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How AAC Has Helped Aisley

Written by Emily Peterson

Happy AAC Awareness Month! AAC stands for Augmentative and Alternative Communication. It is the use of a variety of strategies, systems, and devices that aid in communication. I am a believer in early intervention and have witnessed incredible results from providing the right tools, such as AAC, to help individuals reach their full potential. I was fortunate to attend the El Dorado Charter SELPA - Inspiration To Action Symposium 2023 back in January. The keynote speakers for the event were the MOD squad - three young adults who gave their presentation using an AAC for voice output. These three incredible individuals are non speaking, yet AAC has allowed them to have a voice, share their experience, and advocate for others. (follow them @modsquad4access)

Many individuals, including my daughter, with Cornelia de Lange Syndrome are nonverbal. We have exposed Aisley to American Sign Langauge and in speech therapy explored PECS - Picture Exchange Communication System®. When Aisley never progressed with either system of language I felt it was time to advocate for an AAC device in hopes for more engagement and success to assist Aisley’s communication.

In the spring, at the end of Aisleys first year in preschool, she received an AAC device through S.E.L.P.A.(Special Education Local Plan Areas). After participating in a webinar on AAC through the CdLS foundation I felt validated for advocating for this early on in her education. One of Aisley’s speech therapists gave me a sense of relief when she told me just to use the device to model language rather than the pressure for Aisley to engage and press the correct word/image. This advice has made navigating the new app (she’s using Go Talk Now on an iPAD) and device a lot less stressful.

Aisley has had this AAC device now for about 5 months. We continue to model using the device to express needs, wants, and actions. We have added pages to show daily routines and favorite activities. It is a work in progress but we celebrate each time Aisley presses the button to go to school, take a bath, or watch her favorite youTube channel with Ms. Rachel. As a former teacher and as an Extra Lucky Mama I believe advocating for any and all opportunities to help a child thrive is imperative.

You can follow Aisley and Emily's journey here!


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