Misconceptions Regarding Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

By Ann Marie Lusquinos, MS CCC-SLP

Each May, Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM) provides an opportunity to raise awareness about communication disorders and role of Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologist play in providing life-altering treatment.

In that spirit we are working to raise awareness about Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), which is one specialty provided by these professionals.

In our last blog post, we introduced AAC. This time we’ll touch upon some of the misconceptions related to AAC for children. Some parents and professionals have concerns because they may not understand what AAC means. They also may not be familiar with the benefits of giving a child another means with which to communicate.

Fact vs. Myth

Myth: If my child uses AAC, he will not speak.
Fact: Research findings tell us that the use of AAC does not inhibit the use of natural speech and can help improve natural speech, when a multimodal approach is used.
(Millar, Light, & Schlosser, 2006; Sedey, Rosin, & Miller, 1991).

Myth: Young children are not ready for AAC and will not need AAC until they reach school.
Fact: Research tells us that implementing AAC at an early age can assist in the development of natural speech and language development (Lüke, 2014; Romski et al., 2010; Wright, Kaiser, Reikowsky, & Roberts, 2013).
Fact: Research tells us that implementing AAC can increase vocabulary for children three years and younger (Romski, Sevcik, Barton-Hulsey, & Whitmore, 2015).

Myth: Prerequisite skills such as cause and effect and communication intent are necessary before my child can use AAC. Children with cognitive deficits are not able to learn AAC.
Fact: Research tells us that impaired cognition does not prevent communication. (Kangas & Lloyd, 1988; Zangari & Kangas, 1997).
Fact: Research tells us the use of AAC intervention with children who have complex communication needs has many benefits: (Drager et al., 2010). These include:
• Helps develop functional communication skills
• Promotes cognitive development
• Improves social interaction

References: http://www.asha.org/

Contact us today to set up an evaluation.

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), An Introduction

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), An Introduction
By Ann Marie Lusquinos, MS CCC-SLP

Has someone suggested that your child may benefit from Augmentative and Alternative Communication, or AAC, but you have no idea what that is or what it means? Here is some basic information that will help you begin to understand exactly what AAC is and what it means for your child.

What is AAC?
Any form of communication other than oral speech to express our wants, needs or ideas such as:
• Gestures
• Facial expressions
• Writing
• Symbols
• Pictures

You might be thinking “I use all of these at some point during the day when I am communicating with another person.” You are correct. We all use these forms of communication. But there is a difference.

What is the difference?
Children with severe speech or language problems (short term or long term difficulties) rely on AAC to supplement their existing speech or speech which is not functional for communication. These children use special augmentative aids such as:
• Low tech picture or symbol communication boards or books
• High tech dynamic electronic systems
• Sign language
If a child does have emerging speech, their speech WILL continue to be used with the appropriate AAC system to enhance their communication. It will never be used to REPLACE functional speech. Using AAC will NEVER prevent a child from using their speech either.

What are the benefits of using AAC?
Every child should have the ability to express their wants and needs, do this with ease, to be understood, and to have their request granted. The benefits of AAC may include:
• Reduced frustration
• Decreased inappropriate behaviors while increasing appropriate behaviors
• Increased feeling of self-worth
• Increased independence
• Increased social skills
• Increased school performance
• Increased receptive and expressive language skills

You may be unsure of how AAC will “fit in” to your child’s life, but there are skilled individuals who can guide you. Discuss an AAC evaluation with your child’s pediatrician. Contact Weber Pediatric Therapy to schedule an AAC evaluation, which we will provide in your home.

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What is Weber Pediatric Therapy?

You’ve just found out, or figured out, that your child needs therapy.  You realized it, or maybe your pediatrician brought it up to you.  You’re not sure what to do!

You don’t know who to go to.  You’re busy.  You may have other children that you don’t want to drag to an office.   You don’t have the time for driving to and from an office, waiting there, every week.  You’re not sure your child would even tolerate going to an office on an ongoing basis!  You wish there was a better option.

What if you could have a hand-picked, experienced pediatric therapist come to your home?  An excellent therapist from a trusted practice!

Weber Pediatric Therapy is owned by physical therapists who are also parents, and are members of your community.  Our goal is to help the children of our community by providing the highest quality therapy in the most convenient, low stress manner.  In keeping with our goal,  our in-home model allows us the opportunity to help even more children by providing services in a greater geographical area!

We provide the most convenient experience possible.  Our therapists come to your home.  We bill your insurance company as an out of network provider.

We provide pediatric physical, occupational, and speech therapy in your home.

These services can help your children to move forward functionally.

We have helped children of all ages, in multiple counties.  Some receive one, and some receive more than one, type of therapy.

We are the most convenient service, providing highly experienced and skilled therapists that come to you.  Like a house call.  Your own, personal therapist coming to your home.  The same therapist every time, including the evaluation.  There is no waiting list.   We get going ASAP.  In some cases we will go to a preschool to provide therapy.  You save time, decrease stress.  If you have other children you don’t have to drag them to an office.

Click here to request a summary of benefits.  We will get both in and out of network summaries so you can compare.

Our therapists have made a difference in the lives of our patients and their families.  Like the infants that our therapists have treated for Torticollis, which is a tight muscle in the neck.  Or the preemie that Mom did not want to risk exposing to other people that might be sick.  Or the children that need help with fine motor movement, muscle weakness, speech, feeding, and so on.  There are many areas that we can help with.

If you are ready to get started, if this sounds like the right service for you, please fill out our form and we will get started by getting a summary of benefits for you.   Click here to get started.

How Your Newborn Grows

How Your Newborn Grows: Infant Development

Your Child’s Development — Month by Month

This table shows common developmental milestones that babies reach each month during their first year, in four major categories. Keep in mind that all babies are different and every baby grows at his own pace. There’s no precise time that most of these skills first appear. If your child hasn’t reached a milestone by the month it is listed on this chart, it is usually a perfectly normal variation in child development. Watch for progress, not deadlines.

Gross Motor Fine Motor Language/

Cognitive

Social
1 month Moves head from side to side when on stomach Strong grip Stares at hands and fingers Tracks movement with eyes
2 months Holds head and neck up briefly while on tummy Opens and closes hands Begins to play with fingers Smiles responsively
3 months Reaches and grabs at objects Grips objects in hands Coos Imitates you when you stick out your tongue
4 months Pushes up on arms when lying on tummy Grabs objects — and gets them! Laughs out loud Enjoys play and may cry when playing stops
5 months Begins to roll over in one or the other direction Is learning to transfer objects from one hand to the other Blows “raspberries” (spit bubbles) Reaches for mommy or daddy and cries if they’re out of sight
6 months Rolls over both ways Uses hands to “rake” small objects Babbles Recognizes familiar faces –caregivers and friends as well as family
7 months Moves around –is starting to crawl, scoot, or “army crawl” Is learning to use thumb and fingers Babbles in a more complex way Responds to other people’s expressions of emotion
8 months Sits well without support Begins to clap hands Responds to familiar words, looks when you say his name Plays interactive games like peekaboo
9 months May try to climb/crawl up stairs Uses the pincer grasp Learns object permanence — that something exists even if he can’t see it Is at the height of stranger anxiety
10 months Pulls up to stand Stacks and sorts toys Waves bye-bye and/or lifts up arms to communicate “up” Learns to understand cause and effect (“I cry, Mommy comes”)
11 months Cruises, using furniture Turns pages while you read Says “mama” or “dada” for either parent Uses mealtime games (dropping spoon, pushing food away) to test your reaction; expresses food preferences
12 months Stands unaided and may take first steps Helps while getting dressed (pushes hands into sleeves) Says an average of 2-3 words (often “mama” and “dada”) Plays imitative games such as pretending to use the phone

From:  http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/infant-development-9/stages-of-development?page=3

FAQ

Do you accept Medicaid / Medicare?

We do not.

Do you accept my insurance?

We accept many insurance plans as an out of network provider. Please call and we will get a summary of benefits for you. All plans are different. In some cases in and out of network are somewhat comparable. We will provide you with a summary for both in and out of network so that you can make an informed decision.

Do you accept students or volunteers?

We do not because we are not a center based program.

Are you the cheapest option?

We wish we were! In fact, we wish we could provide services for free! We love helping the children and families of our community! But as you know, cheaper is not always better. In some cases, cheaper does not provide the service or environment that is needed or that is best for the patient’s needs or family needs.

Our business model involves sending hand-picked specialists to you. We don’t have back to back or overlapping patients. Our specialists also take the time to travel to and from your location. What we provide is very individualized, specialized, and convenient pediatric therapy services.  We compete on quality of service, on value, convenience, on your valuable time saved, not on price.  We provide one on one care, with services in an environment comfortable and familiar to your child, with no outside distractions.

I had an evaluation by another provider.  Is another evaluation required?

Yes we need to perform our own evaluation.  The evaluation is more than a formality.  This is where the therapist will perform an in depth assessment.  In addition, the therapist uses that information to develop a treatment plan and goals.

Is there a waiting list?

No, there is no waiting list.

How do I get started?

Call, or click here, and we will get started with a summary of benefits for you.

 

 

 

If you have any other questions please let us know.

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My Child Needs Therapy. What Do I Do?

You’ve just found out or realized that your child needs therapy.

You’re not sure where to go, what to do. You just want what is best for your child.

I understand. I am a parent, a physical therapist with many years of experience, and a member of the community. We strive to help the families and children of our community and we are here to help you along this path.

How would you like it if hand-picked pediatric therapists came to you, in your home, and handled the therapy for you? No rushing out to an office.

Weber Pediatric Therapy sends its pediatric therapists to you. Our company is like an outpatient pediatric therapy office in your own home. Or if you prefer we will go to your child’s day care or preschool. Then you don’t have to spend the time with your child at an office.

How much is your time worth? If you could avoid the time spent traveling to and from an office, waiting before and during therapy, would you?

How important is it to get pediatric therapy for your child?

We have worked with children of all ages, providing physical, occupational, and speech therapy to children throughout Monmouth, Ocean, and Middlesex Counties. Some parents want therapy in their home for reasons including time concerns, siblings, convenience, immunosuppression or immunocompromise, and no local outpatient offices in the area. Some want therapy in their child’s preschool or daycare so therapy can take place during the time that they have to be away from their child due to work. Some are looking to supplement the therapy received though EI or Department of Ed programs. Some are preemies that parents do not want to take to an office.  Some feel strongly that their child will be more comfortable in their own environment.  Some have been referred by their pediatricians and they like the idea of therapy in home rather than an office. Some parents initiated therapy themselves, realizing their child needed help. There are many reasons that parents choose us.

Choosing your therapy provider is an important decision. We strive to provide you with information to help you make an informed decision. That is why we start with a summary of benefits of both in and out of network. Each insurance plan can differ. Your patient portion will depend upon your insurance plan. Depending upon the plan it may be a little more expensive. We have to be out of network, because in network rates are generally less than we pay our excellent therapists per visit. But how much is your time worth? Can you put a price on your child’s progress? And are you really looking for the cheapest option for your child? Cheaper is not always better. You probably have experienced that with other products and services. We would like to be the cheapest, but it’s not possible. So instead, we try to be the best, the most convenient. We provide value, convenience, experience, and excellent therapy, and bring it to you.

We are fully confident that you will be happy with our services and our therapists.

We are always available for questions. We believe in our model, that of bringing therapy to you in your home. Allowing your child to be in their own environment. Saving you time and lowering your stress level. We follow the model of the golden years of house calls, when the doctor knew the patient personally and came to their home.

We want you to make the choice that is best for you. We believe that we are the best choice for pediatric therapy, and we want to be a part of you making the best choice for you and your family. Click here to get your summary of benefits today.

http://www.weberpediatrictherapy.com/appointment/

 

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