Using AAC Core Boards

Using AAC Core Boards

AAC core boards combine pictures and words of core vocabulary to support communication. Core vocabulary is vocabulary that is commonly used such as “You”, “I”, “Get”, “Do” and “Where”. Core vocabulary refers a small number of words that make up >70-90% of what we say on a daily basis. While many of the AAC apps have core words built in, there are also low tech options that can be printed out and glued to poster board.

In using core boards we point to the words while we’re talking. We say things like “want more?” “you like it”. They are wonderful tools for modeling.

We’re giving each child a visual that they can see and eventually point to. The words will always be in the same place (so they don’t have to search for them). The visual cue helps the student identify the word and by combining the visual with a written word, we can start to increase a student’s literacy as well.

Tips for using core boards

  1. Do it consistently. Use the core board every day. The vocabulary on the core board is intentionally selected as words that your child will use regularly. By focusing on these words we are teaching a functional vocabulary. Your child can use these words all day, everyday, everywhere: from classroom to playground to cafeteria to home.
  2. Start by modelling them. At first don’t expect your child to point to words, it’s enough for you to model them, so they can hear and see them. Be patient.
  3. Use it for more than requesting. We often start with “I want” as there is a lot of motivation for students to ask that question. But we don’t want that to be the only thing they learn. Start modelling other phrases such as “I like” or “I go” to encourage communication.
  4. Do fun activities. Think of ways that you can use the core board for fun activities.  
  5. In being helpful, don’t forget to model. Sometimes we’re so busy being helpful we miss great modeling opportunities. If a student is asking you for help with something, rather than simply helping them, whip out the core board and model the word help without demanding an immediate response.
  6. Use expectant pauses. Are you letting your student say what they want to say and leaving expectant pauses? Or are you trying to make your student say what you want him to say. Make sure you give your student time to think and answer.
  7. Model mistakes. We need to model making mistakes and how to repair them too. Just like learning to walk, it’s okay to stumble and fall. As long as you keep going.

To start or build on using core boards, I’ve put together a document setting out where you can download free core boards to get you started. Click here to download your copy. 

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Using AAC Core Boards
Modelling for Emergent Communicators

Modelling for Emergent Communicators

As SLPs we often work with emergent communicators. How we model with them needs to be tailored to their specific needs. Below I share more about what an emergent communicator is and my best tips for using AAC modelling with them. 

What is an Emergent Communicator

Emergent communicators can use the following modes of communication:

  • facial expressions, 
  • body language, 
  • gestures, 
  • vocalizations, and 
  • other non-symbolic modes of communication. For example: smiling, reaching for what they want, taking your hand to what they want. They make wants known indicated by reaching toward something, looking at it, and leg movements.

Introducing AAC to Emergent Communicators

My number one tip for introducing AAC to emergent communicators is to remember beginning communicators talk about what they want to talk about. Make sure what you are modelling is meaningful and hopefully fun to them. 

Once you are communicating about something they are interested in, then it’s important to model without expectation. Invite don’t demand that they take part in the activity. 

Being prepared as an SLP

As an SLP, it can feel intimidating navigating how to use a device and knowing what to do when using AAC. Particularly if it’s the first time you’ve worked with AAC or a particular device.

If this is you, then quickly get familiar with the device. Most devices are fairly straightforward to use once you’ve used them a few times. I’ve been sharing reviews of devices and apps on Instagram. You can find them in my Instagram feed

I recommend knowing a few basics and starting with core words like in, put, finished, more, want, like, go. Choose an activity that happens everyday like snack time, circle time, lining up time. That way you’ll get lots of practice every day. 

Remembering to keep it fun, simple, consistent and real.

Setting goals is a great way to help you do this. To help you set AAC goals, I’ve created the Ultimate AAC Goal Planning Blueprint which you can download for free here.

If you’d like to hear more about modelling with emergent communicators you can listen to my podcast interview on the Dabbling Speechie Podcast with Felice Clark.

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Modelling for emergent communicators
How to Reduce Cognitive Load

How to Reduce Cognitive Load

Help your students succeed by reducing cognitive load for your students with special needs while they’re learning a new concept.

In this video I am talking about why we need to think about reducing the cognitive load as well as how to do this so we can help our students succeed and feel more confident. 

Want to know more about Core Vocabulary and AAC? Join my free Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/theAACconnection

 

 

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