We can do fantastic work with our students using AAC but as I’m sure you know AAC is something that has much more impact if it is happening everyday. Which means we need to get colleagues at the school onboard with supporting students with their devices and other resources. But getting other team members onboard with AAC can be challenging.
But if your school is anything like the ones I work with this can be tough. We all know how busy teachers are and asking them to do something extra can be hard. But the rewards for our students make it so worthwhile.
It’s a slow process, so the more you can connect with other team members and build trust, the more they’ll be open to your suggestions. It’s not a one time thing showing them how a device works. Our student and often the staff are learning a new language.
The teachers are going to need support. If we can follow up, listen, collaborate, and create a shared vision, our AAC users will benefit. Set a goal. In 3 of the classrooms I work with we’ve recently set a goal to have devices out daily, modeling a core word or two every day during the daily routine of the teacher’s choice and setting aside time each day for the student to explore their device. You can get my support material for the classroom to help with this here.
Encourage them to keep it simple when they are just getting started with a student with AAC. If they can start by modeling when talking to a child and not worrying about selecting every word that’s a great place to start.
Something that’s been super successful in one school is AAC Club – I have all sorts of info about it on my Instagram. It all started with a student who had a device and was learning yoga. The student expressed an interest in leading yoga; however, nobody could understand her. So, we programmed some yoga poses into her device. Then, we brought in another student who uses a device and… another student… After a while it became a club. Students who use devices get together for 30 minutes a week and the physical therapist and I model different words and then the kids get to check out other kids’ devices. They love it!
Getting people used to seeing and using devices
Fear of the devices and worrying about messing up plays a part in the reluctance of others to use the devices. So we’re making sure that devices are seen in use in a fun way.
This isn’t just with the teachers in the school. We’ve gotten other staff involved with AAC Club., For Halloween one year, the kids took their devices and offered candy to the office staff. The office staff were able to respond on a device, which was a huge win! It was great to see the kids being able to interact with people outside of their classroom.
We are also working on the devices being used in the playground. Working with the physical therapist, we started taking the devices outside for recess, so people see them more. As people see the devices and get to know them better, you can make “gentle” suggestions, like “Why is their device over there on the shelf? It needs to be right here.”
Supporting teachers when they are struggling
Even with the most engaged teachers, they can struggle with AAC. Students using their devices when they should be listening is one of reasons I see teachers putting devices away. The problem with this is that the teacher is effectively silencing the student. If this is happening then can you support the teacher by teaching your students not to “talk” during certain times. You can also make sure that time is scheduled for your students to explore their devices daily.
Getting parents involved
I’ve had less success with parents. They often have so much they are trying to juggle and the device can feel like just one more thing to learn. I’ve led parent support groups and I offer to show them how to use the devices and how they can support their child at home. Unfortunately, very few people take me up on that. But I keep trying and I’ve some parents who are superstars at this! In the ideal situation, the child would have a parent modeling the device at home and then we would be modeling at school, and we would be communicating back and forth. Like, “he touched the ‘go’ when he wanted something to go, and that was incredible!”
You are nearly guaranteed you are going to get at least one teacher who is resistant. Keep persisting! I promise it’s worth it for your students. Don’t forget to listen to what staff and teachers know and think about AAC. This can be easy to do with our enthusiasm as SLPs!
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?
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
Write notes about what to work on next time
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.
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
How to store all those wonderful Teachers Pay Teachers products? If you are anything like me you have probably acquired quite a few. Today I am joining SLPrunner’s Linky party sharing storage ideas for all those wonderful TPT products. I quickly found that a big ziplock bag is okay for one or two products, but they are hard to stack and really not all that attractive.
So here is what I am doing now. I just bought these awesome Poly Zip envelopes from amazon. They are really handy because they are clear and have a zip top. The bands across the top come in different colors (love color coding) and they are firm enough to stand on a shelf. I got this idea from a post on The Dabbling Speechie. (Thank you)
For more amazing ideas click on this link and see SLPrunner’s creative solutions.
Here are two Tuesday Quick Tips, part of the School SLP’s Tuesday Linky Party (Thanks Kim Jarvis).
I love using magnet hooks to keep me organized. With very limited space, I can use the sides of my file cabinets for my schedules and clipboards. That way they are super handy and in sight.
Aleene’s Tack It
Maybe you already know about this but I just found it recently. I read about Aleene’s Tack It glue on someone’s blog (thank you, thank you whoever you were, I am forever in your debt). It goes on wet like glue but dries tacky and makes a great alternative to velcro (which can be pricey) I used it this week for the first time on this awesome Let’s Answer Questions book. (I really recommend this product as well, it’s on TPT from The Autism Helper)
There you go, two items that have made my life a little more organized, saved me time and money. I hope they do the same for you! For more Quick Tips go to School SLP Quick Tip Tuesday.
Today I am linking up with Kim Jarvis from theschoolslp for her Quick Tip Tuesday Linky Party.
I just got these cardboard trays from the cafeteria; they are what the individual peanut butter or jelly packets come in. I bought cheap poker chips at the dollar store. Each student gets a bag of poker chips and a tray. Everytime they correctly complete their turn ( articulation or whatever goal you are focusing on) they get a chip. If I feel like they are starting to get bored, I make the next turn a double chip turn (for twice the amount of work. Whoever fills their tray first wins! And you win too for getting them to practice a skill 20 times while having fun.
Did you like this post? If you did, please tell your SLP friends about it and follow me on Bloglovin. Or sign up on the left for email notification. Make sure to click on the link for theschoolslp to find more Quick Tips and to checkout Kim’s blog. Keep doin what you do!
It’s all about novelty. Kids love to be excited by something new. So I like to have a lot of different choices in my therapy bag of tricks. Here is a great way to use some of your TeachersPayTeachers materials in conjunction with your iPad.
Let me show you how I recently used the Doodle Buddy app with some antonyms and synonyms worksheets from Nicole Allison’s awesome new product, Leveled Vocabulary Intervention. Click here for a link to this incredible product. I have been using it for the last few weeks and it has quickly become a go-to vocabulary resource. Thanks Nicole!
After you make your purchase, open it on your iPad in Ibooks. Take screen shots (hold down main button and on/off button until you hear a click) of the worksheets you want to use.
Open the Doodle Buddy app.
Click on the tic-tac-toe icon.
Choose photos. Go into your photos and choose the first worksheet you took a screenshot of.
Now the fun begins. Tap the chalk icon and choose your drawing tool and color. For the example I chose glitter in red. Students use their finger to complete the worksheets. They love it!
Then when it is completed just shake the iPad to clear the screen. Magic! Just click on the tic-tac-toe icon again to get another worksheet. Another really fun feature of Doodle Buddy is the stamp feature. Click on that and a menu of stamps will appear. I chose the snowman for this example.
Students use their finger as a stamp to make the line. AND each stamp has fun audio, the holly jingles, the lips make a kissy noise. It’s really great fun! My students have been having a great time with it.
Doodly Buddy is FREE, yay, how great is that?! The Tic-Tac-Toe feature is really fun too. I have been using it as a way to match pairs of opposites. I just write in the words quickly and let the kids use the stamping feature to match them.
Fun, motivating and easy! I hope you give it a try!
Hey there I’m Anne Page. I help heart centered SLPs and educators put the fun in functional communication.