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Supporting Learning through Aumentative and Alternative Communication: Kilparrin's Innovative Approach to Assessment

This webinar is a conversation between Leanne Longfellow (Special Education Planning)  and Sarah Hains, Room 2 teacher at Kilparrin, who has been involved with developing an innovative assessment tool for students who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).

'In 2015, we identified that our approach to communication was solely for the purposes of school work and we found that we were not supporting students to become autonomous communicators. The shocking reality for some of our students was the end schooling was approaching and we needed to support them to have a voice that would be understood in the community.'

With the support from Janelle Sampson (Speech Pathologist – Two Way Street) we began our journey to improve our classroom practice to support the development of student’s communication methods and modes.

This included creating an assessment tool that would support the development of communication skills inline with the Australian Curriculum General Capabilities. The Rubric of Communication Competence (RoCC) had been created to do just this and for this we have Janelle Sampson and Haylee Parfett (Hayley Parfett Speech Pathology) to thank.

The rubric has given teachers a chance to understand the communication process in more detail, and set small achievable goals with the overall aim being that their students become autonomous communicators. The data provided a basis for intervention and supported teaching staff to direct allied health services. This meant as teachers we needed to modify our classroom practice to support improvement in these areas. An example of this, was explicitly teaching the student to put their hand in the air to gain attention rather than crying. Our journey so far has provided students with access to curriculum whilst supporting their rights to say what they want to say and fortunately we have data tracking our progress as the years go on.'

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