AAC Applications, Equipment and other Tools

Communication Focused Classroom: A Mini Toolkit Approach

Vicki Clarke
November 20, 2023

Communication Focused Classroom: A Mini Toolkit Approach

Vicki Clarke
November 20, 2023

Just for teachers, today we are exploring how you can use a few of our favorite light, medium, and high-tech tools to support an inclusive and communicative environment.

We like to design a classroom to be one BIG communication system. Picture symbols, photos and displays are placed in opportune locations for "just in time" communication. Staff aren't diving for communication boards and missing that last second opportunity for the student to communicate when the tools are RIGHT THERE! In subsequent articles, we will be taking a look at tools you can use to fill your classroom to create an environment rich with communication supports. Here are a few to get you started:

Light-Tech Tools in Action: Single Message Switches

Imagine using single message switches at the classroom door to greet students as they enter. A simple press can broadcast a cheerful “Good morning” or “Hello,” setting a positive tone and making communication an interactive part of the daily routine. One of our favorites: Talking Tiles https://a.co/d/2P9SHfl

Medium-Tech Tools: “About Us” Student Display Board

Photo displays can be cute decor with a serious purpose. Put student and staff photos around the board so everyone can point out specific people. Consider adding some "fun facts" about each person including their favorite characters, places to go, family members or pets.

You board can be equipped with medium-tech tools like picture symbol boards and talking switches. Students can engage with you and their friends using pictures, symbols, or recorded messages. Have a discussion around "Who's here?" and "Who's not?" Tattle on classmates, ask about classmates and celebrate their friendships!

AAC Flipbooks for Expanding Vocabulary

Introduce AAC flipbooks to expand vocabulary access for student who don’t have their own AAC devices. These printed light-tech books typically include a core board and hundreds of nouns in categories, quick social messages, adjectives and academic terms. This tool not only aids in expression but also encourages active participation in the classroom and supports vocabulary expansion. Here’s our popular DTA Schools version:


High-Tech AAC Applications on Smartboards

Take advantage of high-tech AAC applications displayed on Smartboards for robust classroom communication. This advanced tool allows for dynamic interaction, with features like synthesized speech and extensive vocabulary. It empowers students to share thoughts, ask questions, and actively engage in lessons, promoting a more inclusive and participatory learning environment. Take a look at Chat Editor, which runs on Windows computers, to display Word Power AAC Application https://touchchatapp.com/chat-editor

A Whole Classroom Communication Approach

By seamlessly integrating light, medium, and high-tech tools in the classroom, a comprehensive communication strategy emerges:

• Light-Tech tools provide immediate interaction: Single message switches at the door create a positive atmosphere from the start.

• Medium-Tech tools enhance classroom community: The “About Us” display board encourages students to express themselves and learn about their peers.

• AAC Flipbooks expand vocabulary: Medium-tech tools contribute to language development and offer a tangible, interactive learning experience.

• High-Tech AAC applications on Smartboards promote whole class AAC use: comprehensive vocabulary and grammar tools support ELA learning for all students.

AAC is not a single device solution.

By embracing a toolkit approach that integrates light, medium, and high-tech communication tools, educators can create a classroom that not only accommodates diverse communication methods  but also encourages active participation and community building. Stick around as we share some of our other favorite classroom communication tools in upcoming blog posts!

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