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April 2021

Tip One: Dynamic Books in Google Slides

Tip Two: Visual Scene Display Options

Tip Three: Classwide Total Communication Training 


Who is Jeanette?


Jeanette delights in life and being around the people in her circles. She has a strong connection with her mom, dad, and sister, as well as her 1:1, teacher and related services team. She is quick to seek you out and invite you to dance, listen to a song, or read with her (playing with blocks is fun, too). She epitomizes a total communicator, using her facial expressions, body posturing, signs and sign approximations, vocalizations and verbalizations, Proloquo2Go, along with bringing you to what she needs or wants to express herself and engage with her communication partners.  


Jeanette’s journey with Proloquo2Go has been tremendous and is a testament to strong parental advocacy leading to a systematic team approach, valuing input from all team members. Jeanette’s parents meet frequently with her BCBA and SLP/AAC teams. Additionally, Jeanette’s team meets on a weekly to monthly basis in different configurations. Jeanette’s customized version of Proloquo2Go has changed shape and size over the years and has evolved into a template-based system that has allowed for consistency, emphasis on specific targets that can be practiced repeatedly across contexts, as well as contextualized learning to capitalize on the schemas and routines that are meaningful to her. Jeanette first worked with Proloquo2Go in portrait position with 4 icons in a vertical line in the center of her screen. She is now working with a 49-button overlay where vocabulary is introduced either under a core word (such as “want,” “eat,” or “play”) to support language growth, or within a category or activity-specific page designed to support participation in a specific context. This vocabulary is carefully selected and teaching it is closely monitored by her BCBA, AAC/Speech, and Special Education teams. 


All pages/screens on Jeanette’s Proloquo2Go are printed and made available in lite-tech paper-based forms to support continuous access in multiple environments, as well as modeling from communication partners. Additionally, intervention tools are designed to reiterate the vocabulary as well as embed the icons into materials. This provides multiple opportunities for Jeanette to engage with the vocabulary, cues communication partners into what vocabulary to emphasize, and allows for seamless modeling in the moment.  

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Google Slide

TechTip: Dynamic Books in Google Slides


What is goal/purpose? 

The goal of using dynamic books that emphasize certain vocabulary is to provide repeated opportunities to explore specific vocabulary across contexts, cue partners as to what vocabulary to reiterate and/or model, as well as help normalize exposure to the language system being used by an individual communicating via AAC. 


How is it used? 

What is nice about digital and dynamic books in this format is that they can be used in on-site and tele-AAC sessions. By sharing the presentation in edit mode one can move and manipulate the icon pictures to help draw attention to the target vocabulary.  

How is it accessed?

The original version of the book with embedded icons can be read as we would a traditional book. The digital Google Slides version can be printed to create a hard copy of the modified text (not to be sold or shared so as to avoid copyright violations) or can be displayed in on online format. If shown in presentation mode, the icons can be moved to help focus on these target words. 

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VSD Options

TechTip: Visual Scene Display Options


What is goal/purpose? 

The goal is to support engagement by using the context of the activity. For some individuals icons (especially icons randomly placed on a page/board) can be meaningless or lack context. However, when using alike images the context is more easily perceived, and therefore more meaningful. There is additional evidence to support the use of  VSDs (Holyfield, 2019, Samarasinge & Muttiah, 2018, Wilkinson, 2012). 

How is it used? 

Create replicas or images used within a book as talking points, vocabulary to model, a way to reinforce vocabulary, or to support engagement and attention. Having these manipulative replicas empowers the individual to engage in a more hands-on way. These replicas also allow the clinician or communication partner to interact with the content in a very tangible, observable way. 

How is it accessed?

The key to these is that they are manipulative. They would therefore need to be printed and/or laminated. They can be Velcroed within a book, for example, to empower the individual to move/manipulate/exchange the image as a way of engaging and communicating. 

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Classwide Training

TechTip: Classwide Total Communication Presentation  


What is goal/purpose?  

The goal is to familiarize Jeanette’s peers and community with her ways of communicating to promote a shared understanding and respect. Knowledge is power. Equipping the community with information about how to value multiple methods of communication is critical. It is especially important to customize the information to the individual’s unique system to help important communication partners understand the various ways in which the individual communicates. We find it is good to include visuals whenever possible.  


How is it used?  

Working in collaboration with the classroom teacher and other related services personnel (in this case, Jeanette’s BCBA) to find a time to share information about multi-modal communication. For Jeanette, this means talking about signs/gestures, as well as symbols and high-tech AAC. One of her BCBA’s put together a presentation that reviewed target words, showing the picture, sign and how the word is generated on Jeanette’s talker.  

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How is it accessed?

As this is a Google Slides presentation it can be accessed remotely or in an on-site environment. At the agreed-upon time the team is able to share the presentation to help demonstrate how an individual is able to communicate using various methods.  

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