basic principles behind the design of AAC overlays and the relative merits of dedicated speech generating devices and specialist apps available on general purpose IT devices such as iPads

 

Module 3: AAC as a Language

  • You understand the significance of the key concepts that, together, comprise Aided Language Stimulation, and appreciate their interdependencies

  • You are able to explain why AAC is a language, comparable to any other language, rather than technical proficiency with a device

  • You understand the three categories of vocabulary and how they are used together to enable an AAC user to meet their unique communicative requirements

 

Module 4: Partnerships in Action

  • You appreciate the significance of the different levels of prompting and how, when used as a hierarchy, they contribute to achieving the goal of independent communication

  • You understand how diverse technologies are used together to create effective and robust communication systems

  • You understand how a person can grow linguistically through the effective application of AAC’s triadic model

 

Module 5: Communication Partners

  • You have an appreciation of the role that paraprofessionals play as communication partners, and of the importance of paraprofessional training in AAC

  • You see AAC from the perspective of a paraprofessional, and understand how to work with paraprofessionals to develop their roles as communication partners

  • You understand how to map out a training session for paraprofessionals

 

Module 6: Changing Lives

  • You appreciate the richness and complexity of a successful and committed communication partnership

  • You have an appreciation of how AAC support can be best incorporated into the everyday professional practice as a speech and language pathologist

  • You are able to summarize the essential components for the successful and effective development of communication partnerships for AAC

Go back over aspects of any segments of the course that you're uncertain about and review the quiz questions from each module to solidify the information. One last step: complete the final post-survey questionnaire to qualify for your certificate of completion....

Cancellation Policy: Commūnicāre, LLC reserves the right to cancel a class based on low registration. If a class is cancelled, participants will be notified and can either transfer their registration to another class or request a refund. 

 

Refund Policy: Refunds will not be issued if a participant is unable to attend a class. However, registration may be transferred to another class, if available.

Complaint Policy: If you are not satisfied with the course you purchased, or have questions, comments or concern, please contact our Professional Development Coordinator

Communicare, LLC Learning combined with Commūnicāre Clinical offers AAC and AT assessments, intervention, consultation and training services. Contact us to learn more about what we love to do.

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