We had a great evening with our very own Denice Edeal as she shared her expertise in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC).   Most of us only get to work with a handful of clients who use AAC, and rarely is this topic included in our graduate coursework.  We were thrilled to gain some working knowledge of best practices in AAC, goal writing, and functional activities to integrate AAC into therapy sessions.

My top 3 takeaways for the night:

Model model model: Babies hear thousands of words before they speak their first word.  We need to model using their communication system for them throughout the day to help them learn how to use AAC to communicate.

Don’t be the keeper of the words:  When we program devices and develop communication systems we should think about what they want to express, not what we want them to be able to say.

Start with core words: Core words are the 350 most frequent words that we use in everyday conversation.  It’s approximately 80% of what we speak.   Teaching clients to use these words gives them a strong foundation to build on for communication.

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the evening, and thanks to Denice for taking the time to share with us – we are lucky to have you on our team.