AAC as an Intervention to Anxiety and Challenging Behaviors
Kate Ahern and Siobhan Sargent presented on the use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) as an intervention for anxiety and challenging behaviors. They emphasized the importance of offering communication to teach it, modeling communication, and rewarding communication. They shared personal experiences and examples of using AAC to support individuals with anxiety and challenging behaviors. They also discussed the use of social stories, visual supports, and self-talk to help individuals regulate their emotions and communicate their needs. The presenters highlighted the need for constant access to AAC and the importance of supporting the communication rights of individuals using AAC. They concluded by encouraging the audience to participate in a modeling contest on Facebook.
In this talk, we will be discussing augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) as an intervention for anxiety and challenging behaviors. We will share our experiences working with individuals with Angelman Syndrome and how AAC has helped them communicate their needs and reduce anxiety. We will also provide tips and strategies for teaching communication and using AAC as an intervention.
Communication as an Intervention
Communication is essential for individuals with anxiety and challenging behaviors. It allows them to express their needs, fears, and frustrations, reducing the likelihood of engaging in negative behaviors. However, in order to teach communication, we must offer it and model it consistently. We also need to teach vocabulary and language skills and reward communication to make it more beneficial than engaging in challenging behaviors.
Teaching communication requires immersion, modeling, and support. Immersion means providing constant access to AAC devices and ensuring they are always available and charged. Modeling involves using AAC devices to demonstrate communication and language skills. Support is crucial in providing guidance and resources to help individuals learn and use AAC effectively.
Using AAC for Anxiety and Challenging Behaviors
AAC can be a powerful tool for individuals with anxiety and challenging behaviors. By using AAC, individuals can express their anxieties, fears, and frustrations, reducing the need for negative behaviors. AAC can also be used to teach self-talk and self-regulation, allowing individuals to talk themselves through their anxieties and calm themselves down.
Strategies for Using AAC as an Intervention
- Use clear and understandable language, and slow down your speech to ensure comprehension.
- Provide visual supports, such as aided language displays, to enhance understanding and modeling.
- Consider individual processing time and adjust communication accordingly.
- Create social stories and videos to help individuals understand and navigate anxiety-provoking situations.
- Start with small exposures and gradually increase exposure to anxiety-inducing situations.
- Rehearse and repeat behaviors to reinforce communication and reduce anxiety.
The authors share their personal experiences working with individuals with Angelman Syndrome and using AAC as an intervention for anxiety and challenging behaviors. They discuss the importance of immersion, stimulation, and support in teaching communication and reducing anxiety. They also highlight the progress made by individuals who have been able to express their needs and anxieties through AAC.
AAC can be a powerful intervention for individuals with anxiety and challenging behaviors. By providing constant access to communication devices, modeling language skills, and offering support, individuals can learn to express their needs and reduce anxiety. It is important to individualize AAC strategies and provide ongoing support to ensure success.
- Title: AAC as an intervention to anxiety and challenging behaviors
- Author(s): Kate Ahern, Shibvon Sargent
- Author(s)’ affiliation: None
- Publication date: 2017-12-24
- Collection: 2017 FAST Educational Summit