"Ten Things I wish My Teacher and SLP Knew about AAC"

Pat Mervine has a great website and is the author of  “How Katie Got a Voice (and a cool new nickname)” .
I wish…..

  1. the entire team would be trained in how to program and use my AAC system.  My “voice” shouldn’t be taken away from me just because an adult is absent or busy. Oh, and a good back-up system would be much appreciated for when my device goes down.
  2. my AAC device would be charged (if electronic) and positioned for me to use it all times.  Other kids can talk all day — at recess, lunch, on the bus, and in gym — so don’t take my voice away when I am out of the classroom!
  3. everyone would give me enough time to say what is on my mind.  If I’m communicating too slowly for you, figure out a way for me to get my messages out more quickly!
  4. everyone would give me a chance to talk — and not just to answer questions, but also to ask questions, make comments, and share what is going on in my life and in my head!
  5. you would give me time to explore my device and figure out what it can do for me before you decide that it doesn’t work for me.  That includes making mistakes and even being annoying with it.  Hey, I am learning a new language here and it’s not going to happen overnight! The more you model for me, the quicker I will learn.
  6. that my AAC system had way more verbs and comments than nouns.  When you fill my system with nouns, you are setting up a stimulus/response situation, and I can communicate WAY more than that.  Besides, nouns are boring.  Verbs and comments are where the action is.
  7. you would stop emphasizing spelling and grammar so much, and just let me get my thoughts out!  My spelling and grammar will improve with time, but I shouldn’t have to wait until they do for me to communicate effectively.
  8. you would listen to other kids my age to hear  how and what they are talking about, then give me access to those topics and expressions. No offense, but I want to sound like a kid my age, not my speech therapist.
  9. you would find a way to get me actively involved in every activity.  This means being creative and even adapting your lessons and routines, but that effort on your part will mean the world to me.
  10. everyone would see me for what I can say and do.  When you can’t see beyond what I can’t do, you are limiting my life.

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