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This week, Chris interviews Nicole Bender, an AAC specialist who was inspired to move from the US to Thailand to help people with developmental disabilities to communicate! Nicole shares her fascinating experiences deciding to move to another country, her challenges and successes working with AAC in Thailand, and why Nicole loves working abroad so much. Before the interview, Rachel gives her much awaited update on her experiences in Nepal, including adapting her training to help people in a developing country, traveling to far-flung locations, blending in with the locals, and more!
Key ideas this week:
🔑 Nicole makes great use of Saltillo’s “Activity First Approach” - We pick a motivating topic, fill in words in the different sections on the visual, and think about what we need to say or do to get the child to say targeted phrases.
🔑 Song activities for AAC - some families with a song-based activity before working on core words. The family sings songs together and points at the pictures as they sing. It can help in some cases get the family more comfortable with picture-based vocabulary.
🔑 It is important to think about culture when choosing AAC pictures to use. In some cases, the picture is not culturally appropriate’. For example, Nicole found out that a picture of someone putting their feet to signify “take a break” in Thailand isn’t used because putting up your feet and pointing them at someone is considered rude.
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