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In February 2019, Abilis has partnered with Susan Nisinzweig to launch a new service called STeP, a Supported Typing Program.

Supported Typing to communicate is a form of Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) in which people of all ages with disabilities and communication impairments express themselves by pointing (e.g., at pictures, letters, or objects) and, more commonly, by typing (e.g., on an ipad, keyboard or letterboard). At the core of this method and other similar methods, where individuals type or point to communicate, is the presumption of competence.

img 2This method involves a communication partner who may ask meaningful and inviting questions, provide emotional encouragement, and offer communication supports (e.g., monitoring to make sure the person looks at the keyboard and checks for typographical errors). In addition the communication partner provides a variety of physical supports such as backward resistance, to slow and stabilize the person’s movement within their own rhythm, and to inhibit impulsive pointing. The communication partner should never move or lead the person towards the letters or images.

 

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We support each communicator to find his or her own voice. We encourage family members and staff to learn this technique so communication is accessible in all settings. The goal is to eventually fade supports and work towards independent typing, nearly independent typing (e.g., a hand on the shoulder or intermittent touch), or a combination of speaking with typing – some individuals have developed the ability to read their typed text aloud and/or to speak before and as they are typing. Supported Typing to communicate promotes access to social interaction, creative expression, academics, and participation in inclusive schools and communities.

 

STeP offers the following options online and/or in person to families, schools, and agencies:
Foundations Training Seminars for new Communication Partners
Screenings and Coaching Sessions for Communicators and their team of partners
Guest Speakers, Support Groups and Workshops
Social Groups and Dyads for Communicators to interact with typing peers

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For more information about the STeP Supported Typing Program, click on our digital newsletter and contact Susan Nisinzweig, Abilis Supported Typing Program Coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..