The DYnamic Therapy Associates Blog
The key to integrating AAC Tools & Techniques into your daily life (or school day) is to have a PLAN! Like most endeavors, AAC implementation does not just occur spontaneously. It requires the people around the AAC user to systematically analyze the environment, delineate communication opportunities, target specific vocabulary/messages and then make sure that there are means to communicate these messages (AAC options!). We have several favorite tools available that can assist the family or team in implementation planning.
Environmental Communication Teaching is an approach that trains classroom teams to select specific activities to target for communication, implement appropriate strategies and techniques for teaching, arrange the environment for learning and plan activity based objectives.
We also use our own form of schedule analysis and goals delineation called the Dynamic AAC Goals Grid-2, distributed freely by Tobii-Dynavox. www.mydynavox.com/Resources/AACGoalWriting. This tool gives a means for assessing a student’s current skills in AAC, delineating the communication environment, developing IEP goals and documenting progress.
The SETT Framework is another highly recommended format for implementation of Assistive Technology. Although it isn’t specific to AAC, it is well organized, well researched and applicable to our work in AAC, a subset of the field of Assistive Technology. http://www.joyzabala.com/Home.php
We found a wonderful website this year that shares forms and tools specifically targeted at improving implementation of AAC. The clinicians at RAST (Resources for AAC Services and Tools) Resources website provide planning forms for gathering information needed for team sharing, planning tools, vocabulary selection and more. http://rastresources.com/resources/
What are your favorite tools, forms or ideas for implementing AAC? Share your ideas in our comments below!
In the spring of 2006 (I think, it's been so long I've forgotten) Holly Schneider and I met via phone to talk about a new presentation for the next year's upcoming AT conferences. We talked about finding a solution to a problem that kept cropping up in our practice: parents and professionals were contacting us to come up with AAC goals for their IEP meetings. This was a tricky request since we usually didn't even know the students. Not having a direction to go with AAC seemed to be the biggest problem we saw in the big wide AAC world. We had so many fantastic techniques, tools and ideas floating around but families, therapists and teachers were still struggling to implement AAC. There were many professionals and companies talking extensively about a continuum of skills (Janice Light and Patricia Dowden, in particular). Our devices were even beginning to be organized that way but, we couldn't find a comprehensive system of organizing goals based on Light and Dowden's work. We started our own based on the InterAACT framework of the Dynavox devices. InterAACT is the page set organization developed by the Dynavox Education Team that incorporates the research of Light and Dowden as well as a plethora of research from the field of AAC and more. We dug through research and products already on the market to compile a list of goals. We pulled out our old handouts from presentations on implementation. Nothing we did was original, it was all simply a compilation of the best ideas we could find in the field. We revised, revised and revised. Dynavox marketing folks made it fancy, and then reworked it to make it fancier and then, finally, reworked it again to make it the fanciest.
Finally the Dynamic AAC Goals Grid-2 is officially released, in its entirety. I don't think anyone else cares quite as much as Holly and I do but WE are very excited to finally share our work. Dynavox was key in the development of the DAGG-2 in their support for Holly's time, designing the finished product and their willingness to release it to the public for free. I did the work mostly because I'm an AAC nerd and, although this is Holly's job, she's pretty geeky herself.
So here it is. The main goals Holly and I had over the years were a hope that the tool would be released for free, worked for all AAC users (not just Dynavox) and that it represented the most current research and practice in our field. We hope that you will find it useful; that it will allow you to document the progress your AAC users are making and; that it will help you figure out a road map toward communicative competency. It's not perfect (hence all the revisions) but hopefully it's a start for some people. If you like it, please share! We'd love to hear from people who use the DAGG-2 so that we can continue to refine, polish and fancy it up to meet all of our needs better. You can download it here: https://www.mydynavox.com/Resources/AACGoalWriting If you don't already have a MyDynavox account, you can create one on the right side of the page. You'll then be linked to a list of all the forms. These include forms to evaluate your AAC user's skills, select appropriate AAC goals, plan for implementing AAC into your daily life and to collect data. Forms include the Dynamic AAC Goals Grid-2 (DAGG-2), DAGG-2 Data Sheets and DAGG-2 Schedule Analysis Tools. All forms are writeable which means you can fill them out and save them on your computer without printing.
Hope you like it!
Vicki (and Holly)
About the Author: I am a SLP who has the distinct fortune of having a job that is also my passion. I have been an AAC Specialist for almost 25 years in schools and my private clinic. I currently own Dynamic Therapy with my husband, Chuck (also of 25 years) who is my business partner and enabler. We have a wonderful staff of SLPs & AAC Specialists who work with us to help our patients. I hope you find my blog helpful as you join me in our journey with our unique and amazing friends! Vicki Clarke, MS CCC-SLP