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- And if you did join us last time, you'll remember that Marie is a speech language pathologist.

She works with the Newfoundland and Labrador English school district, and she has a great deal of experience working with individuals with autism and diverse needs, using strategies to increase communication skills.

Marie's early work was in the healthcare field, actually, and she worked with individuals from a very young age right up through adulthood in some of her previous experience, and now she's working within the education system, primarily in the primary and elementary age focus, but also with learners who are also older and experiencing challenges around communication.

So I will let Marie include any additional introductory comments that she'd like to as she joins you, and I'll turn it over to her to take over the rest of the webinar, so thank you, Marie for joining us again.

- Well, thank you for inviting me, and as you said, interesting times, and two webinars done for you guys this year and both under states of emergency, but it's all good.

All set up to go.

So I'm just gonna share my screen.

So today we're gonna look at teaching AAC and how we do it, and it's really interesting actually, you'll find as we go through the presentation, I don't title anymore.

The title came from, I guess it was back in the fall when I was in touch with Shelly and trying to figure out what we would present during the two different sessions.

And so I just came up with Teaching AAC, How we do it, but you'll see that I don't like that term anymore.

We'll talk about implementation or AAC learning instead.

So in this session, some of the things that we'll cover, we'll just review some of the basics of AAC, 'cause I'm not really sure if we've got new people on that hadn't been on previously and where everybody is in their learning journey of AAC, so we'll touch on that briefly.

We're gonna discuss some of the best practices for implementing AAC, look at some of the ways for supporting students that use AAC.

Discuss strategies to optimize modeling using the S'MoRRES Model.

Discuss the best time to model AAC, and share some related websites and YouTube channels and Facebook pages.

And for those of you that attended the previous webinar, I've got a lot more resources that I'm sharing, and links and Facebook pages and those sorts of things.

It's been really interesting with the change for everybody with the social distancing and people working from home, there's been a real influx of material available through Facebook and various sources that provides support for AAC implementation at home.

So it's been great to get a lot of those materials and a lot of that information from people in the field with a great deal of experience and knowledge.

So something good comes out of something not so good.

So again, first a quick introduction.

As Shelly mentioned, I've been in the system, in this field, I guess, for the last 29 years.

First eight years I worked in health, working primarily with preschoolers, but also with adults with varying range of communication and swallowing disorders.

For the last 20 odd years I've been in the school system working primarily with K to six, but have done some work with junior high and high school students as well.

My areas of interest lie mainly in autism, and more recently, in augmentative communication.

I guess just to clarify that, for those of us in the school system, you tend to be a jack of all trades and a master of none because you're presented with whatever disorder the children that come into your schools present with.

So in my career, when I first started in the school system 20 years ago, a caseload of maybe 80 students, I might have had one or two children that had complex communication needs.

Now, with a caseload of four schools that I go to regularly, I could have up to five or six students at each school that have complex communication needs.

So certainly, the number of students presenting with complex communication needs has increased over the years.

So, with that came a search for how to do things better.

Because again, my training was 30 years ago, and in this field, anybody who's a speech language pathologist acknowledges that we're constantly learning and we're constantly, things are constantly evolving in our field.

And what I discovered when I started to look into better ways to service these students with complex communication needs, I discovered that what we were doing wasn't what the current research was showing should be done.

And it wasn't being effective in terms of enabling us to provide these students with comprehensive communication systems that they were able to access and use effectively.

So that's where I went with this.

So again, I'm not an expert, but I'm gonna share what I've discovered in that journey.

Just as a disclosure, I'm not affiliated with any company that supports augmentative and alternative communication, and I don't receive any compensation.

So I will mention some programs, I will mention some companies, I'll mention communication apps.

Nobody pays me to say this, this is just what I've experienced in my work and in what I've done from a research perspective.

What I have learned on this journey is that you don't need to reinvent the wheel, there's lots of great information out there.

I've also learned that due to the volume of information, it really can become overwhelming quickly.

And I say to my colleagues all the time, every time I go to do another one of these presentations, because I've done several throughout the course of this year, every time I go to do something, I find more new information, and each time it's like I fall down this rabbit hole, I just keep going deeper and deeper.

So what I've tried to do is put together some information that I found, so hopefully it won't be overwhelming for everyone else.

So that leads us into, in terms of rather than teaching AAC, we're gonna look at AAC in terms of implementation.

So, the point we would be at, for the students that we're talking about who are gonna be using the augmentative communication systems, we've already looked at what their needs are.

There have been assessments done in terms of their needs and whether or not they're potential candidates for using augmentative systems, and we've obtained some sort of an augmentative system for them, so the next step in that journey would be to look at, where do we go from here?

We have a student, we have a system, now how do we make that work?

So again, how do we effectively implement it?

Let's look first at some of the basics of AAC.

So the reason for doing this is we need to ensure that everybody understands what AAC is, and they need to understand why it's important in order to effectively learn how to implement it.

So when we look at the term AAC, it's just an acronym for augmentative and alternative communication.

And that just means, augmentative means it augments communication, so it just adds to the verbal communication, and then alternative is instead of verbal speech.

So for those individuals that can't use speech, it may supplement or replace speech for them as a means of communication.

So when we look at types of AAC, we have no tech which would be ones that don't require any extra equipment.

So gestures, pointing, facial expression, sign language, those are all examples of no tech AAC.

Then we look at low tech AAC.

And those things in a very simplified form would be things that don't require a battery.

So you would have things like picture symbol boards or books like core vocabulary boards or PODD books, and PODD stands for pragmatic organized dynamic display.

Writing, alphabet boards, those would all be low tech examples of AAC.

And then when we look at high tech AAC, we have things that use technology.

So things like communication apps on iPads or eye gaze systems or speech generating devices.

So when we consider who is a candidate for AAC, anyone who can't meet their daily needs through spoken language alone would benefit.

So that includes people that may be verbal, but there are certain times or certain situations that they really can't rely on their verbal speech, and that's especially relevant for our population of students that have diagnosis of autism.

There are often times when, because of other reasons whether it's the pressure of the situation or whatever it may be when they just can't effectively use their spoken language, but they would benefit from an augmentative system.

And then it also includes people with cerebral palsy or they may have a diagnosis of Down syndrome, or for adults, they may have a diagnosis of ALS or some other neurodegenerative disease and would benefit from an augmentative system.

And the reason that the augmentative system is important is because communication is a fundamental human right.

We all have the right to express what we want to say when we want to say it to whomever we want to say it.

And in order to do that for some individuals, they need something other than speech to be able to do that.

So we have to consider, too, when we're looking at the basics of augmentative communication, we need to consider how do children that are using an augmentative system learn language?

The reality is that they learn it the same way that any children or any child learns language, they need to be immersed in it.

So they need immersion in that language in order to learn it.

Interestingly enough, oftentimes we'll get a device for a student, we give the student that device, and we assume or hope that they're gonna take off with it, they're gonna start using that device and they're gonna be able to communicate and say whatever they want from the first day they receive it.

And realistically, that's not the case.

They need to be immersed in the language and see people use it.

So again, I love this quote, having a communication device doesn't make you an effective communicator any more than having a piano makes you a musician.

And I tell this story, and I know my colleagues who are online are probably tired of hearing this, but I tell the story of inheriting my mother in law's piano 20 years ago.

I've always wanted to learn to play piano, when I was growing up I never had the opportunity because we didn't have a piano.

And when the piano was offered to us, our children were young at the time so it was a great opportunity for them to use it, but I also thought, this is phenomenal, I'm gonna learn to play piano.

Well, fast forward 20 years, I still have a piano in my living room and I still don't know how to play it.

And again, the reason for that being I've never tried to learn, I've never had anybody teach me, I've never done any lessons.

So just like me with my piano, our students are not gonna miraculously be able to use the devices we give them without support from us.

So the AAC users need and deserve a period of learning from the models of others.

And this modeling can be done by parents, by peers, by siblings, by professionals, by other people that are interacting with them on a regular basis.

The reality is that anybody interacting with them needs to model on their device so that they can see language happening in a way that they can use language.

And it's gonna take an extended period of time for them to learn it.

So again, and I know, I have teach here, but to teach AAC, you need to speak AAC.

So for them to learn it, we need to speak it.

The one thing we need to do, though, is really have a look at it as making conversation, forming relationships, and looking at their interests.

Make that your goal, not teaching AAC, and this is why I say we need to get away from using that word teaching AAC.

It's really about forming the connection with the individual who's using the augmentative system.

We don't want to get caught up in the teaching.

Because when we think of it as teaching, it becomes work.

And when it becomes work, it doesn't feel like their voice.

It's not like we're connecting with them, it's more, oh, we've got to do this and we've got to set goals, and not that you don't set goals when you make it a connection, but if in our head it's work and it's something that we're trying to teach, then it becomes like a subject area and it becomes compartmentalized.

And the reality is it needs to be happening all day, every day throughout the day.

So, we need to learn how to use the AAC user's communication system.

That's the reality.

It's like learning a second language for our students.

So, right now they're immersed in English, they're not able to give that back for whatever reason because of their complex communication needs.

So what we need to do is we need to give them language in a way that they're able to give it back.

So what we do is we need to learn whatever system we've decided is gonna be used for that student, we need to learn that system as well so that we can model language for them.

So you have to get familiar with the system.

You have to know how to quickly and efficiently find the words on the system.

One piece of advice that came from the AAC Toolkit by Shannon Werbeckes is physically give each team member the device, and let them play around with it and learn how it works and how to find language on it, the vocabulary on it.

And she recommends doing this even prior to beginning to implement.

Oftentimes I find what I do it ends up being kind of in conjunction, we're learning as the student is learning, and we're probably three or four steps ahead of the students sometimes, sometimes we're on par.

I have had students who when looking for certain vocabulary will show me where things are because I can't find them.

And some ideas, just an activity, an idea for an activity, for when you are playing around with it, think of some of these questions, and think of how you would answer these questions using your student's system.

So if you were thirsty and you wanted a drink, how would you let somebody know that?

If you felt sick, how would you let them know?

If you didn't want to go through an activity anymore, how would you let them know?

So use the system that your student is using to figure out how you would answer questions like that.

And remember that AAC competency takes time.

So even if progress is stalled, don't stop modeling.

You need to keep communicating with your students.

Remember, for these students, they often come with a number of challenges, so communication is one challenge that they face, but they often have a number of other challenges.

So keep communicating because, again, communication is not a school subject.

It's something that we need to do with them all day, every day in order to connect with them.

I'm just gonna read through this, so this is, over the course of the last few years I found a number of Facebook pages that I've joined, and I follow them regularly, and oftentimes there's comments from parents that are, I mean, really, they're eye opening to a certain extent, but they're also, I guess they're very profound in terms of the perspective of the parent.

And I think as professionals, so for the professionals online, it certainly gives you some insight into some of the challenges that the parents may face or some of the enjoyment that they get from the support that we give them and then being able to connect with their children.

So I'm just gonna read through this.

This came from the parent of a student who uses a PODD book to communicate.

And at this point in time, the student had been using the PODD book fairly regularly, and at this point in time, she wasn't using it very frequently, so she wasn't giving back a lot expressively.

And this was just the mother's reflection on that.

So she says one of the biggest eye opening moments I've experienced on our AAC journey is when I finally understood the concept that AAC is not taught.

Rather, AAC is spoken, and language is learned through language exposure, aided language input, or modeling, these are the fancy words.

Simply, you just use the darn book or device to talk to the AAC user, but also to friends, family, the mailman, yourself, and even the pet dog.

Once I adopted the idea, I felt this massive weight lifted off my shoulders.

No more figuring it all out.

No more questioning, am I doing it right?

Just talk.

I thought, I can do that.

I felt I could finally breathe.

Sure, you could get into the nitty gritty details of language learning, but let me give you a tip, don't.

When we take the expectations off the user for any kind of expressive output, and instead transfer those expectations onto ourselves, it automatically makes this lifestyle about valuing the user's voice and language and heart.

This isn't about us.

Expressive output is a feel good thing.

We want it, we crave it.

Sure, it's natural to wanna hear our children's thoughts and ideas, but oftentimes we make it about our needs.

That trap of instant gratification or reassurance that we are doing it right, or God forbid that the individual is smart enough to learn.

Give yourself a break, no expectation, just talk.

It's really that simple.

Angela, and that's her daughter, is in a very quiet season right now.

We maybe only hear her voice once a week if that.

Her body is struggling.

Because we have zero expectations, we just continue on speaking PODD.

I'm not afraid, she will talk again, I know it.

Fear and pressure is lifted.

Instead I just continue to honor her and speak her language.

Keep going, friends.

Model, model, model, just talk.

So again, that's a pretty profound statement from a parent, but I wanted to share it now because what we're gonna talk about during this presentation is primarily modeling language and how important that is, and I think that kind of sets the tone for the fact that it's very important that we model.

It's very important that we model frequently, and it's very important that we don't require anything in response to that model.

We're enticing our students and our children to respond, but we're not forcing them to respond.

We're building connections with them.

So our ultimate goal then is to foster a connection, and it shouldn't feel like work.

So when we look at how we help our learner to use their communication system, how do we help them communicate using their augmentative communication system?

So the four things that we have to look at primarily, and these are based on research, and what I've done, so most of my presentation is based loosely on the AAC Toolkit by Shannon Werbeckes, she's got a Facebook page, Speechy Musings.

Because I like the way that she's organized it, so I've organized my presentation similar to her toolkit.

So again, none of this is my new information, it's not research that I've done, it's just information that I'm sharing.

And I do give you the information to access that toolkit if you're interested in purchasing it later in the presentation.

So when we look at learning to communicate using AAC, there's four areas that the research shows us we need to focus on.

We need to look at access, so we have to make sure that the system is accessible at all times.

We need to look at modeling.

We need to consistently model using that system.

We need to look at core vocabulary, so we focus on core vocabulary and key words when we're modeling language for them.

And we need to look at communication opportunities, I.e.

giving them opportunities to communicate throughout the day.

So we're gonna go through each of these ones separately.

So when we look at the first best practice, access.

Really what we need to do is, we're looking at access from two perspectives.

The student needs to have access to the system.

So, when we're talking about having an AAC system, it needs to be within arm's length, it needs to be available all day, at all times, in all environments.

And a lot of the information that I've come across, they talk about the three second rule.

So it should take no longer than three seconds to have that augmentative system in front of the student.

So what that means is that you may have a student who's got an iPad with a communication app on it, or a speech generating device, which in some contexts, in some situations may not be the most appropriate thing to have out.

You're not gonna take an iPad in the swimming pool with you.

But in that case, you can use a paper copy that's laminated or attached to a flutter board or something like that, so that they've got access regardless of what environment they're in.

The other thing is when we're talking about access is, we have to make sure that everybody understands that the communication device is their voice, and it can't be taken away.

So, unlike a child who's verbal, who when they're talking too much in class, for instance, the teacher has to deal with that.

Oftentimes what we see is if our AAC user is activating their device and it's making noise, and sometimes maybe they're exploring with it, sometimes maybe they're stimming, maybe they like a certain sound and they keep pressing that button.

Sometimes the solution that the teachers find is they take the device away.

We can't do that.

That's like putting duct tape over a verbal child's mouth, and we would never do that.

So we have to think of it in those terms.

That device, whether it's a paper copy of a communication board or whether it's a high tech device that has voice output, has to be accessible to them, we cannot take it away because we don't like the way they're behaving.

It is their voice.

They also need to have access to the language.

So again, you wouldn't expect a baby to learn to talk without hearing and interacting with that language, and we wouldn't expect the baby to learn to talk if people only spoke to them for one hour a day.

So we need to have people modeling the language for them, so modeling how to use the system and how they can effectively communicate with it so that they can learn how to use it effectively as well.

And in terms of access, there are no prerequisites for AAC.

Well, there is one, breathing.

If the student is breathing, then they're a candidate, it doesn't matter how complex their needs are, and it doesn't matter what their cognitive ability is or what their physical impairment might be, or their communication in terms of their gestures, those sorts of things, anybody is a candidate for an augmentative system.

So for those students with complex communication needs, sometimes it is difficult to measure how much they understand.

So we just have to assume that they understand.

The reason for this, for presuming competence, is because our perception of what the student can do drives our expectation.

Our expectation of what they can do drives the opportunities we provide them with for communication.

The opportunity drives their achievement, and then the achievement again drives perception.

So it's a vicious cycle.

And if we don't assume that if we put the proper supports in place, our student is able to progress and learn, then we're not gonna put those supports in place.

So what we have to do is we presume that with the proper supports, and as a team, you decide that with your speech language pathologists and your teachers and your parents all involved.

You have to make those decisions, but you have to presume that what you're gonna put in place the student is gonna be able to learn.

Because all children can learn.

So again, it means that we give them the tools and the instruction that they need regardless of their speech impairment, their diagnosis, or their degree of difference.

We're still gonna provide them with opportunities for communicating.

And I'm just gonna show this video because this is a nice one that just shows presuming competence.

(xylophone ringing) - She was very, very tiny when she was born, she only weighed 356 grams.

So she would fit in the palms of my hands.

And her hands just covered my little fingernail.

- I first met Ruby two years ago when she started school, very much in her own bubble.

She was the youngest premature baby in England.

She was described to me as a very challenging case.

- [Computer] I want computer please, Mrs.

Hoy Green.

- Since Ruby has had the iPad, her behavior has improved 95%.

I would be getting hit 20, 30 times a day.

Where now I've worked all day today and she hasn't hit me at all.

The iPad and the software is allowing her to unlock her communication and communicate with me.

And on a daily basis, she absolutely amazes me.

It's your turn.

We haven't got Sophie on here yet, have we?

You ready?

What we've just done for the first time is got Ruby and Sophie to share using my turn.

So they're learning to use the computer and share toys.

Ruby's not very good at sharing currently at the moment.

And three weeks, four weeks ago, she would have turned around and poked the child.

- She is so into technology.

We've got iPhones and she just plays on those and works out how to do things.

She doesn't need a lot of guidance, and as soon as she was given the iPad, she was able to use it straight away.

- What do you want?

Good girl, Casey's turn.

Ruby's turn.

Give it to Casey, then.

- [Computer] I want ball, please, Casey.

- For the first time today with the iPod Touch, she was able to show me that she could choose the child, recognize the child, and actually want to play with that child.

I've been with her 18 months and she's never been able to do that before without this equipment.

- It's all there in her brain, and she can put the words together or the pictures and say what she wants, and that's what this does for her, it gives her a voice.

- [Computer] Purple flowers.

- [Woman] How many?

- [Computer] Three.

- It's made us aware that the knowledge was already inside her head, she was just unable to communicate it.

With the iPad, the iPod Touch, and the software, she's now been able to be assessed by a classroom teacher and myself, and is on the national curriculum level.

- So we'll go back to the presentation, there we go.

So again you saw in that case, I will point out that's a very early version of Proloquo2Go, the app is much better now.

And when we look at access, and in terms of presuming competence, we also have to presume that we're competent to learn the system as well.

Because again, sometimes it's overwhelming for us, we look at the system that our students have, and we think like, whoa, a lot of words, I'm never gonna figure that out.

But you can, you'll get there, just got to take it in baby steps.

I don't know if we have any questions yet, Shelly.

- [Shelly] There are a couple of questions if this is an okay time to take those.

So the first question is when you're modeling, do you use only the AAC to communicate, or do you use some speech and some AAC?

- I use both.

So again, as you're modeling, you're pointing to whatever you're talking about on the system, but also doing verbal with it.

So if you're using a single word on the system, you might use two or three words verbally, but you're still using both.

- [Shelly] Great, thank you.

And then there's one more question.

One challenge that some folks are running into is that if the students have an AAC device and the device belongs to the student, the student's taking it back and forth, it's really challenging for the teacher or the adult who's working with that child, with that device, to learn the system and become familiar with it.

Do you have any strategies to help people become familiar with the systems more quickly, or what would be your suggestions for addressing that challenge?

- Depending on the system that they have, so for Proloquo2Go, you can print off copies of the home screen for the seven by 11 grid.

And that doesn't give you the full access to all the vocabulary that's there, but it certainly is a good starting point.

You can also with Proloquo2Go, and that's the one I'm most familiar with, you can do screenshots of that so that you can just take a screenshot of a certain folder, and then you've got access to that.

With Tobii Dynavox, and I'm blanking on it now, Core First, as a professional you can get a free copy of that, so you can have access to that to be able to learn the system.

And I don't know, there's other systems out there through CoughDrop and LAMP Words for Life and those sorts of things, so a lot of the various systems have, they have low tech systems that you can use.

So, a communication board that would be like the homepage that you can print off to become familiar with the vocabulary and the location of the vocabulary items.

And then for some of them you're also eligible for free professional accounts so that you can access the software online and learn to use the software that way.

- [Shelly] Perfect, thank you so much, those are the only questions for now.

- Perfect.

Okay, so we talked about accessing the system.

And when it comes to, there's a high rate of failure of AAC implementation.

If you look at the research, there's a wealth of reasons as to why that happens.

But one of the biggest reasons that it happens is because the student doesn't have access to their device.

And I know from experience, we work on trying to implement a system, and I go away for a week and I come back and I go in to model something with the student in the classroom, and their system is still in their school bag and we're halfway through the afternoon.

So all the morning has been missed.

And it's not being judgmental, it's trying to learn the habit of making sure that that system is available to them so that they can communicate using it, and so that it's available for adults around them and their peers to model.

So when we talk about modeling, and in the research we call it modeling, we call it aided language stimulation, it might be called aided language input or partner augmented input, it's all the same thing.

So, just as kids learning to use spoken language hear that language for a long time before they say their first words, our children using the augmentative systems need to hear and see their system being used to learn words and to learn how it works as well.

So they need to be exposed to language in the same way that babies learn to talk.

We need to talk to them using their augmentative system.

The reason that we do this is because it teaches them the meaning of new vocabulary, it helps them to combine words into phrases and learn how to do that.

It helps them learn how to navigate the device.

And it also helps them learn how to repair conversation breakdowns when they happen.

So by watching us do these things and engaging with us as we do these things, they learn that as well.

The modeling is critical for them to learn to develop communication skills with their augmentative system.

So what we want to do is we want to try and create an immersive environment for them using their AAC language.

So consider this, if the average 18 month old has been exposed to 4380 hours of oral language at a rate of eight hours a day from birth, our students that are using the augmentative systems receive speech therapy twice a week for 20 to 30 minutes.

It's gonna take them 84 years to get the same amount of language experience and exposure that an 18 month old had.

So again, if our AAC learners are only seeing those symbols being used twice a week for 20 or 30 minutes at a time, it's gonna take them 84 years to have the same exposure to their AAC language as an 18 month old has to spoken language.

So it's something to really consider that as the communication partners, we really need to up our game in terms of modeling for our students so that they can get the exposure to language that they need in order to learn it.

So when we're modeling, we need to use their device to talk about what we're thinking, what we're doing, and what we're telling them, as well as what they may be thinking, what they may be doing, and what they're trying to tell you.

I'm not gonna play this video, it's a great video, and I would recommend that you watch it.

But it's all text, you sit and you read the text as you watch it.

And I'm gonna discuss the strategies that are discussed in the video, so I'll leave that for you to watch on your own.

And I love this meme.

How can I learn to talk on my device if you don't model, model, model?

The reality is, you can't.

Our students are not gonna learn to use the device if we're not using it and showing them how it can be used for communication.

So when we're modeling, there are a number of strategies that we can use that will maximize the learning potential for our AAC users.

And with these there's a number of different mnemonics that are out there that help you remember what those strategies are.

I've opted to choose the S'MoRRES mnemonic, which is one that was developed by Jill Senner and Matthew Baud.

And the reason that I've chosen this is because I like camping and it's easy for me to remember the name S'MoRRES.

There's other mnemonics out there like MASTERPAL, Simple AAC, and a variety of others.

Again, the strategies within each of these mnemonics are similar, there's a lot of overlap.

But again, I've just opted for this one because it's something that stays in my head.

So when we look at the mnemonic, the S in S'MoRRES stands for slow rate.

The Mo stands for model.

The first R actually stands for two R's, it stands for respect and reflect.

The second R stands for repeat.

The E stands for expand, and the S stands for stop.

What I'm gonna do is I'm gonna play a video.

So this video was created by Jill Senner and Matthew Baud, so I figure it's just as well to go right to the source with it.

And then we'll just go through each of these strategies again once we look at the video.

- [Jill] Hi, I'm Jill Senner from Technology and Language Center.

- [Matthew] And I'm Matthew Baud from Niles Township district for Special Education.

- [Jill] Verbal practice is step four of the eight step instructional model that we use to teach communication partners to model on their children's or student's devices.

In this step, communication partners practice naming and describing all of the ingredients required for successful modeling using a mnemonic to help recall or remember the details of the strategy.

Each of the ingredients to successful modeling that we discuss corresponds to a letter in the pneumonic, S'MoRRES.

In the next slide we will examine each of these ingredients one at a time and show some videos demonstrating each step.

Let's get started.

- Now, let's break down S'MoRRES.

The first S in S'MoRRES is for slow speech rate.

While pointing on the communication board or device, talk in a slow, clearly articulated manner.

You can model on a child's AAC system immediately before, during, or after a spoken message.

Look at how I talk and point to the device.

Let's look for birds, geography.

- [Jill] The Mo in S'MoRRES is for model.

This is where you simultaneously talk and touch symbols for keywords, phrases, or sentences to provide the child with a color commentary for his or her ongoing activities and interests.

We can provide the MO in two different ways.

One, we can discuss what the child is hearing, seeing, doing, and feeling.

In other words, provide parallel talk.

Or we can talk about what we are doing as we're doing it.

In other words, self talk.

Here Matt is demonstrating self talk.

He is saying what he's doing while he's doing it.

- [Matthew] The first R in S'MoRRES is for respect and reflect.

When the child communicates something through another modality, for example, they gesture, say a word approximation or a sign.

We respect and honor the communication, and reflect by modeling on the communication device or board a word or phrase to communicate the same thought or feeling without making the child repeat himself.

Watch the child point to the bubbles.

I understand that he means he wants more, so I honor his request while modeling play more bubbles.

- [Jill] The second R in S'MoRRES is for repeat.

This is where you provide multiple models of a target word within the same activity, but also using different phrases and sentences.

Speech therapists call this focused stimulation.

Here Matt is focusing on the word out.

Watch as he says take out twice.

And then the third time he says, want out.

- Out, yellow piece.

The E in S'MoRRES is for expand.

This is where you can repeat and rephrase adult utterances by adding elements to provide a more complete expression of intended meaning.

For example, bath time, it's time for your bath.

But you can also use the E in S'MoRRES to build on the child's communication, adding one to two words and fixing any errors.

If he or she uses two words such as car red, fix the order and add a word or two.

I want red car.

Speech pathologists call this recasting.

Notice how the child says one word, tummy.

And I add two words and model tickle, tell me more.

- [Jill] The last S in S'MoRRES is for stop.

This is where you provide an expectant pause before your model, during your model, or after your model to provide your child an opportunity to communicate, since that's why we're providing all of this modeling in the first place.

Don't be a device hog.

Notice how Matt lets the child struggle with turning on the microwave and not anticipating his needs.

He waits about 10 seconds before modeling, help turn it on.

- [Matthew] To find out more about the next Technology and Language Center-- - Okay, that's it for that one.

So what I'm gonna do is just briefly go over the steps in the S'MoRRES mnemonic.

So again, they talked about the strategies to use for making it a better situation and a better environment for language learning.

So the first thing is to slow your rate, the S in S'MoRRES is to slow your rate.

So you need to speak slowly, and you need to do that at the same time that you're pointing to the symbols on the device.

So the advantage here when you're first starting out is that you're gonna be slow anyway because you're gonna be looking for the device, for the pictures and the vocabulary on the device.

But the thing you have to remember is that for our students with complex communication needs, oftentimes their processing is slower, they may have physical involvement that makes it more difficult for them to turn or to look or for their eyes to focus.

So the slow rate just ensures that they're able to see what we're pointing to.

Then we look at the Mo in S'MoRRES for modeling.

So the two aspects of that are parallel talks, so you're talking about what the child is doing and what they're interested in, and what they might be thinking and assigning meaning to things that they do physically with their bodies.

And then we're doing self talk, so we're talking about what we're doing and what we're thinking.

This is also a great opportunity to show them that it's okay to make mistakes.

So when you're navigating through their system, if you make mistakes in terms of accessing the wrong folder or putting the wrong ending on a word, you're talking about that out loud, and it's enabling them to see that it's okay to make mistakes and you're not expected to be perfect.

So again, think of the modeling as providing them with the color commentary.

So you're talking about what they're doing, you're the sportscaster that's giving the commentary on the things that they're doing.

The goal would be that you're modeling at least 80% of your communicative interactions with your child or your student.

The first R in the S'MoRRES mnemonic is respect and reflect, I know it's two R's, but I guess they didn't wanna have three in the S'MoRRES mnemonic.

So respect is, oftentimes our students will have ways of communicating certain things.

And sometimes this is difficult for parents to accept using an augmentative system because they'll say, well, I know everything that he means and I understand everything and I know when he wants something.

The problem with that is that they may be able to get their needs met that way with their parents, but they certainly can't express their opinions, they can't tell jokes, those sorts of things.

But we don't wanna diminish the communication that they had, so we wanna respect what they have.

So if they've told you in some way that they want a drink, then you can respect that communication and acknowledge it, but then you can also reflect and show them a way on their system that they could have told you that as well.

So again, you're modeling a clearer message for them using their augmentative system, but you're not demanding that they use that system, you're still respecting the communication that they gave you.

Because your children know that you understand, and your students know the things that you understand when they say them.

And we're really bad in the AAC world, in the past we've been really bad in making kids jump through about six different hoops before we give them what they've asked for or acknowledge what they've said.

And really it's akin to saying okay, you've said it in English, now say it in Spanish, French and German, and then you can have what you want.

So we wanna make sure that we're not doing that, so we respect their communication attempt, and then we reflect by showing them a way that they could have used their system to express that, but we don't demand that they say it.

So again, the goal is that we're teaching them how they can communicate that message with their communication device.

We wanna inspire them but not require them to do it, so they don't have to repeat the model.

And again, the second R in the mnemonic is repeat.

So in this case, we wanna use the utterances repeatedly.

But you want variety, you're not just gonna say drink, drink, drink, drink, drink, drink, drink.

Because you say, okay, well he needs to see it 100 times, so I'm gonna just model, drink, drink, drink, drink, drink, drink, drink because I know that he wants a drink.

You wanna to do it in a variety of ways so that it's a natural interaction, that certainly wouldn't be a natural interaction that you would have.

So what we wanna do is we wanna make sure that we're repeating the words.

This helps to facilitate the comprehension for the student, but also we want our augmentative communication users to use their device to let us know what they're thinking and feeling and what they want.

Some of our students are gonna need 100 to 125 models of that word being used before they're gonna be able to use it.

Some of our students are gonna need even more than that.

So we wanna make sure that we're giving them lots of repetitions every time we're using those words so that it increases the likelihood that they're gonna be ready to use that word in their own communication.

The E in the S'MoRRES mnemonic, that strategy is to expand on their phrases, so we repeat and we rephrase.

So if they're using single words, we up the ante and we might model two words.

Or if their production had an error in it, then we model, our expansion is to model what the correct would be.

So for example, if they say car red instead of red car, then we model, oh, you see a red car.

In the AAC Toolkit, she calls it the plus one technique.

So take whatever language that the child is using and add one word.

So again, for example, if they produce the word bubble, you might respond with, oh, yeah, it's a big bubble.

Or again, the example I gave previously, they said car red, then you add a word or two, oh, I want a red car, so you fix the error and you've also added some more words.

And again, you don't make a big deal of it, it's just a natural part of the interaction, and there is no expectation that the student imitates your model.

So the goal here is that they're learning how to build language and we're enticing them to say more.

So we're building on their language.

If we only expect them to use single words and they're using single words, they're not gonna add to what they're doing.

But then if we start modeling two words, then they're gonna start to follow that model over time.

In general, a rule of thumb to remember is that children will have approximately 50 single words before they start to combine words, so keep those numbers in your head when you're thinking about it, because they need to be exposed to the vocabulary first before they can start to produce it.

And again, for the speech language pathologists out there and for the parents, if you know anything about typical language development, language development when it comes to augmentative communication systems is the same.

It follows the same course as typical language development, it's just they're learning a different language.

They're not learning spoken English or spoken French, they're learning AAC.

So then our final strategy in terms of modeling is stop.

That's pausing to allow time for the student to respond or for the child to respond.

And in their strategies, Senner and Baub will say count to 10 in your head after you model a phrase to give the child a chance to respond.

And the important thing you have to remember is while you're waiting, you don't talk.

You've got an expectant look on your face 'cause you're letting them know that you're expecting them to say something, but if you continue to talk during that time, then they've missed the opportunity to take their turn.

So when we look at this, the purpose of this is to invite the AAC learner to communicate with their system.

And we pause before we model for them, we pause during modeling, and we pause after modeling.

Any of those times will enable them opportunities to communicate if they're ready to do it.

Sometimes waiting expectantly and being silent is the best way to encourage use of their systems.

For our students, it takes a long time for them to process.

For some of them, it takes a long time to process what you've said.

And then they've gotta formulate their response, and then they've gotta initiate their response through their communication device.

So we've gotta enable them to have the time to be able to do those things.

I came across this the other day, it's a really interesting comparison.

When you look at verbal communication, so if you have a student that's using speech to communicate, they have to think of what they have to say, then they have to coordinate their breath and their articulators to say it, and then they say it.

For our students using AAC, they have to think of what they wanna say, they have to think about how to say it using their device, then they have to coordinate their body to access the system, and for some of our students, they've got a lot of challenges in terms of trying to coordinate their bodies.

And then they say it using their device.

So for some of our students, it takes a long time, and actually, it's really interesting, there was a study that I came across.

It was a reading comprehension study done with a number of girls who had Rett Syndrome.

And they found that it took anywhere from 10 seconds to 45 seconds for the students to respond.

They were able to respond and they were able to accurately answer the questions that were posed, but for some of those students, they needed up to 45 seconds in order to coordinate their response with how they were gonna say it, and then being able to access their system and use their device to give their answer.

So again, we wanna inspire them, but we don't require them to imitate the model.

But we do need to leave space there, a time, pausing so that they can initiate their communication if they're ready to do it.

I'm gonna show this video, so this is a little bit more of Matt Baud working with his son, that's his son and daughter in the videos with him.

But it's nice because again, he at various points of the video will point out what strategy he's using when he's modeling.

- Looking for more ways to use your child's communication device at home?

We'll use cooking and snack as a way to model the language and entice communication.

Hey, Josh, let's have a snack.

- [Computer] Eat popcorn.

- Good idea.

Let's make it in kitchen microwave.

- [Computer] Make it in microwave.

- Let's get a kitchen, let's get a bowl.

That is an example of E in S'MoRRES, an expansion, modeling one to two words beyond his word.

All right, let's get the, let's get the popcorn.

Here I model repetition with the word get.

I also use respect and reflect by modeling to point to the cabinet on the device.

Oh, telling me he needs some help to, actions, help.

Here I use the stop in S'MoRRES also to respect and reflect.

I pause and waited and gave him a chance to open it, then he handed it to me.

So I respected that modality and modeled it on the communication device.

Why don't we put it in, put it in the microwave?

Here I used the last S in S'MoRRES and I stop about 10 seconds before I model.

Josh, it looks like you need some help action, to turn it on.

All right, ready, let's see.

We've gotta find food, popcorn.

Then turn it on.

That was example of MO in S'MoRRES, and a little bit of self talk with modeling.

Josh, it's finished, actions, cooking.

Finishing cooking, but be careful, it's gonna be hot.

That was another example of MO in S'MoRRES, and just providing some color commentary of what's going on.

Looking for more ways to use your child's communication device at home?

We'll use cooking and snack as a way to model the language in-- - So I'm just gonna stop that for now because we're running low on time.

But you'll get those links, so you can have a look at that yourself at home.

I've also included, and just 'cause I had just come across them in the last week, really, there's another one, another video on using bubbles, and it's another one with Matt Baud, so he talks about which strategies he's using when he's modeling.

And another one where he's tickling his daughter.

So you saw clips of those when they were discussing the strategies overall, so it's just a little bit more on that.

So when you're modeling, there's some tips to remember.

Don't worry about mistakes, again, that lets your child know that it's okay to make mistakes.

Start small, it can be really overwhelming if you think you've got to talk about everything all the time.

Pick one thing or one word that you can focus on, whatever it is, but start small so that it doesn't become overwhelming.

Involve friends and peers in it.

Children learn best from children, so if you can get their peers using this system, it certainly gives them the sense then that this is a legitimate way to communicate.

And it also helps them learn the strategies from their peers.

Don't expect a response when you're modeling, especially in the beginning stages.

There are things you can do to prompt, there's techniques that you can use for prompting that will be, some that are less intrusive, some that are more, but again, you want it to be the child's communication, so you don't wanna prompt if you don't have to prompt.

And in the beginning stages, when you're first introducing a system, we don't expect that they're gonna be able to use the system right away.

Remember your language development with your babies.

It was 12 or 18 months before they started to give language back to you, even though you've been talking to them for 12 or 18 months already.

So the expectation is they have to have some exposure to it first before they're gonna start to use it.

Print a copy of the device, so that way you can practice learning where the vocabulary is on the device.

Stick to key words when you're talking and make it fun.

Again, talk about what they're doing and what they're interested in, because then they're gonna be engaged.

If it's not exciting and interesting, they're not gonna be engaged with it.

The other thing you need to remember is, and again, I know I'm trying to get away from the word teach, but consider the difference between teaching versus testing.

So in teaching we're modeling, we're explaining, we're showing the AAC user how to use their system.

If we're testing, we're asking them to find certain words or phrases on their system.

That's not communication.

Yes, sometimes it's important that you know that they know where a certain vocabulary item is, but that really should only be done less than 10% of the time.

You really need to teach more and test less.

So don't ask them how to do it, show them how to do it.

And in a recent webinar, Rachel Madel gave a webinar on telepractice last week.

And she talks about it, this is a technique that Carol Musselwhite uses, and she talked about, you decrease the demands and you increase invitations.

So instead of saying, where's cake, and getting them to look for the icon or the button for cake, you'd say, mmm, cake.

Instead of saying, show me cake, you would say, let's eat cake.

Instead of saying, find cake, oh, it looks like you want cake, and you're modeling the word cake.

Instead of saying, tell me on your device, you say, oh, you know, you could tell me if you want cake, and at the same time, you model the word for them.

Using the system as much as possible throughout the day is the key.

So you wanna try to get so good that more often than not, you're using the system than not using it when you're interacting with your students.

So what should we model?

Now, I'll stop here briefly if there's any questions, the rest of it I'm gonna kind of whip through because we're down to 15 minutes, but if there's any pressing questions, we can take those now, Shelly.

- [Shelly] Hi, Marie, yes, there are several questions here, so I'll just pose them to you one at a time.

In regards to access, should the devices be traveling back and forth with the student between home and school, what's your advice?

- Yes, it's their voice so it should be with them always.

- [Shelly] Great, that was a short and sweet answer.

I'm not sure if it was mentioned, but can you remind us what the app or the program is that's being demonstrated on the video?

- On the video it's LAMP Words for Life.

- [Shelly] Okay, great, thank you.

And when they're modeling on the video, Matt says the name of the folder when he opens it, for example, food and then popcorn.

Will that confuse the child, what are your thoughts on that?

- Nope, that's what they're talking about, self talk.

So it helps them learn to navigate through the system as well.

- [Shelly] Okay.

Another question, do you have any recommended protocol when taking the child's device to use it for modeling?

Should we ask permission, should we acknowledge that we're taking the device away and then returning it, how do you handle that?

- Yep, so for starters, I don't take the device away, I leave it in front of them and move myself to where they are as much as I can to model it.

But yeah, ask permission.

Most kids don't mind, some do.

I mean, it is their voice, and some kids are very protective of that and they don't want you to touch their things or don't want you to touch it.

So in that case, I would recommend doing a screenshot of the main screens that you use, and you have a paper copy if you're not able to get another copy of the app on another device that you can use independently.

- [Shelly] Great, thank you.

How do you address school staff that want the modeling of the words to be in complete sentences and or grammatically correct structures when the student's not at that level?

- Part of that is education that you need to do with the school staff.

So just teaching them typical language development and the steps that you would go through.

So we don't go from not saying anything to saying full grammatically correct sentences.

We learn single words first, and then we learn to combine words, and then we start to learn some grammatical structures as our sentence length is getting longer, so it's really a matter of education.

- [Shelly] Perfect, thank you.

And then I think the last question for now, when modeling, would you use the device with verbal communication or gestures if the child also uses other means of communication as well?

- Yes, I think, I'm not quite sure.

I'm assuming that what's meant by that is if the child uses other ways to communicate, would I use those as well?

So sometimes people will use the augmentative system, but if the child knows a few signs, we'll reinforce the signs as well and then model on the device.

- [Shelly] Perfect, thank you.

And then there were just a couple of general questions about the links from the videos, and when we send out the presentation slides with the Survey Monkey link at the end, you'll be able to see the video links, I believe, in those slides as well, so you should have access to those videos if you want to view them later, so I'll turn it back over to Marie.

- Okay, perfect, thanks.

So we're gonna go on now to the best practice number three, what do we model?

We need to model core vocabulary.

So when we're talking about core vocabulary, and for anybody who attended the last session, that was a big part of what the last session I did was about.

So we're just gonna touch on it briefly.

What we wanna do is focus on core vocabulary instead of situation specific words.

So, core vocabulary is that group of 200 to 400 words that make up most of what we say in a typical conversation.

So, in any conversation, those words consist of pronouns, prepositions, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, they're high frequency words, and they're very versatile, you can combine them to make sentences that have a variety of meanings.

With those core words, they're consistent across population.

So whether you're a toddler, an adult, an adolescent, a person who uses AAC, whether you're five years old or a brain surgeon, we all use that same group of 400 words, 80% of what we say comes from that same group of 400 words.

Our environment, these words can be used in any environment, home, restaurant, mall, church, hospital.

Topics, any topic can be covered by these 400 words.

Activities, again, talking on the phone or whether you're eating or shopping or playing games, 80% of what you say will come from that same base group of 400 words, so we call them the core words.

So regardless of the population, the environment, the topic or the activity, it's that same group of 400 words that make up 80% of what we say.

And those words can be used in many different ways.

The meaning changes based on the context that they're used in or the environment that they're used in.

So for example, if you consider the meaning of the words, I want to go, those are four core words, I is a pronoun, want is a verb, to go is a verb.

So you use those words.

In the context of a board game, it might mean you want to take a turn.

In the context of a conversation about the grocery store, it might mean that you wanna go to the grocery store.

In the context of a non preferred activity, it might mean, I wanna go, I don't wanna be here.

I wanna get out of here 'cause I don't wanna do this activity.

So again, the same message, I want to go can have three different meanings depending on the context or the situation.

When look at nouns, we call those fringe vocabulary.

And the fringe vocabulary is mostly comprised of nouns.

So they tend to be low frequency words that are specific to a particular person or an activity.

So for example, in morning routine, there's certain vocabulary that we would use.

At center time there's certain vocabulary that we would use.

At bath time we have certain vocabulary that we would use.

So students can use this fringe vocabulary repeatedly in those specific activities, but it's not really relevant outside of those activities.

So when we look at core vocabulary, we know that those words tend to be more abstract, the nouns tend to be more concrete, and they're much more easily pictured, and the pictures are much more consistent for the nouns.

When it comes to core vocabulary, they're much more abstract.

So oftentimes there's a misconception out there that, well, my student has some cognitive challenges, they're not gonna be able to understand these abstract symbols that make up this core vocabulary.

The reality is that the research shows us that it's possible for students of all cognitive levels to learn to use core vocabulary.

Basically they will learn to use whatever we model for them.

So the other thing that we have to remember is when we're providing them a system, we need to give them core vocabulary, but we do also need to include some fringe vocabulary with it.

So words that are specific to them personally, it might be favorite toys, it might be favorite individuals, it might be favorite foods, you need to include that within their system as well because those are things that they're gonna wanna talk about.

And again, when we're providing them with a system, we need to presume competence.

So we've got to give them a system that gives them access to a variety of vocabulary words, we need to give them a system that enables them to communicate for a variety of reasons, but we also need to give them access to the alphabet.

Because we want our students to be able to learn to use, develop their literacy skills so that if there is something that they wanna say and that word's not available on their system, then they'd be able to spell out that word or maybe give a beginning sound for that word, and then based on the context, you might be able to figure out what it is.

This is a really great video.

Unfortunately I'm gonna skip over it because we are really pushed for time and I do have a lot to get through, so you'll have to watch that one on your own.

But it gives a really good example of how core vocabulary is what we need to be teaching our students.

So the core vocabulary lets you use flexible words that you can model and teach and use for years to come.

There's some perks for choosing a core vocabulary system.

No need to constantly reprogram.

In the past we used to do activity boards for everything for our students.

Now they can use the same language to talk about anything.

Also, the users themselves don't have to start over with each unit or grade or subject.

So remember, that for some of our students, they have other challenges besides their communication needs.

So whether it's cognitive challenges or physical challenges, and if we're constantly presenting them with new subject specific communication boards, they have to learn new vocabulary every time, they have to learn new locations for things every time, so it just increases the odds that it's not gonna succeed.

The other thing is that from a motor memory perspective, they learn to access the words faster because the location of the words don't change.

So motor memory just means that we've got the words in a certain location on the board and they always stay in that location, so they learn the motor memory for it.

Just like those of us, well, everybody types now because they're texting and using keyboards.

So for us, we know where the keys are.

Imagine what would happen if you sat down at the keyboard and somebody had all the keys switched around on you.

You'd still be able to type, but it'd be pretty frustrating.

Well, that's the same thing for our kids who are using core vocabulary systems.

We wanna give them enough vocabulary to use so that when we add words, things are not shifting around on them.

'Cause that would be like having the keys on the keyboard shifted around for you.

And again, it would be extremely frustrating.

So you need to provide them with words that they can use.

In order to give them a robust vocabulary, we need to teach them a robust vocabulary.

And the more words that you have available to you, the better you're able to model, because you've got vocabulary there that you can use in modeling language for them.

So the final strategy that we use in teaching them communication is to provide them with communication opportunities.

So in doing that, we need to make sure that they're able to use the system in communicating with others.

It's not enough to just expose them to modeling the system and not let them use it effectively in communication and in interactions.

So what we need to keep in mind is that communication is more than requesting.

So there's a variety of communication functions, protesting, requesting, expressing opinions, sharing information.

And all of these communication functions can really come down to four basic reasons why people communicate with each other.

They express their wants and needs, to get and share information, to build relationships, and to engage in social etiquette.

And we need to give opportunities for our students to practice these each day for each of these areas of communication.

The research in fact shows that AAC users need at least 200 communication opportunities a day in order to be able to learn to use their AAC systems well.

And I know that seems like a lot, but think about how many opportunities your verbal kids get to speak during the course of the day.

So when you think of it that way, 200 opportunities is not a lot.

But again, start slow, start small, don't overwhelm yourselves.

So our days are pretty busy.

When do we schedule modeling AAC?

And by now I know you're all shouting it out, we don't schedule it, that's right.

Language is not an activity, it's embedded in every interaction that we have.

So it's not a time in the schedule, it's relevant at all times in the schedule.

You can model language throughout daily activities.

This is a really nice handout from the Project Core on their website, and I've given you the link to that website.

I know in my schools, in each of the classrooms with students that use AAC systems, we've got this put up so that it reminds us as the communication partner modeling, what words we can model for our students during those times of the day.

And again, AAC overwhelm is real, so schools are really busy.

There's a lot to fit in during the day.

Agree on one or two things to work on each week.

And those are usually embedded in bigger goals, so for example, using the device to say good morning to the teacher is part of a bigger goal of social greetings for your student.

So it's easier to pick one or two things and focus on those for a week versus trying to get 10 things that are unrelated.

And again, going back to this slide, make conversation and relationships and interest the goal, not teaching AAC.

So that would be you in the former setting that we had when we had our schools up and running, and I know we're at the very end, so I'll just quickly go through this.

What we need to look at now, things have changed a lot.

So how do we support our students during these changing times?

Fortunately, there's a lot of great information coming out.

Emily Diaz has a couple of videos.

The first one, the training, Corona Virus Shouldn't Stop your Progress.

It's one video that she's done that's geared at parents for at home, and just giving them some ideas of how they can use a communication system with their children at home, how parents can use the system.

And then she's got a couple of other videos there.

She also has some free resources on her website.

And the AAC at Home one, again, is a single page handout for parents that just talks about, you know what, if you can pick two things during the day and focus on using the augmentative system during that time, that would be awesome.

There's a lot of digital resources available now, and a lot of the companies, because everybody's in the same situation with social distancing and staying safe at home, some of the things that in previous times had costs associated with them are now free for the next couple of months, so I've just included some links there.

There's some core boards that you can download free.

Each of these, when you click on them, you'll see what the core board is.

The only one is, the Proloquo2Go one, you have to join their classroom, Proloquo2Go Classroom, their core word classroom.

It's free to join, but once you join, then you'll have access to the boards, and I just included a couple of pictures.

So this is the front of the core word board that they enable you to print.

This is the back.

And then you can also print a poster size, and you can print those in various sizes, they've provided the file so that you can get them printed at whatever size you want them to be.

And then these are ones that we did off, one is on a lanyard and one is on a, I can't remember what they're called, like a key pull ring.

So that you can wear them around your neck or attached to your belt loop or the student can wear them, and we just printed those smaller.

They're on an eight and a half by 11 sheet of paper on the table.

There's also a Facebook page, the AAC Coach, which I don't know how recently it was developed, but Kate McLaughlin who's the SLP that developed this Facebook page is fast and furious with information that she's putting up.

So she's got a bunch of handouts for parents that are one page handouts on a variety of topics.

And they look like this, and I really like this one 'cause she says to all the parents out there, it's not possible to work from home and do the job of being a full team of educators.

Be kind to yourself, and when you can, focus on connecting with your child.

AAC is just a means to connect with each other, the connection is the important part.

If you're connecting, using their language, you're doing it right.

And then she's also got some activity sheets that she's done, and again, every day it seems a new one is put up there, so again, they vary in terms of length, but a lot of them are just single pages to give you ideas of things that parents can be doing at home with their children.

Lots of YouTube videos on modeling with books.

There's a speech and language songs YouTube channel, and he's got a variety of things speech and language on there, but a number of songs that focus on core words.

So it might be the word go or the word stop.

Ideas for modeling, there's a lot of those here with Amanda Hartman.

There's a webinar that was on last week, Rachel Madel did AAC in telepractice.

It's an hour long webinar which was recorded, so it's available through the AAC in the Cloud.

And the link is there, a lot of really good information there, especially if you're looking at doing teletherapy with your students.

And then she also has a coaching bundle that's free, so you can just sign on to her website and get access to those materials.

Another teletherapy video by Jill Senner and Matthew Baud who developed the S'MoRRES strategies.

And then a blog, and the information for accessing the AAC Implementation Toolkit, which again, is a very nice package.

Shannon Werbeckes has kind of put the package together in a very user friendly way that explains the whole process of implementing AAC very well.

And then there's a number of websites, and again, for those of you that attended the previous webinar, I think I had five websites there, there's a few more additions to that.

PowerAAC is another one that has lots of good information.

Tar Heel Reader provides free accessible books.

And Saltillo Website, their Chat Corner has a lot of great information there.

Just too much to talk about, you really need to go and look at it, but it's one I just discovered this week, and there's phenomenal resources there.

And again, Facebook pages.

And AAC Language Lab is currently posting daily ideas on their YouTube channel.

So in summary, you have to make sure the system is available at all times, model language on the system, focus on core vocabulary words, and set up as many meaningful communication opportunities as you can.

Remembering that AAC is their language, so if you speak it to them, they will learn it.

And again, another great video that you can watch on your own.

And as Maya Angelou says, "Do the best you can until you know better. And then when you know better, do better."

So hopefully this will help you to do better.

Thank you for your interest.

In 10 seconds or less.

- Thank you, Marie.

We always appreciate the information you have to share.

There were a couple more questions if folks do have time to stick around for a couple minutes.

So for someone who may be working with a student with a visual impairment, do you pair symbolics with print all the time, some of the time, what are your thoughts on how to approach that?

- I would certainly consult with your visual itinerant that works with the student to help out with that, but on the Project Core website, they do have samples of their core word boards that are done for students with visual impairments.

So the dark background with the brighter colors for the symbols.

But they also have for their blind students, they have 3D printable symbols that they're using in their program.

So that information is out there.

And then on a lot of the speech generating apps, so with Proloquo2Go and other ones, you can change the settings so that it's a better contrast for your students with visual impairments.

So again, I'd encourage you to, in conjunction with your speech language pathologist and your tech person and your visual itinerant, to have a look at those things and see what options are best for your student from a vision perspective.

- Excellent, thank you very much.

And I think that that's a great note on which to end.

We have the benefit within education of working in multiple disciplinary and interdisciplinary teams.

Teaming is a little more challenging right now under the current circumstances, I certainly appreciate that.

But we do have the benefit also of technology to allow us to continue to do that until we're back face to face within our schools again.

So keeping in mind, as we mentioned last time, certainly using the best of what each of our interdisciplinary multidisciplinary partners have to bring to the table for folks who do have access to speech language pathologists on a regular basis.

As an educator myself, I can't overstate the value of the expertise of folks like Maria and her colleagues in that field, so thank you for sharing that with us today, and we will hopefully have a chance to hear from you again in the future.

Serving Children & Youth Who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing/Blind or Visually Impaired