Session 5B Accessing AAC: Competence through the Lens of Activity and Engagement2:45 – 3:45
Speaker: Karen Kangas
Providing a means of access to AAC for students with complex bodies is challenging for teams. In our efforts to teach access first, we often miss the crucial step of making sure that a student is developing competence in the activity. This is a process that comes over time from practice with and knowledge of the activity - anticipating the beginning, the middle, and end. For our students, sensory processing directly affects visual convergence, focus, attention, or postural control, each of which can be misread as “disinterest” or “lack of communicative intent”. This brief session will share strategies and insight for teaching - not testing- so that AAC users can be increasingly engaged in meaningful learning activities, both academic and functional, as access develops.
Speaker Bio: Karen Kangas is an occupational therapist in private practice; she specializes in providing direct treatment to children and adults with complex bodies, consultation to local school teacher/therapy teams and their students, and clinical workshops specifically focusing on Seating, Access to AT and Children with Complex Bodies. Karen has worked as an OT since 1973 in many settings including school systems, early intervention programs, home health, rehabilitation centers, and long-term care facilities. She has been actively teaching since 1985 on Seating and Positioning; Sensory Processing and Sensory Integration as it relates to Seating for Function; Alternative Access and Powered Mobility; Assessment and Integration of Assistive Technology all over the USA, as well as in Canada, Sweden, Israel, Ireland, Scotland, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.