ASF Communication Partner Support Pilot Project Update
The ASF Communication Partner Support Pilot Project aims to enhance the communication abilities of individuals with Angelman Syndrome through Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). The project involved over 50 volunteers and a Facebook group for sharing experiences. Findings revealed that AAC requires linguistic, social, operational, and strategic competencies. Future plans include partnering with PrAACtical AAC to provide credible information for educators and speech pathologists, with materials translated for different countries and languages. AAC can be introduced at any age and can provide alternative communication options. The project will continue to work towards its goal of launching in spring 2021.
This talk provides an update on the ASF Communication Partner Support Pilot Project, as discussed in a scientific talk by Erin Sheldon and Tabi Jones-Wohleber. The project aims to support individuals with Angelman Syndrome in their communication abilities.
The pilot project focused on providing families with information, developing skills, selecting tools, and building habits related to Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). AAC is a tool that can help children with Angelman Syndrome communicate effectively. The project involved over 50 volunteers who met weekly and had one-on-one chats with Tabi, a speech therapist with experience in Angelman Syndrome. Additionally, a Facebook group was created for sharing stories and experiences.
Findings and Lessons Learned
Through the pilot project, it was observed that children with Angelman Syndrome face communication challenges but also possess strengths in various communication functions, such as advocating for wants and needs, refusing or complaining, social closeness, sharing information, commenting, and asking questions. AAC was found to require linguistic, social, operational, and strategic competencies. Lessons learned from the project include the importance of support for the entire team, the challenge of choosing an AAC system, and the value of community.
The speakers plan to launch a new version of the project in the spring, partnering with PrAACtical AAC to provide credible information for educators and speech pathologists. The project aims to be a comprehensive source of information on AAC for families, educators, and speech pathologists. Materials will be translated and localized for different countries and languages. The project will include webinars, PDFs, graphics, self-reflection guides, and facilitator checklists. Volunteers will be needed to review and provide feedback on the materials.
Importance of AAC
AAC can be introduced from a young age and is never too late to start. It can be used as an alternative to challenging behaviors and can attribute meaning to behavior while providing alternative communication options. Families can join the AssistiveWare family group on Facebook for resources on AAC. Expert guidance on AAC and challenging behaviors can be sought from professionals like Mary Louise Bertram and Kate Ahern.
The ASF Communication Partner Support Pilot Project aims to make AAC more accessible and provide different ways to learn and implement AAC. Families are encouraged to offer grace to themselves and reach out for help when needed. AAC stands for Augmentative and Alternative Communication and includes symbol-based tools for communication. Families can print low-tech AAC resources from the provided link. The project will continue to work towards its goal of launching in spring 2021, providing valuable resources and support for individuals with Angelman Syndrome and their families.
- Title: ASF Communication Partner Support Pilot Project Update
- Author(s): Erin Sheldon, Tabi Jones-Wohleber
- Author(s)’ affiliation: AssistiveWare; Frederick County Public Schools
- Publication date: 2020-08-10
- Collection: 2020 ASF Virtualpalooza