Monday, October 6, 2014

AAC Month: More Resources Monday: AAC Communities

Every week, several times a week, I have a moment when I pause and am thankful that Maya was born in the post-internet, post-Facebook, post-Twitter days. I am grateful for the technology that has increased the mainstreaming and availability of AAC systems (hello, iPad) . . . but I am equally grateful for the bloggers, group moderators, and communities that have spread the word about AAC and fostered the formation of online communities where people can connect, brainstorm, support, and encourage each other. If the internet didn't exist, I literally wouldn't know any other families like mine . . . but now I know hundreds of them.

Similar to in-person communities, each Facebook group has its own feel, its own energy. For this week's "More Resources Monday," here are some AAC-geared FB groups that may be worth looking into:

1. Speak for Yourself Users Group: This is my favorite AAC Facebook group, because of the spirit of community, encouragement, and knowledge of the members. It is comprised of AAC parents, adult AAC users, SLPs, and other AAC interested professionals---and not all of the members use Speak for Yourself. (Some groups get touchy when photos or videos are updated of people using other systems---but this group really seems to support and encourage everyone.) It's a very active group---lots of chatter, lots of resources, and lots of celebrations of every little success. 

2. Augmentative Communication Resources and Help: Made up of parents, teachers, therapists, and more. Links about AAC are shared, questions are answered. Not much chit-chat or personal discussions, but it's a good place to go to learn about new things happening or get help with AAC related challenges (cases, positioning, etc)

3. Assistive Technology: Similar to the group above---this is a great place to get answers to AT questions, or to read about (and learn from) the AT questions of others. Great for troubleshooting and brainstorming.

4. Alternative Awesome Communicators: This is a group made up of families that use many different AAC systems, along with SLPs/AT supporting professionals. A wide range of experiences here, from people who are still considering AAC to those who are trying to feel out different systems to those who are many years down the path of using AAC.

Here are other app- (or device-) specific groups. Some are very active, some aren't. Some are a bit defensive about discussion of other apps or devices on their pages (which makes little sense to me-it's not a secret that other products are out there, and open dialogue about the pros and cons is important for families selecting a system . . . the ideal way to get new users shouldn't be to hope that they don't compare systems) . . . just a forewarning that sometimes questions like "tell me about the different between ABC and XYZ" may fall a little  flat. But it's always interesting to see how people customize and use their systems, and what sort of things are out there.  If you're a professional who supports AAC systems, it's worth joining as many user groups as possible (if the group allows professionals). If you're a home user of AAC, you should definitely join the group for the product that you're using, and may want to join others if you're feeling limited by your current system and interested in learning about what else is out there.

-Proloquo2Go Users Group - for families only
-Proloquo2Go Professionals Group- for professionals only

I've only included groups here that are specifically centered on AAC (and not other types of special education, apps, etc). If I've forgotten or overlooked other AAC groups, please add them in the comments below!


Mathilde Mella said...

Just in case, there's a "PODD in Europe" group (for parents and professionnals) and a french "PODD francophone" group (also parents and pro)

Dana said...

Thank you, Mathilde! I knew I would miss some :)