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Listener Questions III: Promoting Literacy for AAC Users, AAC & Echolalia, & More

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This week, Lucas Steuber of Tobii Dynavox returns to help Chris and Rachel answer questions from our listeners!


Key ideas this week include:

🔑 Ideas for supporting an eye gaze user’s as he enters a magnet high school for game and app development.

🔑 Advice for a person whose client uses AAC and appears to display block-like disfluencies.

🔑 Strategies for promoting literacy, including incorporating the use of bluetooth keyboards.


During the Roundtable:

Q: Do you have any recommendations for a system that works as a support with individuals with ASD who are mostly verbal but require verbal/visual cues to use more functional language? I have 2 students that are doing great answering wh questions expanding utterances, and decreasing echolalia while they have access to a device or communication board in therapy. However, they don’t have access to something like that at home or school and its not carrying over. Making visuals for specific activities in therapy won’t cut it for day-to-day language growth. Should I refer for an AAC evaluation?

  • Semantic priming – people with ASD may need a nudge out of that “river”
  • Core word focus – people with ASD who use scripting may not understand the component words in the scripted phrase.
  • Predictive text in AAC – is this creating another type of semantic priming or scripting by suggesting what to input based on what was already said?
  • There needs to be a team meeting in this case about getting the student access to AAC at home and school.

Q: I have a student who will likely be starting high school next year at a magnet program next year at an academy for gaming and mobile apps. He is an eye gaze AAC user with  PRC’s new eye tracking device. What to do to prepare the school team, what devices to buy, what items to purchase?

  • You could look at running Eye Control for Windows 10 or Windows Control by Tobii which can give the user the ability to interact with apps. May not be ideal for gaming.
  • The student could also add an eye gaze peripheral to a consumer windows computer to give him a more fully-featured Windows experience.
  • MIT Media Labs Scratch Project is another option for learning coding, but may not be a good choice for this particular student at this magnet school.

Q: I was was wondering if anyone has experience with a minimally verbal student who uses AAC beginning to display disfluencies (blocks). Disfluencies occur on some, but not all, s-blends and words he previously without stuttering-like behaviors. Concomitant behaviors look similar to what he makes when stimming. He is older than five. 

  • Blocks aren’t developmentally appropriate, but the reason why these behaviors are occurring isn’t exactly clear without seeing the student.
  • You can always model fluency-enhancing strategies for the student with and without the device, even if the cause isn’t clear.
  • Maybe the device could be used to support spoken language fluency.

Q: How about more on AAC and literacy, and the roles SLPs play in making gains in reading and writing in an integrated approach?

  • Let’s incorporate literacy early on and we will see. Students can make amazing gains when we incorporate things like bluetooth keyboarding.
  • Start exposing kids to literacy, letters, sounds because exposure is so important.
  • Janice Light and Karen Erickson have different perspectives on AAC and Literacy – whole-to-part vs part-to-whole. We are almost always taking a whole-to-part approach with AAC and rarely focus mostly on phonics. Some apps like Accessible Literacy Learning have a phonics focus.
  • Reading with children and spending time them is always a good strategy.

We want to know what you think! You can connect with us at our Facebook group Talking with Tech, on Twitter, and Instagram (@talkingwithtech)! Also, please subscribe and post a review for us on iTunes – it helps others to find us!


Hosts: Rachael Madel and Chris Bugaj

Producer: Luke Padgett

Audio Engineer: Michaela Ball

Music: “Ebb and Flow” by Fabian Measures

July 10, 2019

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