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Tele-AAC Case Studies:

Working With What You've Got

Case 4: Gian and Alee

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Gian is a busy dad, but is eager to support his daughter’s use of AAC. His daughter has used AAC for some time and he is pretty comfortable with her system, but is looking for new ways to support her use of AAC at home. Together Gian and Nerissa completed an initial intake form in real time over the phone to determine details about the technology, AAC system, environment, communication partner and the individual. In summary it was determined that:

  • With respect to the “tele-tech” live video conferencing, shared videos, videos, phone calls and texting were preferred. Gian has access to an iPhone, iPad, and laptop computer to support video-conferencing. Gian is comfortable with technology and using more than one piece of technology at a time. He is familiar with Zoom, GoToMeeting and, and his Internet is good. 

  • When it comes to “AAC tech” Alee has her high-tech AAC system at home and is able to charge it. She also has access to lite-tech language boards connected to her device, and is able to print new boards.  Gian is open to training to help him learn more about Alee’s AAC system, how to support her use through various strategies, as well as how to troubleshoot and create opportunities for communication. 

  • When asked about the “tele-environment,” Gian said that work would occur in the kitchen or in Alee’s room. He mentioned that siblings and/or cats may be in the environment at times, and that most afternoons would work. 

  • Lastly, regarding “communication partner” Gian he was open to training around supporting engagement and focus, and was looking forward to learning this while participating in direct sessions with Alee and Nerissa. When asked the “individual,” Alee, he said she could sustain attention for 15- 30 minutes, she didn’t need a visual schedule, nor a token reinforcement system. He said he felt she best when accessing multi-sensory content involving visual and auditory components, but that she might need a fidget. Gian added that Alee loves coloring and drawing, reading, slime, music, and playing with dolls.  

Given Gian’s ability to commit to a scheduled time, and Alee’s overall availability to do work presented on a tablet/screen, this team felt they wanted to engage in synchronous intervention services. However, Gian felt it was important to keep the threshold of technical complexity of the session low to support some initial success with tele-AAC services, but was clear that he wanted to work towards using Alee’s high-tech system in the near future. Gian and Nerissa decided to start with lite-tech language boards during specific activities. Additionally, Gian opted to be the main communication partner to Alee during the session, receiving guidance from Nerissa in his interaction with Alee, rather than Alee and Nerissa working directly during the initial phases of this service delivery model.


Alee love to play on the iPad, so this team felt that it might be good to start with activities and apps on the iPad. They chose to start with Endless Alphabet (a dynamic, letter sound and symbol correspondence spelling game). Nerissa shared a language board corresponding with the app. She emailed it to Gian in advance of their scheduled session, and he was able to print it. 

When it was time for the session, Gian helped to prepare the environment and made sure the language board was printed. He had the app and language board available, as well as the laptop from which the video-conferencing session was shared. Nerissa offered clear expectation and interacted minimally with Alee and Gian (but enough to be present in the interaction. On Nerissa’s side of the session she had the same app and language board visible, in order to have relevant visuals which she could reference as needed during the session

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