AAC awareness month

It's October and that means AAC awarness. And there are some great things floating around on the web this month. Here are a few highlights:

  • #AACFamily is an awesome weekly event this month organised by Dana over at Uncommon Sense. I am loving all the photos of AAC in action
  • Praactically Speaking is basically a year long AAC awareness and resource extravaganza
  • Kate Ahren has a great collection of some of her presentations here and don't miss her blog over here. Her most recent posts is a nice review of the real costs (over time) of various premium AAC apps, which is timely now that some apps are moving towards a subscription model.  Plus she reviews some of the exciting new keyboard app options.
  • I also found it well worth following Boston Children's AAC program on facebook. They highlight great things related to AAC on their page
  • And if you are up for a movie night, you might want to consider the documentary A Certain Proof

I am also trying to post several times a week other links and thoughts I have as this busy month flies by over at my facebook page.

school age kids all reaching in to do a joint cheer using a step by step

Truthfully, I sometimes feel a bit uncomfortable about awareness months.  In general, I feel action is more important than awareness.  Plus sometimes awareness months have a bit of "poor you and people with X disorder, it is just all so very sad/tough/fraught", which isn't a sentiment I resonate with.

That said, AAC feels different to me. If someone is aware that there are different ways of communicating, they already are likely to be in a better position to be a more understanding communication partner.

The photo above was from a recess time several years ago at a school I worked at in the USA.  My student loved playing follow the leader games with his peers.  We organised games of Mr Wolf, What Time is it?, Simon Says, and lots and lots of chasing games.  We often took turns using my Step by Step and Cheaptalk so that everyone had a chance to experience using an alternative way of giving directions to a group.  Organically, the recess group developed a goodbye ritual in which we all put our hands in and did a cheer together with the Step by Step.  Everyone jointly pushed the button, listened to the message, and then all repeated it together with one loud chant.  It might be "go polar bears" or "wheeeeee" or anything the group came up with that day.  My favourite part was the smile on my student's face.  He had a visual impairment and really loved the very physical and auditory sense of being in the middle of a group of happy children. 

This to me is awareness and inclusion.  There was no preaching or lecturing.  That said, I believe that all these students walked a way having filed away some knowledge about AAC in action. 

What are you doing this month for AAC awareness?