Learning how to use an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device can take a lot of time and effort to learn and use functionally in daily life. Whether you have an iPad with apps like LAMP Words for Life or dedicated devices like the Accent 1000, learning the vocabulary shouldn't just be drill and practice. It should be fun, age-appropriate, and motivating. In therapy, we might read stories or play games, but sometimes it's fun to add in some of the person's talents as well as yours. A little known fact about me is that I'm about 3/4 of a clown. I can juggle. I can make balloon animals. I can ride a unicycle. I can't dress like a clown. Not yet. I do have a clown nose. Somehow my procrastination in graduate school turned into some fun talents. I knew that learning how to juggle would pay off. Anyways, I work with a young man who is very talented at spinning things. He can spin basketballs. He can spin books. He can spin records. Actually, he can spin just about anything. He is quite talented. He reminds me of one of those plate spinner people that keep multiple plates spinning at the same time on top of poles consecutively.
How does this equate to using AAC and speech therapy? Well, it's fun and engaging to show others your talents. People love to see amazing things. People love to talk about amazing things. My kids love watching Dude Perfect on YouTube. These guys make videos about amazing feats. We love talking about seeing amazing things. I thought that it would be fun to talk about things that we can do (and can't do). Speech therapy brain, turn on! Bring on core vocabulary!
Here's how to do this activity:
To learn more about AAC therapy ideas, visit www.aaclanguagelab.com.
Ryan is the owner of RK Speech and Technology LLC in Perrysburg, Ohio. He is licensed in Ohio and Michigan. Ryan has been an active member of the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) since 2003.