Friday, February 24, 2023

OTs, SLPs, and AAC

 Hey Tek-ninjas! Yesterday I had a really wonderful experience co-presenting to the Methodist University's Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program

I got to co-present with my colleague Jo Taylor. Jo is a speech therapist, and a Solution Consultant for Tobii Dynavox, and she serves Eastern NC and Tidewater VA. We vibe really well - OT/SLP team powers and all that! 

Our topic was broad, looking at the Occupational Therapist's role in AAC, how they can best support SLPs and AAC users. We discussed what the role of the Solution Consultant is. Finally, we also looked at two case studies and facilitated a conversation about which access modalities might be best for respective clients. 

I love presenting to Occupational Therapists on AAC. Here in the US, our medical model sets SLPs as the procurers of SGD, and this is appropriate especially for emergent communicators and other's with language disorders. But.... as Occupational Therapists we have a huge role and opportunity to help support AAC users and the SLPs who serve them. 

Back in April of 2022 I wrote an article about how Occupational Therapists may not realize they have the requisite training to support AAC users and our SLP friends who serve them, when in fact we do. In the post I note how the HAAT (The Human Activity Assistive Technology Model) dovetails so nicely with most all of our Occupational Performance Models, I also want to encourage you to remember your training in Activity Analysis. It will carry you through the technology. 

So again, I'm challenging my Occupational Therapy colleagues to be open to continued learning, and to find a willing SLP and partner with them to deliver even more robust therapy with attention to AAC. 

One of the silver linings of my visit to Methodist University was that I connected in person for the first time with long-time "Instagram friend" (yes, that's a thing) Annabeth from the dynamic-duo from thefannypacktherapist. If you aren't familiar with their work, check it out. They consistently model what a great OT/SLP team can look like, and they share a lot of ideas around 'best-practices'.

Do you partner with another discipline to support AAC? I'd love to hear how. In my work on school based AT teams I was privileged to partner with VI teachers, PTs, SLPs, SPeDs, and of course parents. I learned so much from all of them. 

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