Wednesday, April 9, 2014

AAC adult modeling (and graduate intern mentoring)

Example of AAC modeling
I take things for granted these days.  I forget easily that I've worked with kids for 35 (gasp) years and have an intuitive sense about things.  (Yes, my first teaching job was in 1979, hard to believe!)  When I work with young graduate interns, however, it's hard for me to see things from their perspective and lack of experience, so I become impatient.  Why are they not doing therapy techniques that seem so common-sense to me?  Then I reflect---duh! Some direct instruction to the intern (from me) might help!

One such concept that bubbled to the surface today was adult modeling the use of an AAC device.  I personally know that most young AAC users don't know how to use much of the core vocabulary on even a simple device, or even simpler--a communication board.  These concepts need modeled by the adult using the same device in structured therapy.  With any language or communication system, a client needs to see the use in action.  

 I'm certainly not the first to blog about AAC modeling.  One of my very favorite blogs (Praactical AAC) has a collection of insights and tips about this.  I sent my graduate intern to this site, and hopefully he will look at this and then do a little further research.  A good supervisor is often a teacher, and a facilitator...... a guide to an intern so that he or she can then find their own answers.  I don't have all the answers, and I'll be the first to admit that.

Anyway, here is a a great blog entry by Praactical AAC with links to examples and research.


 It's a good starting point, and interested SLPs or teachers can then go further to explore evidence-based practice on using augmentative communication in the classroom.   

My parting question is:  Let's pretend you were teaching a child to learn a different language (e.g. Japanese).  Most teachers would model the Japanese language in some type of functional context.  Wouldn't you do the same modeling if a child was learning to use an augmentative communication system? 

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