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Dr. Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Unleash Your Creativity - Handout!

 Unleash Your Creativity – The Handout!!


Brenda Del Monte & I did a very fun prezzie at CTG - the last in a series.  I promised to post the handout quickly on this blog but . . . well . . . um . . . I forgot!  Anyway, here it is!  Enjoy!

Unleash Your Creativity



Thursday, June 23, 2022

Comments Are Cool – AAC Fun!

What?   Krista Howard and I are working on a series of short books to support teachers, therapists, and families who are supporting individuals who use AAC.  These books are free to anyone, and have been  'published' at:  www.tarheelreader.org.   One of these books is titled Comments Are Cool.



Why?   These books are intended to painlessly support partners in helping learners:
Understand why this skill – being an active listener by commenting on events – is important.  (See Light and Binger, 1988, and Soto and Zangari, 2009 for more information).  It is helpful for both the teaching partners and the students who use AAC to understand why we are working on these goals.  Having cognitive clarity about goals helps people understand what we are doing, and what it will help them accomplish.  These goals are shared through 'advice from Krista' speech bubbles, such as those shown below.
  


Practice the skills we are sharing.  Students get an opportunity to actually try out the skill of commenting through visual prompts, such as those shown here.  In each case, the learner gets to practice, based on the image and the prompt. 


Examples of the skills we are sharing.  Following each image, we give two examples of possible comments.  The first is very simple (typically only one word), while the second is more sophisticated (longer, and with less frequent words).  Using multiple examples serves two purposes:

1) Demonstrates that a range of compliments are appropriate, and helps learners not to get 'stuck' with one specific example.

2) Models sample comments for students at different levels of AAC use.

Have Fun!  So, what are you waiting for?  Start commenting!

References:

Erickson, K. and Koppenhaver, D.  (2020).  Comprehensive Literacy for All:  Teaching Students with Significant Disabilities How to Read and Write.  Baltimore:  Paul H. Brookes Publishing Company.

Light, J. and Binger, C.  (1988).  Building Communicative Competence with Individuals Who Use Augmentative and Alternative Communication.  Baltimore:  Paul H. Brookes Publishing Company.

Soto, G. and Zangari, C.  (2009).  Practically Speaking:  Language, Literacy, and Academic Development for Students with AAC Needs.  Baltimore:  Paul H. Brookes Publishing Company.












Monday, June 6, 2022

Questions and Compliments – AAC Fun!

 What?  Krista Howard and I are working on a series of books to support teachers, therapists, and families who are supporting individuals who use AAC.  The books shown are free to anyone, and have been 'published' at www.tarheelreader.com.


Compliments Count Link


Why?  These books are intended to painlessly support partners in helping students:

Understand why these skills – giving compliments or asking partner-focused questions – are important and powerful (See Light and Binger, 1988, and Soto & Zangari, 2009 for more information).  It is helpful for both teaching partners and individuals who use AAC to understand why we are working on these goals.  Having cognitive clarity about goals helps people understand what we are doing, and what it will help them accomplish.  These goals are shared through 'advice from Krista' speech bubbles, such as those shown below:


        


Practice the skills we are sharing.  Students get an opportunity to try the skills of complimenting and asking partner-focused questions through visual prompts, such as those shown here.  In each case, the learner gets to practice, based on the image and the prompt.


Examples of the skills we are sharing.  Following each image, we give two examples of possible compliments / questions.  This demonstrates that a range of compliments or questions are appropriate, and helps learners not to get 'stuck' with one specific sample.


Have Fun!  So, what are you waiting for?  Start complimenting!  Start asking partner-focused questions!




References:

Light, J. & Binger, C. (1998). Building Communication Competence with Individuals

Who Use Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Baltimore: Paul H.

Brookes Publishing Company.


Soto, G. and Zangari, Carole. (2009). Practically Speaking: Language, literacy, &

academic development for students with AAC needs. Baltimore, MD: Paul H.

Brookes Publishing Company.

   

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Tagging On for AAC!

What Is Tagging On?   'Tagging On' provides a powerful response to questions.  It just means reflecting the language of the question in your response.  For example, if asked:

• 'Will you go to the conference?' you might respond "Yes, I will.'

• 'Did you hear from Tanisha?' you might answer 'No, I didn't.'

• 'Do you have money for popcorn?' you might answer 'Yes, I do.'


Why Teach Tagging On?   'Tagging On' provides a powerful response to questions.  It just means reflecting the language of the question in your response.  For example, if asked:

‘Tagging on’ can support people who use AAC in the following ways: 

• Show that the individual is listening (by using the language of the question); 

• Demonstrate clear and powerful communication (showing the partner that this individual understands the questions, and has good communication skills); 

• More socially interactive than simply using a stark ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ 

• Provide a quick ‘placeholder’ while you think of a more extensive answer (e.g., for ‘b’ above, you might add “It looks great with your eyes.”)


More Info.  More information is available on the Tagging On tip.  

Download Tip # 2 for 2021 from www.aacintervention.com 






Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Flip Their Minds – Flip the Script!

 What Does It Mean to 'Flip the Script'?

I use the term to refer to using a personalized strategy (e.g., humor, fun voices, topic setters, and introduction strategy) to quickly break down barriers or misconceptions that others might have – especially new communication partners.


Why Is It Important?   

People who use AAC are constantly being underestimated by unfamiliar communication partners, and sometimes even people who know them.  Many individuals actively use strategies that help to create a paradigm shift – flipping the script – so that partners communicate on a more equal basis.


Where Can I Get More Information?


Funny you should ask!  Tip # 1 for 2021 at www.aacintervention.com covers this exact topic.  go there and download the full tip.  While this might seem really obvious, people who use AAC can get metacognitive about creating strategies that will quickly enhance their communication success.  Here is a link to the 2021 tips.








Monday, April 11, 2022

WUGS!

IntroWho remembers your first class in psycholinguistics?  Or maybe that language acquisition class?  I remember being fascinated by wugs, and learning about the Wug Test.  But maybe you missed out on that experience?  Well, read on!


What Is a Wug? 
A 'wug' is an imaginary creature (see image) created by psycholinguist Jean Berko Gleason as part of 'The Wug Test.  Young children were presented with a fanciful creature or activity with a made-up (but plausible-sounding) pseudoword.  They were used to assess children's growing awareness of morphology (e.g., plurals, verb tenses, possessives).  and also helped determine current language skills for students with disabilities who were able to speak.  
This was a fun test to give, and most students found it fun to take.  


So How Else Can We Use Wugs?  Many activities we do include encouraging students to make a guess, and create a word, then decide if it's a 'real' word.  For example,  when working on word wall words, we might use a key word (e.g., hug or bug), and choose letters to try to find words that rhyme with it.  Some students are hesitant to make guesses, in case they get it 'wrong.'  I realized that when I call the non-words 'wugs' – instead of labeling them as wrong – students are far more likely to take risks and suggest letters to try.  Note that I use a question mark for wugs, instead of an X.  So, have fun deciding if words are 'real' words or wugs!!




Friday, April 8, 2022

Student-Constructed Definitions for Vocabulary Password

 What Is Vocabulary Password?

It's a fun game to help all students – but especially students who use AAC – learn how to use simple words (e.g., core words) to give and understand definitions of complex words that might not be on their communication devices.  For more examples, see the related blogposts:

https://aacgirls.blogspot.com/2020/05/aac-password-great-game-to-support.htm

http://aacgirls.blogspot.com/2022/04/descriptive-language-teaching-intro.html

Encourage Students to Co-Construct Definitions

After you've modeled the descriptive teaching method for many complex words (e.g., simplifying 'circumference' as GOING ALL AROUND A CIRCLE), it's time to have students begin co-constructing definitions.  Here is an example of a co-constructed definition of a pirate, done by a team of students using AAC systems.  All words in CAPS were shared on devices, and words in BOLD were provided by students.  

Play Password, Using the Student-Created Definitions

Wait a day or two, then assess students.  Read their definitions to them, and show four images
from the story / unit, and have them determine which image matches the definition.  You can do this with slideshows (PowerPoint, Keynote, Slides), as shown on the left.



You could also play this light tech (printing out actual images), or by using an online game
such as Open the Box Quiz from Wordwall:  https://wordwall.net/ as shown on the right.  Whatever approach you pick, have fun and keep learning!!


And remember . .  .