Under pressure


Roxy listens to everything Jess says!

Siri and I are not friends. She never listens to me.  If I don’t ask my question quickly, she presumes then provides an answer that isn’t even close to what I was looking for.  While I struggle to get her to respond correctly, the husband listens with amusement.  He has a good working relationship with Siri. He is more succinct. They get along well.

While working on the AACtion plan, I found it pretty straight forward. No problem remembering the words. Easy peasy to incorporate them with our vocabulary. However, this morning when it came time to test myself, my mind went blank, I froze and had to use the search button more than once (twice to be specific) for words that I had used only moments earlier.  It seems whenever I find myself under pressure, it’s hard to find my words. Doesn’t matter if I’m being verbal, or using Speak for Yourself. I’ve noticed this happening to Jess too.

Today I read a post that said we need to model/ prompt 20x an hour. We are woefully not even close to this amount (this is another goal to shoot for).  Focusing on modeling these last two weeks has doubled my speed and Jess has increased her usage. Just as important, Jess has raised her level of engagement.  I love seeing her go off into another room and search for words. She knows the only way to learn is by practicing. Learning language is never ending and this is a good thing!

Jess’s device is always in reach. The AACtion plan made us realize that we need to have our devices out more.  It’s really quite a sight at dinner time. Where most families need to put devices away, ours are all out on the table and we are talking!


Why Jess chose Speak for Yourself



Never underestimate the power of a list!

IMG_7455As I said, I don’t do resolutions, I make lists. I’ve found they are easier to manage and the success rate is higher.  The highest priority on my list this year was to increase my fluency with Jess’s AAC app Speak for Yourself. Yes, I use it every day, but because it isn’t my first language (like it is Jessie’s), she knows it better than I do.

The thing is, I’m lazy.  When I took piano lessons. I could play by ear and didn’t feel the need to practice, however, at one point, not having a foundation caught up to me and I never improved. Even though Jess has not plateaued with SFY,  I have.

Last night, SFY posted an AACaction plan. Every week, a list of words will be announced to learn (and a lesson plan will be provided).  Even though this first list was easy for me, I’m ashamed to admit that there were a couple of words that I don’t model often and had to search for them.

Repetition is what ingrains motor planning. When motor planning is humming along, you don’t have to think where the words are, your fingers know. Jess can use SFY upside down and sideways. She’s not just learned the motor plan one way, she’s learned them four!  If I broaden my abilities, I know she will too.   It’s shameful that I can’t keep up with her.

I’m not sure if Jess’s style of talking is because she was an older user (21) when she started with SFY,  if she finds succinct phrases more efficient, of it it’s because I have dropped the ball.  What I do know is that I need this boot camp to kick me in the butt. My goal is to improve my own skills so I can encourage her to broaden her sentences.  Even though I know what she is saying, people that don’t know her need more information.

Whether you are just starting out with SFY (or any AAC system for that matter), or if you have been using an AAC device for a few years, this action plan will improve your skills. The key to being a successful AAC teacher is to model, model, model, however, you first must be able to speak the language.

* While I am doing this AAC action plan, I will be opting out of the drawing for the $400 Amazon gift card.  Yes, there is a drawing and a prize for those that play along.

*I’ve used the word “shameful” several times.  Shaming should not always have a bad connotation. It is purposeful to admit your shortcomings so you can work on them.