Let’s Talk AAC Blog: Stories and Strategies for Success

PRC consultants and other AAC Professionals share stories of strategies and success.

Communication Anywhere!

Posted June 22, 2016 in Stories and Strategies for Success

If you are fortunate to live in a climate with moderate temperatures and favorable weather conditions year round you may not be excited as I am to finally have spring in Ohio. However, as the weather is finally improving here in the Midwest, now is a good reminder to take advantage of outdoor opportunities for language enrichment.

_ By Connie McCafferty, M.Ed., M.A., CCC-SLP_

If you are fortunate to live in a climate with moderate temperatures and favorable weather conditions year round you may not be excited as I am to finally have spring in Ohio. However, as the weather is finally improving here in the Midwest, now is a good reminder to take advantage of outdoor opportunities for language enrichment. Maybe it is a trip to the zoo, a park or a local nature preserve. Or you could be going on a vacation during summer break. Whatever the case, don't forget the communication device. From a simple stroll down the street to a vacation with the family, there is always an opportunity for communication.

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As the weather is finally warming up here, I'm reminded of a situation with a former client I worked with. This young man had received his new Accent in the winter months. At that time of the year all therapy sessions took place indoors. I set up the usual activities to elicit language, playing games, bubbles, snacks, etc. Through these activities we worked on a host of language opportunities and core vocabulary words including verbs, prepositions and adjectives. We made the bubbles and flying toys go "up- down". We expanded to finding animals and colors on his device as well as a plethora of other nouns of his interest. By that first warm spring day, he had a pretty robust amount of vocabulary he was eliciting on his device. Luckily, this little guy's home backed up to a beautiful park and to our surprise as we ventured outside a language explosion happened. All of a sudden this young man created the phrases "red bird up" "blue down in tree". Wow, we were blown away! Not only had he spotted the cardinal up high in the tree but a blue jay down lower in the same tree. He continued to comment on ducks getting "in" and "out" of the pond and the one goose who just hung out "under" the bridge. It was definitely a "silly" goose.

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Communication can happen anywhere. If you are planning on vacationing this summer I am sure there will be great opportunities for communication. However, sometimes vacations can bring on anxiety. A simple social story can help alleviate the stress and anxiety due to a change in routine. Possibly creating a social story about the trip using a notebook feature or scenes to create a picture book would be advantageous. Modelling and programming of vocabulary for the trip may be beneficial. If you are driving, words to comment on the drive such as "bridge- river" or even "need break" may be beneficial.

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So, get on out there and have a great summer. Check out your local and state parks for accessible trails and education opportunities. Also, check out our website for an AAC camp near you. But, don't forget the device!