Mandalay Celebrates AAC Awareness Month

Mandalay Celebrates All Communicators for AAC Awareness Month

To strengthen the communication skills of all students at Mandalay Elementary School in the Wantagh School District, speech-language pathologists Emily McCann and Jeanette Perucca visited classrooms on Oct. 11 for Augmentative and Alternative Communication Awareness Month. This was a new initiative at the school to promote inclusiveness. 

“We recognize that everyone communicates a little differently,” Ms. McCann said. “By helping students communicate with each other, they can create new friendships.”

Ms. McCann and Ms. Perucca noted that some children don’t communicate verbally and use other means such as sign language, communication boards or assistive devices. Other students are naturally curious about peers who use nonverbal means, they explained, and the goal of AAC Awareness Day was the educate them.  

To raise awareness, they showed videos and read age-appropriate books including “A Day With No Words,” “Lucas the Lion Loves the Tiny Talker” and “Something to Say About My Communication Device.” Children learned how to sign the words “love,” “more” and “play.” They also designed their own assistive communication boards with words or phrases that are important to them. 

To coincide with AAC Awareness Day, Mandalay held its “wear your words” spirit day, and students and staff were encouraged to dress in clothing with words.