Saturday, November 1, 2014

Halloween and AAC

"Make a choice, Make it your voice!"
Over the past five years there has been a huge upsurge in postings about awesome Halloween costumes for children and teens (and adults) who use wheelchairs.  On Pinterest and other social media you can find hundreds of example of amazing and clever costumes that see the wheelchair as just part of who the child is. 

Yet as I looked through my feeds yesterday on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other social sharing sites yesterday and today I saw almost NO pictures of children who's AAC systems or devices were even in use, forget included as part of custom design.

I do, definitely, want to applaud those pictures I did see of children and adults using AAC in costume.  Here are a few of them (thanks to the parents who gave permission).  Nice job! 

I know some families may have moved systems out of the way for pictures.  I know other families struggle with the challenge of high tech devices being too cumbersome or heavy to bring trick or treating.  Which is, of course, why all our high tech AAC users should have back up low tech systems!  And just to be clear, it is on us, as professionals, to find a way to help families in making sure AAC is always available. 

As teachers we can start to make that happen for next Halloween right now!  Let's dedicate ourselves to 1) full time AAC for all our non-speaking/low intelligibility students 2) back up low tech systems for all our high tech users 3) training families on how to integrate AAC into daily life and special events!  We alone, as those who teach and love AAC users, are able to support AAC all the time!  Even on Halloween.  We need to start now to make sure next year pictures of AAC users in amazing AAC incorporating Halloween costumes flood the internet!

Bee Ready to Communicate
And so I announce the 2015 Communicators Costume Contest!  Write it in your calendars!  On November 1st, 2015, at Noon, I will be posting the picture and giving away and amazing prize to AAC user with the best costume that incorporates AAC into the costume!  Make your device the control panel of your airplane!  Disguise your PODD book as a shield!  Carry your iPad with Proloquo2Go as Snow White's mirror!  Be creative!  Let's get AAC out there!

Spooky Switches!

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