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Teaching Social Skills to Individuals Using High-Tech AAC

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One of the most important functions of communication is to achieve social closeness (Light, 1997). At a very young age, typically developing children have the ability to communicate effectively with others beyond their needs and wants and begin to develop social connections. For individuals with complex communication needs (CCN) and use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), these same opportunities to participate socially can be challenging and thus limited. Social participation is critical to the development of social competence – the skills needed to communicate effectively and in socially appropriate ways such as making comments, asking questions and communicating about a variety of topics.

For individuals with CCN, social competence also provides them with a way to control their environment, develop language and literacy skills, and increase communicative opportunities. Thus, it is imperative we focus our attention on goals to teach pragmatic skills and instruct communication partners to actively engage individuals communicatively. Fortunately communication devices now have the ability to incorporate dynamic vocabulary for a range of literacy skills, communicative contexts or interactive purposes.
During this session, we will explore a variety of features in high-tech communication devices to address social communication. We will discuss specific goals targeting social communication as well as both new and foundational strategies for successful teaching. Discussion, case studies and video examples will be utilized to help personalize the goals and strategies. Attendees will leave with access to valuable AAC implementation resources to utilize within their specific clinical settings.


Holly Schneider    
United States


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