2006 Conference General Sessions




Teri Madak
Prentke Romich Company
31 Pine Road
Guntersville AL 35976
Day Phone: 256—571—9663
Fax: 256—582—7846
Email: augtalk@oharter.net

The device has arrived in the box. Where do I start and how do I get the client using the device? What support materials are out there to support me in this effort? What is new that will minimize the planning time and maximize my time with my client?

The evaluation is completed, funding has been accomplished and the device has arrived in the box. Where do I start and how do I get the client using the device in all areas of their lives? This is the question that plagues all of us in the field of AAC. The first step is deciding what should be in the device. Looking at your client and their environment to help you determine what vocabulary is needed in the system is one approach, looking at data that gives us word lists of words that are used 80% of the time is yet another and a combination of both is the method we will support. We will talk about vocabulary and planning for transition and growth. Certainly speed, getting this to our client and having them talking as fast as possible is essential. We will talk about a concept that allows you to have the client using the device five minutes after the device comes out of the box. How much of your time do you spend creating vocabulary on the device versus teaching the client?

Client to respond and express themselves? Are their solutions to make this step easier? We have to be able to plan for growth and expansion of their skills form the beginning.

The next question is what support materials are available to assist me in the teaching of the vocabulary that is in the device? We will look at the requirements developing therapy materials puts on the vocabulary organization structure. Utilizing off the shelf teaching materials, such as Super Duper products, makes implementation easier and fun. All vocabulary sets on all devices require teaching and learning for both the staff and the end user. Building on the existing vocabulary as their language expands requires a rule based design. Language follows specific rules that allow for consistency. We will look at some design rules and patterns that will support earlier information.

Curriculum materials used to teach literacy need to be assessable to the AAC user as well. Developing an interface for these materials can be as easy as getting the adapted version or as overwhelming as requiring you the support person by individually developing adaptations. Several companies are partnering together to accomplish this very task. Intellitools, Ablenet and professionals such as Karen Erickson are working to establish materials that will make these products easier.

Preparing that user to transition to the next year’s teacher and class is also an overwhelming responsibility. Having the vocabulary documented will aid in that transition. What other things can we do at the close of every year to prepare us to be ready to start the next year off successfully? We will provide some ideas and strategies that we are using to make this better.

My goal is to provide you with an alternative approach which will ease the burden off the support staff and allow the client to get to using their device faster and more efficiently for years to come.

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