Saturday, March 28, 2009

AAC assessments

What should an AAC assessment include? How do I know if my child has had an appropriate assessment. This site at YAACK has a great description of what should be included in an AAC assessment and some links to other sites for protocols and tools for assessments. Go check it out, then share your ideas and experiences. I know some of the hard mistakes with my child's assessment were:

  • positioning and support- they were often running trials with chairs and other equipment that did not support her, so she was wiggling and stimming and not able to access the speech device. 
  • access- it took a long time to narrow her access method to eye gaze. for a long time, they wanted to stick with scanning and head pointing, both labor intensive and frustrating for my kid. 
  • low balling-- the district wanted to stay always with whatever the lowest cost solution was. often these were so unmotivating or so in accessible that they made my kid look less capable. once we got her on the right equipment with the right supports, she took off. 
I want to make this short so you click the link above. YAACK is great, and there is no point me recapitulating their great work here. 

Well, go on ...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

AAC IEP issues and goals

Life here has been so busy, I have not gotten back to my blog in awhile. A couple of great comments about the last post helped me to decide to post my daughter's goals. While every child has specific goals that are relevant to the IEP, there are some common things to keep in mind.

All equipment should be listed on the face sheet of the IEP under Assistive Technology. Here's my kid's list
  • Big Mac switch
  • Step By Step switch with levels
  • talking photo books
  • My Tobii
  • Head wand (for painting)
  • Desk Top PC 
  • soft ware: classroom suite, etc. 

AAC services are a related service and should be listed with other services like speech and OT.
AAC users often have a team of providers. Here is my kid's team:

  • 1:1 aide 5/days a week, 405 minutes a day (with listed competencies: willingness and ability to learn AAC devices and PC systems, skilled communication partner)
  • Occupational therapy 70 minutes per week (30 individual to assist with access and positioning, work at computer.)
  • physical therapy consult (to assist with seating, mobility, trunk stability, positioning and mobility)
  • AAC services 40 mins per week individual, 800 minutes per week group and consult.
Another issue for IEPs is that the goals have to match up to academic goals AND justify the device:

Augmentative and Assistive Communication (AAC) Goals for Student 2008
Due to severe apraxia associated with the diagnosis of Rett Syndrome, Student is non-verbal and is not expected to recover speech functions. Student understands conversational speech appropriate to her age according to her AAC assessment (Buzolich, 2008). Student has limited hand use and cannot use sign language or exchange pictures using her hands although she is able to select icons using her eye gaze. Student is a multi-modal communicator, using vocalizations, gestures, proxemics and aided communication with both no and low- tech devices. She began using an eye gaze accessible high tech device in September of 2008. (See IEP face sheet for equipment list). She needs more aided communication opportunities.

Student’s 2008 goals focus on building two areas of her vocabulary, core (high frequency, low content) vocabulary and thematic (fringe) vocabulary (nouns, new concepts and vocabulary introduced in instructional units). . The vocabulary selected for Student’s core vocabulary is based on clinical research that identified high frequency words used by all people across all contexts. The first one hundred core vocabulary words for school aged youngsters are:

I The To And A It Is
Was That In Of My You Yes
For Have Like Me Do On People
But Know With They What Am Be
Don’t At He We Think One Because
So When No Just About Had Words
Are I’m Not Well How Them It’s
Or Time Would Going Will Use This
There Work Say From Go Got Can
More Need Some Want Years All Help
She Then As Get If Most Now
School Which Who Out Their Actually Could
Device First Word Been Better Different Really
Things Two Did however


Conversational language

Present performance related to annual goal: When given opportunities, Student uses social scripts recorded on her Step-by-Step and selects picture icons using eye gaze to participate in conversations with skilled partners, completing up to six two way communications in sequence. She selects single word icons in response to questions about who, what, when and where.

Goals and objectives
By June 2008, Student will use a core vocabulary of 100 words using her eye-gaze accessible aided communication systems including her high tech device to establish joint attention with her partner by requesting information (asking questions, requesting help) and relaying information about her feelings, the environment, or sharing a personal experience.

Criteria and documentation
80% accuracy
Work samples, Records of AAC specialist’s, teacher’s and aide’s observations

Academic Language
Present performance related to annual goal Student’s academic vocabulary is limited compare to her conversational vocabulary and her receptive language. Student needs exposure to rich and engaging academic content appropriate to her age and eye-gaze accessible speech generating device that will allow her to access all of her vocabulary independently and further develop linguistic competence.

Goals and objectives
By June 2008, Student will use a curricular based vocabulary of 100 words using her eye-gaze accessible aided communication systems including her high tech device to participate in math, Science and English Langauge Arts adapted (regular) curricular with a skilled communication partner. 80%
As measured by
Work samples, Records of AAC specialist’s, teacher’s and aide’s observations

The table below lists some academic vocabulary commonly found in textbooks. Select vocabulary from the list below and add to the list if necessary. Highlight words that Student has mastered.

Academic Vocabulary
© Jim Burke Visit for more information. Teachers may copy for classroom use.

A thorough survey of various textbooks, assignments, content area standards, and examinations yields the following list of words. You cannot expect to succeed on assignments if you do not understand the directions. The words fall into several categories, which are not identified on this sheet: nouns (e.g., What
you read or create); verbs (e.g., What the assignment asks you to do); adjectives (e.g., specific details about what you must do); and adverbs, which provide very important information about how to do the assignment. See the table below for a list of Jim Burke’s academic vocabulary.

1. abbreviate 2. abstract 3. according 4. acronym 5. address
6. affect 7. alter 8. always 9. analogy 10. analysis
11. analyze 12. annotate 13. anticipate 14. application 15. apply
16. approach 17. appropriate 18. approximate 19. argue 20. argument
21. arrange 22. articulate 23. aspects 24. assemble 25. assert
26. assess 27. associate 28. assume 29. assumption 30. audience
31. authentic 32. background 33. body 34. brainstorm 35. brief
36. calculate 37. caption 38. category 39. cause 40. character
41. characteristic 42. characterize 43. chart 44. chronology 45. citation
46. cite 47. claim 48. clarify 49. class 50. clue
51. code 52. coherent 53. common 54. compare 55. compile
56. complement 57. complete 58. compose 59. composition 60. concise
61. conceive 62. conclude 63. conclusion 64. concrete 65. conditions
66. conduct 67. confirm 68. consequence 69. consider 70. consist
71. consistent 72. consistently 73. constant 74. constitutes 75. consult
76. contend 77. context 78. continuum 79. contradict 80. control
81. convert 82. convey 83. copy 84. correlate 85. correspond
86. credible 87. credit 88. criteria 89. critique 90. crucial
91. cumulative 92. debate 93. deduce 94. defend 95. define
96. demand 97. demonstrate 98. depict 99. derive 100. describe
101. detail 102. detect 103. determine 104. develop 105. devise
106. diction 107. differentiate 108. dimension 109. diminish 110. direct
111. discipline 112. discover 113. discriminate 114. discuss 115. distinguish
116. domain 117. draft 118. draw 119. edit 120. effect