Modelling AAC

This Youtube clip, with the rather unwieldy name of “Communication Practices: Non directive language, engineering environments with Erin” is 45 minutes long, and isn’t as scary as its name sounds.  The term “engineering environments” simply means to set up the environment you’re working in for best outcomes, in this case, modelling AAC.  There are some great practical suggestions there, especially for those just starting out with AAC modelling, when it feels quite overwhelming.  I liked the idea of having a duplicate of the child’s AAC on hand for yourself to use, wherever you may be, whether that’s a laminated set of screen captures attached to a handbag strap, or an iron-on piece of cloth in the nappy bag.

Appreciating having Aspergers

The 5 Top Reasons for Appreciating Having Asperger’s, from How To…Autism blog.  The author talks about the best bits he can thank Aspergers for, and his 25-word recap is:

I’m good at something and appreciated for it, I’m not alone when I’m alone, I’m purposeful and get things done and I’m my own person.

The trick is to learn who you are, apply yourself, find you niche and be comfortable in it.

Auslan resources

Hannah and I have been attending Auslan classes at Deaf Services Qld this term.  I’ve always loved watching people communicating using Auslan- it’s so expressive!  Abi is learning Key Word Sign (which uses Auslan signs, but only signs the key words in each sentence) at school and in speech therapy, and is starting to use a few of the signs herself.  Generally by about an hour and a half into the class, Hannah and I are quite tired from concentrating so hard!  But we are happy with what we have learned, and feel that we are making good progress.  It’s great that we are doing it together, as we can practise at home between classes.  We use Auslan Signbank if we can’t remember the sign, and the pictures in the book aren’t clear enough.

I was looking at something on Youtube tonight, and as I was browsing, I found a clip of Advance Australia Fair in Auslan.  Not only that, there was a tutorial before the song, demonstrating every sign used!  Hannah and I were thrilled with how many signs we recognised.

BrightonSigningChoir, who uploaded that video, has numerous other Auslan clips on their channel, including Happy Birthday (with tutorial), Rainbow Connection, Roar, What a wonderful world, Fireflies, Aussie Jingle Bells, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Santa Claus is coming to town.

We enjoyed them so much, that we began searching on Auslan songs on Youtube.  Here are some more that we found.

Sing a Rainbow is an excellent opportunity to practise our colours, though some of the signs used in this clip differ slightly from those we were taught.  May just be Northern/Southern dialect.

RangaRyan6 has several clear and expressive songs on his channel – Lean on me, What a wonderful world, Imagine, and some nursery rhymes and popular contemporary Christian songs.

Dan Jarvis also has some lovely clips on his channel, including Lean on me, I will always love you, and I have nothing.

There are a couple of songs signed by a little girl called Yu Ri- her expressiveness was fantastic!  She signed Fireflies and Advance Australia Fair.

Mrs Klaproth signed Silent Night slowly so that the signs can be seen easily for practise.

Darren Kirkegard has a great clip of Amazing Grace.

User Liz Eux has a clip of a little girl signing Do you want to build a snowman?

I think Hannah and I may have just found a good option to keep practising our signing over the Christmas holidays!


AAC and other communication

Amanda Hartmann, a Speech-Language Pathologist, has written this article as part of a series of Do’s and Don’ts of AAC.  She recommends respecting multi-modal communication, and avoiding requiring AAC users to use their device every time they wish to communicate.  Just as we might talk, email, text, Facebook message, etc- an AAC user might vocalise, point, sign, gesture etc- and all are different but valid forms of communication.  Her suggestion is to accept the communication as offered, but rather than require the same message through the device, acknowledge the communication, then use the opportunity to model.