I don't know about you all, but I have found it challenging to plan the right teletherapy activities to do with my student's at younger developmental stages who also have difficulty interacting with the screen for "remote control" activities. I've been thinking more and more outside of that 2-D Zoom space, using traditional "3-D" play activities with these students, and I'm finding they are really loving them! I had a blast this week playing dress-up with a few of my favorite friends and building core language throughout the session. These "people games" (pulling out my inner Hanen training) really engaged my kids and provided an opportunity for me to model a play activity that could be easily adapted by their families during everyday moments.
Armed with my handy dandy AAC Word Map™ for Dress-Up play, some simple costume items I borrowed from my sons' costume bin (ssssh! don't' tell them!), and a whole lot of therapeutic use of self, we had a blast and the engagement was awesome! Here's a peak of my session with a sweet little guy developing his pre-symbolic communication and learning to follow aided language models. We're working together to build his engagement, his reciprocity with multiple modes of communication, and of course, his language learning with AAC. In this clip, I'm modeling on an adapted PODD book I created in Google Slides as I emphasize each word verbally with slow speech rate and intonation (melody) changes. The student's parent is following along with his PODD (same as mine) as she learns to navigate to provide aided language modeling herself. You can see the muddy nature of modeling with AAC in this clip which I love! It isn't perfect, and that is important for everyone to see, especially new AAC professionals and families. Heads up: The video is a bit shaky, courtesy of my steady-cam style hook up with my smart phone, but I hope you'll enjoy it and find some ideas to carry into your own sessions (tele or non) and home programs.
AAC Word Maps™
If you want some core word inspiration to carry into everyday activities, check out our AAC Word Maps™ in the Tools section of the AACcessible site. You can get this AAC Word Map™ for Dress Up in the Pretend Play Bundle here. I created these resources based on the evidence-based AAC practice of taking an ecological (environmental) inventory and utilizing developmental word lists. It is super handy having two little kids running around my house too; they are a great reminder to keep typical language development in mind for AAC users and are sure to show me what they want to do and talk about during these fun frailly moments. Our AA Word Maps™ give you as a communication partner a starting point for core vocabulary that can be easily integrated into everyday activities, and you can take it from their, tailoring it to each child's interests, motivations, and skills.