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Tuesday 23 Jan 2018

Organize the Day! Creating a Plan for Communication Success

Article by Stephanie Ekis, MS, CCC-SLP
The key to successful communication for your child is to make a plan.  You must know when, where, why and how communication tools (e.g., AAC device, communication books, pictures symbols, etc.) will be used throughout the day. In my experience, when a communication plan is not created, opportunities to practice skills are often missed.  It is important to:

  • Recognize communication opportunities throughout the day.
  • Prioritize opportunities based on frequency of occurrence (more opportunities to practice) and motivational factors.
  • Collect and organize vocabulary needed in order to participate in each activity.
  • Implement communication strategies consistently.

For children with significant communication challenges, it is important for the entire team to work together to ensure communication success all day long.  To help you and your child’s education team get started, I would like to share some information about a great planning tool called the Selecting Activities Worksheet.  This 14-page worksheet will provide you with detailed step-by-step instructions for identifying opportunities for communication throughout the day and creating an overall strategy.  Sample plans are provided to guide you through the process.

The Selecting Activities Worksheet is broken down into 5 sections:

  • Section 1:  Instructions for using the worksheet
  • Section 2: Sample plans
  • Section 3:  Weekly Calendar Worksheet
  • Section 4:  Identified Activities Worksheet
  • Section 5:  Implementing Prioritized Activities Worksheet

You may come across some terminology in the worksheet that you aren’t familiar with. I’ve list a few of them below.

AAC user:  AAC stands for augmentative and alternative communication.  These are tools used to help a child with communication challenges be a more effective when interacting with others.

Language elements:  The five common communication strategies used on all DynaVox communication devices to help people be more efficient and effective communicators.  To learn more, watch the Interacting with InterAACT – Overview of Language Elements Video

Communication Partner Techniques:  The strategies that are used by communication partners (e.g., parents, teachers, friends) to better support individuals with communication challenges. To learn more, visit the Communication Partner Techniques Learning Path on the DynaVox Implementation Toolkit.

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