Welcome to Spring!
Welcome to the 2nd quarter newsletter for WI AAC Network. We hope everyone is safe and healthy during this time. We certainly find ourselves in unusual circumstances. We have all had to manage thru being off of school for one to two snow days but did you ever imagine school closing in March as a response to our nation’s health concerns. I owned my device and it went from home to school. I know that the devices some communicators use belong to school and stay there. I hope given the length of time school will be off that all on Wisconsin’s AAC communicators brought the device home with them. It might be the first time the device came home and you are thinking what am I going to do with this device. You thought “No one has ever taught me AAC. What am I going to do?” The Network received emails and messages via Facebook asking for help how they can use the device at home. This issue has ideas of what you can do with your communicators. Keep reaching out to us. Reach out to their speech therapists and check out the manufacturers’ website for help. You have the knowledge and skills needed to teach your own child. Sure you will make mistakes but that is not what your child will remember. They will remember that you took time and taught from your heart. We hope you will find something you can use in this issue.
We are always looking for contributions for the newsletter so if you have a teaching moment, funny story or anything you want to share contact us on Facebook or email.
By Mike and Sue Hipple
Ways to keep up those AAC skills
You might have questions about how to maintain your child’s/student’s AAC skills given the unexpected, abrupt end of the school year. Parents, educators and the online community of websites, bloggers and podcasters join forces to minimize a covid 19 academic slide. A slide is when any student with or without a disability loses knowledge or skills they learned over the past year. This is a big deal for everybody, but when a student who has a communication disability loses knowledge that they learned from the past school year it could be hard to get it back. In math, they might have been working on money and using the calculator. When you are at any stores, please let them count the dollars you need to buy the snack that they hopefully used their communication device to ask for. That way they use their math page plus it shows the clerk their counting skills. Right now the kids cannot go to the grocery store but let’s think outside to the box. Line up some groceries, tag with prices and have them decide what to put in the bags using their communication device to choose items and adding as they go. I remember watching the Price is Right and guess the value of the showcase. There is a website Priceisright.com that shows you clip of all the games. Maybe they worked hard on telling time. Have their favorite TV shows times on the refrigerator. It’s their job to tell you when it is time to watch their favorite TV show. Summer time is always a great time to read books with your child. During story time, ask them questions about the story, or do shared reading. Record a phrase from the story on their device and have them play it when you get to that page in story. Don’t forget about history, geography, social studies, P.E., and therapies. You could ask questions like which way is north, why is the 4th of July important. My family helped me write down ideas and words. We would build them into sentences and make the sentences into a play/story. What a gift it would be to record the play on your phone and send it off to your child’s grandparents or other family. Always remember to have fun with learning.
By Mike and Sue Hipple
This area of the newsletter is for AAC Communicators, their family members to connect with mentors. If your child would benefit from interacting with a more advanced communicator or if you would like to mentor a younger communicator email us. We will try to make the connection. If you are interested in being a mentor you can email me at email@example.com and please tell us about yourself, what device you use and you skill level and why you want to be a mentor. We will try our best to match AAC communicators that live in the same area. If you are a professional that knows someone who would be a great mentor please email me. Wisconsin AAC Network has a zoom account now, so I would be happy to zoom into your living room to connect with your communicator. If interested email me.
AAC at the Grocery Store
Now before you think I am absolutely crazy for suggesting you trade the quiet, solitude of your shopping trip to the grocery store and replace it with a learning opportunity for you and your child just hear me out. The grocery store is a great place to work on communication skills and word recognition. Where else do you have every fruit and vegetable on their screen available to hold up than at the grocery store? There are so many games you could play. You could hold up an apple and have them find it on their screen. You could let them use their device and chose what fruits or vegetables to put in the cart. Every aisle will have foods represented on their device. Their favorite cereal going into the cart after they use their device to ask for it would make any AAC parent proud. Do not forget to take the time to model by using their device to tell them what aisle you are going to next. An added bonus is the AAC awareness you and your child exhibit for all the other customers. Mike and I would have children and adults stop us to ask how he made the computer talk. It may take some effort on your part but the AAC outing to the grocery store has a lot to offer.
Mike Hipple of Wisconsin AAC Network is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Wisconsin AAC Network town hall checking in with you
Time: Apr 25, 2020 02:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 955 0408 4744
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Meeting ID: 955 0408 4744
Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/aIg6wu135
New Virtual Learning Opportunity for Families!
The Waisman Center AAC Programs is creating a new online learning opportunity for families to help support their family members who use AAC. We’re looking for feedback on what you’d like to learn so we can help best support families.
If you get a chance, please take the linked survey (it should take <5 minutes to complete): https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSerOidiisXwUkQJ2uUUhNKY8mdo0jFJOa7kLbJDuJBS1GEJCQ/viewform?usp=sf_link
Family members and consumers are also invited to join the current ECHO AAC virtual learning platform. ECHO AAC meets every other Wednesday from 3:45-5:00 CST via Zoom. Individuals across Wisconsin join the call and receive 30 minutes of didactic content on AAC followed by 45 minutes of collaborative case-based problem-solving. ECHO AAC welcomes providers, family members and consumers to participate. If you’re interested in learning more about ECHO AAC you can read more here: https://ucedd.waisman.wisc.edu/echo-aac/
Resources for Families during COVID19
The Waisman Center has created a library of resources to help families in explaining the current health situation to children with disabilities. There are also wonderful tips and tools for staying healthy. Please check out the following link for AAC tools, fun activities, policy changes, and more: https://www.waisman.wisc.edu/covid-19/