October is AAC Awareness Month. It has been great to see images, posts, thoughts, and suggestions flooding the internet as so many incredible people have taken to the web to tout the virtues of AAC.
But soon it will be November, and the AAC focus will fade...
Unless we stand up and continue to shout AAC from the rooftops (or, you know, from your desktop).
After all, it’s not really a bunch of electronic devices with picture laden buttons we’re talking about here. We’re talking about a real mind and heart behind that box of wires and plastic. This is a person’s way to interact with the world. This is a person’s way to express joy, convey sadness, share ideas, tell secrets, yell, laugh, answer questions, be funny, spew insults, say I love you and everything else you can imagine.
AAC is NOT about a device. It is about a person.
So yes, let’s revel in AAC awareness month. It is a GREAT thing to bring focus to this sometimes overlooked tool in the realm of speech and language learning.
But let’s also remember that the need for AAC doesn’t go away just because we flipped the calendar page. And maybe we can keep this great thing going.
Check out the ideas below or come up with your own to keep this AAC wave moving forward.
10 Painless Ways to Preach AAC
Watch ABC's Speechless -- talk about funny scenes or share a snippet on social media to help people see that using AAC is a perfectly acceptable way to communicate.
Volunteer to give a presentation on AAC as part of STEM Day (science/technology/engineering/math) at your local school. Not only can kids see the cool things technology can do, they are also exposed to the idea and function of AAC (it's even better if you let them get hands-on with a program).
Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts about AAC on social media. It doesn’t have to dominate your feed, but a mention when you have a cool experience or learn something awesome is a great way to grow awareness.
There are plenty of AAC focused resources out there. Print them, share them, use them! Use AAC resources to spread the word about this incredible speech tool. Feel free to use some of ours (ABCs of AAC, free posters) or some from other sources.
Watch an AAC focused video with your family or co-workers. Find a collection of AAC videos on our Pinterest page here.
And speaking of Pinterest, create an AAC board on you Pinterest page. Pin quotes, ideas, suggestions and more. They can help you and just might pique the curiosity of your followers as well.
Learn something new about AAC. There’s always something you don’t know (or maybe that’s just me). Pick an AAC topic like presuming competence, core vocabulary, eye gaze, motor planning and expand your knowledge. This collection of AAC focused presentations from an array of professionals is a great place to start.
Take the pledge to honor EVERY form of communication. Sign language counts, speech counts, writing it out counts, and AAC MOST DEFINITELY COUNTS! Teach by example that what people have to say matters, no matter what method they use to say it. Use YOUR voice to remind people that EVERY voice matters.