Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Library
The applicant is requesting funding for an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Library. Establishing a library of devices that can be used to help Heartspring students improve their ability to communicate and interact with the world and to lead a more independent life. the AAC Library will primarily benefit Heartspring School which is a residential and day school with current enrollment of 48 students from 13 states. Approximately 90% of Heartspring's students are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Many students are nonverbal and one of the first steps in giving the children the skills they need to become more independent is to establish a communication system that they can use to interact with others. Because of each child's unique situations, each child needs a communication system that will meet their individual needs. to find the right system for each child, it is often necessary to try several different AAC devices before finding the right "fit" for that child. Establishing an AAC Library at Heartspring will result in expediting the process of finding the best way to give the child the ability to communicate. the outcome will be an increased number of children receiving AAC assessments, expediting the process for school districts and parents to provide them with the appropriate devices. Additionally, the AAC Library will be unique to this region as it will serve as a resource center for educators and parents and as a possible trial site for new devices.