What is Partner Assisted Scanning
Partner Assisted Scanning gives access to communication by help of a communication partner for those with limited to no verbal Speech. It also can be used as a technique to choice making as a strategy for behavior management. This method best can also help those who have severe motor and/or visual impairments by allowing them to have concepts or options presented aloud to select from. This method is also great for AAC users when you may not have target words or concepts that you are looking for on the device. The system is actually very simple to understand and to implement in your child’s life and can also be useful in times of breakdown or communication challenges.
How it Works
Partner assisted scanning (PAS), involves a communication partner and the communicator. The communication partner could be a family member, speech language pathologist or a trained person who understands how the method words. Physical items or lists are presented and then explained to the person to signal by pressing a button or by saying their best “yes”. A switch can be a recorded to a specific or general phrase such as “that’s it”. For example if the child is choosing a snack to eat the communication partner could present pretzels, popcorn, chips, OR something else. After reading the options aloud the communication partner would then re-read the options aloud and the communicator would positively respond to the correct option.
It goes like this:
Communication Partner: “We are going to have snack now, please listen to all of the choices first, and then we will go through them again and you can pick out what you want, read”
Communication Partner: The options are “pretzels, popcorn, chips, OR something else. Now I am going to repeat them and you select which one you want by saying “yea”.
Communication Partner: Now do you want, “pretzels, popcorn
Communication Partner: “You stopped me on popcorn, here it is. Nice communicating!”
It is important to know the pacing and needs of the communicator. A trained speech and language pathologist figures out timing and the needs of the child. They also figure out the best strategies for repair and breakdown. This is a technique that is tailored and customized for the child so that they can get their wants and needs out. If done correctly, it can be used with food, feelings, pain, and so many other things for immediate communication.
The same can be done by reading options off a picture board or by using the objects. The same steps that were previously explained would be reused. It is very important to make sure the options are presented in the same order so that the kiddo can start to formulate his or her answer.
There are SO many advantages to this method of communication. One being is that it allows for timed movements between the communicator and the communication partner. The Partner Assisted Scanning technique is perfect because it allows the conversation to flow as quickly or slowly as needed. This is something that we often see lack in this population of kiddos.
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These videos are AMAZING showing you exactly what Partner Assisted Scanning looks like in action!