Getting Started with AAC

AAC 101: Steps to Learning - Making Communication Development Seamless

Vicki Clarke
May 9, 2024

AAC 101: Steps to Learning - Making Communication Development Seamless

Vicki Clarke
May 9, 2024

In today's education world, helping students overcome communication challenges is more important than ever. One effective way to do this is by blending Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) teaching with everyday classroom and home activities. This approach not only promotes independence but also boosts learning. Inspired by the work of Dr. Caroline Musselwhite and our "AAC 101: Steps to Learning" framework, we've seen firsthand how dedicated AAC instruction can really make a difference when it's part of daily life.

What is AAC?

AAC includes various tools and strategies to help people who find speaking difficult. It can range from simple picture boards to advanced devices that generate speech. Dr. Musselwhite believes strongly that everyone deserves to express themselves. She's all about giving students structured chances to get to know and master AAC, ensuring no one's left without a way to communicate.

Introducing the "AAC 101: Steps to Learning"

Our framework takes cues from Musselwhite's ideas. It's all about weaving AAC teaching into day-to-day activities at school and home. The goal? Make learning stick by making it relevant and part of regular life. Here’s a simple guide for teachers and parents to support communication development effectively:

  • Set Clear Goals: Start with defining clear communication goals. Look for everyday moments to introduce or practice AAC, turning regular interactions into chances to communicate.
  • Model and Immerse: It’s crucial to show how AAC works in real life. Teachers and parents should use AAC tools themselves, showing their practical use in daily situations. This helps learners see AAC as a useful way to share their thoughts and needs.
  • Gradual Introduction: Bring AAC into the mix slowly, beginning with easy activities that grab students' attention. Gradually tackle more complex communication tasks to build confidence without overwhelming them.
  • Engage Responsively: Listening and responding to any communication attempt is key. This reinforces the importance of trying to communicate and encourages further use of AAC.
  • Reflect and Adjust: Lastly, take time to think about what’s working and what isn’t. Adjust strategies based on the student's progress and changing needs. This cycle of reflection and adaptation helps keep communication development on track.

Final Thoughts

By integrating AAC teaching into everyday routines, we can create endless opportunities for students to communicate. Dr. Musselwhite’s pioneering efforts, combined with the "AAC 101: Steps to Learning" framework, provide a roadmap for enhancing every student's ability to express themselves. It's about making sure every voice is heard and valued, in every way it can be expressed.

Here’s a quick video to introduce you to the AAC 101 Steps of Learning!

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