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.
Dr. Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite
Thursday, June 23, 2022
Monday, June 6, 2022
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.
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.
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
• '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);
• 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
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
Intro. Who 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.
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
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:
Encourage Students to Co-Construct Definitions
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.
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 . . .
Thursday, April 7, 2022
Descriptive Language Teachingwww.vantatenhove.com).
The descriptive language teaching process teaches and reinforces the use of core language – high frequency words – in the classroom and home throughout the day. It reduces the need to continually chase vocabulary by programming more and more unit-specific words.
Introducing Descriptive Language Teaching
likely to be found on most robust AAC systems.
So, just use this approach, coming up with a simple 'kid-friendly' definition of a more difficult word that is unlikely to be on a student's AAC system. Just modeling these simple definitions is a great way to support students in seeing another value of core vocabulary – giving them access to low frequency words, even if they are not yet competent spellers.
Try this throughout the day. When you come to a word that is difficult (50¢ word), just pick some easy (5¢) words to describe it! Enjoy!!
Remember – Expand the Number of Teachers! This is a great strategy to teach siblings, grandparents, and tutors. It's also a powerful tool for inclusive classrooms. I have had general education teachers rave about this strategy, as it forces their students to really think about the meaning of a word, rather than using rote textbook definitions.