Remote AAC Assessments—Tips, Considerations, and Unexpected Surprises

Remote AAC Assessments—Tips, Considerations, and Unexpected Surprises

Its a tall order for a Zoom call.

The objective of an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) evaluation is to identify appropriate interaction technology for a user with intricate communication needs. This might be anything from a low-tech interaction board (symbols or letters) to a robust AAC “speech generating gadget” with communication gain access to options (an app for a tablet computer, an eye-gaze responsive device, and so on) The AAC Specialist (a speech-language pathologist), often in partnership with an occupational therapist, assesses completion users interaction needs and capabilities to make these suggestions. AAC assessments consist of factor to consider of cognition, meaningful and receptive language, sensory and motor function, communication partners and environments.

In this time of Covid-19, increasingly remote AAC evaluations are taking place. AT3 News and Tips has talked about remote AAC evaluations with assistive innovation (AT) provider in Massachusetts and Arizona. They are on the forefront of doing what it takes to get communication requirements met regardless of the pandemic. They are also the first to admit this is not a solution for lots of customers and families. What is emerging, however, are some amazing lessons found out worth sharing. Service providers in both states report that already these experiences will impact how they offer AAC evaluations well beyond the pandemic.

Read on if your company is considering providing remote AAC assessments or is acknowledging a pushing need to determine who might benefit!

Thank you to the following speech-language pathologists (SLPs) for your contributions; with Easterseals MA: Kristi Peak Oliveira, Casey McCarthy, Alyssa Savery; with the Institute for Human Development at Northern Arizona University: Staci R. McCauley and Nikkol Kramer Anderson. Numerous thanks to contributions from Jill Pleasant, Associate Director of the Institute for Human Development, NAU.

A Remote Assessment Should Only Be Considered If:

Children frequently go to much better to activities used for remote AAC assessments performed by moms and dads than a complete stranger, extremely useful for AAC sessions.” When it comes to remote evaluations and remote sessions, I want to make sure that assistance staff and moms and dads feel truly appreciated. Remote AAC evaluations enable for matching the consumer with the AAC Specialist most suitable to their situations, needs, and personalities.

Establish protocols and contracts for what to expect and utilize them.
SLPs must talk to their State Licensing Boards to make sure they are following any state-specific guidelines for telepractice.
Conduct a remote consumption first. Utilize this time to figure out if a remote evaluation is suitable and welcome.
Identify what equipment is available at the remote area (Windows computer? iPad? Smartphone?) and if it is needed to send out equipment and/or activities for the assessment ahead of time (if your program has that capability).
Determine what kind of support a consumer may require onsite and if a ready and capable support individual is available.
Anticipate preparations for a remote assessment to be required and time-consuming. Different intake and preparations from the time slotted for the evaluation itself.

Remote Assessment Lessons Learned.

Learn Zooms Annotating Feature.

Prepare In Advance.

Broadband WiFi need to be offered and appropriate (test drive the remote area!) Advised speeds are: 150 kbps for screen sharing with a video thumbnail, 600 kbps for video calling, and 1.5 mbps for video calling with several individuals (or more than one web cam). Easterseals MA is thinking about bundling WiFi hotspots into remote AAC devices kits for usage with remote consumers in geographically and digitally separated places.

” We began by supplying remote consumptions for AAC evaluations as a stop-gap procedure to resolve a backlog of referrals during the pandemic.– Jill Pleasant, Associate Director, Institute for Human Development, NAU.

SLPs need to use a HIPAA-compliant platform.
HIPAA-compliant remote conferencing platforms consist of Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, FaceTime and Zoom (if you have a Zoom organisation account).

Use Zoom Whenever Possible.

” Its all about building relationships with households and coaching them through the procedure. Reading their responses and figuring out just how much they are all set to handle. Also, pre-coaching or front-loading information for them so they comprehend why we do what we do. Input from families has been overwhelmingly favorable and they show they feel empowered by being more involved in their childs assessment. They understand what to do when they receive their device.”– Staci McCauley, AAC Specialist, Institute for Human Development, NAU.

” Scheduling, technical support, shipping plans, family training, prepping devices, permission forms provided practically … all of that takes a lot of time up front. I believe the time dedication for that part was a bit of a surprise.

Ideally, consumers trial devices and/or software on devices that is different from the gadget used for remote conferencing. This implies customized AAC devices is shipped prior to the evaluation for trial and/or there is a laptop, tablet computer system, or mobile phone (proper with some consumers) available at the remote area for use with AAC apps.
Preferably, a 2nd web cam is likewise readily available, mounted behind the customer, so the SLP can observe the consumer and support person dealing with devices and software application (through a 2nd Zoom video window). An installed smart device (Android or Apple) can be utilized as a second webcam (old or brand-new).

Remote AAC assessments enable for matching the customer with the AAC Specialist most appropriate to their scenarios, personalities, and requirements. Its likewise made us truly thoughtful about how we provide in-person services, especially with trainees.– Kristi Peak-Oliveira, AAC Program Manager, Easterseals MA.

” Ive seen, overall, a lot more self-reliance. Households are more involved and because they are having to do programs that I would normally be inclined to just do, that is developing their self-reliance and their mastery.” — Casey McCarthy, AAC Specialist, Easterseals MA.

Virtual AAC Training: Teletherapy & & Distance Learning Edition.

In this time of Covid-19, increasingly remote AAC assessments are happening. Easterseals MA is thinking about bundling WiFi hotspots into remote AAC equipment sets for usage with remote customers in geographically and digitally isolated locations.

Zoom has an Annotation feature that enables SLPs to see where a remote user has actually touched a shared screen. This is not readily available on other remote conferencing platforms.

The greatest benefit to Zoom is the customer does not require a Zoom account to conference with you. Google and Microsoft need accounts and FaceTime is Apple-only and more minimal in function. Establishing software application accounts is a significant extra obstacle to supplying remote services with consumers. Zoom, on the other hand, allows the host to send out an invite via email with participants and instructions are quicker up and running.
Zoom likewise enables the usage of more than one cam at the remote place, so the SLP can see the consumer from different angles (if the devices is available).

Intensive teaming with assistance individuals frequently has a profoundly favorable impact on the end-users AAC knowing and gadget adoption. Assistance individuals end up being more acquainted with the AAC innovation by assisting to configure it and by modeling its usage. This has led to much better onsite understanding of the equipment and a greater capability for repairing as well as financial investment in its use.

Separating intake from the assessment is showing dramatically beneficial, enabling much better pacing and preparation for any evaluation (activities to prepare in addition to devices). It also indicates less screen time simultaneously and higher stamina for the evaluation.

Discover More About Providing Remote AAC Assessments and Services.

There is a pressing need to do so (Covid-19 precautions, geographically remote area, and so on).
The customer is willing.
There suffices support at the remote place (a household member, personal care attendant, etc. who is available to assist with technology and activities as required or appropriate for the consumer).
There is access to broad band web and sufficient technology (or a method to provide it).

Ask the assistance individual (or consumer when appropriate) to download trials of any apps under consideration. Deal with them to configure these properly for what you know about the consumer you are dealing with and/or the activities you are preparing to use for the evaluation.
Test-drive the remote conferencing software application you mean to utilize with the remote place prior to the evaluation (such as during intake).

Utilizing Annotation with a shared screen enables an SLP to see on-screen selections made at a remote area. This is specifically helpful for scenarios where a remote area has only one computer or tablet offered for a remote evaluation and apps are under factor to consider.
Preferably, Annotation is used with a consumer on a touch-screen device. The SLP can screenshare a window displaying an AAC app and when the customer or support individual touches the screen, Zoom leaves a “sticker” (heart, star, or another icon). The SLP can then simulate that choice directly on the app to set off the apps response.
Without a touchscreen gadget, a support person at the remote area can watch a consumers touch using a mouse and place Zoom stamps for the SLP to follow.

Remote AAC evaluations are frequently taxing and reliant on assistance individuals, a few of whom are managing working from house with homeschooling or supporting numerous people at a group home.
Children often go to better to activities utilized for remote AAC assessments performed by parents than a complete stranger, hugely advantageous for AAC sessions. In your home, siblings, too, may be available to assist with an activity. These are advantages over assessments performed at a students school or an outpatient medical setting.

Easterseals MA Embraces Remote AAC Services.

Equipment Considerations.

Utilize a HIPAA-Compliant Platform for Providing Remote Services.

Communicare LLC Tele-AAC.

” When it comes to remote sessions and remote assessments, I desire to make sure that assistance staff and moms and dads feel genuinely appreciated.– Alyssa Savery, AAC Specialist, Easterseals MA.