#49 & #50-Person Centered Planning & AAC

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Person centered planning is not a system or policy but rather a way of thinking. It asks that we momentarily put aside what is currently offered and focus on what is important to an individual with special needs before thinking about what is important for them to fit in the existing system.

Our guest is Erin Sheldon who is the CEO of Integration Action for Inclusion, an organization supporting and empowering inclusion advocates.

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Mentioned in These Episodes

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Episode #49

  • Partners in Policy Making is an organization of parents who have children with disabilities and also adults with disabilities.

  • To be effective inclusion advocates for our children we need to spend time listening to adults with disabilities

  • Statistics show individuals with special needs are safest in wide open spaces with people who know them well, are competent witnesses, and do not have power over them.

  • The standard of what is and is not okay should be the same for people with and with out special needs.

  • Person centered planning is not a system or program, but rather a way of thinking. It’s not about what is important for an individual but rather what is important to the individual. System centered thinking is based on eligibility, needs, and services. It’s about what the individual can not do.

  • A common mistake is to focus on special needs of an individual rather than their universal needs.

  • Students with special needs have something to offer the school that if it’s not there the school is not whole and complete. These contributions need to be identified and cultivated.

Episode #50

  • AAC needs to be customized for the individual rather just being given what others around him/her use. Erin shares red flags indicating the AAC system chosen may not be person centered and how they discovered the error with their daughter.

  • Dynovox has Gaze Viewer to test visual attention. Erin’s daughter has visual impairment so there were some extra steps in finding the best fit for her.

  • Person centered AAC is when the individual is being taught how to communicate in the areas where they are most misunderstood.

  • AAC should not be separated from instruction but rather integrated into all subjects and lessons. I share an “a-ha” moment that proved this point.

  • The visual language system of AAC users can be of tremendous value to other users. Erin shares how this has looked in her daughter’s classroom.

  • How to implement AAC, such as accommodations and instructional strategies, are more person centered goals than how many words are in a sentence. We discuss what to focus on in the IEP.

  • It’s only communication if we are being told something we did not already know!

  • Finding role models of other AAC users is important. We want them to be proud of their language.

  • How can we join them in being AAC users? It may be more simple than you think!

Related Episodes:

#48 - Augmentative and Alternative Communication

#34 - Non FAPE? 5 Things to Do Before the IEP Meeting

#33 - Homeschooling With a Twist

#29 - College of Adaptive Arts

#28 - College & High School: A Student’s Perspective