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Speech Generating Device | Picture Exchange Communication System | Symbolic Language Systems
Physically Restructuring Classroom and Living Space | Social Stories | Visual Strategies
ALTERNATIVE-AUGMENTATIVE COMMUNICATION (AAC) is the use of materials, techniques and equipment to compensate for expressive communication limitations individuals may exhibit, and provision of varied methods that allow an individual to be successful in the communication process.Each AAC method is tailored for the communicators based on their cognitive level, physical abilities, academic needs and communication settings.
The following are the three most commonly used methods of AAC:
SPEECH GENERATING DEVICE (SGD)
SGDs are electronic equipment with speech output capabilities, that may be programmed, and offer the individual with increased communication possibilities. There are two types of SGDs. Systems designed for the single use of speech output are considered dedicated systems. The second type of SGD is a computer system that may be used for a variety of functions, including that of speech output.
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PICTURE EXCHANGE COMMUNICATION SYSTEM (PECS)
PECS is an augmentative communication system designed to facilitate quick, effective, functional messages. It is a concrete visual-based program that encourages communication. Although speech emerges with some individuals and verbalizations are indirectly encouraged, PECS is not specifically designed to teach speech. Its primary objective is to establish an understanding about the purpose and method of communication exchanges, and to facilitate communication by providing the opportunity to relay messages through pictures.
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SYMBOLIC LANGUAGE SYSTEM
CoDeS define symbolic language systems as any method of communication that utilizes an action or material, assigns specific messages to it, and relies upon it consistently to relay meaning to the listener. A symbolic language system provides a consistent and easy-to-interpret method of relaying messages when a verbal message cannot be presented intelligibly. Pictures of items or places, labels of products, objects, gestures, and vocalizations are most commonly used to depict representations of desired messages.
CoDeS staff specializes in providing exemplary AAC service, combining their expertise of more than 40 years of experience.
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PHYSICALLY RESTRUCTURING CLASSROOM AND LIVING SPACE
Physically structuring the environment is a strategy which increases the likelihood that an individual’s appropriate behavior will increase and inappropriate behaviors will dissipate, if the setting is designed effectively. Visual supports, such as displayed schedules, choice boards, or work stations are tools that may reduce seeming non-compliance, disruptions, or tantrums frequently displayed by individuals with autism or other pervasive developmental disorders, because they supply information, communicate expectations, and offer predictability.
Whether at school or at home, a well-designed room has designated areas for particular tasks, with defined borders. Materials are easily accessible, and the location where they are to be used is clearly identified. All individuals have their own workstations, desks, cubbies/lockers, or places informing where they are to be, what they are to do, how much there is, and what comes next. Regardless of the setting, by engineering the physical environment, parents, teachers, SLPs, and others may assist children with exceptional needs by enhancing their learning and functional experiences.
CoDeS staff is available for home and classroom re-design.
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A Social Story is a relatively short, detailed, written description highlighting what to expect and what is expected in social situations. These stories assist individuals who display incompetence during social settings, by providing accurate information about those situations that individuals may find difficult or confusing. Providing these detailed descriptions prepare individuals to better manage social circumstances and reduce anxiety, by offering suggestions for appropriate responses.
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Visual strategies provide information and tools allowing individuals to comprehend the instructions and communication of others. Parents, teachers, Speech Language Pathologists, and other interventionists often employ visual strategies to support and improve a child’s receptive language, ultimately improving expressive language, learning, behavior problems, and social skills, as well. While visual strategies enhance involvement, participation, and comprehension of individuals with autism, the tools may be equally successful for those with other diagnoses. Others who may benefit include those with pervasive developmental disorders (PDD), cognitive delays, and preschoolers among others.
Visual strategies may consist of schedules, calendars, work systems, social stories, task organizers, checklists, choice boards, miniature objects, photographs, and symbols or icons. Because each strategy is visible to the individual, as are other naturally occurring supports such as gestures, body language, facial expressions and objects in the environment, the ability to look upon the support increases comprehension, particularly if auditory processing difficulties exist, as with many children with autism or other PDD that affect the ability to learn or communicate.
Disruptive behaviors displayed by an individual with autism or other PDDs may occur when the child does not know the answers to the following questions:
Visual supports not only help children answer these questions, but also, they equip them with information they need to communicate, realize expectations, socialize, comprehend, and manage behavior. The tools are as valuable to individuals with disabilities as they are to the adults who educate and care for them.
CoDeS offers superior Visual Support management.
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The Calm by Design Collection is a comprehensive tool kit for managing stress, gaining tranquility, facilitating a sense of calm, maintaining focus, and getting the job done.
Appropriate for school-aged children with autism or anxiety, teens receiving counseling, residents of rehabilitation facilities, or patients with mental illness, among others.
Valuable in the home to achieve relaxation or in the office to de-stress quickly. Satisfies sensory needs through vision, touch, hearing, and smell.
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Calm Collection brochure
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Complete How-to Guide
Written by Carol S. Spears & Vicki L. Turner
The Definitive Guide to Alternative Augmentative Communication
and Learning Supports
at Home and School
Click to purchase eBook or paperback edition