Thursday, August 13, 2009

Getting the Most out of AAC Systems: Keep 'em Current

Once a student has been evaluated for, and receives, an Augmentative Communication Device the most important aspect of this implementation still lies ahead. How do we insure that the student uses the device all the time and that it is not abandoned and found unused and sitting on a shelf? The best way to do this is to keep it current.

Make sure the vocabulary is relevant and not outdated. For example, are vocabulary and messages appropriate for upcoming curriculum areas, field trips or special events? Are old vocabulary and messages eliminated when they are no longer appropriate? When a student transitions to a new class or school the following year, the new classmates', teachers', and aides' names and new places need to be added to the AAC system. Is the student's AAC system expanding to meet his or her language and communication needs? If a student is learning new skills, are they being programmed into the system? If a student has a new favorite television program, is that represented in the system?

The responsibility for making these changes must be shared by all team members: parents, speech-language pathologists, teachers, classroom aides and other therapists. Often, parents are the only constant throughout the student's years in school, so it is vital to empower them to help keep the system current.

Keeping their systems current will help to keep your students using AAC systems effectively!

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