AAC for Preschoolers
Today I would like to continue my post discussion from last
week. So far, only one SLP has responded to my inquiry about using an iPad
with children ages 3-5 years old. Now, I do realize that we are less than a
week away from both Christmas and Hanukkah, so maybe therapists are much busier
than usual! However, I am also wondering if there are not as many therapists
using iPads and other devices with preschool aged children as I had thought?
If the latter is true, is this due to a lack of resources? A
lack of funding? A lack of knowledge? In my own situation, funding has become
an issue over recent years; therefore, our personal AAC supply is limited.
Instead of housing a variety of devices that may or may not be appropriate for
the children in our current classrooms, we instead have a "lending library" so
to speak available through our county and the process is as follows:
I, as the SLP, fill out a three-page form about the child,
their strengths and weaknesses, and a fairly thorough description of what their
educational plan currently looks like. Included with this form is a copy of
their most recent testing and evaluation report, as well as their most recent
All of this information is then sent to our assistive
technology representative for our county, who fortunately for us also happens
to be a speech language pathologist. She then reviews all the information,
contacts me, and we set up a time to meet and discuss the child's individual
needs and what device we think may be most appropriate for him or her at the
In addition, a meeting is planned with the family and entire
team so that we can discuss the family's goals for their child's communication
and share our recommendations for what the child can/should use as a speaking
Once the device is delivered to our school (or I can go pick
it up, whichever is more convenient), if necessary, I meet again with our
representative so that she can train me on that particular device. At that point,
the clock begins!
We (meaning the child and I) have approximately 6 or 8
weeks, depending on the device and the regulations set by the county, to use
this device within the school setting. Only under special circumstances are
children permitted to bring their communication device home, for the obvious
reasons that in the past, they have often been returned damaged or programming
has been undone, etc.
During our 6-8 week time period, I am required to keep data
on the child's ability to use the device and track performance and progress. At
the end of our allotted time, we meet again as a team to discuss whether or not
we would like to re-reserve the device or try something different and possibly
better suited for the child. Here is our process in a nutshell. What is yours?
Do you find it effective? Please share how AAC needs are addressed in your