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Katie says: Here are Ten Things I Wish My SLP and Teacher Knew About AAC
(Augmentative and Alternative Communication)
- the entire team would be trained in how to program and use my AAC system. My "voice" shouldn't be taken away from me, just because an adult is absent or busy. Oh, and a current back-up system would be much appreciated when my device goes down.
- my AAC system (if electronic) would be kept charged and positioned for me to use at all times and in all locations. Other kids can talk all day - in gym, at lunch and recess -- so don't take my "voice" away when I am out of the classroom.
- everyone would give me enough time to say what is on my mind. If I am communicating too slowly for you, figure out a way for me to get my messages out more quickly!
- everyone would give me a chance to talk -- and not just to answer questions, but also to ask questions, make comments, and share what is going on in my head and in my life!
- you would give me time to explore my device to figure out what it can do for me before you decide that it "doesn't work" for me. That includes letting me make mistakes and even be annoying with it. Hey, I'm learning a new language here and it's not going to happen overnight! The more you model, the quicker I will learn.
- that my AAC system had way more verbs and comments than nouns. When you fill my system with nouns, you are setting me up for mostly stimulus/response interactions, and I have way more to say than that! Besides, nouns are boring. Verbs and comments are where the action is!
- you would stop emphasizing spelling and grammar so much, and just let me get my thoughts out! My spelling and grammar will improve with time, but I shouldn't have to wait until they do for me to communicate effectively.
- you would listen to other kids my age to hear how and what they are talking about, then give me access to those same topics, expressions and voice. No offense, but I want to sound like a kid my age, not my speech therapist.
- you would find a way to get me actively involved in every activity. This means being creative and adapting your lessons and routines. It will take your time and energy but the effort will mean the world to me.
- everyone would see me for what I can say and do. When you can't see beyond what I CAN'T do, you are limiting my life.
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