Tele-AAC Case Studies:
Working With What You've Got
Case 5: Jenn and Liam
Jenn is working full-time and scheduling can be tough. She is looking to support the use of AAC for her son, Liam, but in ways that feel manageable and attainable. She and Nerissa worked together to determine the type of technology available, the times that would work to implement AAC and receive guidance, as well as some short-term goals. What was most apparent was Jenn’s interest in having it feel fun and successful for both her and her son. While she has access to her iPhone and iPad, she doesn’t have access to a printer. She does have email and does have an Internet connection that can support video calling (although her Internet can be unreliable).
Together Jenn and Nerissa completed an initial intake form in real time over the phone 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, live video conferencing, shared videos, videos and texting were preferred and that they would be able to use a phone or tablet device for conferencing (with a webcam). Jenn is very comfortable with technology and using more than one piece of technology at a time. She is familiar with Zoom and her Internet is good, but sometimes patchy.
When it comes to her son’s use of AAC and his “AAC tech,” she doesn’t have access to his device or alternative lite-tech options. She identifies herself as not being comfortable with the AAC system, or with supporting Liam’s use of the system. Additionally, she is “terrified” of needing to troubleshoot anything related to the AAC system. However, when asked about creating opportunities for AAC use, Jenn said she was open to training and comfortable with the idea.
When asked about the “tele-environment,” Jenn said that work would occur at a designated desk. She did note that his brother, sister, mom, dad, and dog would or could be in the environment. With respect to scheduling, she felt she would be most open evenings and did note that she worked on Sundays.
Lastly, regarding “communication partner” Jenn said that she felt very comfortable supporting Liam’s engagement during sessions, but that she may also need to manage work and his siblings. When asked to offer information about the “individual,” Liam, she said he could sustain attention for 15- 30 minutes, he didn’t need a visual schedule, nor a token reinforcement schedule, but accessed multi-sensory content involving visual, auditory, tactile and hands-on components. It was added that Liam loves animals, board games, and pretending to be a detective.
Based on the information gathered from the initial intake process, it was determined that a hybrid synchronous/asynchronous consult model would work best for Liam and Jenn. This team decided that sharing information for Jenn and Liam to try first before meeting in real-time would be helpful. Jenn was clear that it was easy to “see” what was being shared rather than read it. Given the nature of scheduling for these working parents of three children, this team felt that, if possible, Jenn would have a family member record Jenn and Liam working together to share with Nerissa to view before Jenn and Nerissa met for their videoconference.
Sharing in advance of meeting from Nerissa to Jenn:
Jenn’s share back prior to connecting:
Using a combined synchronous/asynchronous tele-AAC consult model, Jenn and Nerissa are able to share information meaningfully and in a way that works best for all people involved. Texting video tutorials in advance of the planned session enabled Jenn to have a better sense of what was being asked of her. By sharing a video of the interaction between Jenn and Liam prior to the synchronous tele-AAC consult session scheduled between Jenn and Nerissa ensured that their session was effective. By playing back the video for both Jenn and Nerissa to view during the tele-AAC consult, they were able to reference the same material in real-time. Nerissa was able to provide feedback and offer an enhancement for the next time the game is played. The next time would be recorded and shared, and this balance of asynchronous and synchronous tele-AAC supports Liam’s advancement towards his goals, as well as Jenn’s comfort and ability supporting use of AAC. It is important to note that because Jenn didn’t have access to a printer, Nerissa shared content (the language board), that could be displayed on a tablet device for use during play.
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