By Abigail Harris
Have you ever wondered how to teach your staff the importance of aac all while giving them a hands on experience? The SLPs at Boundless were determined to come up with a hands on experience that would provide a lesson on the importance of aac, core words and the use of devices for more language functions than just requesting. We came up with an event known as Donuts & Devices for our staff and it ended up being a huge success!
Step 1: Staff walked into the gym to signs that stated “leave your voice at the door”
Step 2: Each staff member was handed a scenario (and some sort of aac, if applicable) and asked to act the part for the next 45 minutes
• Scenarios included a fictional person’s name, age, and means of communication
• Scenarios ranged from fully independent aac users, to users that devices were dead or forgotten in the classroom, to students with low-tech boards with only fringe etc
Step 3: Staff lined up to order food in a buffet style line. We had a variety of donuts, bagels and cream cheese and juices donated for this event
Step 4: Staff used their assigned communication method to order breakfast
• The SLPs contrived communication opportunities during this step. For example,
▪ If staff asked for a juice, the SLPs would pour only a very tiny bit
▪ If staff pointed to a donut, the SLPs may pretend they thought it was a different donut and provided them with the wrong donut
▪ The SLPs provided them with food without a plate or napkin
Step 5: Staff sat in groups while eating their breakfast and played a variety of games/ activities utilizing their assigned communication method.
• The games/ activities ranged from social dice questions to Zingo
Step 6: Debriefed with staff
• How did the activity make you feel?
• What did you learn from this activity?
• What was the easiest thing about this activity? What was the hardest?
• How did you feel if your device was dead or broken?
• What were some strategies you used if the word was not on your device?
• How did you communicate if you had a board with only fringe items?
The debriefing was the best part of this activity in my opinion. It was very moving to hear from staff how upset they were that they couldn’t communicate because their words were dead or how frustrated they were during the games when they couldn’t communicate because they had a board with only fringe words.
Stories and Strategies fo... - aac, training, strategies, implementation, staff development