Sunday, 16 June 2013
Kelly Fonner- Open Access Resource Centre Conference
On May 15, I attended a conference at the Viscount Gort hosted by the Open Access Resource Centre. Kelly Fonner, invited by OARC, presented on improving communication for students who use Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC). Fonner, a self-employed consultant and assistive technoloy expert with over 30 years of experience working with individuals with disabilities has worked in the field from the ground up, starting her journey as an educational assistant and moving upwards from there. Fonner presented all the components of designing and implementing an effective AAC program for working with individuals with a communication disability. She suggested an intervention framework based on 'lessons learned'. Considering purposes for communication, examining the behaviour of the communication partner, setting up the environment to encourage communication, providing the right level of support as communication partner, and creating a plan to encourage communication are all key to having the student become more fluent in AAC. She suggests working on a Participation Plan in Classroom Settings Worksheet with resource teachers, classroom teachers, and EAs to plan what communication will look like in the classroom setting. From there, SST members can use a Communication Activity Planning Worksheet to plan for a greater number of communication opportunities for the student. Fonner's systematic approach to AAC addresses all the considerations of fostering communication. If any of my ISD colleagues are interested in viewing these materials, I can certainly visit you in the fall to develop a plan!