July 15, 2016

Memes, Posters and Little Laminated Things…..

Posted in AAC, Aided Language Input, Assistive Technology, Augmentative Alternative Communication, Autism, Core Vocabulary, Presuming Competence at 3:28 PM by kellyvansingel

July 15, 2016

Today I wanted to share of some of my favorite posters and memes from social media sites that relate to supporting AAC users and AAC implementation.  A few months ago, Rachael Langley AAC Specialist, created this fabulous subway style poster of inspiration to hang in the classroom (click here or on the poster image for link to high resolution PNG file from dropbox. Thank you for sharing Rachael!):


I liked this one so much I made an adapted version for my own home (with Rachael’s permission of course!) with PhotoShop and a little kraft paper card stock (click here or on image for link to PDF).


Another poster I love is this “Getting AAC Users COMMUNICATING” AAC Boot Camp chart of do’s and don’t do’s by Lauren S. Enders, MA, CCC –  SLP.  Lauren is an SLP, AAC, AT specialist guru extraordinaire with one of the largest AT / AAC treasure trove pinterest archives ever as blogged about previously here in my series on our love of core vocabulary. It doesn’t matter whether the AAC system is low tech or high tech, there are valuable reminders about the importance of modeling language, presuming competence and giving adequate wait time when in a communicative exchange with an AAC user.
AAC Boot Camp Poster

Along with the boot camp poster, Lauren also adapted the poster as a 4 x 6 card that can be laminated and placed on the back of an AAC users device to remind communication partners of some of the same important fundamentals on the go and in the moment.  Conference organizers handed out over 150 of these laminated cards to attendees at the first annual Michigan AAC conference, now known as the #TalkingAAC conference.  It was also a popular post on the Assistiveware Facebook page.


Facebook posting, tweeting and pinterest sharing of memes is another powerful way to get us all thinking about AAC advocacy and best practices to help build powerful communication skills.  Love this one inspired by wise words from Kate Ahern and found on Lauren Ender’s pinterest board of many AAC memes and posters.  See gallery below for some other favorite AAC memes from Pinterest.


“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11.


July 6, 2016

HumpDay Hop Back….IEP Advocacy

Posted in Assistive Technology, Autism, IEPs at 12:11 PM by kellyvansingel

July 6, 2016

Yesterday I found myself digging on the computer, looking at old files.  I came across a powerpoint I had made for Magdalyn’s IEP team in 2009 as she was finishing up Kindergarten.   It was the first year she ever had access to general education peers since starting special education services.  It made a huge difference in her ability to be flexibile and relate more to other students.

One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give to other parents is that YOU are EQUAL MEMBERS of the IEP TEAM.  No one knows your child better than you.  Often it can be helpful to write down your thoughts about child’s needs, progress, and concerns. Brag. Revisit. Be Proud. Share your ideas.

The U.S. Department of Education says the following about parents as IEP team members:

Parents are key members of the IEP team. They know their child very well and can talk about their child’s strengths and needs as well as their ideas for enhancing their child’s education. They can offer insight into how their child learns, what his or her interests are, and other aspects of the child that only a parent can know. They can listen to what the other team members think their child needs to work on at school and share their suggestions. They can also report on whether the skills the child is learning at school are being used at home.


You don’t have to be a public speaker to create some materials for your child’s IEP team meeting.  Write down everything you would like to be known and be recorded in the document about your child.   It can be copied and pasted into the IEP document and become part of the permanent written record in the legal document.  Bring along a photo of your child and place it on the table so that everyone remembers who the meeting is about:  your child.

Below is the powerpoint I created for Magdalyn’s IEP meeting as she was leaving Kindergarten and entering First Grade.  Included are pictures from babyhood to the current day along with examples of some her academic skills and products of her learning experience.  The final slides include parental input for her needs and also possible IEP goals emphasis.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11.

June 29, 2016

How They Do It….Technology Integration in Gilly’s Life Skills Classroom

Posted in AAC, Aided Language Input, Assistive Technology, Augmentative Alternative Communication, Autism, Instructional Technology, iOS at 11:08 PM by kellyvansingel

June 29, 2016

This blog post is part of a project sequence for my most recent graduate school class:

When I think about how far instructional technology has come just in the past five years, I am so grateful.  Both of my daughters are living with autism.   My oldest is semi-verbal, but uses a lot of mitigated echolalia to communicate in scripts, while my youngest is functionally non-verbal.  Both of them, as most special education students do, rely on technologies, especially assistive technologies to support their daily learning, functioning and communication needs. Both of my daughters attend Life Skills classrooms in our local district, Saline Area Schools. This interview, reflection and summary will focus on the classroom of my daughter, Gillian, who is a user of Augmentative Alternative Communication, or AAC.

Natasha Boysal – Gilly’s Life Skills Teacher

What are some of the ways you daily integrate instructional technologies like the SMART Board into your lesson plans? Or group instruction?


I use the SMART board daily during my emergent literacy lessons. I display the story we are reading and highlight words we are focusing on. I also use the SMART board for our weekly News-2-You lesson. The kids love to come up and answer the questions using the interactive technology. 

Describe how you incorporate iOS technologies or ChromeBooks to help work on IEP goals of individual students?


I use iPad apps for students to practice and maintain skills we have worked on or mastered during direct instruction. I also use the iPad to display worksheets for students to view. Using the iPad allows the students to view the “questions” in a high-tech color format as well as save ink and prep time for me. I also use iPads daily for students to practice their reading and math skills using programs like Raz-Kids, Lexia and Xtra Math.

You also have a blog called “The Resource Teacher.” What inspired you to start your blog and share your resources and create curriculum materials available on Teachers Pay Teachers?

I do have a blog that I wish I could do more with. It is my hope that starting this summer I am able to post more and inspire other teachers and parents. Being a blogger also opens up a whole new networking opportunity. I have been able to meet tons of teachers and bounce ideas off of them. We are a support system for each other and continue to encourage each other.

I started making products for Teachers Pay Teachers when I found myself searching the website for hours trying to find something that would work for my students. Once I started creating materials I was able to tailor them to match my students needs perfectly. Creating resources for my students also makes me more excited about implementing them into my classroom.

You have some AAC users in your classroom.  What are some of the ways you like to integrate the use of the AAC device into accessing the curriculum and participate in the community life of the school building?

PROSLATELife Skills Student and AAC User – Gillian Van Singel

The main focus for my AAC uses is for them to use their device to make requests. Negative or atypical behavior may stem from not being able to communicate. If we focus on expecting our AAC uses to communicate their requests the hope is it will decrease the behaviors.

I also have students use their AAC device to greet peers and staff during normal conversations and while working the Food Cart. Each week I load words onto the AAC device that correspond with our weekly story. The student(s) is able to fully engage in the lesson.

Lin Nichols – Gilly’s Speech Language Pathologist

What are some of the ways you integrate instructional / assistive technologies into your work with students at Heritage?

We use a variety of apps for instruction and practice, and the speech to text feature is great support for intelligibility practice as well as to outline ideas for writing.  I also have several students who use high tech and low tech AAC.  I also create and use QR codes for scavenger hunts, riddles and Q and A games. 

Describe the impact AAC and iOS technology for communication has had on you in recent years and for your students…

The impact has been huge, primarily because it has become so much more accessible, and students don’t have to carry around cumbersome communication boards or devices.  This technology allows me to meet students where they are and provides more avenues for communicating, learning, and demonstrating knowledge than ever before.  

What are you some of your favorite digital resources and/or curriculums to use with your students?

I love the variety of articulation and language skill apps available and use them nearly daily. TouchChat and Proloquo2Go are great for students with limited verbal skills and I also like to use them to help verbal students formulate complete, correct sentences, even when they don’t require the technology for practical communication.  I also love apps by Erik X. Raj, and the Toca Boca apps for language based play.  I also use Between the Lines and other apps for video modeling of social skills.  

Karley Emeott – Gilly’s Paraprofessional

What are some of the ways you see Assistive Technologies / AAC benefiting students that you work with?

Assistive Technologies / AAC benefits students I work with by allowing them to be able to communicate with their peers and other staff members. In general, I’ve found that it is difficult for others to know what to say or how to go about talking to people who can’t respond on their own. By having this kind of technology, it takes down a barrier between my students and other kids or adults. It also allows my students to be able to request things they may need in a positive, effective way.

If you could choose professional development topics relating to instructional / assistive technologies that would be beneficial in your work with students?  What topics or areas would you like to learn more about?

I would like to learn more about how often we should model how to use this technology for our students. Is using their “talker” every now and then appropriate? If so, when are the appropriate times to model?

Reflection & Summary

We, the Saline Area Schools, will equip all students with the knowledge, technological proficiency, and personal skills necessary to succeed in an increasingly complex society. We expect that our students, staff, and the Saline Community will share in these responsibilities. Our ultimate goal is to instill in our students a desire for life-long learning.  

-Mission Statement, Technology Plan 2014-2017, Saline Area Schools.

The staff who support Gillian are taking great advantage of technology resources to support her and the learning of all students.   The classroom is equipped with a SmartBoard for the multisensory presentation and interaction with daily learning opportunities.  Her teacher, Natasha Boysal, not only uses some of her own created materials but also items such as News-2-You and other curriculum from Unique Learning System,

Unique Learning system is an award-winning, online, standards-based set of interactive tools specifically designed for students with special needs to access the general curriculum. Used daily in school districts and classrooms across the country, Unique Learning System provides preschool through transition students with rigorous, standards-based materials specifically designed to meet their instructional needs (https://www.n2y.com/products/unique/).”

The use of iOS devices in instructional technology in recent years has had a tremendous impact on special education and general education classrooms alike.  Staff members use both district devices and personal devices to interact with and support students with Saline’s innovative  BYOD or Bring Your Own Device initiative.  Those who have a personal device are encouraged to use them in the school setting in accordance with the district acceptable use policy which encourages responsible digital citizenship.  Use of iOS devices and ChromeBooks allow students to access curriculum in a collaborative learning environment.  Not only can paper be saved, but use of technology for accessing materials can help differentiate instruction and instructional materials on the fly.

Technology is also assisting ancillary staff in the therapy supports of students who may need speech, occupational therapy or social work services.  Speech Therapist Lin Nichols utilizes apps and technology to individualize therapy sessions and work on individual goals.  In her work with Gillian, the use of AAC technology allows both student and therapist to work efficiently on activities with speech output without the need to carry around binders full of velcro and laminated pictures.  While use of low to mid-tech learning materials may still be used on conjunction with voice output high-tech aac technology, it’s exciting to integrate them all together in supporting students with complex communication needs like Gillian.  Using the best of both older and newer technologies allows students to be supported with a vast array of possible materials.

Not only are teachers and therapists using technology to support students, but also paraprofessionals, especially if the student is an AAC user. Gillian’s primary support staff person, Karley Emeott, uses an ios-based dedicated AAC device to model language for Gillian and also to prompt Gillian’s use when needed to encourage requesting and commenting. The iOS device is locked into guided access to encourage constant availability and sole use of the AAC app. An AAC device, be it high-tech voice output or a low-tech laminated communication board can serve as a common ground or medium of exchange between the communicator and communication partner / listener.  Often the communication partner may be the support staff member, therapist or teacher, but it also can be the student’s same-age peers, resulting in lots of potential for peer to peer interactions.  Sometimes the communication partner or listener may feel they should not use the device, but current research and best practice in the study and practice of AAC says differently.  Aided Language Stimulation is the implementation and teaching strategy of combining spoken language while inputting symbols on an AAC device or communication board during a communicative exchange with an AAC user.   In simpler terms, this is known as modeling.

Modeling is also known as Aided Language Input or Aided Language Stimulation. It is a research-based strategy to help build a strong foundation for AAC use and language learning. In aided language input, when partners (parents, teachers, and therapists) talk with people who use AAC, the partners also use the same AAC system to communicate. This helps teach AAC by example in real-life interactions (http://www.assistiveware.com/support/faq/page/353).

Chris Bugaj SLP and AT Specialist from Loundon County Public Schools created a two minute PowToon video to help explain modeling / aided language stimulation.

How often should we model language for AAC user on their device or system?  It can be helpful to think of modeling on the device in the same way we would think of emphasizing important spoken words and phrases when trying to teach spoken language to typically developing communicators.  If the sensory processing differences and learning challenges of those with complex communication needs means that aided language input can result in the learning of more symbols, words and meanings over time, then modeling on their language system is a great strategy to implement as often as possible.  I love this graphic created by Rachael Langley AAC Specialist that illustrates the importance of  repeated exposure to aided language stimulation for complex communicators on their AAC system– comparing AAC modeled symbol-based language to the spoken language that is modeled for babies.

It can be helpful to think of modeling language at a language level just slightly above the AAC user’s current level of language use.  The AAC Chicks provide several examples in the following short video:

Overall, I am so impressed with the implementation of available instructional technology and assistive technology in Gillian’s LifeSkills classroom.  Staff are dedicated to fully utilizing available resources for both whole class, small group and individual instruction. They also express interest in receiving continual professional development opportunities to help with ongoing implementation. Special thanks to Natasha Boysal, Lin Nichols, and Karley Emeott for their help and participation in the creation of this instructional technology overview.


“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11.

June 27, 2016

Hello Blog….may I present my PREZI….

Posted in AAC, Assistive Technology, Augmentative Alternative Communication, Autism, iOS, Presuming Competence at 9:49 PM by kellyvansingel

June 27, 2016

Hello again blog.  Time for an update.

Since my last post, I have taken a few more online graduate level courses.  In summer 2015, I took AAC for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Using Mobile Technology for Augmentative Communication both as electives from the University of Illinios Chicago Assistive Technology Certificate Program.

In summer 2016, I am taking another course online from Bowling Green State University in preparation for either obtaining the Graduate Certificate in Assistive Technology or maybe a full masters degree.

As part of my latest class, I have discovered Prezi.  I am smitten! As someone who thinks visually, this concept has me thinking of all kinds of ways to use this tool for presenting information.  One assignment was to create a technology resource presentation.  I choose to make a Prezi of a “Few of My Favorite AAC Things…

Screenshot 2016-06-27 at 9.46.24 PM


“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11.

February 8, 2015

For the LOVE of CORE Day 7: Check THIS Pinterest Page

Posted in AAC, Assistive Technology, Augmentative Alternative Communication, Autism, Core Vocabulary, iOS at 6:39 PM by kellyvansingel


February 7, 2014

Do you Pinterest?  Do you use those ‘Pin This’ buttons when browsing the internet?  There is a Pinterest that should be of most interest to you if AAC, Assistive Technology, iOS apps and more ring your bell. With more than 150 boards, 17,000 pins and nearly 25,000 followers, the Pinterest page of Lauren S. Enders MA, CCC-SLP is a treasure trove of quick links to all kinds of important and interesting information for working with AAC and Assistive Technology.   Lauren is a SLP, AAC and AT consultant from Pennsylvania.  I was blessed to have heard her speak at ATIA 2014 for ideas on infusing core vocabulary across the curriculum.



Of course with this current blog series “For the LOVE of CORE”,  take a look at the board called AAC: Vocabulary Selection Supports/Core VocabularyWith over 140 pins of core vocabulary resources, some of my favorites are:

The Language Stealers

The Language Stealers is a short video demonstrating the importance of core words for those who use AAC.


DLM “First 40” words for AAC users

This grid of 40 core vocabulary words from Dynamic Learning Maps is an extension of DLM work in relation to the Common Core Essential Elements and alternative assessment for students with disabilities. The “First 40” is a helpful list to reference and focus on when establishing AAC systems for emergent communicators and when trying to target the modeling and use of more core words in existing AAC systems.  I blogged about “Autism, Special Needs and the Common Core” in a previous post.


SNUG Video

This AssistiveWare training video on Autism and AAC features the work of AAC specialist Joanne Cafiero PhD.   In the video she highlights the SNUG acronym, a ultimate goal for any AAC user:  Spontaneous Novel Utterance Generation.


Keep Calm and Say a lot with Core Words

I love this meme and the resources here!  A great post again from PrAACtical AAC with a yearly round-up of many blog posts to help with core word instruction and implementation.


The pins above are just a snippet of the great resources on Lauren Ender’s Pinterest Page.  Thank you so much Lauren for all of your resources and insights! and keep on pinning!


“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11.

February 6, 2015

For the LOVE of CORE Day 6: See THIS Blog…PrAACtical AAC

Posted in AAC, Aided Language Input, Augmentative Alternative Communication, Autism, Core Vocabulary, Favorite Apps, iOS, Literacy at 2:59 PM by kellyvansingel


February 6, 2014

One of my absolutely favorite blog and web resources is PrAACtical AAC. Created in 2012 by two master professors of speech and language pathology:  Carole Zangari and Robin Parker.  Sadly, Robin Parker passed away in July 2014. But her work lives on in this wonderful blog with and in the “Robin’s Tree of Learning” resource page at CARD which stands for the Center for Autism & Related Disabilities which is based at the University of Miami and Nova Southeastern University.    There are over sixty webinars cataloged here on a variety of autism-related topics, including assistive technology.

Robin TREE

You may have noticed some links to PrAACtical AAC in previous posts.   There are a wealth of resources about the importance of core vocabulary as well as ideas for lesson plans and implementation.  A fabulous resource for helping to implement strategies for the learning, practicing and using of core words all year long are the downloadable resources of A Year of Core Words 2013 and Another Year of Core Words 2014.  Both blog entries contain a downloadable word document complete with grid communication boards and targeted words for each month of the year.  Each grid is a template grid so that any choice of symbol set from your AAC user’s communication system can be used, be it PCS, SymbolStix or otherwise.


There are also some of the monthly grids available complete with symbols in the PrAACtical AAC tools resource page.   Thank you Carole and Robin for the wonderful resources you have created for the AAC and AT community!


“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11.

February 5, 2015

For the LOVE of CORE Day 5: Core Word Sentence Building with Clicker Apps

Posted in AAC, Aided Language Input, Augmentative Alternative Communication, Autism, Core Vocabulary, Favorite Apps, iOS, Literacy at 4:39 PM by kellyvansingel


February 5, 2014

Crick Software out of the UK has been making Clicker software to aid in reading and writing instruction for many years. You can actually try Clicker free for 30 days on PC with a download of their trial version. Writing, Sentence Building and more literacy activities are now available for iOS with their series of apps: Clicker Sentences, Clicker Connect, Clicker Books, and Clicker Docs.

Before the availability of the iOS Apps, we used Clicker 5 at home and at school to write a daily note about what Mags would do each day at school.   It was a very successful way for Mags to understand sentence structure and it provided her with a literacy support of a word and symbol bank to help write her daily note.

I was so excited when Crick started to release their iOS apps.   My favorite for emergent literacy students like Gilly is Clicker Sentences.  It sells for $30.99 on the app store.   Recently, apple has now started giving developers the option of selling several apps together in a bundle.   Clicker Sentences, Clicker Connect, Clicker Books, and Clicker Docs bundled for $89.99 is a good value.   Schools can save even more when purchasing any of the Clicker Apps with the Volume Purchasing Program.

I created a sentence building activity for Gilly with some of her favorite Sesame Street characters.   It incorporates the core words is and a / an into a simple sentence structure about each monster’s color:

Photo Feb 05, 12 24 54 PM

Here is another Clicker Sentences activity using see and a about farm animals.  In this screenshot you can see that a sentence model is also provided on the grid below the writing window.

Photo Feb 05, 12 26 55 PMClicker Sentences allows you to scaffold the difficulty of the writing task by various options for Model Sentence and Word Order.  In Model Sentence for each grid, you can select None, On Grid, In Pop-up or Spoken for the sentence model. In Word Order for each grid, you can select Alphabetical, Random, Sentence Order, or Guided Order for the word buttons.

Photo Feb 05, 4 25 25 PM

Clicker Connect can also be used for emergent sentence writing and can do more complex writing tasks.  Here is an example of a sentence building activity using has and use.

Photo Feb 05, 1 01 18 PM

It is very easy to find and use your own choice of pictures for writing activities in Clicker Apps.    Use the camera to take your own pictures, or use an image search engine such as google to easily find photos for your writing activities. For example, look at the all of the pictures that instantly come up when doing a search for “boy holding ball” via images.google.com:

Photo Feb 05, 12 28 13 PM

You could also pair any of these activities with the student’s dedicated AAC device or second iOS device,  Encourage them to also build the sentences on their device or in their AAC app to match the sentences created in the Clicker app.


“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11.

February 4, 2015

For the LOVE of CORE Day 4: Core Language Lesson Resources from Tobii DynaVox

Posted in AAC, Aided Language Input, Augmentative Alternative Communication, Autism, Core Vocabulary at 2:09 PM by kellyvansingel


February 4, 2014

If you are looking for some ideas and lesson plans for implementing more core words into communication practice, this post is for you.  I will be sharing several resources during the month.  Today’s resource pick is from Tobii DynaVox. The website www.mydynavox.com is full of resources for implementing AAC and encouraging language growth with AAC. They have provided not only one set of core lesson plans, but just released set two. There is a 100+ page PDF lesson guide along with multiple PDF books for each of the targeted core words that are available for FREE (just create a login and password for yourself to access of all the mydynavox.com materials for free).


DynaVox Core Lesson Plan Set 1 covers words:

  •  GO
  • WANT
  • MORE
  • STOP
  • LIKE
  • NOT
  • I
  • YOU
  • IT
  • IS
  • CAN
  • DO

DynaVox Core Lesson Plan 2 covers words:

  • A
  • HAVE
  • HE
  • HELP
  • KNOW
  • THAT
  • THE
  • THIS

For example, here are a few screenshots from the picture story book Go! Go! Go! for the target core word GO:


etc. etc. etc.

*TIP:* for the conserving of paper and for having your core lesson storybooks with you wherever you go, download each PDF and save on the PDF bookshelf in iBooks on your iOS device.   Another possible idea is to present the book big screen style on your classroom projector based whiteboard or smartboard for whole group literacy and core language instruction.  In total there are nearly 70 PDF picture and photo story books in lesson one and lesson two.  This a powerful and robust resource for core word modeling and language instruction in AAC users.

You can also use the scripts and storylines from the PDF storybooks to help create your own customized core word books. Incorporate the AAC user’s favorite TV or cartoon characters, classmates, or family members into the story if that might be more fun and motivating for core word practice  The possibilities are endless.


“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11.

February 3, 2015

For the LOVE of CORE Day 3: Model Model Model

Posted in AAC, Aided Language Input, Augmentative Alternative Communication, Autism, Core Vocabulary at 11:43 AM by kellyvansingel




February 3, 2014

Yesterday I saw this powerful graphic from one my favorite AAC blogs and facebook pages:  Kreed’s World (If you have never ‘met’ this brilliant mom and son duo via social media, you should go and bookmark their blog and like their facebook page right now!).  This meme is magic.


I could not have said it better! So often while interacting with an AAC user the communication partners may be afraid to even touch or get to know the AAC user’s device.  Go ahead and get familiar. Learn the vocabulary. Learn where the buttons, symbols and words are. Make them activate. Make them sound. Make them build phrases. Use the device in a medium of exchange with the AAC user. Take turns talking and building sentences.  Model language for those who are still learning and growing in their building of communication skills. Kreed’s mom has some great AAC tips on her blog. She also said these words of wisdom on facebook about language modeling:


AAC Language modeling by the communication partner can also be known as Aided Language Input, Aided Language Stimulation or Partner Augmented Input.  There are many resources about modeling core language and developing the use of more core language in AAC users that I will share with you in upcoming posts during this month of “For the LOVE of CORE.”  Here also is a short video on Aided Language from One Kids Place in Canada


“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11.

February 2, 2015

For the LOVE of CORE Day 2: That Fringe Might Be My Core

Posted in AAC, Augmentative Alternative Communication, Autism, Core Vocabulary at 10:31 AM by kellyvansingel


February 2, 2014

In the previous post we discussed core vocabulary (common short words that are used frequently and make up about 80% of the words we usually use to communicate with) while lending a slight nod to the other 20% of output known as fringe vocabulary.   For some emergent and early communicators, fringe may be quite core.  Mags and Gilly know and use many nouns, namely– words for things.  Not just any things, but words for favorite things, for preferred things, for needed things to keep them regulated, they know and use those words really well.


For example, consider Larry the Cucumber.  He is a favorite Veggie Tale character of one miss Gilly Van Singel.  Toy bugs and frogs are taking over currently, but there was a time when Larry was EVERYTHING.  When reading For the Love of Larrywe can clearly see that a DynaVox symbol button in quickfires for “LARRY” was not fringy in the least,  it was core.  It was raw, raw core.  Typically, nouns of toys, tv shows, household items, .etc would fall into the fringe vocabulary category, but at this time: not this noun, not this toy.

MrPickleWhen working with emergent and early communicators, just remember that for a time somethings fringe are very much important core and key words for getting one’s point across.  Through our mentoring, modeling, and careful teaching we can increase the AAC user’s use of the more common core words over time.  Communication is so much more than requesting. Tomorrow we look at the powerful strategy of modeling language.


“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11.

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