Stepping Into AAC: Family Supports for Enhancing Communication

Quick Overview

Stepping into AAC is a collaborative project between the Angelman Syndrome Foundation and PrAACtical AAC. The project aims to provide materials and resources for families interested in expanding their AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) journeys. The materials include actionable activities, videos, and newsletters, and cover key components such as knowledge, technology, skill development, habits, and community building. The project is designed to be accessible for families new to AAC as well as those looking to enhance their existing AAC practices. The materials will be available for free on the PrAACtical AAC and Angelman Syndrome Foundation websites.

Welcome to Stepping into AAC, Family Supports for Enhancing Communication. In this talk, we will introduce you to a collaborative project between the Angelman Syndrome Foundation and PrAACtical AAC. Our goal is to provide families with materials and resources to enhance their AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) journeys and advocate for their children’s growth. We have had the privilege of working with an amazing team, including Rachel Langley, Michaela Ball, and Krista Hadeed Larsen, as well as the support of the Angelman Syndrome Foundation.

Overview of the Project

The project, called Stepping into AAC, is designed to support families in various ways. We understand that everyone has different learning preferences and needs access to different learning opportunities. Therefore, we have identified several key components that support learning around AAC:

  1. Knowledge: We provide opportunities for families to gain knowledge and understand key concepts in early communication and how it is supported through AAC.
  2. Technology: We acknowledge the importance of having access to AAC technology. We have identified materials that give families hands-on opportunities to explore AAC using widely used technology.
  3. Skill Development: We focus on building skills around AAC and providing practical experiences in everyday life.
  4. Habits: We help families integrate AAC skills into their daily routines, making them habits.
  5. Community: We provide resources to help families share information with their child’s team and establish the expectation that robust AAC is necessary for growth.

Materials and Activities

The Stepping into AAC project consists of three tiers of materials: Action Steps, Signposts (videos), and Travelog (newsletters). These materials are designed to provide families with actionable activities, practical examples, and additional resources to support their AAC journey.

Action Steps

Action Steps provide families with five days of actionable things to do with AAC. Each week focuses on different activities related to AAC, such as exploring AAC tools, practicing with core words, and sharing observations. Families can choose to use their existing AAC devices or download communication boards provided in the project.

Signposts (Videos)

The Signposts are a collection of videos that cover various topics related to AAC. These videos range from about a minute and 45 seconds to 12 minutes in length and include interviews with families, demonstrations, and animated explainers. The videos provide practical information, strategies, and insights to support AAC learning.

Travelog (Newsletters)

The Travelog series consists of 20 newsletters, one for each week of the project. These newsletters cover key concepts, frequently asked questions, and featured articles related to AAC. They also provide additional resources and references for further exploration.

100 Days of AAC Journey

The Stepping into AAC project is structured as a 100-day journey divided into 20 weeks. Each week focuses on different components of AAC learning, including technology, knowledge, skill development, habits, and community. The materials are designed to be accessible and practical, allowing families to gradually build their AAC skills and integrate AAC into their daily lives.

Accessing the Materials

The Stepping into AAC materials will be available for free on the PrAACtical AAC and Angelman Syndrome Foundation websites. Families can sign up to receive updates on when the materials will be available by scanning the QR code or using the shortened URL provided in this talk.

We hope that the Stepping into AAC project will provide families with the support and resources they need to enhance communication through AAC. Whether you are new to AAC, looking to reboot your AAC journey, or seeking additional support, we believe that these materials will be valuable in your AAC learning and advocacy. We look forward to walking with you on this Stepping into AAC journey.

Talk details

  • Title: Stepping Into AAC. Family supports for enhancing communication
  • Author(s): Carole Zangari, Tabi Jones-Wohleber
  • Author(s)’ affiliation: Nova Southeastern University; Communication ACCtualized
  • Publication date: 2023-07-07
  • Collection: 2023 ASF Virtual Conference