Sunday, March 14, 2010

Don't Be a Language Stealer!

The classroom seen in the video is in no way a communication based classroom, forget an AAC classroom with a focus on core words.  Here are my personal beliefs about an AAC classroom:
  • every student has multiple means of communication which are ALWAYS available to them (we do not take away the Dynavox duing lunch, the Tobii during gym, The Vantage during art or the Go Talk during PT!  Ever!)
  • there is a low tech back up to every high tech system, i.e. all the core boards of the high tech devices have been printed and put into a book, just in case
  • the environment is language rich in the language(s) of the students (be it English, Spanish, Creole, Symbols or Textures), label every thing with verbs and nouns in text and symbols, hang simple core vocab boards in strategic locations (i.e. the fridge and next to the changing table and toilet)
  • instead of a new low, mid or high tech board for each new classroom topic, activity or lesson boards that use core vocabulary that can be used again in again are created and reused (i.e. a cooking board has, for example,  "open", "cut", "pour", as opposed to a new board for every recipe with specific ingredients and instructions
  • boards always, always, always use consistent lay outs for teaching motor planning; even for eye gaze, even for scanners, no matter what
  • model, model, model use the devices and symbols around the room to convey messages; if you are helping a student link to the page they need verbalize what you are doing, i.e., "I am going back the the main page and then to your people page, now you can activate the "friends" button."  Do this even when changing overlays for mid-tech devices as mid-tech users may/will become high tech users and need to understand why you change layers, i.e. "Cooking is over, so I am taking out your cooking core vocabulary board and putting in your social core vocabulary board."
  • even with students working on just using one voice output switch to play a message be sure to change the type of messages on the switch - comments, commands, questions, refusals, acceptance, greetings and if at all possible match with a label or texture that indicates what the message on the switch is
Ways to Step it Up
  • Have a "Core Vocab" word of the week
  • Play "Core Vocab" games like bingo, memory, Go Fish
  • Play "Core Vocab Verb" Simon Says
  • Make sure to send it home... all of this needs to happen at home too!
  • search for core vocab or core vocabulary on Adapted Learning and you will find many mid-tech overlays, manual boards and activities to try out, including a full set of core vocab cards
Resources to Move Towards Core Words Links
AAC Awareness Vocabulary Links
AAC Messaging and Vocabularies
The Core Vocabulary Classroom Doing More with Less
AAC Language Lab Core Vocab
Pixons Core Vocab Program
Free Pixons Manual Boards (also search Adapted Learning)

1 comment:

  1. I am so thankful for your blog! You always give me such useful information. I can not wait to begin using my word wall this way!


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