Tele-AAC Case Studies:
Working With What You've Got
Case 2: Evan and Leo
Leo is a fairly independent student in middle school who is able to sustain attention to tasks. He has had his AAC System for a few years and uses it with independence to make requests often with one to two word utterances. Evan, his Dad is looking for support on expanding Leo’s language use with the system as well as improving his own comfort level with the system. Evan shared that he was more comfortable working on his own with his older son. He required the flexibility to work in the evenings with Leo as Levi, his younger son took most of his attention during the day.
Evan completed an initial intake form on his computer that Hillary had sent to determine details pertaining to the technology, AAC system, environment, communication partner and the individual. In summary it was determined that:
With respect to the “tele-tech” email, sharing recorded videos, videos tutorials and phone calls were preferred and that they would be able to use a phone for conferencing (with a webcam). Evan reported that he is comfortable with technology and open to training on how to use more than one piece of technology at a time. He is familiar with Zoom and his Internet is good although sometimes patchy.
When it comes to his son’s use of AAC and his “AAC tech,” he does have access to his device but not an alternative lite-tech options. He expressed that he is not familiar nor very comfortable with the AAC system. As well as not being very comfortable supporting expansion of Leo’s language using the AAC system, but was open to training.
When asked about the “tele-environment,” Evan said that they would work at a table in a designated space. He noted that he was concerned about being disrupted by Levi, his younger son who requires constant 1:1 attention during the day and that sessions would need to occur later in the evening with Leo.
Regarding “communication partner” Evan shared that he was comfortable supporting and managing Leo’s attention on task but was concerned about his ability to focus on live tele with Leo during the day.
Lastly, regarding Leo the “learner”it was noted that his attention span for structured task was an area of strength and Evan felt Leo could sustain attention for 30 minutes, he learned best with visual and auditory stimuli. Additionally, Leo enjoyed games, Pokémon, and books.
Given, Evan’s reservation regarding his availability to work with Leo during a synchronous tele-AAC session and his own confidence in working with Leo, Hillary and Evan felt trialing asynchronous direct Tele-AAC sessions would best meet Evan and Leo’s areas of need.
To support Evan’s availability and interest in increasing his understanding of Leo’s AAC system Hillary shared some premade training videos that reviewed the general vocabulary overview of Leo’s device and shared strategies on how to search for vocabulary. Hillary also shared some videos and handouts on the importance of aided language stimulation.
Hillary remembered that Leo loved to play BINGO in class and was fairly independent with his peers. Given his comfort level with the game the focus during the tele-AAC session would focus on language expansion and vocabulary. Hillary made a video recording of a task for Leo and his Dad to do together when they were both available. Evan viewed the video on his phone with Leo. The video described how they were going to play BINGO together with LAMP core vocabulary words and work on sentences using rainbow sentences (color coding: using pronouns, verbs, modifiers, and nouns). Hillary sent Evan an email explaining more about rainbow sentences along with the BINGO boards and ideas for tokens prior to sharing the video. Evan was prompted to take a short video of Leo participating in the BINGO game to share with the clinician for feedback during their next synchronous consultation tele-AAC session.
Clinician’s video recording about Bingo
Evan and Leo watching the recorded video
As recommended, Evan shared a video text with the clinician of Leo playing BINGO with Evan and Leo composing a sentence. Leo was independently navigating the device while Evan was providing verbal prompts, “remember Hillary said to use your rainbow sentences.” Evan shared in a text that he felt confident in his tele-AAC session with Leo and that he was going to try the BINGO game again tomorrow and work on his own skills with aided language stimulation.
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