Welcome to Abramson AAC! My name is Jennifer Abramson. I am a licensed speech-language pathologist with a specialty in autism spectrum disorders and augmentative and alternative (AAC) communication. After spending the past 10 years at Boston Children’s Hospital in the Autism Language Program and Autism Language Program, I’ve started my own practice in Lexington, Massachusetts, where I am excited to continue those who have challenges speaking or understanding speech. In my practice, I offer a large variety of services including: clinic-based AAC evaluations and therapies, as well as in-home strategizing sessions to help implement the recommendations offered during evaluations, programming and material creation, in-school consultations, tele-health and anything else to help you and your loved one communicate better. I also lecture and present nationally and internationally. If you are interested in connecting, please reach out at Jennifer.Abramson.SLP@gmail.com. Let’s communicate!
Are you sick of learning about AAC? Expand your knowledge by checking out some of these great blogs by other clinicians in other areas of the field! Enjoy!
1. Expressions Blog by Janine Segner, Expressive Speech and Feeding. In addition to speech, Janine is a trained feeding therapist and includes a lot of great tips for picky eaters and babies going through food transitions. Check out this entry on some great board game suggestions!
3. Building Better Speech and Language by Miranda Wolff. Miranda specializes in early intervention and focuses on functional and meaningful goals to support children and their families. Check out some activities and topics about everyday life and overall language development in the early years.
I have always been a huge fan of the Time Timer family of products – particularly, their digital applications. The Time Timer is a visual timer, with optional auditory alerts, that helps make the abstract concept of time as tangible and concrete as possible. By using these apps, the learner simply needs to understand that at the beginning, the disc is full – and when it is empty, the time is up.
When presenting, I often talk about timers around ~1 hour into my 90-120 minute talks. At that time, I remind audience members that if they thought the talk was going to be 10 minutes long, by that point, they’d be giving me every non-verbal clue to indicate, “STOP TALKING!” They’d back their bags, start moving around, looking at their watches, thinking about what to make for dinner, thinking about where they will go as soon as COVID is over, etc. They would not be focused or processing information. However, since they do know that the talks are 90-120 minutes, they are still engaged, still asking questions, still processing information! Similarly, we want to provide the same sort of context to our learners, so that they are in the best place possible to allow them to learn. Of note, the Time Timer is also a great tool to help prepare people to transition away from a preferred activity. So, you could imagine my excitement when I saw that the mobile application suite was currently free…and I just had to share this with you! Enjoy now at www.timetimer.com/collections/applications !
After many, many months of trying to coordinate a presentation or parent training with the Autism Alliance in Framingham! The original topic was changed to the more timely topic of: Tips for Enhancing Communication for Individuals with Autism in the Time of Covid-19. It was well-attended over Zoom and it was wonderful to interact with so many caring professionals and parents! Topics included the importance of self-care for parents and creating routines for our learners. Additionally, the importance of having visual communication supports available was emphasized. Please check out the handouts from the event at www.AbramsonAAC.com/handouts or go to: https://secureservercdn.net/184.108.40.206/obm.c10.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/2020-autism-alliance-zoom-parent-training.pdf
AT AAC in Belgrade, Serbia is complete! Serbia is a phenomenal country with some of the nicest, funniest and most generous people I’ve ever met, along with home to truly interesting history and beautiful sites, so when conference organizers asked me to come present “Enhancing Communication for Individuals with Autism,” I jumped at the opportunity! I am always amazed at the enthusiasm and interest in Croatia and Serbia. Here is a picture from my presentation that was from 4pm-6pm on a beautiful Saturday afternoon – and there were people! Lots of people!
I didn’t know I would also later be asked to co-lead a workshop on parent-teacher/specialist relationships, but fortunately, I got to present with the colleague and friend, Ines Delzotto, who led the 2019 ATAAC summer school with me this summer in Pula, Croatia. I was fortunate to have Ines at my side for many reasons: not only do I enjoy presenting with her and respect her as a clinician, but I feel fortunate in that our parent-specialists relationships are not as contentious as they are in Croatia and Serbia. It sounds like parents often do not listen to specialists who have been trained in fields such as speech or assistive technology, and instead, they do what they want to do. This led me to think about the importance of a team and how it truly takes a village!
I’m excited to be headed to the Balkans for my fourth time in just over two years (and to Belgrade, Serbia for my second time in 13 months)! I am excited to be presenting at the ATAAC 2019 Conference in “Beograd” https://ataac.eu/beograd/
I’m excited to see so much autism awareness this Halloween! In case you missed it, there is a trend this year to provide blue pumpkins for those with autism ( https://www.cbsnews.com/news/mom-urges-blue-halloween-buckets-to-raise-autism-awareness/). The goal is to provide a subtle notification to the candy-givers that the trick-or-treat-er with the blue pumpkin may not be able to to speak, as approximately of individuals with autism cannot speak.
At Abramson AAC, I think this is great! My suggestion, however, is to teach someone how to express “Trick or treat” or similar messages using Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). Let’s put visuals on that pumpkin – or program messages into an iPad to allow learners with autism to more actively participate in Halloween! If you really want to have fun, consider using words and phrases such as, “Boooooooo” and “I tricked you!” Always remember, communication should be fun!
~Jennifer Abramson, MS, CCC-SLP
I was honored to ask to speak to the teachers, aides, SLPs and other clinical staff at the Children’s Center for Communication at the Beverly School for the Deaf (www.cccbsd.org)! We will be discussing the feature-matching process and how AAC influences what learners are able to communicate – for better or for worse (although hopefully, for the better)! I hope Abramson AAC can help them get off to a great start this school year!
~ Jennifer Abramson, MS, CCC-SLP