AAC 101: Just Plug It In First

I don't know about you, but jumping into the high- tech world of augmentative & alternative communication was a little bit daunting for me.
I'll admit there's been a time or two I couldn't figure out why something wasn't working. A crock pot, let's say.
My brilliant husband, who is seriously Mr. Fix-It, usually asks a very important question before he even glances in the direction of the supposedly broken device.
"Is it plugged in?"
Okay, let's fast forward a couple of months. I'd completed an evaluation, and the eagerly anticipated device for one of my kiddos had arrived and was sitting on my desk. It was now time to program it. Having been to the course and learned multiple impressive and advanced skills ranging from selecting and programming core vocabulary to locking the device, I calmly told myself: "I've got this."
My heart began to pound very quickly when I opened the cardboard box and began unraveling all of the pieces of plastic surrounding the device and accessories... because it was then I realized: they actually did not go over in the course how to plug the charger into the device. Apparently, this is the step that is even before the "AAC for Dummies". It is maybe just assumed that you would know this.
I did not, but I am proud to say that I figured it out without even having to call the company's tech support.
Crisis averted! And in case you're wondering where to look... the hole to plug in the charger was on the back of this particular device, in the middle.
Okay, but in all honestly, in the weeks that have passed, I'm growing more confident by the day with AAC- and super excited, too! My kids are starting to make progress, and it's an exciting journey. If you've got some kiddos on your caseload that you think would benefit from AAC, here is my advice to you:
1: Go to Continuing Education
Here is a picture of me, sitting at a LAMP course back in October and learning a TON of valuable information. I also wore my incredibly stylish shoes to this event, as you can see from my horribly edited and blurry photo. By the way, if you're interested in learning about the course I went to, just visit this website: http://www.prentrom.com/. Let me add that I am not an employee of, or getting paid in any way, to give a shout out to this company. It was just an excellent CEU course that I attended and feel the need to tell my fellow SLP sistas (and brothers!) about.

2: Learn From Others
Lindsey Cargill was the speaker at the course I went to, and was AMAZINGLY inspiring. I found a video of a snapshot of one of her therapy sessions on Youtube, and it's a must-watch. Another incentive: that little boy is adorable. I mean- seriously!

3: Believe In Yourself
Here's the biggie. You know more than you think you do. You're already a rock star at language development. You understand the progression, you understand how to be creative in therapy. In the next few weeks, I'll be sharing some of the fun- and simple- ways I've been using AAC in my therapy room.

4: Believe In Your Patient/ Student
This goes without saying, but it's astonishing to me just how quickly many of my patients have demonstrated progress once given the appropriate tools for success. That high- tech device might actually more daunting to you than it is to your patient!
More AAC posts are in the works!Don't miss a post! Be sure to Follow my blog with Bloglovin! Until then, just remember... plug it in first.

10 comments

  1. That little boy is mine!!! And YES...he is adorable :)

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    1. Awe, thank you so much for leaving a comment! I saw this on Youtube and HAD to share! He is precious! Thank you so much for allowing SLPs to watch a snapshot of his therapy session! Not only because it is helpful and provides ideas for therapy... it's also just super cute! lol

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  2. Love this. I'm new to a district that's lagging a bit (LOT) in AAC... And getting myself and them up to speed is daunting. Gotta take it one kiddo at a time.

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    1. Thank you! I seriously recommend checking out the LAMP theory- it makes SO much sense to me! Whatever you choose to do, I think it is AWESOME that you are looking into AAC! I agree- taking things one kiddo and one day at a time is a wonderful way to start! I'm going to be doing more posts with therapy ideas soon- and possibly even what the eval process has been like- and I'll be posting as many resources as I can find, as well!

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  3. I had to chuckle! Almost all of what I do is in AAC, and I work one day each week in an A.T. center, doing AAC evals. My biggest complaint for years was that all the manufacturers needed to get together and agree on ONE place where the power supply plugged in. I got tired of turning devices over and over, trying to remember where it went on THIS device. LOL

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    1. So glad I'm not the only one! Haha, thank you so much for sharing! :)

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  4. Great post. AAC can seem intimidating for many SLP's at first, Thanks for the pep talk! Lisette of Speech Sprouts

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    1. Thank you! I had to give myself one when getting started lol!

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  5. Karen, can you share what devices you trialed with the child you reference in your blog and can you share what you liked most about each AAC device? I would also be interested in how many children you have that use AAC devices and what those devices are.

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    1. Hi Lynn! This was a couple of years ago now, so I can't recall all of the devices trialed :/ or my exact caseload size of kiddos using AAC, but I think around 8-10 patients. We considered devices from a few different device companies. As I recall, we chose the Accent as it was light-weight enough for the child to carry around, and the option of having a keyguard was very helpful. Again, my post isn't to promote one company over another :) just to hopefully provide encouragement in using AAC!

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