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!

Learn more

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!

See More

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

See More

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) ​

See More

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!

See More

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

See More

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
See More

Empowering Families: AAC At Home

See More

High Frequency Core Words & Messages

See More

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.

Learn more

Robust AAC Systems Intro

There are so many options for supporting a student’s communication skills that it can be confusing to know where to start. And it’s fair to say that all AAC devices, programs and equipment are not created equally.  So how do we know we have given our student everything they need? Do we start out with very simple options and build, or do we provide  more complex systems which can be simplified and taught?

Even though it is tempting to give students access to extremely simple communication options- such a a single message button to say “Hello” or a 3 button board to say “eat, drink and potty.” you will find, and research supports, that such simple supports not only do NOT meet a student’s needs to communicate, they don’t even encourage them to WANT to communicate.  

Simple solutions may help students say what WE want them to say, but they rarely allow the student to say what THEY want to say.  And that’s the point, isn’t it?  Communication is about saying what we want to say, and true communication means telling someone something they don’t already know.  Simplistic communication supports ARE part of the puzzle, ones that you will have readily available when needed,  but only a very small part of true communication development, even for students who are just beginning to learn by watching us.

A single message button, simply won’t do.And so we need to explore more Robust AAC Solutions!

Here's a short explanation of the key features of a robust AAC system:

  1. Multi-modal Approach: A robust AAC system incorporates multiple modes of communication to cater to the diverse needs of users. It combines various methods such as speech output, symbols, pictures, gestures, sign language, or text to enhance communication possibilities.
  2. Customization and Flexibility: The system allows customization to match the individual's specific communication abilities and preferences. It provides options to personalize symbols, vocabulary, layout, and access methods, ensuring an optimal fit for the user's unique communication needs.
  3. Comprehensive Vocabulary: A wide range of vocabulary is available in the AAC system to support different language levels and communication purposes. It includes core words (high-frequency words used in multiple contexts) and fringe words (specific or topic-related words) to facilitate expressive and functional communication.
  4. Navigation and Organization: An effective AAC system employs intuitive navigation and organization techniques to make communication efficient. It utilizes categories, folders, or tabs to group related words or phrases, enabling users to locate and access the desired vocabulary quickly.
  5. Feedback and Reinforcement: Feedback mechanisms are integrated into the AAC system to provide users with cues, prompts, or visual indicators that help them navigate and communicate effectively. Reinforcement techniques such as auditory or visual cues, animations, or predictive text can enhance user engagement and confidence.
  6. Accessibility and Integration: Robust AAC systems are designed to be accessible across various devices and platforms, including dedicated AAC devices, tablets, smartphones, or computers. They often incorporate features like cloud-based syncing, backups, and integration with other applications to enable seamless communication in different settings and contexts.
  7. Training and Support: AAC systems typically include comprehensive training and support resources for users, caregivers, and professionals. These resources include tutorials, user guides, online communities, and professional support to ensure successful implementation, customization, and ongoing learning.

Overall, a robust AAC system aims to empower individuals with communication challenges by providing them with effective tools and strategies to express their thoughts, needs, and emotions, promoting independence and social interaction.

Helpful Links:

Downloads:

Next Lesson:

Inside the Box: AAC Applications (vocabulary organization)​

Understanding Robust AAC Language Systems

Lesson

1

Robust AAC Systems Intro

A robust AAC system is designed to facilitate effective communication for individuals with speech and language disabilities. An "effective" system is one in which the communicator can say anything they want to, to anyone at any time! Most often, a single button or a picture book just isn't enough. In this session we are discussing the key features of a robust AAC system and how you can ensure that your student has all of the language they need!

Start Training

Lesson

2

Inside the Box: AAC Applications (vocabulary organization)​

In the session we are going to be talking about what’s inside an AAC application, not which box we should pick! We’re taking a look at some of the most popular AAC apps and exploring the different ways they organize and present language to us.

Start Training

Lesson

3

Pre-Stored Messages vs. Generative Language

On our AAC applications we have the choice of using single words for creative message generation and the use of complete phrases for quick communication. Generative language is the term we use to describe a person putting individual words together and  adding word endings to say a novel sentence of their own.  Pre-stored message are those messages, typically complete phrases or sentences, which require the person using AAC to simply access one button to speak an entire message.

This debate is has a lot of nuances which we will explore in our session.  We are considering the question, is AAC more important for immediate participation in our environment or to allow our student to develop language skills to allow autonomous, unlimited communication over time, or do we need a little of both? (HINT: we need both!!)

Start Training

Lesson

Vocabulary Organization by System​

Each of our robust communication systems has it's own way of organizing the words and messages on the different pages. In this training we are looking at each of the more common AAC applications and exploring how the words and messages are categorized so you can easily find them!

Start Training

Lesson

1

Electronic AAC Systems- Speech Generating Devices

Electronic Augmentative and Alternative Communication Systems with Dynamic Displays come in a wide variety of hardware options, with several different operating systems and a plethora of applications!  These are the "high tech" systems you've heard of, typically offering thousands of words on hundreds of pages with many different means of organizing vocabulary.

Start Training

Lesson

1

Robust AAC Systems Intro

A robust AAC system is designed to facilitate effective communication for individuals with speech and language disabilities. An "effective" system is one in which the communicator can say anything they want to, to anyone at any time! Most often, a single button or a picture book just isn't enough. In this session we are discussing the key features of a robust AAC system and how you can ensure that your student has all of the language they need!

Start Training

Lesson

2

Inside the Box: AAC Applications (vocabulary organization)​

In the session we are going to be talking about what’s inside an AAC application, not which box we should pick! We’re taking a look at some of the most popular AAC apps and exploring the different ways they organize and present language to us.

Start Training

Lesson

3

Pre-Stored Messages vs. Generative Language

On our AAC applications we have the choice of using single words for creative message generation and the use of complete phrases for quick communication. Generative language is the term we use to describe a person putting individual words together and  adding word endings to say a novel sentence of their own.  Pre-stored message are those messages, typically complete phrases or sentences, which require the person using AAC to simply access one button to speak an entire message.

This debate is has a lot of nuances which we will explore in our session.  We are considering the question, is AAC more important for immediate participation in our environment or to allow our student to develop language skills to allow autonomous, unlimited communication over time, or do we need a little of both? (HINT: we need both!!)

Start Training

Lesson

4

Implementation Planning: Customization

Everyone needs to be able to talk about their favorite people, places, topics and activities. Our students using AAC are no exception! Let's talk about why and how we give them access to these favorites!

Start Training

Lesson

5

Customization by System​

Each of the AAC applications has it's own unique way to customize the buttons and pages. In this section we will give you links and resources to help you understand the nuances of the different AAC systems!

Start Training

Lesson

5

Light Tech, High Tech, Mid Tech & Unaided AAC

You’ve undoubtedly heard us talk about multi-modal communication, and today we are investigating the tools that makeup the variety of AAC methods we use to supplement or replace speech!

Start Training

Lesson

6

Sharing and Backups by System​

Our students need access to their communication system at all times, and there are often multiple partners who need to make changes. In this training we are ensuring the communication device is backed up and shared with all relevant team members!

Start Training

Lesson

7

The AAC Implementation Plan: Getting Started

In this training, we will review the development of the AAC Implementation Plan which includes details about the student's AAC system, customization and training to help the team successfully implement a new AAC system.

Start Training