Are We Missing the Boat in AAC Intervention?

Ferry boat leaving shore

Over the past 30 years of working in this field, I have often had sleepless nights when meeting a student in elementary, middle, or high school who has no or very limited means to communicate in spite of having access to a device or iPad with a communication app. I keep asking myself how it is possible that a student can reach middle or even high school without the ability to express themselves when we have trained teachers and therapists to provide intervention and support? Despite these resources, it still seems rather easy for students with severe communication problems to fall through the cracks.

Although the reasons for these dilemmas are complex, looking at the way in which we formulate IEP goals can be illuminating. IEP goals are often written to reflect outcomes that show the student has learned or gained (that is, variables that are easy to measure, for example, how frequently students respond correctly to certain stimuli or use language structures correctly within context), without due consideration of how what they have learned impact on their daily interactions. Continue reading “Are We Missing the Boat in AAC Intervention?”

What Do We Mean by the Term “Presume Competence”?

Competence: Child drawing

I just read a very thought-provoking discussion between some SLPs on an ASHA discussion forum and thought of sharing my thoughts with you. Frequently in the schools (in case and intervention discussions), we hear about the importance of “presuming competence” of a particular child or individual. As we reflect on this term, however, it quickly becomes clear that there is very little consensus on what this term really means.
Continue reading “What Do We Mean by the Term “Presume Competence”?”