Return to Headlines

From the Classroom to the Workplace: Preparing Our Students of All Abilities

Rock Hill Schools recognizes October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Our speech pathologists are getting our exceptional students ready for the workplace with Augmentative and Alternative Communication. This month also highlights Augmentative and Alternative Communication Awareness.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), provides vital tools and strategies for students with communication challenges. It allows them to express thoughts, feelings, and needs, breaking down communication barriers. These challenges can result from conditions such as cerebral palsy, autism, speech disorders, or other physical or cognitive disabilities. Our students use speech tablets similar to iPads and other tools to communicate their voices. These methods empower students to engage in learning and promote diversity and equity in education.
Lead speech-language pathologist Tracy McLaughlin at Mt. Holly Elementary School feels it is vital not only to have students using AAC focus on academic things such as shapes and letters but also on advocating for themselves to give them power.
“If our complex communicators can't communicate, and they can't express themselves, then they're not able to hold a job,” McLaughlin said. We are transforming instructional practices to engage and empower our students to embody the characteristics of the profile of the South Carolina graduate and workforce development for students of all abilities. “They're able to go to work and have that sense of self and some independence, which is so important for them to have good self-esteem,” McLaughlin continued.
“Communication is so vital…without that people will always be underestimating their abilities,” Dawn Puzzio, a speech pathologist at Mt. Holly Elementary School, said.
AAC is more than a tool; it is a gateway to a world of possibilities, breaking down communication barriers and ensuring every student's voice is heard and valued in our district.
To learn more about AAC, and its role in Rock Hill Schools please visit our Exceptional Student Education page here.
See AAC in action and hear how it's helping our students succeed: