Part of this year’s IEP was this report. I don’t think we had this equivalent in years before, perhaps because we hadn’t gone all-in on his AAC until the most recent school year.

This is Part 2 of Dar’s IEP; next week I’ll present Part 3, which will constitute the concluding thoughts on this year’s big whoop-de-woo. Early next year (February 2017), he has his “triennial,” which will be an even bigger whoop-de-woo.

In some ways, I read the below and think, well, duh, I could have written this. (And I wouldn’t have written “i.e.” when “e.g.” is what is meant.) In other ways, it’s good to have this in black and white. Although, wifey and I both wondered about the bold-face proclamation below (bold-face in original!). I get it; eventually we want to wean him from the iPad. But we’re a looooooooong way from eventually, and right now, such a, ahem, bold proclamation is confusing. So far, when we go back and forth between talking and AAC, results haven’t been great.

What I wanted to read is: here’s how we’re going to use the AAC/iPad for Dar to say every single thing he’s ever wanted to say. Instead I read this:

[Dar] is an engaging 6-year-old boy enrolled in a first grade classroom at Thousand Oaks Elementary School. Dar qualifies for special education services under the primary category of Autism (AUT), and the secondary category of Speech or Language Impairment (SLI).

Dar uses many intentional forms to communicate, including nonverbal behaviors (facial expression, body language, proximity, etc.), and a high tech, dynamic display communication device (an iPad with Proloquo2go). While Dar has intentional communicative behaviors, he continues to be prompt dependent to communicate in conventional ways.

Dar’s device is used in both home and school environments. His home team uses it regularly during therapy sessions. The supervisor, Gina _____, for the behavioral support agency STE Consultants, LLC, was recently trained on the programming and use of the device, as well as the importance of aided language stimulation (modeling), core vocabulary and programming.

Dar currently is enrolled at Thousand Oaks Elementary, where he receives 500 minutes/week of specialized academic instruction, 1800 minutes/year of speech/language therapy, 900 minutes/year of occupational therapy, 900 minutes/year of physical therapy, and an instructional assistant to support him throughout the day. AAC services are currently provided for 10 hours/year for consultation and training with the family and staff. The use of AAC is supported both in the school and home environments.

Dar currently communicates in the school setting using his iPad with Proloquo2go. In structured settings, he is able to use his device to make common requests using a carrier phrase (“I want”) with a verbal and visual prompt (i.e. “tell me” while pointing or looking to the device). Without prompting, Dar will likely not use his device; he will use gestures, body proxemics, or take what he wants. Dar does well when responding using his device for choices (i.e. do you want gum, or a drink?), but has greater difficulty when the question is open-ended.

When Dar needs a break, he can be directed to his iPad, where he independently asks for a break activity.

Operationally, Dar can navigate back to the home screen, clear the message bar independently, and can self correct – if he touches a wrong button, he will erase that word and chose (sic) the correct one.


It is recommended that Dar continue to receive AAC Consultation services to support teacher/staff and SLP to meet his expressive/receptive language and communication goals that are found in the new IEP. Dar continues to require a high tech, dynamic display communication device that can be personalized to meet his daily needs.

The above summary will be shared with the IEP team and the following recommendations will be considered in conjunction with information gathered from Dar’s meeting:

Recommended AAC Implementation:

  • Provide models for AAC use. Dar currently does not have everyday models of people that use AAC effectively. It is imperative that the communication partners in Dar’s environment activate the AAC also.
  • Integrate AAC during specified times throughout the day, as per his participation plan, so that Dar can experience consistent and immediate communication success.

Give Dar access to AAC during these controlled times so that his communication attempts will be responded to immediately.

  • Reduce prompt-dependency for making requests. Try to reduce verbal prompting.
  • Continue to reinforce use of core vocabulary, so that Dar can continue to make a request, even if the pictured noun is not in his communication app (i.e. Darwin could request “eat” at lunch time, even if a picture of his food is not in the app)
  • Use natural prompts (i.e. Dar, what do you want?) The goal is communication, not AAC!

Avoid required imitation

Avoid directives (“tell me, I want cookie”)

  • Have Dar’s communication device accessible at all times.

Recommended AAC Services:

To be determined by the IEP Team. This will include:

  • Consultation to staff, family, and other communication partners.
  • Development and updating of “Participation Plan” for access to educational curriculum
  • Customizing vocabulary to enhance communication interactions and be functional/motivating for Dar’s daily needs