Tag: Augmentative Communication

AAC Adventures: Fun and Functionality with PRC-Saltillo Devices

Participants will embark on a journey through the functionalities of PRC-Saltillo’s AAC devices, delving into their capabilities for enhancing communication, literacy, and social interaction in educational settings. Through interactive demonstrations and guided activities, attendees will learn to leverage the power of these devices to create engaging learning experiences for students of all abilities. From exploring eye tracking and head tracking settings to harnessing the potential of assistive touch in iOS, participants will gain practical skills for optimizing access and usability for AAC users. By the end of the workshop, attendees will leave equipped with a repertoire of strategies and resources to maximize the potential of PRC-Saltillo’s AAC devices in educational and therapeutic settings, fostering both communication growth and enjoyment for students.

Key Learning Outcomes

Explore the versatile features of PRC-Saltillo’s AAC devices, including Accent, NovaChat, and Via, to enhance communication and engagement.

1) Learn innovative ways to integrate AAC devices into classroom activities, leveraging their capabilities to support language learning and social interaction.

2) Gain hands-on experience in customizing communication boards and visual supports using the intuitive interfaces of Accent, NovaChat, and Via devices.

3) Discover creative strategies for modifying games and activities from the AAC Language Lab to suit students across different language levels and systems, leveraging the unique features of PRC-Saltillo’s devices.

Autism, Behavior, Communication: Made as Simple as ABC

Do you work with children with autism who struggle to communicate? Have you tried AAC and feel it is not working? We must consider the characteristics of autism and the research-based strategies for utilizing AAC. When we put these together we can be more successful. When we look at the characteristics of autism and think about repetitive actions, whether verbally or behaviorally, we need to understand how that looks when using AAC. We must remember that the purpose of the communication device is to communicate rather than demonstrate knowledge. That means each person gets to say what they want, when they want to, while maintaining agency over their body. That means others don’t force their hand to touch a button and they don’t use another person’s hand to touch buttons. It is their voice and their body. (Donaldson et al, 2023). That results in independent communication. How do we get to independent communication? Let’s look at Autism, Behavior and Communication and clarify the process of implementing AAC with this population. Join this class to accurately define what communication looks like using AAC, what changes you can make to increase functional use of the device, and what IEP goals reflect this.

Key Learning Outcomes

Participants will identify 3 strategies to use when a person with autism displays stimming behavior while using an AAC device.
Participants will identify 3 characteristics of autism that can impact the use of AAC and how to address each one.
Participants will learn 5 (SMART) components of an IEP goal required to measure increased functional communication using AAC.

Unleash Your Creativity: Book-Related Strategies to Support AAC and Literacy

We will target one activity for each research based area of emergent literacy, showing a book, and a strategy to support emergent learners. Examples include:
• Shared Writing
• Shared Reading
• Phonological Awareness
• Alphabet Knowledge
• Writing with the Alphabet
• independent Reading

Following each of our quick examples, we will challenge participants to extend this by:
• Choosing a Different Book For The Same Strategy: For example, they will apply CROWD in the CAR to a new book
• Proposing Light or High Tech Modifications for the Strategy: For example, they might share how they would adapt the activity for students with CVI, hearing impairment, or motor impairments.
• Developing Adaptations to Make the Activity Age-Respectful: While this often means choosing a different book, sometimes students can use a book intended for younger students and complete an activity that is very age-respectful, such as writing a review of I’m Not Just a Scribble for a classroom of younger students, or for their own younger siblings or cousins.

This approach is align with adult learning strategy research and is the most effect way to create real professional growth

Key Learning Outcomes

As a result of this presentation participants will be able to:

1. Compare books to select those that lend themselves to specific research based literacy instruction AND enhance motivation.
2. Apply literacy instruction ideas to a wide variety of books for students of all ages – including age respectful books for older students who are emergent readers.
3. Customize the activities demonstrated by the presenters to meet the needs of their own unique students

A Novel Approach to Communication for Individuals with Complete Paralysis

The foundation of this presentation is rooted in interdisciplinary research that bridges neural engineering, speech science, and virtual reality technology. Drawing from advancements in neural prosthetics, where individuals with paralysis successfully control robotic limbs through brain-computer interfaces, our approach adapts similar principles to the domain of speech production.

Clinical observations of motor learning and speech acquisition highlight the brain’s adaptability and the potential for individuals to learn new methods of communication, akin to mastering a musical instrument. Anecdotal evidence from user experiences with virtual reality environments further supports the feasibility of using immersive, gamified platforms for skill acquisition.

Preliminary studies in articulatory speech synthesis demonstrate the capability to produce intelligible speech through controlled parameters, providing a solid basis for developing a system that translates imagined limb movements into speech. This presentation will synthesize these findings to illustrate the viability and transformative potential of our novel communication system for individuals with complete paralysis.

Key Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this session, participants will be able to:
1. explain the currently available AAC options for individuals with complete paralysis, including their limitations and the challenges they present in enabling effective communication.
2. identify the principles of motor learning and adaptability that underpin a user’s ability to control speech synthesizers through imagined limb movements, offering insights into potential rehabilitation and AAC applications.
3. discuss the potential impact of innovative AAC systems on enhancing the quality of life and communication capabilities of individuals with severe motor impairments, fostering an attitude of innovation and collaboration in addressing complex accessibility challenges.

Write That Down! Supporting Writing for Students with Multiple Challenges

Dr. Karen Erickson and Dr. David Koppenhaver devote a chapter of their groundbreaking book, Comprehensive Literacy for All, to the topic of emergent writing. See pages 64-65 for the research brief about emergent writers. They site numerous studies showing that , for example, ‘children significant disabilities do benefit when provided with the range of learning opportunities reported in preschools serving typically developing students (p. 65).

Key Learning Outcomes

  • Describe at least 4 alternative pencils and match them to student needs.
  • Summarize at least 3 activities for generative writing throughout the day for emergent learners, including individuals who use AAC and learners with CVI.
  • Recommend 3 strategies for providing feedback regarding writing to emergent learners.

Phonics Phun – Practical Strategies for Supporting Learners with Disabilities

Ehri (2004, 2015) asserts that successfully identifying words – including unfamiliar words – is one component to successful silent reading with comprehension, and that doing this efficiently requires readers to use a variety of skills and strategies. This is far beyond ‘sight reading’, as documented by Adams (2000). Many of the current methods of teaching phonics have been documented to be difficult for students with significant disabilities (Flores et al, 2004). This session will cover strategies that are evidence based for students with disabilities including making words (e.g., Hanser and Erickson, 2007.) and onset + rime (Greasley, Tanner, & Chapman, 1997). For a summary of research, see Comprehensive Literacy for All by Erickson & Koppenhaver, 2020 (pp. 165 – 181).

Key Learning Outcomes

1. Participants will review informal phonics assessment tools.
2. Participants will analyze multiple strategies for phonics instruction and select those most appropriate to their students.
3. Participants will identify two light tech and two high tech tools to support phonics instruction.

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