Thursday, October 20, 2016

DIY AAC Visuals

Today's post comes from the blog Speechy Musings. In keeping with my other posts focusing on AAC Awareness Month, I felt the importance of this post rested in the notion that often times SLPs, along with other professionals and parents, experience difficulty when locating individualized AAC materials. Read below or click on the original article to learn more about these DIY AAC visuals. 


AAC materials are incredibly hard to find online, primarily (I think) because the graphics in systems are diverse and copyrighted. In order to have AAC visuals and materials for your caseload, think about how many different systems your students use! Speak For Yourself, TouchChat, Proloquo2Go, LAMP, etc.. Every system uses separate buttons, graphics, and layouts. Sellers cannot use the graphics in communication apps and sell their own products using them, therefore online materials using the same graphics as AAC apps are impossible to find! I’ve had great success making my own, and thought I’d share a simple DIY freebie and directions on how I use them!


This method works best for apps that are on iPads because of the screenshot feature, however I’ve had success taking pictures of devices and using these methods as well.
Now, how do you make one? Follow the steps below:

Step One: Prep the graphics! These are meant to be customized with the graphics and symbols from your student’s AAC system. If using an iPad, take screenshots of the pages you need symbols from. I typically take screenshots of the home page, as well as important secondary pages (people, places, action words). Click here for directions on how to take a screenshot on your iPhone or iPad if you’re not familiar! Email them to yourself. I keep them on my computer in a folder titled with the student’s initials.

  Step Two: Get a binder and make a customized cover! Add in the student’s name and the screenshot of the student’s home page. Put tons of page protectors in the binder as you’ll be filling them with all of the awesome materials you’re about to make.

Step Three: Add in pages with targeted vocabulary and related activities. Use the pages included in this freebie or make your own! To isolate the symbols, “crop” the screenshots! You can use this method to make ANYTHING!
Check out some examples below:

Let’s say we’re learning about the word “love” one week. I would make this sheet and add it into the binder:


Then, I make up some cut and glue activities specific to the child. For this sheet, we glued on things we loved (our pets, picture of our friends, cartoons, etc..). For each thing we glued on, we practiced saying “I love______”.

Slide12     Slide14
Then, I printed little “love” symbols as well as a mini sheet. I sent the mini sheet home, and used the “love” symbols to adapt materials I found on TpT about love! We did this unit on the week of Valentine’s Day.


Another example of visuals I make are the ones shown below. This one was for a student who loved basketball, however I use the same sheet to teach vocabulary related to topics being covered in the classroom.


For example, if the class is learning about bugs and insects, I put in words related to that such as gross, little, crawl, fly, scared, or bug. I try to choose words from a variety of categories on the device such as actions, places, people, describing words, and specific nouns.

PS: After you make these visuals, SAVE THEM. You never know when a student will get added to your caseload who uses the same system! I now have tons of these made up for a variety of apps and it make things super easy.

To make visuals like this on your own, you could make everything in Powerpoint (how I did it), or download this freebie to shortcut things a bit!


Included in this file is the following. The first page shows what I included in the freebie, and the second page shows how I edit and use it:

Slide04       —>      Slide04

•AAC Vocabulary Binder Cover

Slide05      —>      Slide23
Slide06       —>      Slide30

•Vocabulary Maps (two styles)

•Core Vocabulary Word Unit Outline
Slide08      —>      Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 2.37.11 PM

To learn more about these sheets I use on the backs of iPads, click here to read my blog post about them!

•Carryover Sheets (for the backs of iPads)

•Data Sheets (two styles, one for recording number of activations by activity and one for recording prompting level for each vocabulary word)

Check out some of the Speechy Musings AAC products by clicking on the images below.

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 1.24.19 PM Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 1.24.28 PM

Or click here to check out the Speechy Musings' AAC section on TPT!

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