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Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Connecting Young Kids (YAACK)

Table of Contents

What's new?

How to get started
What is augmentative and alternative communication (AAC)?
When does a child need AAC?
Risk factors for a communication impairment
Learned helplessness
Normal speech and language development
Does AAC impede natural speech?—and other fears
Multimodal communication
A historical perspective on AAC
Where to get help
Contacting an organization for services and support
Organizations supporting children under three
Organizations supporting children three and older
Organizations supporting children and adults
Finding an AAC specialist
The AAC team—the most important component
A competent team leader is essential
Stress and dissension within the team
Forging an effective AAC team
If there are no AAC experts on the team
If the team is just not working...
Legal assistance
Finding answers to specific AAC questions
On-line discussion groups
Other Internet resources

Choosing an AAC system
The comprehensive AAC assessment
The child’s communication needs/goals
Two approaches: Developmental and ecological
The ecological approach: Focusing on participation
The ecological inventory
The McGill Action Planning System (MAPS)
Personal futures planning
The child’s strengths and abilities
General tips in assessing strengths and abilities
External obstacles
Access barriers and opportunity barriers
Specific assessment questions
Cognitive abilities
Intentionality, means-end, causality, and symbols
Motor abilities
Sensory functioning
Behavioral issues
Current and potential obstacles
Aids and adaptations
The assessment and the AAC team
The assessment as an opportunity for team consolidation
Arena assessments
When family and professionals disagree
Issues of importance to families
Solutions to family-professional differences
Selecting the right AAC system
Guidelines in selecting an AAC system
High tech versus no or low tech
AAC devices and systems
The main categories of AAC
Aided vs. unaided systems
Issues with different devices and systems
Issues with symbol systems
Minspeak vs. Dynamic Display
Facilitated Communication
Specific products
Hardware and software
Switches and other types of input
Types of symbol systems
Obtaining an AAC device
Funding information
Borrowing or purchasing a used device

General tips on teaching
Who teaches: parents or teachers
Find those "teachable moments"
Teach in natural settings
Learning should be fun
Fun activities
What to teach first
Infants and toddlers
The preschool- or school-aged child
Advancing communicative competence
The first goal: Intentional communication
The scripted routine
The Van Dijk method: Nurturance and movement
The Early Communication Process
Visually cued instruction
Milieu teaching
Applied Behavior Analysis
Basic communicative functions
When a child chooses "incorrectly"
Making choices
Getting attention
Conversational skills
Conversational control vs. conversational efficiency
Initiating interactions
Topic-setting strategies
Maintaining a conversation
Teaching sentence structure
Teaching AAC-related skills
Teaching a child to enjoy social encounters
Teaching symbols
Start with objects as symbols
Communicating with pictures
Communicating with sign language
Direct selection and scanning techniques
Row-column scanning
Scholastic endeavors
Specific teaching techniques
Naturalistic teaching methods
General naturalistic techniques
Simultaneous communication
Milieu teaching
Activities and routines as teaching tools
Teaching intentionality with routines
Interrupted behavior chains
Using simple AAC devices in routines
Prompting and prompt-free strategies
Prompts given by another person
Prompts designed into the AAC
Fading prompts
Prompt-free and verbal prompt-free strategies
Direct instruction
Using peers in interventions
Children with specific disabilities
Children with motor impairments
Eye gaze techniques
Children with cognitive disabilities
Children with autism or autistic-like behaviors
Children with sensory disabilities
Children with severe behavioral issues
Children with apraxia
Teaching different modes of AAC
Speech and vocalization
Communication boards and VOCAs
Vocabulary selection strategies
Organizing vocabulary for speed
Programming VOCAs

YAACK: AAC Connecting Young Kids
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