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CCN Alphabet: Aided Language

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Aided Language Stimulation (ALS) is a "language stimulation approach in which the facilitator points out picture symbols on the child's communication display in conjunction with all ongoing language stimulation. Through the modeling process, the concept of using pictorial symbols interactively is demonstrated for the individual" (Goossens, Crain, & Elder, 1992).  This approach is based on the assumption that children with complex communication needs will learn to use their devices or language systems through natural interactions in a language immersion environment just as other children learn to communicate using spoken words.

In order to use an ALS approach, the student and communication partner needs to have available to him/her a language system that has enough generative language vocabulary to be able to say whatever that students wants to say at any given time.

The following video outlines a few key concepts related to ALS:


When we model the use of a student…

CCN Alphabet - Sharing What I'm Learning About Supporting Students with Complex Communication Needs

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It's hard to believe another year has come and gone. There were many times this year when I sat down to write a blog post but then the words just didn't seem to come.  It wasn't that there was nothing to write, but perhaps more than so many of the things that I have been thinking about for the last few years starting to become consolidated in practice and in the time I wanted more to step back and experience it and let it evolve rather than to wrap too many words around it. 
When I adopted my son 16 years ago, I knew that we were beginning a "special needs journey" but I did not know that we were also beginning a "complex communication needs journey". In those early days, I imagined a very different life for both him and I as his childhood years have unfolded.  
When I made the decision to move from "general" to "special" education 9 years ago, I also knew I was on a new journey, but, again, I was unable to imagine what parts of tha…