Getting On Board
AAC Implementation in Sea to Sky
Signal Hill Elementary gives every child support and acceptance. When Jolene received a SET-BC loan for an iPad with the TD Snap AAC app, Signal Hill’s SLP, Cleo Donnelly, focused not only on helping her to use her talker, but also on building strong school support.
An important aspect of learning how to use AAC is to have friends and family model AAC. Alison Hahn, classroom teacher, Ms. Jodie, CEA, and Cleo collaborated to teach Jolene’s entire class about AAC and communication with symbols. They gave every student a low-tech communication board based on the TD Snap homepage. They were curious about the mix of concrete and abstract symbols. One strategy was for students to use the low-tech board to model AAC by pointing to core words when speaking with their classmates. The whole class participated in Word of the Week and other activities that involved building blocks of language and parts of speech. Students also learned about the difference between core and fringe words. In one activity, each student wrote a list of their personal school fringe, practiced spelling, and drew their own symbols.
Cleo also helped Jolene learn TD Snap through kinesthetic-tactile experiences. Cleo cut out the symbols from the homepage and created a matching puzzle. This strategy helped Jolene develop the motor pathway for finding words.
Finally, it was important for the school to provide communication supports in all environments. The iPad may not be practical in the rain or out in the bright sun. Thus, installing playground communication boards ensured that AAC was always accessible. Cleo worked hard to design a custom board while collaborating with SLP colleagues across the province, notably Debra Woodland from Vancouver Island. This playground board has the added benefit of expanding every child’s communication options. For example, learners new to English or those upset or hurt can point to a symbol to express themselves. As more students inadvertently point to the words, modeling on the playground board, Jolene will continue to improve her communication with her talker.
Given so many opportunities to see AAC in use, we expect Jolene to continue to grow and thrive at Signal Hill Elementary.
Tools & Technologies