Here at AssistiveWare, we have always supported our community with videos and materials so that people can learn how to set up the Proloquo2Go app. But there was something missing - that crucial step of helping people to figure out how to actually use Proloquo2Go day to day, so Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) learners could become successful and independent communicators.
The AssistiveWare Core Word Classroom is designed to fill this space! The classroom offers a large collection of learning resources, which are designed to support implementation of any communication device that is based on core words.
All resources in the Core Word Classroom are developed around fundamental best practices in AAC:
Best Practice #1 - Use core words
Research and best practice continue to show us just how important it is to give AAC learns access to a robust balanced AAC system, complete with core words. Core words are the building blocks of language that make up over 80% of the words we say. When we give access to these words, we are giving AAC learners power and flexibility in their communication. The resources in the Core Word Classroom support a team or family to plan and implement core words into their everyday activities and routines.
Best Practice #2 - Modeling / Aided Language Stimulation
We also know from research and best practice that AAC learners who are learning to communicate with a communication device need to see their system being used by the people around them, in real situations, communicating real messages. The team needs to focus on modeling core words consistently throughout the day. The Core Word Classroom has a big focus on modeling. It provides materials that will make it easier for teams and families to model core words regularly in daily situations and during speech therapy sessions.
Best Practice #3 - Communicate everywhere
Some form of AAC needs to be available everywhere, so that even in environments where a high-tech device can’t go, you can still communicate. The Core Word Classroom provides a free communication board with core words on one side and alphabet on the other. The board is available in English, Spanish, French and Dutch! Download the PDF, print it out and laminate it, and you have a communication lifeline for times when your regular AAC system isn’t on hand.
Communicating everywhere means communicating at home as well as at school. Whilst the Core Word Classroom may sound teacher/student/school focused, we encourage anyone who is supporting a person using AAC to join our classroom. There is learning for everyone! The resources can really be applied to most environments and be used by all.
So what will you find in AssistiveWare’s Core Word Classroom?
- Core Word Planners: These are specific guides that help teams plan for the core words to teach and model in everyday and routine activities. Download Core Word Planner example (PDF)
- Core Word Modeling Guides: These are one page guides to support the team to model core words to match the language levels of AAC learners. Download Core Word Modeling Guide example (PDF)
- Core Word of the Week Planners: These support the team to teach and model a specific core word throughout the day, across all activities. Download Core Word of the Week Planner example (PDF)
- Core Word of the Week Displays: These are printable and easy-to-read so that they can be displayed prominently in the classroom and around the school. The displays help team members to model more core words, all day, everyday! Download Word of the Week Display example (PDF)
- Core Word 5 Minute Fillers: These are one page, quick reference sheets to help you make the most of every opportunity and model core words on the fly. Download Core Word 5 Minute Filler example (PDF)
All of our materials focus on three essential elements: the 3W’s:
- WORDS – the core words that could be used for the activity
- WHYS – the reasons why we communicate (e.g. Needs & Wants, Giving & Getting information, Social Interaction)
- WAYS – the ways we combine words and add word inflections
All our materials will give you the Words, Whys, and Ways. They provide you with a comprehensive plan to build language for your AAC learners - and to move beyond nouns and requesting!
Whilst the resources are mostly PDF documents that you can print out and display or use for planning, you will also find videos, reference lists, information and handouts about AAC and AAC strategies.
How can you access the AssistiveWare Core Word Classroom?
Click here to access the AssistiveWare Core Word Classroom. The beta version of the Core Word Classroom is... free!
We can’t wait to see what you do with the AssistiveWare Core Word Classroom materials! Will you: model more core? teach a core word of the week? fill 5 minutes with core word learning? build more core into your planning? display core words in your classroom? change the life of AAC learners? We hope so!
Acknowledgements: The AssistiveWare Core Word Classroom would not have been possible, if not for those Australian schools who participated in our Pilot Project to road test the materials in their classrooms throughout this year. Their feedback and advice made such a huge difference during the development process of the Core Word Classroom. So thank you to all the teachers and support staff at these schools:
- The Grove Education Centre, South Australia, and the wonderful Leanne Shane.
- Sunshine Special Development School, Victoria, and the resourceful Caitriona Tynan.
- Mackenzie Special School, Queensland.
And special thanks to Jane Farrall, Speech Pathologist and AAC expert, for her support and guidance getting started and throughout the Pilot Project.