Communication happens all day long. We talk at home, at school, at work, out and about and in the community. How does this look for an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) user? Do they have a way to communicate in all situations?
Sadly, the reality is that often an AAC user does not have the necessary supports in place to be able to use their AAC system in different environments.
Make AAC always available
AAC needs to be available across different environments. Maybe we need cases and straps so that the AAC system can be more portable, to be taken to the different places the AAC user goes. Perhaps we need to create a light-tech/paper-based AAC system to be used across environments. The best chance that AAC can be supported in mixed locations, is to first make sure that AAC is made available.
Working with teams
Getting all the teams on board with AAC is also very important. When all teams know about AAC and how they can support the AAC user, our outcomes are better. What support and training can be done for different teams? Hands on practice of skills such as modeling and good communication partner skills will help teams to support an AAC user better. Practical time to plan and prepare for AAC in everyday activities will also help. Encourage and support all team members to ask questions and ask for help.
Take videos and photos of AAC users using their system in different environments. These videos can shown to other team members to highlight strategies that work, and even examples of things that have not worked. They are also a great way of tracking progress. Videos are a solid teaching tool for AAC users - they provide real examples of AAC in action.
Overcome the Roadblock
Get AAC happening everywhere! Make AAC available and support teams to use it! There is so much to be achieved when we give a voice to AAC users!
With the help of the Learn AAC Guide you can see where you are in establishing AAC for an AAC user. This may help you overcome any roadblocks stopping you from success!