2004 Conference Proceedings

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AAC/AT TOOLS AND STRATEGIES FOR TRANSITIONS!

Presenter

Joni Nygard, M.S. CCC-SLP
Director Speech & Language Development<>br / Attainment Company, Inc.
Phone: 800-327-4269

This interactive session focuses on AAC/AT tools and strategies that facilitate transitions. There are different types of transitions: within students' day, between schools, and to new work or training environments.

How many transitions have you already made today? Each of us experience transitions within our day, day to day, month to month, and year to year. We utilize calendars, emails, voicemails, and more to facilitate our transitions. Think about things you did as you transitioned into this conference session! Help students or clients create Transition Portfolios to make a smooth transition possible for each of them.

Assistive technology and/or augmentative communication devices are often literally forgotten about in transitions. Within districts or our adult systems, we must create plans and tracking systems to accommodate student or client transitions between buildings and staff members. Sometimes we may need to venture beyond the walls of our own environment to make a transition more successful.

Software and visual strategies to create schedules or to 'Plan Your Day' will be demonstrated. Picture or visual schedule systems provide a structure that allows a student to anticipate what will happen next, reduce anxiety by providing the student with a vision of his/her day and promote calmness between transitions. They are especially important for students who have a profile that includes difficulties with the understanding of oral language and directions. The ultimate goal for all of our students is the development of independence and the enhancement of self esteem. This can be an automatic result of allowing students to participate in the design of their day. The ability to look at a schedule, find the materials for the next activity and get started with that activity without adult support is a big step toward a student's independence.

There are many AAC devices which can support the types of activities described above and other transitions. Simple Talking Photo Albums work to aid in transitions. We'll discuss a few low tech options to make transitions smoother for students or clients in your settings. Why not use the AAC devices to assist with receptive language needs during transitional times? There are many ways to create successful transitions; we need to discover what works when and where. The tools and strategies may change across time and environments per individual!

'Job Coaching Strategies' and 'Community Success' software will be among other tools we explore. Encouraging a sense of self-determination during the transition process is critical to promoting successful transitions for students whether they are disabled or non-disabled. For starters, remember that the key to a basic understanding of self-determination is self-awareness. Your students will need a basic understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, preferences, values, and belief system. This will be their foundation or driving force for future choice and decision-making, leading to successful goal achievement. Just as we value creativity in the communication process, conceptualizing the best ways to facilitate transitions is also a creative team process. In this session you'll have opportunity to team together and energize each other with ideas that work!

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