Parents get excited about introducing an AAC app to their child because they are hopeful that it would open the door for the child’s communication. But many may feel lost while getting started with the app. They may require help understanding AAC fundamentals and all the app features. The AAC proficiency of a communication partner is vital to ensure the child’s continuous and fluent use of the AAC system. This is why Avaz AAC has included ‘Dashboard’, a simple and comprehensive tutorial for caregiver training. This is inbuilt into the Avaz AAC system and is always just a tap away.
Avaz Dashboard is packed with tips and practical scenarios to help you get familiar with the app. It guides you to look for, and create communication opportunities throughout the day. It even lets you practice a few sentences for each of those conversations, taking you through the steps to model the keywords of each sentence.
The Avaz Dashboard was included in the app after realizing the importance of educating parents and other AAC stakeholders including teachers and SLPs. The tutorials in the Dashboard give the caregivers an understanding of the verbal layout and the salient features of the app.
You can find instructions for 10 possible AAC use scenarios, including mealtimes, circle time, reading etc.
Here are some of the things you can do in the Avaz Dashboard :
- Practice modelling
- Learn related AAC strategies
- Model any sentence that you wish to model, besides those available for practice.
- Monitor the user’s progress
Let’s take a look at ‘Playing a Game in the Park’ scenario.
You can practice 18 sentences related to this activity.
Let’s choose the 6th sentence ‘It is your turn to throw the ball’, and see how the app guides you to model that sentence. These examples are given so that you get familiar with the layout and folder locations. If the child is a beginning communicator, you may want to model fewer keywords. The number of words you model largely depends on the language competence and the cognitive abilities of the AAC user.
With that, you have just learned how to model keywords of a sentence in the Avaz app. Congrats!!
Now that you have learned to model sentences while the child plays at the park, it is important to understand the significant AAC strategies to employ. Understanding strategies will enable you to follow the do’s and don’ts of modelling.
What kind of questions to ask?
How to expand and extend the child’s vocabulary?
How to encourage the child to communicate?
These are some of the things that are covered in the AAC strategies tutorial.
Learning to Model Your Sentences
The ‘My Sentences’ tab on the Dashboard lets you add any sentence you wish to model.
It must be noted that Avaz AAC app lets you add multiple words to a particular category, at one go. Once all the words in the sentence are added, then the app shows you how to access these words through visual cues.
Analytics helps you keep track of the child’s progress. You can find out the length of sentences and percentage of core vocabulary used for a given period. The pictorial representation with charts and graphs will help you monitor the usage and make necessary changes for further improvements.
Avaz prioritizes caregiver training because it plays a pivotal role in developing the communication skills of children with complex communication needs. For beginners, the tutorials serve as a great tool that introduces them to AAC fundamentals. For Avaz users familiar with the app, Dashboard can provide reinforcement for the strategies they are already employing.