As a Regional Consultant for PRC for over 8 years now, some of the most common questions I get asked is how to incorporate parents into the implementation of AAC and the best ways to provide carryover into the home. Parents play a HUGE role in how AAC is perceived and used by a student. And, we can’t underestimate siblings in the home. Their interest can also be a great motivator for the child using a device. Peer modeling from brothers, sisters, cousins, neighbors and friends can be so powerful. Since it’s summer, it’s the perfect time to discuss AAC in the home! Here are some quick ideas to get your fingers moving on the device!
Just have the device out! Often times, the device is forgotten. Just remembering to have it out and in an accessible place in the home is the first step!
Introduce the device to one new activity for a week. Each week add the device to another extra activity. Before long, the device is being used in all home and community activities!
Examples could be:
- Have everyone at the table take a turns finding their favorite food on the device.
- Have everyone take turns finding comments that reflect how they feel about dinner such as: “yum”, “yuk” or “delicious”, etc.
- Have the child using the device call out words with their device they know in a familiar book – either by reading the word or just knowing a memorized line. (We all have that book we’ve read 5,823 times and our child knows by heart, right??)
- Have the child say “turn” on their device when it’s time for the reader to turn the page.
- The reader could model (say the word(s) on the device while the child watches) certain words in the book.
- Allow the child to comment about the book using words like: “blue”, “yellow”, “like”, “good”, “bad”, “more”, “scary”, “happy”, etc.
- Give the child a small list of items that they have to keep track of and “remind” the shopper about throughout the shopping trip.
- If the child uses gestures to point to an item they want, show them some words to say on their device like “want that”, “like”, “cool”, “awesome”, etc.
- Many families grab takeout dinner on practice nights. This is a perfect time to show where the student’s favorite restaurants are and let he/she pick!
- Show the child where some words are that could be used at the event/practice such as: “kick”, “bat”, “ball”, “go”, “run”, “fast”, “slow”, “play”, etc.
Plan family vacation together
- Go over activities that will happen while on vacation and show words like: “go”, “far”, “drive”, “fly”, “see”, “visit”, etc.
- Use those words again while doing the activities on vacation.
- Talk about vacation through pictures after you’re home.
- Planning, doing, and then reminiscing provides lots of repetition of words!
Discover a pen pal
All PRC devices can be connected to a computer via a USB cable. The device will then serve as a keyboard for the student, allowing them to type a letter into a word processing program to print.
- This could be another student using a device. Just ask your local Regional Consultant if you can be connected to someone! Or, ask a coordinator at your school district!
- Grandma and Grandpa would LOVE to receive letters from their grandchild.
- Got cousins? What perfect pen pals they make!
Skype with a family member or friend
Play a board game together as a family
- Teach turn taking and words such as: “my turn”, “your turn”, “all done”, “win”, “lose”, etc.
- Some board games can also teach word groups like: colors, prepositions, numbers, opposites, etc.
Go for a walk around the neighborhood
- Talk about animals that you see in your neighborhood.
- Talk about the colors you can see in the neighborhood in the trees, houses, stop signs, etc.
- Talk about the weather that day.
Cook a meal together
- This is a great time to target words such as: “bake”, “put in”, “mix”, “hot”, “eat”, “taste”, “help”, etc.
Create chalk drawings on the driveway
- Have the child tell the drawer what colors to use and what to draw. It’s fun to see the outcome!
- The drawer can then take a turn and use the device to tell the student what to draw.
JUST HAVE FUN!!
- Having the device out and allowing the child (and parents and siblinngs) the chance to explore words is awesome! Don’t put too much pressure on the situation because learning langauge should be fun and exciting, and IT’S SUMMER!
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