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Changing systems for individual outcomes

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The attitudes, beliefs and knowledge of communication partners are pivotal in the success story of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). The people around every individual with complex communication needs must believe that everyone has a right to communicate.  We must provide them with a communication system that enables that right. We must believe in their ability to use language and give them a system that enables them to use language. The people around them must believe in their ability to learn language – and we need to implement aided language input and other forms of best practice language/communication teaching and learning to get this started.  Then we once more need to show our positive attitudes and our belief as we attribute meaning to their first communication attempts and then continue to support and encourage them as they move to more and more complex systems. If we “do not have the skills and commitment required to provide supports for AAC system use, abandonment of the system is likely” (Beukelman & Mirenda, 2013).

Communication is never just about the individual – and AAC implementation should never be just about the individual either. Until we work on and with the whole environment, AAC will not be as successful.  This presentation will describe successful AAC implementation for different individuals (and groups of individuals), as well discussing components of successful implementation and discuss factors leading to AAC success or abandonment, and the critical role of the environment and those around the individual play.


Jane Farrall    
Jane Farrall Consulting


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