Why I love Core Boards

Why I love Core Boards

Technology and all the wonderful tech tools that are out there to help our students is amazing. But I’m not giving up my printed core boards any time soon. 

🧡🧡🧡 I love core boards because:

  • They help make an abstract word visible by giving it a symbol and a location
  • Visuals can focus a student’s attention and help them filter out distractions
  • Many kids with disabilities have strong visual skills
  • They help give language visible structure and a visual pattern
  • It gives a visual foundation of frequently used words
  • They work
  • A big board is great for everyone in preschool classrooms, special education classrooms and in your speech rooms too.

If you are looking for help with core boards, then download your condensed guide to core boards here. You’ll find links to popular AAC boards, along with tips to get started.

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Patience is an SLP Super Power

Patience is an SLP Super Power

During the pandemic I did a lot of walking in my neighborhood. What else was there to do?

Every time I walked by this one house on the corner there was such a beautiful fragrance in the air. One day the owner was outside and I asked him about it. He said his wife was magical with plants and had all sorts of jasmine growing in the back yard. 🌱🌱🌱

So I of course decided I needed some. I went to Lowe’s and bought a nice little jasmine shrub and Brad helped me plant it.

I watered it and waited for the flowers and the fragrance.

No flowers. No fragrance. And actually very little growth.

I kept watering and checking…watering and checking.

Nothing. But it did stay alive, it just basically looked the same.

A year went by.

No flowers.

I thought maybe I’m doing something wrong? Maybe I don’t have the right touch?

Almost another whole year goes by but at the end of March, I look and the plant has tripled in size with tons of shiny green leaves. 🌱🌱🌱😊

And now after 22 months my jasmine plant is flowering. 🎉🎉🎉

Lots of little star shaped blooms and they smell heavenly.

Jasmine flower being held in a hand

I feel like there’s an analogy here between this jasmine plant and working with AAC.

A student gets an AAC device and we expect greatness. But nothing happens.

What we forget is that things are happening beneath the surface!

Things that we can’t see and sometimes don’t understand.

Your student might be busy growing receptively or having a physical growth spurt.

The expressive piece, or the output, WILL happen but usually not on our timeline.

So while you are nurturing and giving him access would you like some extra tools to help?

I’ve got you covered.

Click here to download your free core word activity

This is for you if you want to build your confidence and begin the journey to empowered AAC modeling but need a few additional strategies, tips and tools. All you need to do is add bubbles!

I believe in you (and my jasmine plant).

 

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Patience is an SLP Super Power
When, Why & How to Use Guided Access for AAC

When, Why & How to Use Guided Access for AAC

iPad’s Guided Access feature for an  Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) user is an important option. Guided Access limits an iPad to a single app and lets you control which features are available. If you have a young AAC user, most likely you will want him to only use the iPad as a communication device.

Especially when he’s first learning how to use AAC.

I can’t tell you how many times school staff or parents have let a student use the iPad to play games or watch movies only to have the iPad become associated with only those activities. Then it no longer gets used for communication.

We definitely don’t want that to happen. Much better to have a separate iPad for recreation and keep the other one as a dedicated communication device.

Another reason to use it is so a student doesn’t accidentally go into the app menu or vocabulary and delete items.

Of course none of this applies for an older AAC user that is capable of editing and adding words. They can use their device however they want too.

In this video I’ll show you how to use guided access with your students when you’re using an Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) app on an iPad.

As a speech language pathologist (SLP) working with students, you’ll find some of your students will know their way around an iPad. A student might decide he doesn’t want to be in the AAC app any more so he clicks out of it to go exploring. Maybe he’d rather play a game or use the camera app. It’s easy to limit this access using settings that are available on iPads.

I’ll walk you through the steps to set this up on your iPad including using a passcode to limit access to different apps and functions in apps on the iPad. Remember, this isn’t being mean or controlling. It’s all about helping your student be successful with his AAC device. He can use a different iPad to access games and other activities.

Click on the image below to access the video.

Would you rather have a written guide on how to use Guided Access?

You’re in luck, I’ve created one for you here.  Just click here for your Guided Access for AAC guide.

The SLP Toolkit

The SLP Toolkit

You know I’m always on the look-out for time-savers and tips to share with you.

Because lets’ face it, we SLPs squeeze a lot into one little work day.

I mean… just the paperwork alone. Data, billing and IEPS are always gonna be there.

But what if I tell you I found a way to take the headache out of present levels, progress monitoring, and daily data?

What Patrick Brewer Sticker - What Patrick Brewer Patrick Stickers

You can streamline it all with SLP Toolkit.

This web-based app is the brain child of my two friends Sarah and Lisa.

A few years ago, they were both working as school based SLPs right here in Phoenix and thought “there has to be a better way. What if…” And SLP Toolkit was born.

Every successful journey begins with the right set of tools.

SLP Toolkit is a fantastic tool.

Seriously! The whole progress report process is now so smooth and stress free for me compared to my old way of doing things. I love having a goal bank at my fingertips and the present level assessments are so quick and handy.

With their new digital data collection feature, you can easily

  1. Take data
  2. Write notes about what to work on next time
  3. Cut and paste your data from SLP Toolkit into your Medicaid Billing (GENIUS)

And I’m not the only one who loves it. Listen to what others think:

“Never have I found another tool/resource designed specifically for my career/field that is so inclusive of everything under the sun I might need. Typically you find resources where only a small percentage actually relates to the field of speech-language pathology, but this one is exactly for my field. You girls have thought of everything and I cannot thank you enough for putting this tool together! I have other colleagues that wish they had something like this for their discipline and are very jealous! This resource is worth every penny. Thank you, again!” – Kelynne P.

“With the craziness of this year, it is incredibly helpful to have everything in one place. We’ve had school shut down rapidly due to increasing COVID cases, and it is nice to know that I have everything I need in one place and don’t have to lug paper files back and forth to school. It also made scheduling, progress reports, and billing A LOT easier. Thank you!!! ” – Bridget S.

Go check it out here SLP Toolkit.

Sign up with my link and you can

1. try it for a month for FREE!

-OR-

2. Receive an additional $43 off the annual price. BONUS: sign up for a one year subscription and I’ll personally gift you with AAC Boom Cards Bundle 1 OR Adapted Prepositions Book Bundle 2

Do you have questions? Then join the AAC Connection Facebook Group. It’s one of my favourite places on the internet for talking everything AAC.

Happy Disclaimer: If you happen to purchase anything I recommend in this or any of mycommunications, it’s likely I’ll receive some kind of affiliate compensation. But you know, I only recommend things that I truly believe in and have personally experienced. If you ever have an issue with anything I recommend, please let me know. My goal is to help you succeed. — Anne

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Building Language Supports Using Low-Tech AAC

Building Language Supports Using Low-Tech AAC

I’m still riding high from SLP Summit earlier this month. In case you missed it, my presentation was titled “Building Language supports through AAC”. I co-presented with Brian Whitmer from Coughdrop AAC. He handled high-tech while I spoke about low-tech AAC.
 
 
 

The excitement, the connections, the information and the buzz was so uplifting and informative. I’m so thrilled to have been a presenter during this groundbreaking activity. The comments and questions, were so good, and I want to take the time to answer some of the really pertinent questions here. I’ll also provide many of the links and resources that I talked about.

 

No more FOUA (fear of using AAC).

 

So let’s jump right in…

 

As the year for me is gearing up, I was discussing some suggestions for low-tech AAC or no-tech communication opportunities with one of my colleagues.  I suggested to her that she might try some routines during sessions, and what came to my mind was the “magic wand” greeting and greeting song from the webinar you did during the Winter SLP summit.  I was just wondering if perhaps you had a list of suggestions for routines you might use that would have an expected or repetitive response, similar to those activities I mentioned above?”~Caitlyn

 

This is a great question from Caitlin. I agree that routines are amazing in the special needs classroom. Here are some of my favorites:

 

Use the magic wand to reinforce greetings when entering the room. A lot of our kiddos are not expected to greet anyone in any way. This is a really important social skill and a way for them to connect. Model waving and saying hi, hello. As soon as you get any type of response, give them some magic.

 

With the younger kids, integrate a Hello song and Goodbye song. The links to see them are here on my YouTube channel. (please excuse my bad singing, haha).
 
 
 
As the kids get older I like to use something more age appropriate such as Whole Brain teaching rules. We start each and every session with the “rules”. I use the posters for visual support, hand movements, and consistency. We love them. Here’ a little video of us using them during our speech session.
 
 
 
 
I’ve had really good success with the use of a simple visual schedule, just three or four little picture cards to show what we’ll be doing during our speech time. It doesn’t have to be perfect or beautiful, just consistently used.
 
 
 
 
Incorporating songs and song choices into our group time has also been a big hit. I use a Go Talk (more low-tech AAC) with little recorded snippets of each song for each buttons. Some examples are: Wheels on the Bus, Looby Loo, Twinkle Twinkle and Head & Shoulders. Over time you get the advantage of the students learning the songs too  (especially if you incorporate hand movements and make it fun). Here is a link to my Pinterest board of transition songs.
 
 
 
Routine and predictably are your best friends. Last year, I followed the same basic routine in each of the three functional skills classrooms I work with. Here is my magic list.
 
 
Primary functional skills: Magic wand, hello song, criss cross applesauce, go talk song Choices, core vocabulary board activity, 3 – 4 minutes iPad time for the whole group as a reward, the Goodbye song.
 
 
 
Grade 4 5 6 functional skills: Say hello and shake hands as they enter the room, whole brain teaching rules all together, core vocabulary activity, 3 – 4 minutes iPad time for the whole group as a reward, age appropriate song on iTunes that we all chose together.
 
 
Grade 7 8 functional skills: Say what’s up and shake hands (or fistbump) as they enter the room, whole brain teaching rules all together with more age appropriate hand movements, therapy activity, 3 – 4 minutes iPad time for the whole group as a reward.
 
 
I hope this gives you some good ideas for your sessions.
 
 
How do you print the Core Board so large?
 
 
Great question.  You don’t need any oversize printer or Kinko’s.  Each page has four symbol squares, I have them in order, with really complete instructions. Just glue them to a poster board and then laminate. Easy peasy. Click here to learn more about the BIG Core board.
 
 
Is there research to support the 10-second hold for pointing when modeling? Everyone loves research to back up what they’re saying especially when trying to get ABA professionals on board. -Amanda
 
 
Another great question! I don’t have the answer yet. There are several references to the 10 second point, but as far as research for the exact time I’ll have to keep looking. I’d say it is a suggested time by some highly experienced AAC experts (see these references).
 
 
“Can I get a handout of the slide presentation?”
 
 
So many people asked for a copy of the slide presentation, I apologize for not including it.  You can click here for the attachment.
 
 
I’m also answering some of the questions on Facebook. Click here to see.
 
 
Thank you so much to everyone who attended.  I’m working on another AAC presentation as we speak.
 
 
Remember feel the FOUA and do it anyway,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beautiful Speech Life