For school-aged children who use AAC, it’s important to create a supportive and inclusive environment that promotes communication and learning. Collaboration among all involved, parents, educators, clinicians, and students, is key to the success of AAC in the school setting. This week’s blog post discusses some activities and ideas for the classroom setting as students return to school this fall!
All About Me Book:
Help students create an AAC supported "All About Me" book using symbols and pictures to share information about themselves, their likes and dislikes, their family, and their interests.
Be sure it matches the symbols and pictures from their "About Me" pageset on their AAC device! Here is an example from the CoreWord™ Language System from Forbes AAC:
School Schedule Board:
Design a visual schedule with AAC symbols representing different school activities like math, recess, art, and lunch. This helps students anticipate and understand their daily routine.
Visual schedules use objects, photographs, drawings, written words, and other symbols to prompt a student to complete a sequence of tasks or steps in an activity (ASHA, n.d.). Here's an example:
Make an AAC-powered tour of the classroom, allowing students to explore different areas using AAC vocabulary to provide directions for finding each area and to ask questions about the different areas.
School Supplies Hunt:
Organize an AAC-supported scavenger hunt for school supplies around the classroom. Students can use AAC to request and label the items they find.
Sit in a circle and build a story collaboratively using AAC. Each student contributes a sentence or idea using their AAC devices, creating a unique and engaging story.
Getting to Know You Interviews:
Pair students up and have them conduct AAC-assisted interviews with each other to learn more about their classmates. They can then share interesting facts about their partners with the rest of the class.
AAC Fashion Show:
Encourage students to describe their back-to-school outfits using AAC. They can describe colors, patterns, and accessories using symbols and vocabulary on their devices.
Classroom Rules Collage:
Collaboratively create a visual collage of classroom rules using AAC symbols. This reinforces important rules and expectations in a fun and engaging way.
AAC Vocabulary Hunt:
Give students a list of school-related vocabulary words in AAC symbols. They can search around the classroom to find objects that match each word and use their devices to label them.
Show and Tell with AAC:
Have a show and tell session where students use AAC to share something special they did over the summer or an item that is important to them.
Remember that the key to successful AAC activities is to tailor them to the individual needs and preferences of each student. These activities should be interactive, engaging, and designed to encourage communication and participation. Happy back to school season!
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (n.d.). Augmentative and Alternative Communication (Practice Portal). Retrieved August, 22, 2023, from www.asha.org/Practice-Portal/Professional-Issues/Augmentative-and-Alternative-Communication/.
Beukelman, D. R., & Light, J. C. (2020). Augmentative and alternative communication: Supporting children and adults with complex communication needs (5th ed). Brookes.
Katie Threlkeld, M.S., CCC-SLP, ATP is a licensed, ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist, certified by RESNA as an Assistive Technology Professional, and the Educational Program Developer at Forbes AAC. She has over eight years of experience in AT and AAC assessment and treatment with both the pediatric and adult populations. Katie has presented at the state and national level on AAC topics and she has University teaching experience at the undergraduate and graduate level.