Mike, a student from Summerland Secondary, recently completed a Board / Authority Authorized AAC course and is now an effective and efficient communicator.
In 2007, a SET-BC committee developed a comprehensive Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Device Curriculum which was intended to be the basis from which BC school districts could develop a BAA course. The course would enable students to have the option of receiving high school credit for their AAC skill development and was approved for 4 credits towards graduation by the Okanagan-Skaha school district.
Mike’s school team, Glenda Mason (SLP), Sue Richert (resource teacher) and Christie Young (EA) worked with him on the linear course for approximately 120 class hours during the school year. They agreed to work on Mike’s individualized goals to a mastery level rather than determine course completion based on semester dates. In the end, Mike took one and a half school years to complete the course.
Christie worked with Mike during one class period each term on the systematic, structured lessons that had been outlined by Glenda. As Glenda could only visit, at most, once per week, the structured nature of the course allowed Mike to continue to practice his skills from week to week. Glenda was kept up-to-date on his skill development and needs through email communication.
Mike’s communication and device skills improved notably over the year and a half. Although he had prior experience using his Vantage, his typical sentences were only three to four words in length. He seldom initiated conversations and was slow to respond, having difficulties knowing what to say and how to locate vocabulary. By the end of the course, his sentences were quickly formulated and averaged seven to eight words, ranging up to thirteen.
Mike learned the contour of a conversation to keep an interaction flowing, including initiating, making comments, asking questions, checking for listener understanding and wrapping up. He also took responsibility for his communication device and was eager to show off his skills to others.
Thanks to his teams’ hard work and dedication, and his school district’s recognition of the value of the AAC course, Mike is now able to talk his way into adulthood!
For more information on the AAC Course Curriculum and how it came to be a Board / Authority Authorized course, please visit AAC: Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Device Curriculum in the SET-BC Learning Centre.