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Bringing Affordable AAC Services to Local School Districts

Allyson Beary, M.S. CCC-SLP, TheraCare Outpatient Clinic Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP), is not only a highly skilled SLP but a therapist that focuses her professional attention and time around helping students with communicating their wants and needs. With her unique skill set, she has helped over a dozen local school districts receive access to consultation, evaluation and device education (if applicable) to ensure that no child is left without the ability to communicate needs.  One of the best things about it—it’s at minimal cost to the district. She joins hands with the educational team, including on-site SLPs, to confirm that any measures taken are in alignment with the goals of the multidisciplinary team. Let’s learn more about the amazing services Allyson is providing!  

 

 

Where does your passion for AAC come from?  

 

Being a speech-language pathologist (SLP), I am naturally passionate about helping others communicate. But being an SLP that specializes in AAC means I get to help those unique individuals who need device support to communicate. I have been able to witness what happens when you give a person the gift of human interaction and it continuously develops my passion for AAC. “-Beary stated 

 

What does it look like for a school that needs support? 

 

The first step is to open the line of communication and work together to formulate an individualized plan that suits their students. Sometimes this means putting me in direct contact with the student’s family and other times I am working one-on-one with school faculty. The needs of each school vary and therefore we work together to formulate a unique plan of action. 

 

What student may benefit from AAC?  

 

Any student that is struggling to communicate with others inside and outside of the classroom. AAC is not solely intended for students who are considered nonverbal but can also be used to enhance the verbal speech of those who are difficult to understand.”-Allyson continued.You may notice that these students become easily frustrated when trying to communicate or you may see them isolate themselves from their peers. 

 

What advice would you give parents or educators that are looking into AAC as an option?  

 

Get the evaluation. Give yourself the opportunity to ask questions, address concerns, and explore the communication devices. An evaluation is not a commitment to move forward with an AAC device, but it does provide you the opportunity to arm yourself with the information needed to make a well-educated decision.”  

 

What has been one of your favorite things about providing this service to local schools? 

 

Opening doors for students, families, and school staff members in this community. I frequently get asked the question, how are other schools able to recommend that a student get an evaluation for AAC? There appears to be aremain reserved culture regarding school districts making recommendations for outside services despite the sincere desire to do so. My favorite thing about providing this service to local schools has been helping them find the confidence they need to access resources available in the community to create a richer learning environment. 

 

 

For additional information regarding TheraCare’s Alternative and Augmentative Communication Services, contact Elise Mitchell, Therapy Operations Coordinator, at elise@theracareozarks.com or call (417) 890-4656.