Autism Parenting Magazine Issue 74 (Member's Dashboard) - Page 26

COMMUNICATION A very large part of getting your child to communicate functionally is parent training. Since an AAC system should be used in all contexts to help the child become an effective communicator, parents need to know how to implement the system at home. case in some situations, but in many other situations, there are many reasons why this may not be feasible. Many times, a SLP has a full schedule and does not have extra time to train all the staff and work extra sessions in the classroom. Other times a SLP may not specialize in AAC and requires the training to help implement the AAC system in therapy and the classroom. Since AAC is an elective course in graduate school and not a required course, many SLPs do not specialize in AAC. Additionally, when I work in schools, I see my role as a team member, and we continue to all have different roles and work together to meet the needs of the child. Being in this role helps both the team members and the AAC user. 2. Request home training A very large part of getting your child to com- municate functionally is parent training. Since an AAC system should be used in all contexts to help the child become an effective com- municator, parents need to know how to im- plement the system at home. These parent trainings vary for each home depending on the child’s and family’s need for communi- cation. I mostly focus on basic programming and more on implementation and modeling in specific situations related to the parent. For example, do communication breakdowns occur most often at bedtime or after school? This can be a time to talk about implementing the AAC system to repair the communication. 3. Be patient Being able to master an AAC system takes time and requires training. This is not a process that happens overnight. Many times, people ex- pect that an AAC system will magically cure all communication problems overnight. An appropriate robust communication system with training and implementation can be a life-changing experience for a child. However, without the training and implementation, a child can feel lost and frustrated in the process. I usually tell staff and parents this example: Imagine someone placing a brand-new type of computer in front of you that you have nev- er used before. Then that person tells you to “use it!” Obviously, you would have a hard time trying to figure this out right away. After some failed attempts you might ge t frustrated and Being able to master an AAC system takes time and requires training. This is not a process that happens overnight. Many times, people expect that an AAC system will magically cure all communication problems overnight. An appropriate robust communication system with training and implementation can be a life-changing experience for a child. 26 | Autism Parenting Magazine | Issue 74