Practically Speaking: Language, Literacy, and Academic Development for Students with AAC Needs / Edition 1

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When K-12 students use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), what can SLPs and educators do to ensure the best academic and social outcomes? They'll find out in this accessible guidebook-every professional's key to helping students develop the language and literacy skills that lead to higher academic achievement and positive peer relationships. A must-have guide for educators and SLPs who provide communication support, this book answers pressing questions about working with students who use AAC and helps teachers skillfully meet student needs while satisfying the demands of their curriculum. Pre-service and in-service educators and the SLPs who work with them will learn to collaborate effectively to improve outcomes for students who use AAC determine student needs through effective, ongoing reading, writing, and language assessments develop IEPs based on each child's language, communication, and literacy goals help students move beyond emergent literacy and develop the skills research identifies as the keys to reading success meet IDEA requirements by adapting the general curriculum so all students participate and achieve support students' successful use of various AAC technologies, such as communication boards, word prediction software, and speech generating devices supplement classroom instruction with visual and oral scaffolding supports for students with AAC needs promote positive social relationships and friendships between students who use AAC and their peers To provide students who use AAC with the best support, readers will get clear descriptions of instructional techniques, guidelines for curriculum adaptations, and practical tools and visual aids such as model intervention plans, task analysis forms, and charts of sample accommodations. Balancing practical strategies with up-to-date research, this book unlocks language and literacy skills for children who use AAC and lays the groundwork for long-term

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Well organized, highly researched, and focused on accessing curriculum ... a good source for college students and seasoned professionals."
Jeff SIgafoos

"A wealth of evidence-based, yet highly practical strategies for promoting the social inclusion and academic achievement of students who require AAC. A better professional resource could not be found."
AAC expert, University of Cologne - Stefanie Sachse
"A must read for anyone who strives for the best education for students with AAC needs."
Department Chair, Volusia Adaptive Assistive Technology Team, Volusia County Schools, Florida - Susan R. McCloskey
"A wealth of research-based strategies and information to facilitate the successful implementation of AAC devices in the school setting . . . truly practical."
Augmentative Communication News
"We needed a book like this and now we have it ... Makes existing research more accessible to all and captures a multitude of ideas that practitioners, educators and researchers can use to serve the needs of children with CCN."
ADVANCE for Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists
"Well organized, highly researched, and focused on accessing curriculum ... a good source for college students and seasoned professionals."
Canadian Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology
"Packed with suggestions, ideas, and relevant case studies that will help guide your own practice working with school aged children."
Inc. Book News
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781557669513
  • Publisher: Brookes, Paul H. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 1/1/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 714,959
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Lynn Ahlgrim-Delzell, Ph.D., Dr. Ahlgrim-Delzell's research interests include literacy instruction and assessment and research methods for low-incidence populations. She has over 30 years of experience working with individuals with severe disability in various capacities.

David R. Beukelman, Ph.D is the Barkley Professor of Communication Disorders at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Director of Research and Education of the Communication Disorders Division, Munroe/Meyer Institute of Genetics and Rehabilitation at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, A research partner in the Rehabilitation Engineering and Research Center in Augmentative and Alternative Communication, and a senior researcher in the Institute for Rehabilitation Science and Engineering at the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital. With Pat Mirenda, he co-authored the textbook, Augmentative and Alternative Communication: Management of Severe Communication Disorders in Children and Adults. He served as editor of the Augmentative and Alternative Communication Journal for four years.

Cathy Binger, M.S., CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist and creative writer. She earned her undergraduate degree from The Pennsylvania State University and earned her master's degree from the University of Wyoming. Since graduating, she has worked in hospital, university, and preschool settings, providing services to individuals with communication disabilities, including those who require AAC. In 1994, she returned to The Pennsylvania State University and accepted a job as a research assistant, working with Janice C. Light on a grant to investigate exemplary practices to develop the communicative competence of individuals who use AAC. Cathy Binger currently lives in Laramie, Wyoming, and is writing her first novel.

June E. Downing, Ph.D., prepares teachers to meet the needs of students with moderate to severe and multiple disabilities. In this capacity, she teaches courses, advises students, and supervises teachers in their practicum experiences. Dr. Downing has provided in-service training to teachers, administrators, parents, and support staff around the country. She has been interested in the education of students with severe and multiple disabilities (especially those with sensory impairments) since 1974 and has served as a paraprofessional, teacher, work experience coordinator, consultant, researcher, and teacher trainer. Areas of research include investigating related topics such as educating all students together, enhancing the social-communicative skills of students with severe disabilities, adapting for the unique needs of individual students, developing paraprofessional skills, and preparing teachers for inclusive education.

Janice Light, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Communication Disorders at the Pennsylvania State University. She is actively involved in research, personnel preparation, and service delivery in the area of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). Her primary interest has been furthering understanding of the development of communicative competence and self-determination by individuals who require AAC.

Dr. Light is the principal investigator on several federally-funded research grants to improve outcomes for individuals who have significant communication disabilities through the use of augmentative and alternative communication. She is one of the project directors in the Augmentative and Alternative Communication Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (AAC-RERC), a virtual research consortium funded by the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research.

In 1996, Dr. Light was recognized as the Don Johnston Distinguished Lecturer by the International Society of Augmentative and Alternative Communication for her leadership in the AAC field. In 1999, she received the Dorothy Jones Barnes Outstanding Teachin

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Read an Excerpt

Excerpted from Practically Speaking: Language, Literacy, and Academic Development for Students with AAC Needs
Edited by Gloria Soto, Ph.D., & Carole Zangari, Ph.D.
Chapter 6: Academic Adaptations for Students with AAC Needs
By Gloria Soto
©2009. Brookes Publishing. All rights reserved.

Special education legislation has gradually specified that the general education curriculum should be the primary content of the education of students with disabilities and the instructional activities used to implement it are the primary context for these students to receive instruction. The need to develop appropriate adaptations has intensified as students who rely on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) are provided access to general curriculum activities. Educators and related services professionals must be able to identify and develop the most appropriate instructional adaptations to support the participation of these students in the general curriculum goals and activities. It can be a daunting task. This chapter discusses current issues and effective practices central to the development of adaptations for students with AAC needs. The chapter begins with a discussion on the access to the general curriculum mandate and then moves to development of adaptations to support the participation of these students in the general curriculum.


The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments (IDEA) of 1997 (PL 105-17) introduced important changes in the provision of special education services for students with disabilities. One of the most significant changes concerns the requirement that students with disabilities receive access to the general curriculum. Specifically, the amendments require that students with disabilities be involved in and make progress in the general curriculum to the maximum extent appropriate (Wehmeyer, Lattin, Lapp-Rincker, & Agran, 2003). The requirement to maximize students’ involvement in the general curriculum means that students receiving special education services have the right to participate in the same instructional activities, with the same materials, and in the same progressmonitoring activities used with typically developing students. These mandates were explicitly articulated partly because special education had often been misunderstood as a parallel curriculum and students with disabilities had, for the most part, been omitted from the general education curriculum (Turnbull, Turnbull, Wehmeyer, & Park, 2003).

Spooner and Browder (2006) noted that access to the general curriculum is not synonymous with inclusion. According to IDEA 1997, special education is specially designed instruction to support the child’s participation in the general curriculum, regardless of the setting where the student is being educated. Although general education settings may be easier and more likely to provide access to the general curriculum, inclusion is neither a prerequisite nor synonymous with general curriculum access (Wehmeyer et al., 2003). The focus of the access to the general curriculum mandate is not on where students are to be educated but on what is the content of the students’ educational program. Students in all types of education settings must have access to their state’s general curriculum (Spooner & Browder, 2006).

IDEA 1997 and the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 (PL 107-110) further stipulated that states include students with disabilities in large-scale state assessments and specified that those assessments be linked to academic content standards, with accommodations when needed (see Chapter 1 for an extensive discussion of educational assessment). By requiring that all students be included in large-scale assessments and specifying that those assessments be linked to academic content standards, current policy implies the need to align instr

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Table of Contents

Series Preface

Series Editors and Editorial Advisory Board

Volume Preface

About the Editors



I. Assessment

1. Educational Assessment Issues
Lynn Ahlgrim-Delzell

2. Assessment of Early Communication Skills
June E. Downing

3. Language Assessment for Students Who Use AAC
Lisa A. Proctor & Carole Zangari

4. Diagnostic Reading Asssessment for Students with AAC Needs
David A. Koppenhaver, Beth E. Foley, & Amy R. Williams

5. Writing Assessment for Students with AAC Needs
Beth E. Foley, David A. Koppenhaver, & Amy R. Williams

II. Instruction and Intervention

6. Academic Adaptations for Students with AAC Needs
Gloria Soto

7. Addressing the Communication Demands of the Classroom for Beginning Communicators and Early Language Users
Jennifer Kent-Walsh & Cathy Binger

8. Supporting More Advanced Linguistic Communicators in the Classsroom
Carole Zangari & Gail Van Tatenhove

9. Addressing the Literacy Demands of the Curriculum for Beginning Readers and Writers
Karen A. Erickson & Sally A. Clendon

10. Addressing the Literacy Demands of the Curriculum for Conventional and More Advanced Readers and Writers Who Require AAC
Janice C. Light & David McNaughton

11. Strategies to Support the Development of Positive Social Relationships and Friendships for Students Who Use AAC
Pam Hunt, Kathy Doering, Julie Maier, & Emily Mintz

12. Integrating Assistive Technology with Augmentative Communication
Yvonne Gillete

III. Supports

13. Supporting Collaborative Teams and Families in AAC
Nancy B. Robinson & Patti L. Solomon-Rice

14. Consideration of Cognitive, Attentional, and Motivational Demands in the Construction and Use of Aided AAC Systems
Krista M. Wilkinson & Shannon Hennig


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