Becoming a better listener through modeling AAC

January and February are all about me focusing on being more present in my life, and for my children.

Being present includes listening. That is not just listening with our ears, it’s with our eyes, too.

So here’s an AHA! Moment.

She is listening.

Our little Doodlebug is always listening. Of course she is. But I saw that differently this week.

Of all the good pointers we noted in our Tobii Dynavox free webinar training, here is the big one for me.

Modeling slows our speech down. Modeling makes us pause.

Why is that an Aha! moment?

We are a work in progress as a family incorporating AAC into our lives. We have been on this journey for about six years now.

Modeling makes it easier for her to hear and understand what we are saying because we have to slow down.

We talk fast in this house. It is completely my fault. If you have something to say spit it out… right? That’s how I’ve been raised and influenced and I am having to undo all of that.

We also a butcher a few words. We tend to drop the G. Nothing personal to the language. It’s just a thing we do down here. But I can imagine how hard it is to decipher our back and forth bantering even when she is sitting right by our sides.

Adopting AAC modeling

It slows us down. It makes us pause. It gives her time to process. And it gives her more space to jump into our conversations. It means we are giving her a chance to join in and showing her we want to LISTEN.

If I am brutally honest with myself, I can admit it probably took a year, when she was 5ish, for us to really pick up on the fact that she was reading and listening to us. She had been so locked in her own world and messed up with seizure meds, we thought she might be deaf. She rarely looked up for her name, or when loud noises happened. It just didn’t matter to her. So I think sometimes, we are still working through building her confidence back up — confidence in us, to pay attention, to try to understand. And having to prove to her it’s worth her time to make the effort.

So even though we are putting communication boards on all the walls of the house, and I created a board for her doll, it’s all more functioning as gestures from us to show her we want to do better. We want to hear her and we want her to include us in her world. 

A few more thoughts on this on the opening podcast episode. A lot of focus on listening right now and practicing mindfulness for myself.

A few thoughts stored on my Instagram story.