AAC Activity Ideas

I remember when I began working in classrooms for students with moderate-severe disabilities who had AAC devices and feeling completely overwhelmed. I didn’t know exactly how to model words for the students, nor was I confident about having whole group lessons in the classroom. Looking back, the more motivating the activity is that you bring with you, the easier it is to model communication for students and to get support staff (i.e., teachers, aides) involved to assist in promoting the communication skills of the students. So here are some of the activities I’ve done over the years that have been the most successful and engaging for staff and students!

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Delivering for School District Customers during COVID-19: The Quick Pivot to Teletherapy for Special Education Services

Executive Summary:  Across the country, in mid-March, the Federal, state, and local governments began grasping the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Federal government began passing legislation to buffer the coming economic calamity, governors issued stay-at-home advisories and local governments shuttered public schools.  The Stepping Stones Group (SSG), a provider of special education solutions to over 450 school districts in more 30 states, experienced the initial shock of its students no longer receiving services in the traditional school setting.  In response, SSG developed an immediate action plan to help its school district partners continue to deliver legally mandated special education services to its students.    A key part of its approach was the rapid introduction of a teletherapy solution for many therapeutic and behavioral services to ensure that students had the best opportunities to stay on track during this period of disruption. Now one month into the school closures, approximately 80% of SSG's services are now being provided through some type of virtual therapy platform. 

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Carryover For Speech Sounds

Every morning I begin with a neatly ordered to-do lists of goals for the day. But when the students arrived in my therapy room, those expectations for the day must apply to meaningful interactions with my students. Helping a child to generalize their speech production feels the same. We start with goals and hierarchies. Then we have to show the child that the structured practice they’ve received is integral to their phone call to a friend, the letter sounds they learn, the part they play in the school musical. How do we help children apply goals into their everyday life? 

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Autism Awareness - Therapy “Magic” Tricks

As of 2018, approximately 1 in 59 children will be diagnosed with autism as early as age 2 (although most aren’t diagnosed until after age 4). With the rising prevalence in Autism, it feels like most of our caseloads are being dominated by this high-need population. Fortunately, I have found some “magic” tricks to help me with my low-verbal kiddos. 

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