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,
- 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.
Pin to read later:
This May I hit the one year mark for meditation. That means I actually showed up every day for ten minutes for me. That’s kind of monumental.
I think I was able to do it because ten minutes isn’t a huge time commitment. Really it’s ten minutes less social media scroll time, which I can certainly spare.
I wish I could say each meditation was perfect, blissful and ohm-inducing, but not so much. There were a few days that I stayed in the zone a little longer than others. But honestly most of the days it’s just like life: scattered, imperfect, and random with moments of clarity and genius.
What I got back from the ten minute a day investment has been really invaluable; little subtle lasting changes in my approach to every day life. For example, I have more patience. I’m not sure how that happened. Maybe it has to do with a better knowledge of time.
I have more pockets of calmness. I think it’s because I am more aware of how busy the mind can be and how random thoughts are always passing through.
I have a better awareness of the ability to change gears and how easy it is. I can remind myself those are just thoughts, they don’t have to be real.
I am more present more often; which makes me feel more grounded in gratitude. By that I mean instead of rushing from experience to experience, I get little reminders to breathe, be in this moment and soak in all the good stuff. And that goes for the bad stuff too. I know it might sound counter intuitive but now when I am in physical pain I let myself really feel it. Instead of panicking, I focus on where the pain is occurring in my body and give it a number on a scale of 1 to 10. I breathe into it. It really works.
Best of all I feel like I have an increased capacity for every day joy. It’s that feeling of being in the right body at the exact right time in your life. Those moments are fleeting but so delicious.
So how did I do it? I used my phone, ear buds, and a meditation app called Headspace.
They pretty much walk you through everything. Selling features for me were: really cool teaching animations, Andy’s cool British accent and it’s all backed by research. Watch Andy’s appearance on Jimmy Fallon here.
I’ve tried other forms of meditation but for some reason this is the right one for me. You can try it for 10 days for free too, that’s how I got started. Click the link here to learn more about Headspace.
Would you like to try Headspace for a whole month for FREE? Just comment below and tell me what qualities you want to cultivate through meditation. I’ll pick a winner on June 30, 2018.
Do you love planners as much as I do? I created a special SLP summer planner just to help you make sure your summer doesn’t slip away.
And the best part…it’s FREE!
WE made it through another year! Now for a well-deserved summer break. If you’re like me you start the summer with very well-intended plans of projects, revamps and things-to-do. Sometimes the transition from flat out running and wrangling kids all day to summer relaxation can be a little tricky. SLP Summer Planner to the rescue.
So you take a few days to adjust. You make some vacation plans and you sleep in. Binge watch Netflix and before you know it, summer’s over. If you’re happy with that then great.
But… what if you start the summer knowing how you want to feel at the end of it? What if we a take little time to reflect on the past year and celebrate our successes? Let’s make time for what we really want to do with these precious months and use the SLP Summer Planner to make it happen.
What can you do to take care of yourself and refill the well? Who do you want to spend your time with? Figure out if you really want to do projects. If yes, pick ones that will make you feel good. Maybe you just want to sit under a tree and get lost in a book.
Give yourself what you need. The work you do is so very important. You really do make a difference. Because you “SLP”-ed Like a Boss all year, you deserve to be the boss of your summer.
I hope you use this SLP Summer Planner with a sense of play and intention. Then when summer comes to an end (which it always does) you can use the final sheets to transition into the coming school year.
Wishing you an incredible summer,
Beautiful Speech Life
P.S. Watch for the SLP Like a Boss School Planner coming soon.
At this busy time of stuffing Thanksgiving turkeys, holiday parties and Christmas shopping, life can get a little frantic.[spacer height=”20px”]
Why not take a few minutes with me now to stop and reflect on what you are truly thankful for?[spacer height=”20px”]
I’m always curious about what other SLPs are most thankful for about our profession. So I asked some of my SLP friends from across the U.S. and Canada this question. “What are you thankful for in your profession and your life?” Here’s what they had to say:[spacer height=”20px”]
Linda Look, Looks Like Language
Professionally, I am thankful for having such a varied set of experiences during my career and for all of the SLPs and teachers who have given me such lovely feedback at my store. Personally, I am always thankful for having healthy children, and this year, for having my beautiful daughter-in-law join my family.[spacer height=”20px”]
Collette, Alberta Speechie
Professionally, I’m thankful for working with amazing colleagues. I learn so much everyday and have a great support system. Personally , I’m thankful for my friends and family who are always there when I need them.[spacer height=”20px”]
Ashley, AGB Speech Therapy
I am beyond grateful for the opportunity I have to work with, encourage and impact families. The fact that I am paid for this work still blows my mind most days. Personally, I am thankful for the support I have received from family and friends to jump out on my own with my private practice.[spacer height=”20px”]
Jennifer, Speech Therapy Fun
I am thankful for this profession because of the options that it gives us! I was able to take this year off to be with my newborn and two children. I am able to work part time or full time depending on what is best for my family at that time. Not many professions let you do that! I am also thankful for this profession because it has allowed me to help so many children and meet so many other amazing SLPs![spacer height=”20px”]
Lisette, Speech Sprouts
I am thankful for all the doors this wonderful profession has opened for me. I would say I was a reluctant introvert in my younger years. I truly found my “jam” in learning how to help people with communication disorders. Along the way, I discovered more confidence in myself, and the ability to step out of my comfort zone to try new adventures. I am thankful I get to work with both children and adults who need help expressing themselves. It makes me treasure the gift of communication. I am thankful for the opportunity to learn something new each time I am faced with a new student or challenge. I am thankful this profession values my creativity, ability to problem-solve for my students and patients, and gives me the freedom to set the course of my therapy, armed with a solid knowledge base and understanding of my student’s individual needs. Finally, I am thankful for the many amazing students, families, SLPs, and teachers this profession has given me the privilege of meeting. They inspire me each and every day.[spacer height=”20px”]
Tamatha, TLC Talk Shop
I am thankful to have a career that I truly love and the opportunity to impact others lives by helping to open the door of communication. I am thankful that the same career provides me with so may possible avenues to pursue that I do not grow restless and can continue to grow professionally and help children, adults, and families. Personally, I am thankful for a supportive and loving husband and a beautiful, smart, funny, creative, sassy miracle (my daughter)![spacer height=”20px”]
Marisha, Road to Speech
I am thankful for my husband being supportive of all my crazy endeavors. I am also thankful for the sweet, awesome kids that I get to work with.[spacer height=”20px”]
Sarah, SLP Toolkit
Personally, I am thankful for an amazing family that loves me and supports me and believes in me! They have been so patient with me as I’m trying to balance so many things and I couldn’t do anything without them![spacer height=”20px”]
Professionally, I am thankful for the advancements in technology that allow us to know and do more than ever before! We literally have resources at the tip of our fingers that can help us to be out best! I am also grateful to be associated with smart, creative women that are working hard to make a difference! [spacer height=”20px”]
Kim, Activity Tailor
I’m so grateful for parents who work tirelessly to get the support their children need and are willing to learn a new set of skills so their child reaches their potential and their children who make me laugh. Every. Single. Day.
I’m so appreciative my online friends and colleagues who’ve made me a much better clinician than I would have been on my own.
I’m so thankful for my family, all of whom are taking on huge new challenges, rather fearlessly, and inspiring me to take more risks in my own career.[spacer height=”20px”]
Hallie, Speech Time Fun
I am thankful for my family (especially my 2 year old daughter), my friends, and having a job I love! Wine and coffee are bonus loves too![spacer height=”20px”]
Felice, The Dabbling Speechie
I am thankful for parents that believe in me and instilled the idea that all people are worthy of respect and dignity. I am thankful for my husband and children as they put up with all my shenanigans![spacer height=”20px”]
Doesn’t that make you feel all warm and cozy inside? I LOVE being in the company of these engaging, smart, caring women![spacer height=”20px”]
As for me, I’m grateful for you. I so appreciate you taking the time to read what I’m writing and listen to what I’m saying. I love interacting with you and sharing ideas. Our profession is so important. We play a pivotal role in the education of thousands of children and their families. That is such an honor and a privilege that we share.[spacer height=”20px”]
What about you? What’s on your gratitude list? I’d love to know…please share in the comments below.[spacer height=”20px”]
Wishing you and your family many blessings,[spacer height=”20px”]
P.S. I’m also thankful for cute shoes, red wine, can’t-put-it-down novels, Instagram, Brad, my family and laughing out loud.
Going to the American Speech Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) convention can be a little overwhelming. It sure was for me the first time I went (and the second time too); I felt pretty alone. I had no idea what classes to take, what to wear, what to bring or who I would talk to.[spacer height=”20px”]
Fast forward five years to now, when I’m lucky enough to be going again for the fourth time (San Diego, Chicago, Denver and now Philadelphia). It’s the perfect time to share this list of must-do tips for successfully navigating the ASHA convention.[spacer height=”20px”]
Plan your courses.
You’ll want to go through the pocket planner or the program guide several times. Here’s a little video on how I do it. Besides your area of interest, it’s always good to choose one course that will challenge you or is something you wouldn’t normally take. Because it’s good to just shake things up. I got this idea from Activity Taylor blogger, Kim Lewis. Now I do this every year.[spacer height=”20px”]
Several of the school SLP bloggers are presenting this year; I put together a Here’s a list of the ones I know about. You’ll definitely want to consider these.[spacer height=”20px”]
- iPad & EBP: Transforming Toy into Tool in Education, Danielle Reed , Saturday 8-10 am
- Lyndsey Zurawski , Saturday 8-11
- Use What You Have: Practical uses for common objects to target all areas of communication, Felice Clark, Hallie Sherman, Natalie Snyders Saturday 4-5
- Social Media: Harnessing the Power & Avoiding the Pitfalls, Jenna Rayburn, Saturday 1:30-4:30
- Practical Tips to Manage Your Pre-K Through Fifth-Grade Caseload: How to Maintain Your Sanity, Felice Clark, Rachel Nortz,Thursday 3-4
- Progress Monitoring in the Schools, Lisa Kathman, Sarah Bevier, Friday 10:30-11:30
- Apps and EBP-How to Succeed in the Quest to Identify Research-Based Apps, Mai Ling Chan, Mary Huston, and Jessica Solari, Friday 10:30-11:30
Show up early for your courses
You’re going to want to get to your classes a little early. This is super challenging for me since I tend to run about five minutes late for everything. But some of the sessions are really crowded;if it’s a two hour session, you’re going to want to be comfortable. Seating is limited as well. So get there 20-30 minutes early, then maybe someone will save your seat so you can go grab a cup of coffee. Everyone is super nice (of course).[spacer height=”20px”]
Food is important plan ahead
Plan ahead for your lunches. If you have back to back courses it’s pretty tricky to leave the convention center and get back on time. Because, let’s face it, everyone’s got to eat, so the restaurants get really crowded. I usually do a combination of the ASHA prepaid lunches and snacks. Keep some snacks in your purse. If you’re like me you’ll need them to keep your energy up. Nuts, trailmix, and protein bars are all great. (Okay, add a little chocolate to keep things interesting).[spacer height=”20px”]
What to wear
Really consider your footwear. You’re going to be walking a lot. My choice: boots and booties. I love boots and they’re great for walking around. (And they’ll be warm for this Arizona girl). Of course, you can dress however you want. Remember you’re going to be sitting a lot, so you want to be comfortable. But you’re going to want to look professional too, (at least I do). It looks like a coat will be in order for this year’s Philadelphia location (Weather forecast highs in the 50s, lows in the 30s). I definitely recommend using the coat check instead of hauling your coat with you all day. I plan to dress in layers, because you never know what the temperature’s going to be like in each room. There’s nothing worse than trying to concentrate when you’re freezing or roasting.[spacer height=”20px”]
Tackling the Exhibition Hall
The first few times, it can be a little overwhelming because it’s HUGE. Get the floor plan that comes with your registration packet and have a look. Does that sound geeky? I just remember my first time. I didn’t have a plan and I ended up getting completely overwhelmed and exhausted. So last year, in Denver I did it differently. I went through the floor plan and highlighted all of the booths I knew I wanted to go to. Then I made sure I went to those first. I also scheduled myself a nice block of time to look at things. All the things! Remember, if you only go at the end of the day, after you’ve taken all those courses, you might just be a little brain-dead. This is a great opportunity to check out some of the big vendor’s booths. There’s always tons of swag. Super Duper has a huge area (it’s like a store), where you can actually purchase therapy materials. They also give you a big huge tote bag to carry everything in. Again, plan ahead, you don’t want to be caring that huge bag with you all day to all your classes.[spacer height=”20px”]
Be sure to go visit my SLP Blogger friends at their booths. You can learn more about their products, say hello, get more SLP swag, and sign up for prize giveawys.
- Booth 514, Danielle Reed, Hallie Sherman, Jenna Rayburn, Natalie Snyders, Felice Clark, Shannon Werbeckes (This group is hosting the ASHA Blogger Meet n’ Greet on Thursday night at the Marriott Hotel, Grand Ballroom, Salon 1 from 7:30 to 8:30)
- SLP Talk, Speech Paths and Speech Language Pirates at Booth243
- Lyndsey Zurawski has a booth
- Peachie Speechie Booth 528
- Lisa Kathman and Sarah Bevier from SLP Toolkit Booth 739,
- Kim Lewis at 3DSLP’s booth
- Marisha McGrorty Lesson Plan Membership Booth 743.
I have one last tip for you. Reach out to some of the SLPs that you know from social media. Maybe you can meet up with one or two of them. I’ve made some great friends that way. One of the best things about going to an ASHA convention is connecting. We all work so hard, it’s nice to have time to socialize with people who speak our language.[spacer height=”20px”]
That’s all for now. I hope you find these tips helpful and I would love to see you in Philadelphia! I’ll be posting on Instagram (Beautiful Speech Life) and maybe even Facebook Live.
Wishing you more joy, less stress,
If you want more informative SLP info, tips and freebies join the tribe by signing up below.
In this series I’m interviewing SLP boss women who work by day as a speech language pathologist, but at night (and on weekends) they are building a business. I’m talking about websites, blogs and therapy materials for their fellow SLPs and teachers. These are women I admire professionally and who inspire me. I write this series because I feel we can all make our practice as SLPs better and stronger by connecting with other SLPs.[spacer height=”20px”]
Can you imagine interviewing a guru? That’s what I felt like when I had the great pleasure of a phone chat with Dr. Carole Zangari. Not only is she is a professor of Speech Language Pathology at Nova Southeastern University(my alma mater) where she teaches AAC classes at the master’s and doctoral level; she also supervises AAC clinical services for children and adults, and administers an AAC lab. She has presented and published on AAC topics in national and international venues. She is a past coordinator of ASHA’s AAC Division. I could go on and on. Suffice it to say, she has opened the doors of AAC for thousands.[spacer height=”20px”]
Tell me about yourself in seven words: passionate about aac, support colleagues + next generation[spacer height=”20px”]
Where did you go to grad school?: Doctoral degree from Purdue University (where I spent most of my graduate time), Masters degree from College of New Jersey and undergraduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh.[spacer height=”20px”]
What are your top three SLP must haves (other than your own amazing materials)?:
“Well, Anne, I learned not to get attached to therapy materials early on. I was working with adults with pretty significant behavioral and cognitive impairments during my CF. My supervisor was pretty old school and of the belief that an SLP should be able to do therapy with (almost anything). Periodically, she would meet us at the door as we were going in to do therapy, hold out her hands and we’d have to turn our materials over to her and then go do therapy. We learned pretty quickly to focus on strategies. But if I did have to choose I would say internet access, a laptop and a mobile device, then you can access just about anything.”[spacer height=”20px”]
What do you love most about what you do?:
“At this point in my career, every day is different. I spend about one third of my time with the autism grant and then teaching with the AAC clinic. For my hobby I have Praactical AAC. I love the diversity and being able to touch the next generation of SLPs.”[spacer height=”20px”]
Tell me your advice for the newly minted SLP: (Anne’s note: This is GOLDEN)
“Mindset. Commit yourself to being an excellent clinician. It can take a long time. Give yourself time to learn, but commit to being great. The real prize is in the outcome.”[spacer height=”20px”]
Tell me about your blog:
“I started it in 2011 with my dear friend Robin Parker who passed away a few years later. We decided we would write blogs we wished we had when we got started. Although we started it for SLPs, it has broadened to include parents and other professions. We receive 2800 page views every day, with an additional 2300 mailboxes that receive a daily post as well. At this point there have been over 1500 posts.”[spacer height=”20px”]
What SLP-boss inspires you? :
“Jane Farrell in Australia. Her energy, her ability to lead teams and change entire schools. I’m inspired by every conversation we have or post I read.”[spacer height=”20px”]
What is your favorite children’s book?:
I don’t know if you remember Caps for Sale? It’s a oldie but a goodie. I read it when I was a kid. It’s so fun for describing and acting out.[spacer height=”20px”]
What about picture books?:
All of the Alexandra Day books about Carl, like Good Dog Carl. They are so language rich, with a cool take on absurdities. They have almost no text, just the beautiful illustrations.[spacer height=”20px”]
Let’s commit ourselves to being great,[spacer height=”20px”]
Did you like this post? Comment below and scroll down to the bottom of the page to subscribe to the Beautiful Speech Life tribe, we’d love to hav you! [spacer height=”20px”]