2002 Conference Proceedings

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Alisha Magilei, AT Specialist
E-mail: alisha@dynamictherapysolutions.org 

Lisa Sandoval, M.S., CCC-SLP
E-mail: lisa@dynamictherapysolutions.org 

Dynamic Therapy Solutions
9029 Reseda Boulevard Suite #208
Northridge, CA 91324
Phone: (818) 341-3797
Fax: (818) 341-3798

Over the past thirty years, a significant amount of emphasis has been placed on AAC therapy and techniques for working with the pediatric population. The same motivational tools that have been used with the pediatric population can be applied to the adolescent and adult populations simply by taking age appropriate activities and adapting them to meet the physical and cognitive needs of the individual.

Although AAC devices are now more readily available through numerous funding sources, training on how to implement and incorporate the devices is lacking. According to a parent survey in 1998, 87% of parents reported their child had access to assistive technology, but reported no training or technology assistance (Morris, 1998). Due to the high abandonment rate of AAC devices, which ranges from 8-75% (that translates to 1/3 of all assistive devices abandoned) (Sherer, 1993; Wessels, Willems, and de White, 1996), it is essential that individuals who use AAC devices receive adequate training.

Training should be motivational, educational, and functional. Research shows that AAC therapy can help to enhance communication effectiveness, communication repertoire, and turn-taking in conversation for people with severe acquired communication disorders (Garrett, Beukelman, and Low-Morro, 1989; Fried-Oken, Howard, and Stewart, 1991; Garrett and Beukelman, 1995; Fox and Fried-Oken, 1996). Activities such as playing a board game allows participation and multiple communication turns around a topic, which focuses on building pragmatic skills.

This presentation will include a power point presentation in conjunction with hands-on activities. The presenters will focus on how to create motivational AAC activities for the adult and adolescent populations. Activities will include how to:

1) adapt traditional board games
2) utilize commercially available software games for switch users
3) teach non-literate clients to send/read e-mail
4) design a conversational phone page for literate and non-literate AAC users.

Therapy Sessions which incorporate creativity and fun activities can lead to carry-over of desired skills/goals. By utilizing these activities, the therapist can limit the amount of drill-like exercises traditionally used when working on pragmatic skills, vocabulary, and training on how to use AAC devices.

There are endless materials (e.g. board games and computer software) available that can be easily adapted for individuals with disabilities. Therapy is more powerful when it is motivating and fun!

Selected References

Fox, L.E, and Fried-Oken, M. (1996). AAC Aphasiology: Partnership for future research. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 12, 257-271.

Fried-Oken, M, Howard, J.M., and Stewart, S.R. (1991). Feedback on AAC intervention from adults who are temporarily unable to speak. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 2, 38-44.

Garrett, K.L., Beukelman, D.R., and Lo-Morro, D. (1989). A comprehensive augmentative communication system for an adult with Broca's aphasia. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 5, 55-61.

Garrett, K.L., and Beukelman, D.R. (1995). Changes in the interaction patterns of an individual with severe aphasia given three types of partner support. Clinical Aphasiology, 23, 237-251.

Morris, M. (1998 Jan). Remarks of ATESCP Project Survey. Public meeting on assistive technology posted by NIDRR, Arlington, VA. (on-line available at http: www.resna.org/atp library).

Sherer, M. J. (1993). What we know about women's technology use, avoidance, and abandonment. Women in Therapy, 14 (3-4), 117-132.

Wessels, R. D., Willems, Ch. G., and de White, L, P. (1996). How to select a method to evaluate usability of assistive devices. Journal of Rehabilitation Sciences, 9 (2), 53-57.

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