63% of the children that go to Celebrate the Children benefit from some form of AAC to improve their access to language. Some children use supports to help language and speech, while some rely completely on AAC to share all they know and think about the world. Our mission as a department is to help improve children’s efficiency in accessing language. The more we can do this, the more we honor their individuality.
To better achieve this goal, we will strive to bridge the school-home use of AAC. We want to provide more training opportunities to help families problem solve simple ways to bring AAC into their everyday life. On May 4, 2019, the Speech-Language department at Celebrate the Children held an Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) training for our parents and caregivers, which was a great way to support families whose children use AAC throughout their day. This training highlighted making language fun. We started by collaboratively creating sentences with the child’s core page. We then played a game to come up with as many verbs to describe a situation. We ended with using comment words for a variety of images. Parents did not know where things were on the device. This forced the parent to slow down, the way their child slows down in order to navigate and motor plan the pages for their AAC system. We have to remind ourselves how quickly we talk and formulate our ideas. Errors are encouraged because it helps a child see to stick with it, and children like to see when adults make mistakes, because so much is hard for them. Modeling use of the device around simple activities honors your child’s need to use supports to be an active participant in their day and it normalizes an alternative way to express oneself.
Language is a social event. Sharing information one person to another in a pleasant way empowers people and makes people feel valued within their day-to-day interactions. This training was a social event that allowed us as a community of AAC supporters, to improve our comfort, share our child’s different language tools, normalize what we do, and share our own thoughts. It was so nice to give some practical ways to transition AAC to the home. We invite parents to ask for more training, so we as a community, can support each other in helping our children meet their maximum potential, and share all the awesomeness that makes them who they are.
The Speech-Language Therapy Team, Celebrate the Children
Contributions to this blog are made by Celebrate the Children's highly talented, interdisciplinary team and wonderful families.