Let me tell you about one of my favorite AAC tools. It’s wonderful to have in your back pocket for assessments, goal writing, progress monitoring, and more – and best of all, it’s FREE!
- Provides a way to systematically assess/reassess current AAC skills
- Assists with the development of a comprehensive plan for increasing communicative independence for the AAC user.
- Ensures that all communicative competencies are considered in an evaluation.
- Shows patterns of strengths and weaknesses to help determine the next steps for intervention.
- Acknowledges progress toward independence.
- Presents a “big picture” view of every learner and helps develop communication goals for now and the future.
That’s a lot of goodness right there! Let’s break it down step by step and section by section. (It will be helpful if you are able to download the from the link above or at least have it open in another tab while reading through this information to get the clearest picture of each section and its use.)
Let’s start with how to use the DAGG-2 for initial AAC assessments. We start with the “Ability Level Continuum” guide. This guide is broken into five different levels: emergent, emergent transitional, context-dependent, transitional dependent, and independent. Each of these levels are further segmented into specific areas: understanding, expression, social interaction, literacy skills, and other.
This guide is completed based on the learner’s current AAC use, keeping in mind that a learner may be at different levels for each of the different areas. Information gathered from completing this guide gives insight into the learner’s current skills and strengths in each area. After completing the guide, you can summarize the findings and see an overview of how independent they are within each area. There is also a section where you can make notes of various communication characteristics you observed, other communication modalities they use, strengths, barriers, etc. Once this guide is completed, you move on to the next step – choosing goals to address in one or more areas.
Referencing the information gathered & summarized in the “Ability Level Continuum” guide, we use that information to choose potential goals for the learner, within each of the different communicative competencies. Sample goal ideas are provided both for each communicative competency (linguistic, operational, social, & strategic) and for different levels outlined in the “Ability Level Continuum” guide. A chain of cues prompting hierarchy is also provided for each goal and level so that you can indicate which level of cueing the learner currently needs.
Using the ability levels and chain of cues provides an opportunity to not only see where your learner is currently with their AAC use and their independence, but it also allows you to see the next steps to continue progression and independence within each competency.
Now that we know where our learner is in their AAC use journey in reference to each of the communicative competencies, how independent they are within each of these skills, and have looked at some possible goal ideas, it’s finally time to draft the goals and objectives!
Once again the DAGG-2 is here to help with worksheets that walk us through the goal writing process step by step. AAC Goal Worksheets are here to help us choose a skill from each of the communicative competencies that we selected within the AAC Goals Grid, adding in the communication partner(s), activity, prompting type, and criteria to complete the goal.
Talk about an all-in-one tool! Just using this one tool you have completed the AAC assessment, determined strengths and areas that need additional support, and written goals and objectives that will drive your treatment sessions! But, the goodness of the DAGG-2 doesn’t stop there! You can also use this tool for reassessments and progress monitoring – read on to find out how.
There are three different ways to look at reassessment & progress monitoring using the DAGG-2:
- Look back at the Dynamic AAC Goals listed by competency and mark any progress in the level of cueing. (Use a different color pen and/or mark the date of reassessment to denote progress monitoring.)
- Use the AAC Goals Periodic Progress Report to record progress in each competency area. Keeping track of the percentage of goals mastered within each competency area will help you track and see when a learner is ready to move towards a different independence level within each competency level.
- Using this information, review the goals you wrote using the AAC Goals Worksheet and revise as needed.
By now I am sure that you are in love with the DAGG-2, just as much as I am but I have a surprise for you – there’s still more goodness to share!
Not only is the DAGG-2 available in paper form, but it is also available digitally, still FREE, through the Pathways for Core First app. Within the digital version of the DAGG-2, you can create “users” for multiple learners, as well as print, save, email, and update individual information as needed. This digital version is a great way to reduce paperwork AND each goal within the goals grid has lesson plans and activity ideas that you can download to help you work with your learners towards achieving their goals! You can access the digital version of the DAGG-2 in the Pathways for Core First app here.
All the steps involved in AAC assessments, selecting goals, progress monitoring, etc can be very daunting and time-consuming. Hopefully, this information and the DAGG-2, either paper or digital versions, will help you feel more confident in your ability to complete these tasks effectively and efficiently!