Corner is pleased to have Dr. Katya Hill, Executive Director of the
AAC Institute and ICAN™ Talk Clinics as guest columnist for October
AAC Awareness Month.
WHAT MORE CAN I DO?
October is AAC Awareness month and provides an opportunity
for all of us to ask “What more can I do for children
who need AAC?” Parents’ Corner subscribers may
reflect on this question and then ask “What more can I
do for MY child who needs AAC?” This seems a simple question,
but in the asking has the potential for a profound opportunity to create
better results for the hundreds of sons and daughters of parents on
this group. The answer to this question may create the impact of a better
future for thousands of children by helping their parents become aware
of the principles, evidence, services and resources that make the big
Identifying what more you can do today, depends on where
you are on your journey to support your child reaching their maximum
potential and fullest life experience. For all families who write to
the AAC Institute for suggestions, we first ask questions about the
comprehensive evaluation you child should have received in order to
recommend an AAC intervention. Let’s look at why a comprehensive
evaluation is so critical.
Consider the comprehensive
about AAC technology made before a comprehensive assessment of a child’s
language abilities is not evidence-based practice and certainly not
best practice. The driving principle of recommending AAC interventions
for a child is to build language competence by monitoring gains in vocabulary,
putting words together, using grammar, and using a variety of social
language skills. Children need language to learn, and an AAC system
has to provide for language in order for children to learn to reach
their potential. The focus is language first, technology second! What
information do you have about your child to guide decisions about building
language skills? These data are critical to make a plan for a child
to say what they want to say, and read and write how they are talking
with their AAC system.
language-based goals and objectives: Once parents are
confident with the assessment information, they can start to identify
the services and evidence-based intervention strategies to build language
skills. The principle of language first, technology
the focus on identifying language goals and objectives prior to discussing
how technology can support meeting those goals and objectives. Even
AAC technology is considered by the available primary language components
before other hardware components are discussed. Consequently, the AAC
software is significantly more essential to success then the hardware
that houses the software. How the software represents language and allows
a child to generate language beyond functional communication is the
cornerstone to achieve the desired goals and objectives most parents
seek. Parents who have reached this step may ask also how well they
can talk with the AAC software in order to support their child being
able to talk with the software too.
Parents on the way for their child using language to learn now ask what
more they can do to help other families. Parents realize the importance
of creating a circle of support around their child that can be a magnet
to bring in other parents with children who can benefit from applying
the same AAC principles. The circle you create of professional support
for your child will build the AAC knowledge, skills and experience of
those team members that will carry-over to other children needing AAC
in their work. The circle you create for your child will attract questions
from others in the community, because of the benefits they see from
language-based AAC interventions for your child. Share your experience
and wealth of information! Encourage, advocate, and contribute to building
networks and resources by sharing AAC Institute literature.
On behalf of
the AAC Institute: Over a decade ago, I asked what more
can I do? That question led to the creation of the AAC Institute, a
non-profit organization dedicated to the most effective communication
possible for individuals who cannot speak. Frequently asking that question
has sparked us to create resources and tools to support AAC service
delivery and advocate for change against many barriers to the highest
quality of services and supports. Your contributions and donations have
helped to create our website at www.aacinstitute.org
and help to maintain the following:
Corner and AAC Consumer Net: Monthly columns written from
the perspective of those who use AAC.
2. AAC Institute Self-Study
Program: a variety of free internet-based foundational
3. Language Activity Monitoring (LAM) tools and resources to measure
progress in building language skills using an AAC system.
4. AAC assessment, treatment and funding literature: A variety of download
papers and resources to support decision-making.
5. Facebook: Join us on Facebook for our frequent announcements on what’s
6. ISAAC 2012 – WOW!
The AAC Institute is one of the supporting organizations
working to create the largest international AAC conference next July
28-August 4, 2012 in Pittsburgh, PA. The ISAAC 2012 theme of highest
performance communication – best life experience
is bound to fill you with hope for the future of AAC. Pittsburgh-WOW!
Clinics: Just two years ago, AAC Institute opened the
doors to our first clinic.
Already we have had families from around the world come for up to two
weeks for assessments and/or intensive AAC treatment. Our skilled clinicians
are invited frequently to conduct workshops on our AAC ICAN™ methods
and intervention tools. When we asked in September of 2010 what more
we can do, our answer led to creating our first Once Upon a Story AAC
Camp held last August.
With your support our dedicated staff and volunteers
will be able to ask what more we can do, and continue to create the
resources and provide the services you need to support your child. During
AAC Awareness month, I want you to believe in a future that’s
better than today, because you asked the critical question:
What more can I do?
consider making a donation to the AAC Institute, specifically to help
support the Parents’ Corner or the newly established AAC Service
Support Fund created to help provide financial support to families with
limited means to pay for clinical treatment. Donations are tax deductible
and accepted for any amount by writing a check to:
Attn: Morgan Ball
1401 Forbes Ave., Suite 206
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Join the AAC Institute on Facebook for other updates.
AAC ConsumerNet ----- Check it out!
Your feedback is always valued. email@example.com.
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