Are You a Good AAC Communication Partner?

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Are you a good communication partner? There are many different methodologies and evidence-based practices available. I like to mix and match based on individual communication needs, environment and support system.

When working with individuals with complex communication needs, it is important to:


💬Arrange the environment or sabotage to contrive situations for communicating. Create interest!

💬Integrate AAC into your verbal language: commenting, question-asking. Create scenarios for a communication partner to ask “wh” questions.

💬Make your communicative input models for language learning. Respond to communication with more communication. If your communication partner gives you a word, give that work back by scaffolding and expanding. In this way you acknowledge, reinforce and, in some cases, shape the utterance with more language. As in behaviorally rooted Pivotal Response Teaching (PRT), the reinforcement is contextually relevant; reinforcing language with acknowledged language rather than with “Good pointing,” “Good using your device” or “Good talking.”

💬Give the word back with an additional word to model language expansion. Give the word back with an additional word to model language expansion. For example, if your partner says: “Turn on,” you respond with “Turn on the music.”

💬Create robust, frequent language opportunities; PRT protocols aim for at least one opportunity per minute.

💬Prepare to follow your communication partner’s lead, whether it is physically moving from one activity or play item to another or simply changing a topic.

The best measure of effectiveness of an intervention is whether it is effective for a particular individual. It is of utmost importance to collect and analyze data when using interventions with a student. ”If an intervention results in positive change for a particular student and you, as an educational professional, have data to support that, then the intervention is evidence-based for that student.” (Hale, 2014)

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About Post Author

The Speech Banana

My unique level of skill sets and eighteen years of working across the lifespan include working as an in-home ABA therapist (under the direction of elite Behavior Analysts), later as a Board Certified Associate Behavior Analyst  (known as Assistant Behavior Analyst, today) and ASHA licensed Speech-Language Pathologist.  I possess an extensive level of post-graduate training and enjoy research collaboration.  Over my professional career, I have had the opportunity to provide professional therapy services in hospitals, in-patient/out-patient rehabilitation centers, schools, skilled nursing facilities, academic learning centers and private practice. I have successfully coordinated and organized interventions for the most difficult caseloads and executed professional training programs for many educational and health-related institutions. An accomplished clinician, I possess knowledge and skills in all aspects of managing screenings, evaluation and treatment design. I have extensive knowledge and experience with individuals who exhibit complex communication profiles and problematic behavioral characteristics requiring alternative means of communication, feeding/swallowing interventions, specific behavioral intervention plans, and specialized executive function interventions.  My clinical competencies include knowledge and skills in the specialty interventions including:  The Lovaas Model of Applied Behavior Analysis, Errorless Learning, Discrete Trial Teaching (DTT),  Natural Environment Teaching (NET), Verbal Behavior Analysis/Mand Training, Family-Guided Routines-Based Intervention Floortime/DIR, Relationship Development Intervention (RDI), Integrated Play Groups Model, Wilson Reading System, Orton-Gillingham, Language!, Lindamood-Bell, Auditory Integration Therapy, Earobics,  Integrated Play Therapy,  PROMPT, Tomatis Method, Neurofeedback and Biofeedback Interventions, TEACCH,  Assistive Technology, Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), SuperFlex Social Skills Instruction, Beckman Oral Motor, Sensory Integration Techniques, and many more.
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