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Saturday, March 17, 2012

CSUN 2012: AAC Device Implementation (Part 2 - San Diego Unified AT Team & Audrey Weed)

Continued from Part 1 - with Andrea Newall (read it HERE)

In this March 2, 2012 session, implementation strategies and procedures were shared from three different, public school-based vantages from Andrea Newall (Cajon Valley USD); Anne Callies, Cheryl Waterfield, and Lisa Lafoon (nee Knipmeyer; San Diego USD AT Dept); and Audrey Weed (NCCSE)...

San Diego Unified has rolled out a pilot program in AAC implementation support that utilizes an 8-week model of initial classroom-based support under the direction of one specially trained, full-time SLPA. Very interesting!  Some background - SDUSD has 16,000 special ed students. In this session, representatives from the SDUSD AT Department shared about their process of providing AAC support to 1400 students district-wide that use AAC; 450 of these students use dynamic display AAC devices.

Historically, Assistive Technology (AT) SLPs in SDUSD completed the evaluation, procured the device, and provided initial training and set-up of AAC devices. Due to caseloads and time constraints, additional support could only be provided on an "as needed" basis. When additional support was provided, teams were receptive and excited to incorporate devices resulting in more proficient users and less 'device abandonment.'

What their program looks like:
  • Once AAC device has arrived, support is provided to new AAC users
  • One full-time SLPA, 4 days/week of direct service on-site around the district; one day/week administrative support, record keeping, supervision and other duties
  • 1.5-2 hour school visits once per week for 6-8 consecutive weeks
  • SLPA visits 2-3 students per school day
  • Under the direction of an AT SLP

(Technical training on device operation and programming has already occurred at this point)
AT SUPPORT ACTION PLAN   (download a clean PDF version, HERE

Week 1: (Visit by the AT SLP and SLPA)
·      Meet and greet
·      Get email addresses of staff for weekly updates
·      Discuss and provide AT Support Action Plan
·      Discuss and provide journal for data, progress, & concerns 
   - In a 3-hole report cover; includes Action Plan, Weekly Goals, Implementation Chart, AT Tips and pages for collecting data, progress and concerns
·      Discuss handouts
·      Overview basics of device
·      Assign teacher, classroom staff, and/or peer buddy to assist with charging device at end of each day. Name:_________________________________
·      Discuss possible concerns regarding device
·      Observe student
    - To brainstorm communication needs
·      Determine best times and activities for student to begin using device
·      Determine 3 goals for the week
    - Collaborate with the classroom team to identify reasonable goals. First goals of the week might include a goal for "take it out and keep it turned on and within reach throughout the school day"
·      Set up weekly visits  
   - Different days/times in order to observe a variety of activities, settings, and communication opportunities

SLPA letter to the School Principal - A point of introduction, education and accountability
- Interest, acceptance and implementation of the AAC device may be helped by informing the administration of the presence of an AAC device.  Other team members may take it upon themselves to follow up outside of the direct consultation dates of the AT SLPA.

Week 2:
·      Provide additional training for programming device
·      Discuss any questions staff has regarding device
·      Review last week’s goals and progress  
- What needs do they see in the area of classroom communication, what more does the student need to communicate
·      Determine 3 new goals for the week
·      Demonstrate AT support during classroom activity (if needed)
- Email the team following the site visit to keep everyone in the loop
Week 3:
- Address concerns or questions that have arisen
·      Review programming instructions from previous week
·      Provide additional training, if needed
- Determine additional programming or modifications as needed
·      Review last week’s goals and progress
·      Determine 3 new goals for week (collaboratively; goals may be carried over, as needed)
·      Demonstrate AT support during classroom activity (if needed) 
- Provide a follow-up email to the entire team following the site visit, and include an 'AT Tip of the Week')
·      Always have device CHARGED, TURNED ON and AVAILABLE (Teach student responsibility for doing this; assign peer buddy to assist student if needed.)
·      EXPECT the student to be a communicator.
·      MODEL, MODEL, MODEL using the device—they will learn how to use it by watching you do it first.
·      USE TURN TAKING (“It’s my turn.” (model using device) “Now you do it. Your turn.”)
·      PAUSE and wait for response to interaction (Count to 10 before intervening again.)
·      REQUIRE LANGUAGE by NOT meeting the student’s needs and wants before the student makes those wants and needs known. (Doing this will create communication opportunities for student to use device. Playful obstruction or 'playing dumb' can be useful when coupled with a prompt to "use your device to tell me.")
·      CONTROL REINFORCERS by keeping desired items out of reach and always in your control (put desired items in bin or bag.) HAVE THE STUDENT REQUEST with device before giving item.
·      USE THE DEVICE YOURSELF to communicate with the student.
·      USE CORE VOCABULARY (examples: “I like that.” “I want that.” “I do it.” “I see…” “Look at me/this.”)
·      USE “TELEGRAPHIC” SPEECH use minimal words to convey message (examples: “Need more.” “I go.” “All done.” “Help me.”). The aim is to communicate the message; more complete sentences and phrases can be worked on in the future.
·      THINK ALOUD when having trouble locating vocabulary or using device. Express your frustration by saying something like… “Where is that word?” or “Why isn’t this working?” Doing so teaches students that everyone struggles from time to time with technology.
·      Teach student to use dominant hand and proper pointer finger position when using device.
·      ASK QUESTIONS THAT HAVE NO RIGHT OR WRONG ANSWER:  Also known as open-ended questions. Examples:  What is your favorite…? (animal, food, color etc.) Which one do you like?
Core Vocabulary suggestion: Turn a Yes/No question into a choice-making opportunity with two plastic bins clearly labeled with text and picture cues for THIS and THAT. The verbal prompt could be for choice making or sharing preferences ("Do you want this or that?" "Do you like this one or that one?").
Week 4 through 8:
·      Review last week’s goals and progress
·      Determine 3 new goals for week
·      Demonstrate AT support during classroom activity (if needed) 
Many thanks to Lisa Lafoon, SLPA, for sharing these documents with SCAAC-N! 
Audrey Weed, SLP, is part of the Assistive Tech team at the North Coastal Consortium for Special Education. The NCCSE is located in San Marcos, CA, and provides support, assessment, and education opportunities for local area districts in San Diego's north county communities.  To view the NCCSE's robust list of single- and multiple-day trainings (open to all, and very affordable), visit their website HERE.

Ms. Weed shared some insights into the programming and support software for Satillo's iOS (iPod or iPad) app TouchChat and their ALT-Chat device that uses a similar language system (view their NEW device, on the Android tablet platform, NOVA Chat 7, HERE). The TouchChat Windows editor runs $59 (no Mac version available at present), and allows you to program vocabulary sets without having to keep the user's device for the entire programming process.  
Another valuable service that is available with the iPod app is the iShare service. While 365 days of free iShare access comes with the purchase of the app, my personal opinion is that I will never allow my iShare subscription to lapse ($59/year). With iShare, and a wireless environment, I am able to upload a student's vocabulary set to the iShare cloud, and then download it onto my personal iPad, program away, and then do the reverse to load the vocabulary back onto the student's machine. iShare also works as a very handy and accessible back up, as well as a quick easy way to share a single page to a number of student iPads.

Ms. Weed had a very helpful editing tip to offer:
If you intend to share your programmed Chat vocabulary with both iOS devices, she encourages you to do your programming in the TouchChat Windows Editor (and not in the DesktopChat SE software).  She has found more reliability with the TC Windows Editor, and cautions that the DC SE software may not upload to both platforms. Thank you, Audrey!

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