#48-Augmentative & Alternative 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
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.
!! Bonus Material !!
(awesome stuff that didn’t make it onto the episode)
1) Developing literacy skills with non verbal learners:
Tarheel Reader is an online library of simple, adaptable books for early readers to practice reading. They also allow people to create books.
The above were cofounded by Dr. Karen Erickson and Dr. David Koppenhaver.
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