Session 1: Making a Case for AAC
Supporting all students in more inclusive settings includes rethinking what the most important measures
of success are for students with complex communication needs, and how we go about achieving those outcomes. The goal for students with complex communication needs should not be solely to find a technology solution to fix the student’s communication problem, but rather to provide technology that enables the student to efficiently and effectively engage in a variety of communication interactions with various communication partners.
In addition, we’ll lay the groundwork for “multimodal communication”, or everything an individual uses
to communicate or enhance communication, and how we can honor, support and develop building a student’s communication repertoire.
Session 2: What is an AAC System?
Special forms of AAC exist specifically for individuals with disabilities who experience difficulty relying
on multimodal communication alone to be successful. In this module, we’ll define an AAC system as an integrated group of three primary components used by individuals to enhance communication that includes strategies, tools and symbols.
Session 3: Communicator Profiles and Building Learners
AAC Communicator Profiles are designed to assist in determining appropriate strategies and tools.
They are designed to address the notion that all individuals are candidates for AAC supports, and their purpose is to guide the team in knowing where a student is currently and where they are headed to so that the team can support students in moving towards more robust systems successfully. The framework helps us to identify and prioritize the skills we need to be developing and supporting for a student for where they are today and where we need to plan for the future.
In addition, our students must become “learners” as well as “communicators.” By building upon the
drive to understand, the drive to develop an independent sense of self, and the drive for social connection, motivation to learn and communicate is increased.
Session 4: A Team Approach to Supporting Complex Communicators
The typical verbal language development of children is characterized by multiple high frequency words. The research refers to these as Core Words. Our complex communicators need access to these same Core Words through Aided Language Modeling in order to facilitate language comprehension and expression. We refer to this as providing a classroom-wide universal support for developing the foundations of language. All learners must also be able to participate in curricular activities and require lesson plans which support specific communication needs, and we’ll explore how to do that. And finally, the success of complex communicators is highly dependent on having support teams with shared beliefs, knowledge, and responsibilities. Three collaborative teaming support tools will be shared to assist in this process and ultimately lead to increased learning outcomes.