What is Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)?

According to the American Speech Language Hearing Association, there are over 2 million people with significant expressive language impairment who use AAC. AAC users including people with the following disorders; autism, cerebral palsy, dual sensory impairments, genetic syndromes, intellectual disability, multiple disabilities, hearing impairment, disease, stroke, and head injury.

According to the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication Organization. AAC is a set of tools and strategies that an individual uses to solve everyday communicative challenges. Communication can take many forms such as: speech, a shared glance, text, gestures, facial expressions, touch, sign language, symbols, pictures, speech-generating devices, etc. Everyone uses multiple forms of communication, based upon the context and our communication partner. Effective communication occurs when the intent and meaning of one individual is understood by another person. The form is less important than the successful understanding of the message.

The types of AAC includes both low-tech and high tech. Low tech AAC includes symbol charts, PECS,  and communication boards, while high tech AAC include electronic devices such computers, tablets and devices.

The following information provides resources, articles and tips on using AAC:

3 sets of AAC goals for interactive books

5 quick and easy games that build AAC skills

50 simple switch or low tech activities

AAC and Echolalia

AAC for caregivers manual

AAC Quiz

Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems for students with CVI and multiple disabilities 

How to make an AAC symbol library

Language opportunities to use AAC at home

Low-Tech AAC Ideas

Promoting inclusion and participation for people who use AAC

Reducing prompt dependence in AAC learners: 5 things to try

The periodic table of AAC

Using AAC more in the classroom

Using LIST in PODD communication books

What does it take to implement AAC

 

Teaching Visually Impaired Students

According to IDEA’s definition, visually impairment is defined as including blindness means an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness. There are 3 types of blindness including The types of vision impairments are low visual acuity, blindness, and legal blindness (which varies for each country): Low visual acuity, also known as moderate visual impairment, is a visual acuity between 20/70 and 20/400 with your best corrected vision, or a visual field of no more than 20 degrees.

The following articles and links provide resources on teaching students with visual impairments.

Teaching Strategies

The following are articles that provide tips and resources on teaching students with visual impairments.

10 tips for teaching blind or visually impaired students

Classroom strategies for regular education teachers who have students with visual impairments

General tips for teaching visually impaired students

How to teach a blind or visually impaired student

Inclusion teaching: Vision impairment and blindness

Teaching languages to blind and visually impaired students

Teaching strategies for vision impaired students

Teaching the blind and visually impaired

Strategies for helping children with visual impairments to develop listening skills

Visual impairment in the classroom

Teaching Activities

The following links provide activities that can used to teach students with visual impairments.

Adapting materials for visually impaired students

Create a restaurant book with tactile symbols

Durable braille flashcards

Tips and tools for teaching beginning braille skills

 

How to design a neurodiverse workplace – simple tips from inclusivity experts

Source: Telegraph
Written by: Sian Phillips

For a significant minority, including those with ADHD, autism and dyslexia, background noise and bright lighting in the workplace is a problem. But there are ways to improve the working environment

Maybe it’s a colleague’s booming voice, a garish, ill-chosen mural or the persistent pong of garlic from the canteen, but every workplace has its irritating quirks.

While most people can ignore such annoyances, for a significant minority it is impossible and keeping them out of work.

Background noise is commonly a problem for people with dyslexia, ADHD and autism – so-called neurodivergent conditions – while bright lighting can also be a source of stress that can be particularly acute for some people. Click here to read the rest of the story.

 

Smithsonian Exhibit Puts Focus On Accessible Design

Publisher: Disability Scoop
Written by: Shaun Heasley

From clothing to utensils and computers, a new exhibit is showcasing the varied and increasing ways that today’s world is adapting to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities.

The display at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum dubbed “Access+Ability” includes over 70 works that highlight how design is making a broad range of experiences more inclusive.

Divided into three sections — moving, connecting and living — the exhibit features the latest in cane technology, clothing with magnets and other accessibility modifications, eye-controlled speech-generating devices and more innovations.

Click here for the rest of the story

National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities

Click to download a printed version

Through the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000, created the State Councils on Developmental Disabilities which serves to coordinate and provide services for individuals with developmental disabilities. In the United States, there are 56 councils focusing on advocacy, systems change, and capacity building.

Alabama
Executive Director: Elmyra Jones-Banks
Phone: 334-242-3973
www.acdd.org

Alaska
Executive Director: Patrick Reinhart
Phone: 907-269-8990
www.dhss.alaska.gov

American Samoa
Executive Director: Norma Smith
Phone: 684-633-2696

Arizona
Executive Director: Erica McFadden
Phone: 602-542-8977
www.azdes.gov/addpc

Arkansas
Executive Director: Eric Munson
Phone/TDD: 501-682-2897
www.ddcouncil.org 

California
Executive Director: Aaron Carruthers
Phone: 916-322-8481
www.scdd.ca.gov

Colorado
Executive Director: Marcia Tewell
Phone/TDD: 720-941-0176
www.coddc.org

Commonwealth of the
Northern Mariana Islands
Executive Director: Pamela Sablan
Phone: 670-664-7000/1
www.cnmicdd.org

Connecticut
Executive Director: Melissa Marshall
Phone: 860-418-6160
www.ct.gov/ctcdd

Delaware
Executive Director: Pat Maichle
Phone: 302-739-3333
www.ddc.delaware.gov

District of Columbia
Executive Director: Mat McCollough
Phone: 202-724-8612
http://ddc.dc.gov

Florida
Executive Director:Valerie Breen
Phone: 850-488-4180
www.fddc.org

Georgia
Executive Director: Eric Jacobson
Phone: 888-275-4233
www.gcdd.org

Guam
Executive Director: Roseanna Ada
Phone: 671-735-9127
www.gddc.guam.gov

Hawaii
Executive Director: Waynette Cabral
Phone: 808-586-8100
www.hiddc.org

Idaho
Executive Director: Christine Pisani
Phone: 208-334-2178 or
1-800-544-2433
www.icdd.idaho.gov

Illinois
Executive Director: Kim Mercer
Phone: 312-814-2080
www.state.il.us/agency/icdd

Indiana
Executive Director: Christine Dahlberg
Phone: 317-232-7770
www.in.gov/gpcpd

Iowa
Executive Director: Becky Harker
Phone: 800-452-1936
http://iddcouncil.idaction.org

Kansas
Executive Director: Steve Gieber
Phone: 785-296-2608
www.kcdd.org

Kentucky
Executive Director: MaryLee Underwood
Phone: 502-564-7841
www.kyccdd.com

Louisiana
Executive Director: Sandee Winchell
Phone: 225-342-6804
www.laddc.org

Maine
Executive Director: Nancy Cronin
Phone: 207-287-4213
www.maineddc.org

Maryland
Executive Director: Brian Cox
Phone: 410-767-3670
www.md-council.org

Massachusetts
Executive Director: Dan Shannon
Phone: 617-770-7676
www.mass.gov/mddc

Michigan
Executive Director: Vendella Collins
Phone: 517-335-3158
www.michigan.gov/mdch

Minnesota
Executive Director: Colleen Wieck
Phone: 651-296-4018
www.mncdd.org

Mississippi
Executive Director: Charles Hughes
Phone: 601-359-6238
www.mscdd.org

Missouri
Executive Director: Vicky Davidson
Phone: 573-751-8611
www.moddcouncil.org

Montana
Executive Director: Deborah Swingley
Phone: 406-443-4332
Fax: 406-443-4192
www.mtcdd.org

Nebraska
Executive Director: Kristen Larson
Phone: 402-471-2330
www.dhhs.ne.gov/ddplanning

Nevada
Executive Director: Sherry Manning
Phone: 775-684-8619
www.nevadaddcouncil.org

New Hampshire
Executive Director: Isadora Rodriguez-Legendre
Phone: 603-271-3236
www.nhddc.org

New Jersey
Executive Director: Kevin Casey
Phone: 609-292-3745
www.njcdd.org

New Mexico
Executive Director: John Block III
Phone: 505-841-4519
www.nmddpc.com

New York
Executive Director: Sheila Carey
Phone: 518-486-7505
www.ddpc.ny.gov

North Carolina
Executive Director: Chris Egan
Phone/TDD: 919-850-2901
www.nccdd.org

North Dakota
Executive Director: Julie Horntvedt
Phone: 701-328-4847
www.ndscdd.org

Ohio
Executive Director: Carolyn Knight
Phone: 614-466-5205
www.ddc.ohio.gov

Oklahoma
Executive Director: Ann Trudgeon
Phone:  405-521-4984
www.okddc.ok.gov

Oregon
Executive Director: Jaime Daignault
Phone: 503-945-9941
www.ocdd.org

Pennsylvania
Executive Director: Graham Mulholland
Phone: 717-787-6057
www.paddc.org

Puerto Rico
Executive Director: Myrainne Roa
Phone: 787-722-0590
www.cedd.pr.gov/cedd

Rhode Island
Executive Director: Kevin Nerney
Phone: 401-737-1238
www.riddc.org

South Carolina
Executive Director: Valarie Bishop
Phone: 803-734-0465
www.scddc.state.sc.us

South Dakota
Executive Director: Arlene Poncelet
Phone: 605-773-6369
www.dhs.sd.gov/ddc

Tennessee
Executive Director: Wanda Willis
Phone: 615-532-6615
www.tn.gov/cdd

Texas
Executive Director: Beth Stalvey
Phone: 512-437-5432
www.tcdd.texas.gov

Utah
Executive Director: Claire Mantonya
Phone/TDD: 801-533-3965
www.utahddcouncil.org

Vermont
Executive Director: Kirsten Murphy
Phone: 802-828-1310
www.ddc.vermont.gov

Virgin Islands
Executive Director: Yvonne Peterson
Phone: 340-773-2323 Ext. 2137
www.dhs.gov.vi/disabilities

Virginia
Executive Director: Heidi Lawyer
Phone: 804-786-0016
www.vaboard.org

Washington
Executive Director: Ed Holen
Phone: 360-586-3560
www.ddc.wa.gov

West Virginia
Executive Director: Steve Wiseman
Phone: 304-558-0416
www.ddc.wv.gov

Wisconsin
Executive Director: Beth Swedeen
Phone: 608-266-7826
www.wi-bpdd.org

Wyoming
Executive Director: Shannon Buller
Phone: 307-777-7230
www.wgcdd.wyo.gov