Communication Environments: Part 1

STEP 1: AAC SUPPORT GROUP

The first thing I wanted to do was get my stakeholders on board. Since I am trying to disseminate information across the district, I established a group for speech language pathologists (SLPs) in my district who work with students who use AAC (or would benefit from AAC use). This could easily be applied to professionals who work in a school setting. Basically – just get together the people who you will need to enlist to help carry out the process.

We meet once per month as part of already scheduled SLP meetings. I know not everybody has regular scheduled SLP meetings, so I would suggest looking into alternative times where people are already gathering – faculty meetings perhaps? I know this is an added thing, but I’ve found it so helpful and our group has grown in the last three meetings!

Our first meeting focused on brainstorming topics that we wanted to discuss. This was helpful for me to see what the concerns were across the district. Funding, consistency, and equity were some of the issues that came up. These issues are going to take time, and I don’t have the answers off the top of my head. Luckily, I work with a great group of SLPs who can help me figure it out.

Since our first meeting, we have met three times. I’m following a plan set by Lauren Enders on my favorite AAC website – PraAACtical AAC. Our first topic included a crash course in vocabulary organization.

I mostly pulled from information from the UNC Center for Literacy and Disability Studies but also included information on PODD. I realize that these are not the only two, but I wanted to hit on the two that we see the most right now. Remember: this is just our starting point…

The topic we discussed at this training was my idea for getting some resources in the classroom. Luckily the grant was funded!!!! Stay tuned for more information on that!

What vocabulary organization resources have you found?

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THANK YOU

It’s that time of year to stop and reflect on what we are thankful for. Today I got some WONDERFUL news and I want to thank those who made it possible.

The grant I wrote was funded!!!!

Thanks to the generosity of the Public School Foundation and A Better Image Printing in Chapel Hill, all system level teachers in my district will have resources to support the instruction of our low verbal and nonverbal students. It’s actually happening!

 

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!

 

Stay tuned for Phase 1…

Creating Communication Communities in the Classroom

Is that enough of a tongue twister for you?

I haven’t had much time lately, but I want to fill you in on what’s happening.

I’ll go back to the beginning. Over the summer I was able to attend a PODD workshop. It was AMAZING! You can find a link to that post here. While the information on creating and implementing PODD systems in the classroom was important, what really stood out to me was the information Gayle Porter provided on creating an environment that supports aided communication. In our excitement to get students a communication system, I think we forget to really spend time building a foundation to support device use. I am guilty of this – think back to my huge PODD role out last year. Spoiler alert – it didn’t go as well as I’d hoped. Mostly because I was not able to provide the NECESSARY staff development to make it work.

This year I’m really taking my time to build that foundation in my school district. Of course I am still working to address AAC referrals, but I’m walking a parallel path of providing resources and professional development regarding AAC use. I want to empower school staff – not just dump one more thing on their plates.

I want to share this journey with you. I’m thinking a series of posts that details my steps along the way will be the most useful. While these aren’t new ideas (there are all kinds of resources out there on this topic), I want to make sure that I am telling the real story from the view of a public school employee.

Let me know what you think!