#48-Augmentative & Alternative Communication

augmentative communication

Rachael Langley is a speech language pathologist specializing in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).

In addition to her private practice and job with the state as a consultant to SLP’s in Michigan, she is the founder and organizer of the TalkingAAC annual conference. She is a frequent contributor to AAC platforms promoting effective, creative and proven ways to implement AAC language acquisition.

In Episode #48, Rachael talks with us about:

  • Finding an AAC specialist

  • Aided facilitated stimulation

  • Communication autonomy

  • Avoiding prompt dependency

  • Overcoming obstacles parents, teachers, and support staff face in becoming fluent AAC users

Mentioned in This Episode

click highlighted links to be directed to website

  • AAC is not regulated with a certification requirement to put “AAC specialist” after name.

  • ASHA has a way to find an SLP where you can filter AAC, but again, any SLP can say they are a specialist. Probably the best way to find a good AAC specialist is word of mouth.

  • Speech is not the same as language. Language must come before we can expect a speech generating device to be meaningful.

  • One of the best ways to teach language on an AAC device is a method called aided language stimulation.

  • Communication autonomy is very important and is different than independence. Rachael shares methods to teach communication autonomy.

  • Alexa, Echo, and other smart speakers are programmed to understand synthesized speech which opens a lot of doors for AAC users.

  • Caution must be used that AAC users are not becoming prompt dependent. Rachael shares teaching methods to use to help avoid this common issue.

  • AAC learners need the modeling of fluent AAC teachers (families, educators, therapists, etc). We discuss roadblocks to fluency such as access to the device, multiple programs, and then some possible solutions.

  • Non compliance is a social skill!

  • Rachael hosts an annual, multi day conference called TalkingAAC which features presentations and discussions with thought leaders in the field of AAC.

  • The TalkingAAC website has information on the conference dates, schedule, and registration as well as a lot of the AAC graphics Rachael has created.

  • Rachael populates her facebook page with helpful AAC tips and reminders. She is also a frequent contributor to PrACCtical AAC.

!! Bonus Material !!

(awesome stuff that didn’t make it onto the episode)

1) Developing literacy skills with non verbal learners:

2) Rachael’s favorite portable/carry cases

3) Compatible AAC Software - These links are to free, downloadable software that match the vocabulary sets of commercially available systems

This show is part of a 12 episode disability technology series. Listen to other topics in the series via your favorite podcast app or directly on the LOMAH website