AAC Professionals and Trainning
Discover AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) and train as a professional.
In this section we provide you information about how professionals are trained in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)
Augmentative and Alternative Communication is a set of strategies and tools used by people with complex communication needs to improve their daily lives. Augmentative and Alternative Communication is a set of strategies and tools that either complement(Augmentative) or replace (Alternative) the natural speech of people who, due to different circumstances, have oral communication difficulties.
It is important to understand that:
- Communication occurs or can occur, in a variety of ways. When someone has complex needs or their speech is difficult to understand, it is crucial that they have access to a personalized, suitable and well-designed communication system that can be used wherever and with whomever. This set of strategies and technology is referred to as an individual’s AAC System.
- The individual employs or should employ, a variety of tools and strategies to adjust to and satisfy their particular situation. This may include language, vocalization, voice generators, computers, tablets, smartphones, pen and paper, communication books, boards, sign language, gestures, facial expressions, and eye gaze, among others.
- AAC strategies can help an individual take an active part in roles such as interpersonal interaction, learning, education, social activities, employment, volunteering or care.
Communication is effective when the intention and meaning of the transmitted message is understood by another person or people. The way in which it is emitted is not as important as being understood. Putting it another way: the strategy and technology used is the way it is done, and understanding is the final result. Strategy and technology are not as important, but they are essential in achieving the goal.
How is AAC established? Attitudes and skills needed to be a good AAC professional
Attitudes and skills needed to be a good AAC professional.
When carrying out the following strategies it is convenient to frequently speak to the user. Without bombarding them, try sharing impressions, interpreting their expressions, looking at what they look at and telling them what you see. And, above all, talking about what they seem interested in.
- Pay attention to any kind of communicative intention. Agitation, change in muscle tone, facial expression or the emission of sounds, among other things, must be interpreted as signs of communication. Therefore, you should let them know that you have understood and act accordingly.
- The child must be correctly positioned.
- Adapt your language to theirs, without resorting to absurdities.
- Clearly pronounce the words you want them to learn to use.
- Let them experiment in order to understand and then communicate.
- You should usually wait for them to take the initiative.
- Start generating a fixed gesture or sound strategy to indicate yes or no. It is important that the child can do it without much complexity.
- Start pointing out what they want. Pointing behaviour is fundamental.
- Organise the environment in such a way as to multiply the moments or situations in which the child feels motivated to communicate.
For example: place toys inaccessibly but visibly; increase choice as much as possible (offer two types of snacks, two toys, two places, etc.).
- Use a pictogram for the environment.
How do you prepare an AAC therapy session?
- Talk to someone else with just one communicator.
- Design the activity with a communication script.
- Prepare the communicator beforehand based on the activity or environment.
- Model the activity.
- All strategies are possible if you organise the communicator to give a voice to the game.
- Use soap bubbles, Play-Doh, photographs, stories or playing hide-and-seek; these are always successful strategies.
- Using suitable and adapted vocabulary.
- Offering communication opportunities in all environments.
- Providing the best AAC tools.
- Adapting the methodology to the user.
- Having the family participate (most communication opportunities arise within the family environment).
- The communicator must always accompany the user, have a voice output and be used throughout the environment to support learning.
What is the learning curve?
Developed together with the world’s top professionals in Education and Augmentative and Alternative Communication, this graphic enables you to progress in a guided and intuitive way. No matter the type of access, whether it be through touch, push-buttons, or one’s gaze (eye-tracking).
Due to it being developed alongside world-renowned professionals in education and assistive technology, it permits professionals and users to advance in a guided yet intuitive way, from a natural interaction with their computer, passing through precise access, and finishing with inclusive labor.
Here is what happens in each phase
In the initial stage, the user will not have conscious interaction with the device. They will only look at the computer screen, where images are reproduced that will help with visual stimulation and the ocular monitoring of the figures that appear.
To ensure that this stage is successfully completed, we use the Inclusive Games application to check the user’s gaze points and visual path. It’s an essential tool for professional diagnosis.
In this stage there is a conscious interaction with the device, the user discovers that their ocular and tactile movements correspond with the movements displayed on the screen. In this way we understand the true power of autonomous decisions and control that the SAAC contributes towards.
In this stage the student will have conscious interaction with the device and discover that their ocular movements correspond to the movement on the screen, triggering concrete facts (which will be pleasant and fun). Above all, however, it will help you understand Irisbond in a simple and playful way.
The first step in controlling the computer with a gaze is to make the user understand that when looking at the screen, merely looking has results. In other words: when the user looks at the screen, something exciting happens.
After successfully passing the previous steps, the user should now recognise the device and its function. Now you must teach them their communicative value by assessing their competences, abilities, cognitive level, etc.
Choose the type of communicator and the number of pictograms it uses. It is preferable to start with the simplest communicator and gradually discover new pictograms with the user.
The communicator will grow with the child, without losing its initial image or changing its functions. The communication panels will gradually increase and will be personalised by adjusting the pictograms to the skills and needs of the end-user.
Access and interaction through one’s gaze are already being internalized in our day-to-day and we can do any activity with our eyes. The user’s motivation and joyfulness are essential because technology helps now with previous limits that were unthinkable.
With access to the computer and the Internet, we can carry out any type of activity.