Learn AAC

Learn AAC : AAC Resources in 4 Languages!

Monday, April 6, 2020  

Presenter: Amanda Hartmann, Senior Speech Pathologist – AssistiveWare

 Amanda Hartmann is a Speech-Language Pathologist with over 20 years’ experience working in schools and with families, and as a technology consultant. All this has led to a passion for working with children and young adults with disabilities and learning difficulties. She currently splits her time between a busy private practice as an AAC consultant in schools, and with AssistiveWare. She is also the lecturer for Augmentative and Alternative Communication at the University of Queensland and regularly presents workshops and at conferences to share what she knows about AAC and literacy!

Moderator:  Franklin Smith, ISAAC Executive Director

Seminar Description:  There are big differences in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) knowledge between countries. While there are many resources in the English-speaking world, they are often scattered. In many other languages, the limited resources available are outdated. Recognizing that irrespective of what device or AAC solution people use, solid AAC knowledge is vital for success, we decided to develop a solid set of free device-independent resources in four languages.

Throughout 2017 and 2018, AssistiveWare embarked on researching and developing AAC implementation information. The goal was to support the AAC community at large through web-based resources. It involved looking at the current research and exploring many materials and resources in best practices around AAC. We also undertook our own user research with AAC users and their supporters. The end result was over 30 free AAC articles published in 4 languages on the AssistiveWare website.

This presentation shares the process of research and discovery into content relevant to AAC. An overview of knowledge gained in three areas includes: AAC information for all AAC users regardless of the AAC tool they use; information for AAC users that rely on symbol-based AAC systems and articles for AAC users that type to communicate (also know as text-based AAC).

An important part of the development of Learn AAC was the user research.  We conducted interviews with a range of AAC users and their supporters, including users with developmental disabilities and Autism, acquired physical disabilities, aphasia, and traumatic brain injury. The insights and knowledge gained from the group of AAC users changed many assumptions we had made about AAC. It gave us valuable insight to add to our articles. Many articles include AAC user examples and quotes.

The state of play around AAC in non-English speaking countries played a crucial motivation behind developing these materials. Countries that speak French, Spanish, or Dutch have had very few materials on AAC in their languages. Changing knowledge and skills in these countries continues to be a challenge. Since the development of the Learn AAC articles, we have seen articles shared and read widely across numerous countries.

Learn AAC can help anyone in the AAC community, regardless of what AAC system is being used, and regardless of where you are in the AAC journey. See how our AAC community are using these articles to drive change in AAC practice.

Seminar Objectives: Participants will learn: 1. to describe where and how to access AAC materials in 4 language; 2. to identify key articles for supporting different AAC users; 3. to list insights from AAC users that can change our AAC practices.

ASHA Disclosures: Amanda works as a part-time consultant with AssistiveWare.

Resources:

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