Classroom Toolbox Training

The Classroom Toolbox is a virtual toolbox of resources to help teachers provide adapted communication supports to students in their classrooms. In here you'll find the Classroom Communication Supports Checklist to help you determine what supports you already have in place, ones you have but aren't using, and ones you are interested in exploring. For every communication support, there's a learning module to explore, with photos, descriptions, components, links to comprehensive resources and curated YouTube videos. These modules will help you confidently increase the communication supports for your students!

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Building the Communication Classroom Series

  • Getting Oriented (3 lessons)​
  • Present Level of Performance: How do my students communicate? (3 lessons)​
  • Can You Hear Me Now?   Classroom Routines, Expectations & Visual Supports (7 lessons)​
  • Simple Communication Systems: Light Tech (5 lessons)​
  • Embedding Communication Into Your Classroom (5 lessons)​
  • IEP Time! Progress, Present Levels and Goals (2 lessons)​
  • AAC 101: Simple Steps for Student Communication​
  • The Core Word Classroom​

There is a wealth of information and materials for you on our website, so you may be asking yourself, "Where in the world do I start?" No worries, we've got you! This is the first stop in your training! In this unit we will be answering some primary questions to get you started!

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Starting Young: Communication in Early Intervention & the Preschool Classroom

Our specialized training hub dedicated to supporting communication success in Early Intervention in the home and our preschool classrooms

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Communication Systems Series

  • Getting Started with a New Communication System (3 lessons)​
  • Understanding Robust AAC Systems (3 lessons)​
  • AAC Feature Considerations (5 lessons)​
  • Speech Generating Devices & Applications (3 lessons) ​

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Partner Strategy Kits

  • Interaction Strategies (3 lessons)​
  • AAC Access (3 lessons)​
  • Engagement (3 lessons)​
  • Language Support Strategies (5 lessons)​

Partner Strategy Kits

AAC Partner Strategy Kits are engaging posters/handouts, descriptions and short videos explaining and modeling techniques for you to use to help your student be willing, and able to communicate using their AAC system!

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AAC Assessment Series

  • Communication Matrix:  Forms & Functions​
  • Student Communication Goals Grid​
  • Every Move Counts, Clicks & Chats: Motivators, Sensory Needs, Forms & Functions​
  • Communication Sample & Analysis​
  • Dynamic AAC Goals Grid (DAGG)​
  • AAC Evaluation Genie Training​
  • AAC Communication Skills Assessment-2​
  • Dynamic AAC Advanced Consultation FORM​
  • Team & Family Involvement

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DTA Schools Evaluation and Funding

  • DTA Schools Process Introduction​
  • DTA Schools Referral & Records Review​
  • DTA Schools Dynamic AAC Assessment & Trials Process​
  • AAC Funding Sources​
  • SGD Evaluation Report Writing​
  • Working with SGD Manufacturers
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Empowering Families: AAC At Home

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High Frequency Core Words & Messages

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AAC 101

5 steps to move from training to talking, give you a clear path for you and your student learner. Learning to communicate is a shared journey between the learner and their partners, and that makes sense! Communication is a shared activity between two people. It is the means for us to make connections, meet our needs, engage socially, participate in shared experiences, and bridge the gap between our experiences and sharing these their partners.

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Activity Schedules ​

"Task Analysis” or "Mini Schedules"

Activity Schedules are a list of words or pictures/symbols used to cue the student to complete the steps of specific activities, or tasks. Unlike the DAILY SCHEDULE, Activity Schedules don't list tasks for the entire day.  They target each individual step of a task, for example, washing your hands.  You might recognize this concept! Have you ever used a recipe to cook a meal? Some professionals even call these "recipes!"

SAMPLES: Hand washing Schedule, Brushing Teeth Schedule in Ms. Wellborn's Preschool Classroom

The activity schedule for a hand washing task might be the following:

  1. turn on water
  2. rinse hands
  3. soap on hands
  4. rub hands together
  5. count to 10
  6. rinse hands
  7. dry hands with paper towel
  8. turn off water with towel
  9. throw paper towel away

Depending on the type of visual symbol your child needs, you may have written words, picture symbols, photos or small object/pieces of objects which will represent each step of the activity.  The student will use each symbol to cue the next step of the process.  The teacher can use these to point to directions to help students understand her verbal directions.Visual activity schedules can be useful for teaching many kinds of sequences:

  • self-help skills (hand washing, dressing, cooking a recipe
  • leisure activities (playing a game, finding a YouTube video, making a craft project
  • social skills ("walk up to your friend," "say 'Hi'," "Ask, 'how's it going?'"...)
  • work tasks (Many teachers use task boxes with simple put together or matching tasks to allow students to complete independent work)
  • building/making project (making furniture, helping the teacher create an interactive communication board- let your students help YOU!)

The value of activity schedules is that they increase student's independence, decrease reliance on the teacher's instructions, remove the negative focus on the teacher when less desired tasks need to be accomplished, and allow the student to set the pace of their own activity (when appropriate).

Components

  • A task with a natural, defined sequence
  • Symbols to represent each step of the task

Optional Component

  • A means to show each step is completed (move a card, cover a symbol, check off a box)

Development Resources

People Worth Listening To!

Supplies:  velcro, laminating machine or contact paper, camera and printer for photos, iPad & apps for high tech​

Additional Learning Resources:

Downloads:

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Classroom Engineering

Can You Hear Me Now?

Lesson

Classroom Communication Checklist

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1

First Lesson Name

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Student Accessible Daily Schedule ​

Accessible schedule displays are visual representations of the major activities of the school day.  Much like our own daily calendars, they help students predict upcoming activities and to prepare themselves for their day.  Knowing upcoming events, and the events that follow, allows students to tolerate less desired activities by anticipating ones they enjoy!

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2

Second Lesson Name

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Token Based Work System

A token work system is a visual representation of task accomplishment.  Students are given a clear visual cue of how much time needs to be spent on the task, how many components of the task need to be accomplished and, how much time or tasks are left before they receive a reward, take a break, or finish an activity.

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Lesson

3

First-Then (Premack Princ.) ​

First-Then boards are a very simple form of an activity schedule that are used to help students anticipate the next few moments of their time so that they can complete tasks.

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Lesson

4

Activity Schedules ​

Activity Schedules are a list of words or pictures/symbols used to cue the student to complete the steps of specific activities, or tasks.

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Lesson

5

Classroom Engineering

Picture this: a classroom specifically designed to empower AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) users in their communication journey. It's a dynamic space where every detail is meticulously engineered to facilitate effective communication for these individuals!

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Lesson

6

Transition Supports

There are a variety of reasons individuals struggle moving from one context to another  but most of them can be alleviated by improving the communication supports to make the process more understandable.

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Classroom Communication Checklist

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SETT Framework

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Student Communication Goals Grid: Preparation for Assessment

We know the Classroom Communication Goals Grid is your GO-TO for IEP development, but did you know this tool also gives you a LOT of the information you need to begin to determine appropriate AAC device options?  In this 16 minute video you join us as we are planning for an actual evaluation, choosing the devices and AAC apps we will be taking when we meet our new student!

More information is available here on the use of the Student Communication Goals Grid for IEP development: determining present levels of performance, goal selection and progress monitoring.

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1

First Lesson Name

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1

AAC Partner Core Vocabulary Training

Integrating core vocabulary into your daily routine is a perfect start to give students access to "powerful" words for communicating across all of your typical activities and environments!

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1

Student Accessible Daily Schedule ​

Accessible schedule displays are visual representations of the major activities of the school day.  Much like our own daily calendars, they help students predict upcoming activities and to prepare themselves for their day.  Knowing upcoming events, and the events that follow, allows students to tolerate less desired activities by anticipating ones they enjoy!

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Lesson

1

Choice Making Symbols, Photos & Objects

Choice-making is one of the first communication functions we learn.  For students using AAC, we often use choice-making to ensure they are motivated to communicate.  There are many different choices students can make throughout the day.

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1

Shared Reading Instruction & Adaptations

Shared Reading is a simple and effective way to improve language and literacy skills in our students.

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1

Communication Matrix: Assessing Forms & Functions

The Communication Matrix is a wonderful tool that let's us find out HOW and WHY your emergent communicator communicates!

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1

Finding the Why of AAC

There is a wealth of information and materials for you on our website, so you may be asking yourself, "Where in the world do I start?" No worries, we've got you! This is the first stop in your training! In this unit we will be answering some primary questions to get you started!

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Lesson

1

Routine Target Posters

Let's be intentional about the words and messages we target and model throughout the day! Here's a simple planner you can use!

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1

AAC 101 Steps of Learning Introduction

5 steps to move from training to talking, give you a clear path for you and your student learner.

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2

Second Lesson Name

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2

Printed Core Vocabulary Displays​

Printed Core Boards are  tools that we add to the classroom to allow all students access to these POWER WORDS in the classroom.

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Lesson

2

Token Based Work System

A token work system is a visual representation of task accomplishment.  Students are given a clear visual cue of how much time needs to be spent on the task, how many components of the task need to be accomplished and, how much time or tasks are left before they receive a reward, take a break, or finish an activity.

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Lesson

2

Predictable Chart Writing

Predictable chart writing is a system for helping students express themselves in a highly supported manner as they are learning skills they need for conventional writing.

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Lesson

2

Intro to AAC Partner Strategies: Modeling (Aided Language Input)

Interestingly, one of the most effective ways that we can support our students ability to communicate is by monitoring our own communicative behavior! On our website you will find a multitude of partner strategies to encourage our students to communicate. In this very first introduction, we are investigating the most effective strategy in our toolbox, Aided Language Input, or "modeling!"

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2

Student Communication Survey

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2

Classroom Schedule Analysis

The Classroom Communication Environment gives us exactly what we need to determine appropriate communication targets that are the MOST meaningful to your students during the day.

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2

AAC 101 Choosing Targets for Communication

In Step One we will be determining which words and messages we need to specifically target for instruction. We often complete the step, not only for targeting specific words and messages, but also when we are first designing the AAC system that our student will be using.

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3

Third Lesson Name

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3

Alphabet & Phonological ​Awareness

Teaching the alphabet and alphabet sounds is something all teachers do, but we need to take a little closer look to consider how we are teaching these concepts to our students with special needs.

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Lesson

3

First-Then (Premack Princ.) ​

First-Then boards are a very simple form of an activity schedule that are used to help students anticipate the next few moments of their time so that they can complete tasks.

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Lesson

3

Printed Fringe Vocabulary Display

For our students using light tech supports, we need to provide access to specific nouns both individually and in the classroom through communication books, posters, wall displays and classroom sized communication books.

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Lesson

3

Every Move Counts, Clicks & Chats

We're all about using a hands-on approach to communication and assistive technology for people who have significant differences in their sensory and motor abilities, as well as those with developmental variations and autism. Our goal is to find innovative ways to connect with and support these individuals in a manner that suits their unique needs. Every Move Counts, Clicks and Chats has an excellent approach to working with students who don't have conventional ways to communicate.

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3

Intro to Communication Functions

Communication isn't just about meeting your basic wants and needs. It's also about engaging socially, sharing and requesting information, making choices, expressing your feelings, protesting and rejecting, and asking questions.

In this session we are exploring the different reasons we communicate so that we can support ALL of the messages our students need to communicate.

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3

Student Communication Passport​

The Student Communication Passport is a tool that serves multiple functions in our project, from lesson planning, monthly theme planning and finally to share information with new partners about our students' communication.

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Lesson

3

Communication Lesson Planning Tools​

Some tools you can use to plan intentional modeling and instruction for your communication targets!

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3

AAC 101 Training Communication Targets

In Step Two we begin the process of training HOW we say the word or message.

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4

Fourth Lesson Name

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4

Activity Schedules ​

Activity Schedules are a list of words or pictures/symbols used to cue the student to complete the steps of specific activities, or tasks.

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Lesson

4

Guided Reading

Guided Reading is a term that often describes instructional strategies designed to help students develop active strategies for reading with comprehension.

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Lesson

4

Comprehensive Communication Books

Comprehensive Communication Books, at a minimum, are comprised of fringe vocabulary (noun categories and describing words), core vocabulary (high frequency words, typically verbs, pronouns and a few descriptors) and quick comments. Let's take a look at these light tech communication options!

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Lesson

4

Intro to Embedded Communication Materials: Quicktalk 18 Book

As we've learned, one of the most effective ways for us to help our students learn to communicate through AAC is for US to communicate in the same method that we expect our students to communicate. If our student is using symbols WE use symbols! In this short training, we are introducing the DTA 18 Quicktalk Book, an easy way for us adults to begin practicing, and modeling talking with symbols!

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4

Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills: Social Messages Training Slides

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4

AAC 101 Modeling AAC So Students Take In

Step 3 is all about the partner and their modeling of how the word/message is used in the real world.  The point of this step as for the student to begin to understand when to use these words and messages and what it looks like when someone communicates using the method that they will ultimately be using themselves.

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5

Fifth Lesson Name

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5

Independent (Self-Selected) Reading ​

Self-selected, or independent reading, is a situation the teacher creates which encourages and supports students in participating in reading activities.  

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5

Lesson or ​Activity Based Boards

When your goal is participation and making sure your student understands the content you are introducing, activity boards may be the perfect solution!

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Lesson

5

Student Communication Goals Grid-R

The Student-Classroom Communication Goals Grid-R is al is a research informed assessment to help you develop your IEPs, giving you a present level of performance, extensive bank of communication and AAC goals, and the ability to show progress over multiple administrations from year to year!

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Lesson

5

Classroom Engineering

Picture this: a classroom specifically designed to empower AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) users in their communication journey. It's a dynamic space where every detail is meticulously engineered to facilitate effective communication for these individuals!

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Lesson

5

AAC 101 Helping Students Try It

It’s finally time to begin to offer our students the opportunity to use their AAC system for communication purposes with lots of support as they get started!!

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Lesson

6

Independent Writing Instruction

We are considering how we teach students to communicate messages, share information, thoughts, feelings and ideas through traditional writing.

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Lesson

6

Transition Supports

There are a variety of reasons individuals struggle moving from one context to another  but most of them can be alleviated by improving the communication supports to make the process more understandable.

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Lesson

6

ON vs With: Working “on” a device vs. “with” a device​

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Lesson

6

Classroom Communication Checklist 2.0

The Classroom Communication Checklist is a tool developed to identify communication supports in place in the classroom and to determine potential supports which may be of value to add into the existing program.  This planning tool helps teachers & administrators consider a variety of supports to help their students communicate effectively in the classroom.

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6

AAC 101 Talk Using AAC all day

We have reached the finale! At this stage our students are ready to begin to talk on their own by using their AAC system, speech, sign language, picture symbols and/or communication devices!

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