Spring is here!!!!! Well… spring break that is. This winter was a busy one, but it’s time to get back on the blogging wagon. I have a deep respect for those professionals who are working full time and keeping up these blogs as a “hobby.”
I’m looking at you praacticalaac.org
I recently finished a comprehensive AAC evaluation. As I made my recommendations, I kept asking myself “Why?” I think that if I can convey why I’m recommending a certain device or accommodation, then I’ve done my job.
AAC assessment is an iterative process. I’ve found that it takes me a great deal of time and gathering information from multiple sources.
Here are the components of my AAC assessment:
1. File Review – Gather all information you can. Check IEPs, progress reports, notes/data from therapists, and TALK TO MEMBERS OF THE TEAM! I’ve found in some cases, the buck stops here. Often I have quick recommendations that the team can put in place, but if more information is needed – we proceed with the assessment.
2. Observations – In MULTIPLE settings. I sit as unobtrusively as possible in classrooms, therapy sessions, or anywhere else that will wield good information. Not only does this provide information on how the student is functioning within the typical day, but I can analyze the environment as well.
3. Data – I like to have some objective information to support those gut feelings. This can be done through trials. There are more and more tools coming out. Here are a few that I’ve been using recently:
– AAC Evaluation Genie App (I especially like the visual discrimination subtest)
– AAC Profile from Linguisystems (This follows the format from Janice Light’s research. You can find more information on that in this previous post
– TASP (Created by the Joan Bruno – creator of Camp Chatterbox)
4. Feature Matching – Once I have identified the needs and areas of strength, then I can try to match the best technology for that student.
5. Summary and Recommendations – I like to use simple tables in this section to bring it all together. In my first table, I summarize areas of strength and areas that were identified as challenging. Next I make recommendations. It is important to clarify that I only make recommendations. It is up to the IEP team to meet and decide what, if any, of my recommendations should be implemented in the IEP. My recommendation table includes three columns: AT currently in place, AT tools to consider, and AT recommendations.
What are you using for AAC assessment?