Consider Communication

Opening The Box

Now what? This can be an exciting time for everyone involved in the life of the person getting the AAC device Along with excitement can be a hint of fear, the fear of failure You might also have concerns that…

Consider Changes

As each of us faces a life change or transition, we adjust our needs and behaviors to respond to the changes. When I moved to Philadelphia from the Midwest, I stopped going to shopping malls. It was around the same…

Consider The Gap

We need to consider any gap between what a person can understand and what they can say. Receptive communication is what you can understand. Expressive communication is what you can say. Any gap is an expressive/receptive gap. To review, receptive…

Consider Understanding

As listeners, we go through several steps to understanding what someone says. First, we must be able to perceive the message. In order to perceive, we use our senses. Sensory deficits, such as vision loss or hearing impairment can impact…

Consider Imitation

If you are considering a more robust way to communicate, look at a person’s imitation skills. Imitation skills can help us make some decisions about the direction to go. Speech? Signs? Pictures? AAC? Not all imitation is equal. Some people…

Consider Frustration

Is there a problem with the person’s level of frustration and/or challenging behavior? Sometimes, using a more robust system of communication can help. More effective ways to communicate can reduce frustration and build a stronger connection. If someone cannot communicate,…

The Communication Matrix

The Communication Matrix (CM) has created a free, web-based assessment tool. It helps caregivers understand their client’s communication skills. The CM helps measure the needs of anyone functioning in the early stages of communication. It can be used to support…

Finding the Funds

It can be difficult to figure out how to pay for assistive technology. The same goes for AAC. TechOWL can help people identify different sources of funding. With an assessment by a speech therapist, insurance can pay for AAC. If…

Motor Planning

What is Motor Planning?  A skill that allows us to remember and do the steps in the right order to make a movement happen. It helps us learn motor actions by adjusting You try something new, like riding a bike,…

Choosing Words

What is a Robust Vocabulary? Much of the power of the AAC is the vocabulary selected and the symbols that represent them It must reflect what the user wants to say and not what others want to be said “We…

All the Time & Everywhere

Most of us take talking for granted. Most of us only lose our voice when we’re sick. Most of us can talk unless we have laryngitis or are in a loud place. People who use a tool to communicate need…

Who Does What?

Who is part of the AAC decision-making team? Person needing AAC. They should have as much input as possible in decision making by indicating their needs, goals, and interests. Family & Friends. They are the long term support and advocacy…

Have Courage

It can feel intimidating when you are told that you need to learn a new skill. We’ve all taken new jobs where this was the case. Here are some life hacks (tips) on how everyone learns new skills: Step outside…

Symbols

A symbol can be anything that represents something else. A symbol can be a photo, a line drawing, a word, or even an emoji. When a person uses symbols, they can talk about things not present. Symbols can be words,…

The Business of AAC

For the past 50 years, there have been companies that specialized in developing and selling communication tools. There are companies that specialized in AAC devices. Because of mergers and start-ups, the companies have morphed and changed over the years. Most…

No Worries

Think about the last time you had to give a presentation in class or defend your opinion to your supervisor. I still have occasional nightmares about my first job. Under pressure, we often feel the need to be perfect. We…

Add One More Step

How do we facilitate the expansion of someone’s communication skills? We do this by staying one step ahead of their current abilities. If they use a single word, we can model two to three words. For an AAC user, we…

You Are A Model

An 18-month-old child has been exposed to 4,380 waking hours of oral language. A typical AAC user, exposed to modeling, two times a week for 30 minutes, would take 84 years to have the same level of exposure. Babies hear…

Creating Chances

How can we purposely create space and time for a person to communicate? Share space and attention with the person you support. Take an interest in their favorite topics and activities. Respond to their body language and take a turn…

Share What You Know

Who are the experts on how a person with complex needs communicates? Usually, the experts are the people who are most familiar. When a person communicates without talking, familiar people are critical. Your insight into what the person means is…

College of Direct Support

The College of Direct Support (CDS) is a series of courses. They are meant for workers who support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. CDS helps direct support workers improve their skills. This can improve job performance and reduce staff…

AAC Community

AAC Community is where all of Consider Communication lives. We all have a human right to communicate. We don’t lose that right if we have a disability. People with a disability may have complex communication needs. Whether someone can speak…

The Setting Matters

What a person says can have different meanings depending on the setting. The context provides additional meaning to the conversation. The listener can use the setting to help decode the message. Settings or context include: environment, partner, time of day,…

The “Best” Way to Communicate

Each person intuitively figures out what methods work for them. Our job is to watch carefully and take note. A person might make different gestures for different things. A person might make a certain sound to convey a particular message.…

What Is Working Now?

A person’s functional communication is what is working best for that person right now. Functional Communication… is anything that helps get the point across. can be on purpose (intentional) that means something specific. Examples are someone pointing to request a…

Many Ways to Communicate

When we talk to someone, we use more than just words to send a message. We use our whole bodies. Our facial expressions, gestures, loudness, tone, and even our posture enhance the actual words that we say. We might use…

Communication is a human right.

What are Human Rights? Human rights are those things that we should have because we are alive. Everyone is entitled to these rights. Groups of people decide what they believe to be important. A group of people may be a…

Aided Communication

Aided communication (aided comm) can be simple or complex. It might be as simple as writing with a pencil. It might be as complicated as an eye gaze activated computer. Both the “speaker” and the “listener” need to understand the…

Natural Communication

Natural communication is the way most people exchange information. This happens without any technology, aids or tools. We use our mouth to talk and hands to sign. Gesturing is natural. Facial expressions, body posture, and movements are natural. Even how…

Behavior Communicates.

People’s actions always express something. There are many ways to communicate a message. We all use our behavior to communicate. Have you ever been angry and slammed a door? Been excited and jumped up and down? What about when you…

AAC – Augmentative & Alternative Communication

Assistive Technology for Communication includes many tools and technology. These may be used to help with hearing, speaking, reading, & writing. A big part of AT for Communication is Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). AAC includes all of the ways…

On Purpose Or By Accident

Communicating without meaning to The early form of communication: When newborns cry, they are communicating. We respond by giving them food or by picking them up. Babies don’t cry “on purpose”. Still, crying is how they got what they need…

I Like You.

People who can’t speak can still understand much of what happens around them. They can tell if you connect with, respect, and like them. Everyone wants to spend time with others who genuinely like them. If a person communicates without…

PATF

Pennsylvania’s Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF) can help people with disabilities and older Pennsylvanians get assistive technology. They have the following programs: Low-interest and no-interest financial loans Information and assistance about possible funding resources They also provide financial education and money…

TechOWL Pennsylvania

TechOWL stands for, “Technology for Our Whole Lives.” TechOWL helps people with disabilities explore, find and get the tools and technology they need. Consider Communication is one of many projects under the TechOWL umbrella. TechOWL has partners across Pennsylvania to…

Ready or Not?

Are there certain skills a person needs before starting to learn AAC? We used to think that was true. Sometimes people don’t start AAC because the person needs some basic skills. The team or family might say; “This person… –…

Messages Now

What do we know about communication? Everyone communicates, but not everyone can speak Someone may not speak well enough to meet their needs, but they still communicate If we know exactly how someone communicates, they can be understood What does…

Motivation

What does the person like? • Look at what the person likes to do. • What do they share with you? • What are they interested in, successful at, or seem to have fun with? • What happens if the…

Related Skills

What skills play a role in helping us learn to communicate? • Attending is paying attention. Communication depends on each person noticing and focusing on each other. It is important because we have to focus on others before communication can…

Reasons – Why Communicate?

4 Important Reasons to Communicate Requesting Telling others what we want Making choices Telling others when we need help Controlling our environment. Rejecting or Protesting Escaping from a situation or a demand. Saying “No” Avoiding something we don’t want or…

Making a Connection

The following information is from business and leadership publications. This information is not disability specific. The cool thing is that it pertains to every person – with or without a disability. The average person is exposed to 35,000 messages every…

What is AT?

Technology for most people is ‘generic technology’. People all use some kind of technology or tools. Telephones, door locks, lamps, and computers all are generic technology. ‘Assistive technology’ (AT) are tools used by people with disabilities. AT is often created…