Therapy Spotlight: Communication with AAC
Written by: Carissa Speelman, M.A. CCC-SLP
Evan came to Leaps and Bounds with extremely limited ability to communicate. He was able to do some sign language and minimal approximations of words, but had an extremely difficult time communicating. He began speech and language therapy to focus on increasing his vocabulary through sign language, combining signs into shorter phrases, and imitating short partial words. Our focus was helping him develop skills to improve his ability to communicate his wants and needs.
In Spring 2017, Evan was making progress, but still became very frustrated at his difficulty in being able to communicate with those around him. It was discovered that Evan was able to type. Not just type, but he was able to type in full sentences. He was able to communicate through typing more effectively than he had ever been able to before. Speech and language therapy has shifted to focus on working with him on his ability to communicate his wants and needs, protest appropriately, comment on a given situation, answer questions, ask questions, and greet others.
Evan has been working hard to communicate with others using his typing skills on an app called Proloquo2Go. He has also been working to generalize these skills to other apps such as the Notes app. He has been able to tell therapists which activities he would like to do during the session, what he thinks about the new foods he’s tried, and how he’s feeling that day.
His mother reports that “Evan has progressed and continues to communicate better using his iPad. He is more open to try new things and has a willingness to learn. She also reports that “he is able to express his feelings, wants, needs, and talk things out more now that he has his tablet to communicate. He is less frustrated and has learned to be more independent.”
According to everyonecommunicates.org, “When a person cannot speak or otherwise communicate clearly and effectively, other people may mistakenly think that s/he does not comprehend or is unable to learn to communicate and make decisions. With access to a communication device and training to use it (and training for their communication partners), many people with speech impairments can communicate without speaking. They can resume, maintain, or gain for the first time the ability to express themselves in conversation with others and to make choices and decisions. They can demonstrate their understanding of their life and circumstances. They can further develop their communication skills, their thinking, and their ability to relate to others, which are critical foundations for development throughout life.”
Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) has given Evan a voice. It has allowed him to express himself in ways he never could before. In his mother’s words, he “has shown so much more of his world with communication.”
If you think your child might be able to benefit from the use of an augmentative and alternative communication device, we would be happy to set up a free consultation to answer questions and discuss the process.
Please contact Leaps and Bounds by calling 636-928-LEAP(5327) or emailing email@example.com for more information.