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AAC Systems

Lámh sign is sign system based on Irish Sign Language. The signs have been simplified from ISL for children and adults with physical and intellectual disabilities. Lámh is used to support communication in Scoil Mochua. Scoil Mochua has undertaken a project to increase the use of Lámh sign amongst staff and students. This project called Lámh Sign Combined Project has been rolled out by Scoil Mochua’s Speech and Language staff. Children and staff revise and learn signs on a daily basis and are encouraged to create their own sentences using Lámh. Each classroom is physically shown how to make the sign and is provided with a visual of that sign to hang on the wall. A competition is run for the best class sentence. There is evidence to show this project is experiencing great success.

Let the school know what you would like included to update his folder. We would be happy to do this and encourage all folders to be kept as current as possible. Also indicate to the school what is no longer relevant that you would like removed from his folder. It is important folders remain relevant and optimise function for the user.

In Scoil Mochua PCS symbols are used throughout the school and are usually referred to as Boardmaker symbols. They are the picture communication symbols created by the company Mayer Johnson. Some of our students are using devices with SymbolStix symbols and Widgit symbols.

AAC stands for Augmentative and Alternative Communication. It is generally divided into Low Tech AAC and High Tech AAC. Low-tech communication aids are defined as those that do not need batteries, electricity or electronics. Pictures, photographs, letters, words, symbols, gestures, sign language are low tech AAC n

High Tech AAC refers to technologically advanced communication tools. Computers, tablets, Big Macks, Voice Output Communication Aids (VOCAs) are examples of high tech AAC being used in Scoil Mochua. This is an area that is developing fast. We have found an organization in the UK called Communication Matters www.communicationmatters.org.uk that provides information on current developments in this area.

A Communication Passport is a person centred booklet to support someone with communication difficulties. The booklet was created first by Sally Millar in 1991 and follows templates to record information. The information recorded includes things about the person, his/her character, likes and dislikes etc. It includes information on how that person communicates and what others can do to support communication. Information is gathered by care givers and others in that person’s life. Updates to the booklet are made regularly to reflect changes. It is a booklet used to improve conversational interactions.

A Communication Passport is a person centred booklet to support someone with communication difficulties. The booklet was created first by Sally Millar in 1991 and follows templates to record information. The information recorded includes things about the person, his/her character, likes and dislikes etc. It includes information on how that person communicates and what others can do to support communication. Information is gathered by care givers and others in that person’s life. Updates to the booklet are made regularly to reflect changes. It is a booklet used to improve conversational interactions.

Less familiar people need to understand your student also. Your student needs encouragement to not rely on someone familiar translating for him/her. An independent communicator is always the goal whenever possible. An independent communicator will develop interests and relationships that will widen the scope of experience in life that otherwise could not be achieved. Think of the long term benefits of supporting this student to achieve independence from relying on familiar people only.

The very best way to encourage your student to use his high tech device is for you and others around him to use it also. Evidence has shown that modelling using the device will increase usage. It is impractical to use the device for every communication with your student. It is possible however to use the device during each lesson, during each conversation. Remember it is not a tool for asking and answering questions only. Use the device to give an opinion, state a fact, express a feeling. The more you practice using the device together the more natural the interactions will become. Also encourage his classmates and others to use the device when communicating with him. Plus, ensure your student brings his device with him when leaving the classroom. There are many opportunities for your student to communicate throughout the school. If he is reluctant to use his device he hasn’t yet realised how beneficial it is. He will once he is shown.

Training to families in Lámh sign is available. You can visit www.lamh.org for more information on Lámh or contact the Speech and Language Department in Scoil Mochua.

The use of Lámh in Scoil Mochua benefits all students. Lámh promotes attention to movement and encourages eye contact. It can focus adults attention more on what they wish to communicate and can slow down the communicative interaction. This assists understanding for the listener.