The Student Communication Project

Assessment, IEP Development, Customization
& Implementation Planning

​The Student Communication Project is a series of group trainings, tools & resources and in classroom coaching and troubleshooting.  We have tools to help you assesses students for their IEP to report current functioning, write goals and show progress.

Home Schedule Analysis

We all know our students learn to communicate primarily at home. You can invite parents to complete the Home & Community Schedule Analysis so that school teams can help the family integrate AAC into their home life.

Classroom Communication & AAC Goals Grid

Our first step in supporting our student's communication development is the Classroom Communication Goals Grid-R. This tool gives school professionals a tool to assess their student’s Present Level of Performance in communication for the IEP. You will be evaluating your student's ability to meet their basic wants and needs, socialize and develop language skills. You will also consider their understanding and expression of their knowledge of academic concepts to be successful in school. Students also must communicate to describe, discuss, argue, support, propose, and collaborate with their teachers and peers. With the Classroom Communication Goals Grid-R, you will have everything you need to fully address Communication Skills in the IEP including the Present Level of Performance, selection of multifunctional Goals, and to show Measurable Progress over time.

Communication Skills include 5 Common Classroom Communication Goals, which you will see represented in all of our student support tools!

• expression of wants and needs,

• social interaction,

• information/opinion sharing,

• development of age appropriate language and

• communication for higher level academics and growth.

Additional training on the Classroom Communication Goals Grid-R is available on our Training Website!

Student Communication Passport​

The Student Communication Passport is a tool that serves multiple functions in our project.

The first job your passport may do for you is provide a place for you to pull together the results of an individual student’s Classroom Communication Goals Grid. As you complete the Goals Grid, you’ll use the Passport to summarize the findings of the Classroom Communication Goals Grid. In each block you’ll write your student’s current skill in meeting that particular goal, his “present level of performance.” How does your student greet others? “Jackson greets by making eye contact, vocalizing and inconsistently raising a hand to wave.” “Tyvion greets by going to the greetings page on his AAC app and selecting a series of statements to say, ‘Hi,’ ‘How are you,’ and ‘I’m fine.’” This can be used to explain the student communication to the IEP team, the family, outside professionals or, to send with the student as they move to a new teacher.

Some of our very clever teachers have made use of the Passport as a place to summarize the communication skills of all the students in the classroom. They print the Passport as a POSTER, with a writable surface, then hang it on the wall as a reminder of how each student communicates, so no communication attempt, however subtle, is missed by the team!

Finally, other teachers use the passport as a lesson planning tool. As they are developing a lesson, they consider what opportunities exist during the lesson to practice the different communication goals. For example, during an art activity, students can greet each other and the teacher as they sit down (Greetings), request needed art supplies (wants & needs), comment on their artwork or the activity (Opinions), practice communicating in short sentences, such as "I like purple." or "I want a marker." (Language Development) or discuss concepts around their artwork, such as shading light and dark (Academics).

AAC System Customization

AAC Systems include everything from communication books, engineered classrooms, Picture Exchange System to robust, high tech communication device. One thing they all have in common is the NEED to be customized to include important words and messages for your specific student! We have a few tools to help you with this.

Our School Word List will help you organize a list of words that are pertinent to the classroom and school. You’ll want to be sure these words/symbols are accessible in your classroom. You can customize your student’s communication device or book with these symbols, and you can display these symbols in strategic locations around your room. For example, if your classroom talks about the weather, you might put symbols for the different weather options (“sunny,” “rainy,” “cold” etc.) on the window. If you talk about lunch options, you might put symbols for these choices on a board on the back of a lunch tray, or on a classroom display, “What’s for lunch at Pine Mountain Elementary!” This ensures that at any time, your student can communicate these words/messages. We all know our students learn to communicate primarily at home though!

The Home Word List gives you a worksheet to send home with your students so you can make sure they have access to important words from home, like photos and names of family, friends and favorite outings.

Don't forget to request photos of favorite people and places. You can also use Google Image Searches to download high quality images of toys, leisure items, public places and foods.

You will need to decide who is the responsible person for overseeing the customization of the device. Be sure someone accepts responsibility for making sure it's done, and that the words are placed where they belong in the overall language organization of the system. Make sure all the important words aren't simply placed on the Main/Home page! Students need to learn where words "live" on their system so that they have room for all the words and messages they need!

For high tech communication devices, or applications on tablets, check the manufacturer's website for tutorials on specific customization of these tools!

You can find even more training on our Training Website!

Implementation Planning: Making it Work!


You've received the communication device, AAC Flipbook and lots of symbols, NOW WHAT? The next step is to figure out when, where and why you are going to introduce and teach the use of these tools to your student!  This may be a BRAND NEW system, OR one that the student has had a while, but it's not working for them, or you, anymore.  

First let's think about when and why we need to plan for AAC implementation! Take a look at our short video and then grab one of the blank planning guides below.

You'll see we have an AAC Planning Notebook (open in Powerpoint) and a printable version to help guide you as you document all of the important information the team needs to implement your student's AAC system. The notebook can be a digital file where you house links and videos; a printed notebook to keep in the classroom; or BOTH! Download these in the file links below!

AAC 101 Steps of Learning Introduction

5 steps!

5 steps to move from training to talking, give you a clear path for you and your student learner. Learning to communicate is a shared journey between the learner and their partners, and that makes sense! Communication is a shared activity between two people. It is the means for us to make connections, meet our needs, engage socially, participate in shared experiences, and bridge the gap between our experiences and sharing these their partners. Here's a short video to introduce this concept! If you'd like to explore this further, we have an entire Training Unit devoted to this on our Training Website!

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