5 Charitable Programs that Support Funding for Communication through Mobile Devices

May 23, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


5 Charitable Programs that Support Funding for Communication through Mobile Devices

– For some people with significant communication difficulties, mobile devices and AAC apps play an important role. When selected after a process of careful evaluation, they can be incredibly useful in building communication, literacy, self-regulation, and other important skills. Here are links to organizations that provide support to families seeking mobile devices and communication apps for their children. – 1. The iTaalk Autism Foundation 2. Babies with iPads 3. Apps for Children with Special Needs 4. Different Needz Foundation 5. Gift a Voice Program from Different Iz Good™: iPhones only –

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Magic Moments with Toca Store

May 21, 2012 by - 2 Comments


Magic Moments with Toca Store

It’s no coincidence that some of our favorite apps to use with AAC kids don’t rely on good receptive language in order to be successful and have fun. Count us among the fans of Toca Boca for their creative play-based apps with great graphics and lots of repetition with variety. In this post, we share some Magic Moments for using Toca Store as a communication-building experience.– 1. Core Word Practice: Lots of opportunities for practice with familiar nouns (e.g., banana, doll), common verbs (e.g., get, see, want) and modifiers (colors, some, little). 2. Negation: This is another fun app to use when teaching a child to use language appropriate for negation, protests, and rejection. We like teaching that under low stress conditions like this at first to build their skills. Once they get the hang of it, then we help them use it under more natural conditions. That way we can... [Read More...]

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Sticky Situation

May 20, 2012 by - 6 Comments


Sticky Situation

– Awhile back I heard from a frustrated student SLP who was in despair over a clinical placement. Great kids. Lots of opportunity for AAC. Experienced supervisor. Motivated student.  — So what’s the problem? In this case, it was a student who knew more than her supervisor about AAC. Talk about a sticky situation! Ugh!!  – Cleo Clinician felt that if she didn’t use AAC with her young clients, then she wasn’t putting her knowledge of best practices to use and, in the end, the children would be the losers. On the other hand, if she pushed her experienced but somewhat rigid supervisor on the issue, Cleo feared a defensive response. She didn’t want the kids to lose out, but Cleo didn’t want to get on her supervisor’s bad side, either. — So what’s an aspiring clinician to do?? Here are a few tips. — 1. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say... [Read More...]

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Random App of Kindness-Limited Time

May 19, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


Random Apps of Kindness-Limited Time

Thanks to Smart Apps for Kids for another great app review AND notification of a great FREE App.     We are writing this quickly because it is unclear how long Touch and Write will remain free.   After reading the review in Smart Apps for kids, we immediately got the app and tried it out.  Although it was developed to help teach fine motor writing skills, here are some additional ways we are going to use it to facilitate communication and language skills. Please let us know if you have some additional ideas. Choice making- the learner can choose the what  you write with (ketchup, shaving cream, paint, chocolate pudding and many more), you can also choose the paper type from 28 options, and you can also choose to hear music or not, and whether or not to have tracing cues Turn Taking and Choice Making- This activity can... [Read More...]

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AAC ASD App From the Ivory Tower

May 19, 2012 by - 1 Comment


AAC ASD App From the Ivory Tower

Today we pass the reins to Dr. Oliver Wendt from my alma mater, Purdue University. Purdue’s AAC program has made a great many contributions to the field and the tradition continues with the development of SpeakAll, an AAC app modelled after the PECS strategy. In this post, Dr. Wendt explains how a service-oriented project came to benefit so many individuals with significant communication difficulties. — – SpeakAll! An iPad App Addressing Particular Needs of Learners with Autism – An interdisciplinary team of Purdue University students from engineering, special education, and speech-language pathology has developed a simple and “lite” iPad app that takes into account the particular learning characteristics of beginning communicators with autism. This particular Purdue program is titled “Engineering Projects in Community Service” (EPICS). – The free app is called SpeakAll! and is available for download at the iTunes store here. SpeakAll! has been modeled after the Picture Exchange... [Read More...]

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PrAACtical Love for Twitter

May 18, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtical Love for Twitter

Did we fail to mention that we are at Twitter Stage 4 ? (uh oh… we just found a 1-46 Twitter Stage Scale).  Twitter seems to be our favorite medium for getting and giving information quickly.  Although we still have so much to learn, as the song goes, here are a few of our favorite things: 140 Characters– We love to shorten directed learning and teaching.  We only recently realized that listening to long (or short) lectures is not how we PrAACtically learn.  The 140 character limit helps us ‘flip’ the learning by letting us give a short ‘teaser’ and a link.  We love this. HashTags- It took us awhile to understand hastags and now we love them. Edudemic published a great A-Z Dictionary of Educational Hashtags that we refer to often. It is great to have everything in 1 place. Twitter Speak- We love the cool abbreviations that help you say... [Read More...]

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PrAACtical Resources: Evidence-Based Practice Maps

May 18, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtical Resources: Evidence-Based Practice Maps

– –ASHA’s Center on Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) in Communication Disordersis beginning to have some relevant information for the AAC community. While many SLPs equate EBP with research and journal articles, this is only one component. ASHA’s EPB group is working with content area specialists to develop navigable evidence ‘maps’ to highlight information in each of the three pillars of EBP: Clinical Expertise/Expert Opinion, Research, and Client/Family Perspectives. – Professionals working with children and adults who have developmental disabilities may be interested in this Evidence Map on AAC and Cerebral Palsy. Additional evidence maps that have an AAC-related component been developed for dementia, TBI in adults, and autism.

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PrAACtical Suggestions: 10 Ways To Help Families Make Informed Decisions About AAC

May 17, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtical Suggestions: 10 Ways To Help Families Make Informed Decisions About AAC

– In one of my AAC classes, we’ve been talking about how to help families make informed decisions. To do that, they need to have solid information presented clearly, in digestible bites from a trusted source. When we don’t have that information, it is easy to fall prey to fads and/or adopt a herd mentality and do what everyone else is doing. Here are some suggestions for supporting families through the AAC decisions they will need to make. – 1. Have direct conversations about the pros and cons of the available options. For example, if the family expressed interest in an iPad with AAC apps over a full fledged SGD, then we’d have to be prepared to reiterate the merits and drawbacks of each. 2. Share a process for making AAC decisions rather than attempting to take the decision out of their hands. For example, you may want to encourage... [Read More...]

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Twitter Goes to School

May 16, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


Twitter Goes to School

Since Robin has been doing such an awesome job of talking about Twitter and sharing AAC-friendly Twitter resources, I thought today we’d shift gears slightly and talk about applications for the classroom. – 1.If you’re new to Twitter, you may want to start with this helpful post on GeekSLP. 2. Great ideas for using Twitter in the K-12 classroom, many of which can be adapted for SLPs. 3. More ideas on how to use Twitter for teaching and learning 4. Beyond K-12 Twitter is just as useful. Here are some great resources for using it in Higher Education from Edudemic and  Web 2.0 Teaching Tools 5. Twitter Professors: 18 People to Follow for a Real Time Education http://on.mash.to/IS5rej –

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Updated: 59 Free or Lite Versions of AAC Apps

May 15, 2012 by - 2 Comments


Updated: 59 Free or Lite Versions of AAC Apps

The content of this post has been updated. Click HERE for the most current version that includes Android apps and a link to our AAC app rubric. —– Thanks to all who’ve given us great feedback and suggestions on our list of free and lite AAC apps. If you’ve been following our blog, you know that we have mixed feelings about the AAC app revolution. More specifically, we’ve had concerns about the decision-making process around app selection, and have advocated for that to occur within the context of a feature match process that gives appropriate attention to the full range of AAC options. In our digital curation sites, we link to tools we use for this process, such as the feature match forms developed by Jessica Gosnell at Boston Children’s and the ones created by Scott Marfilius and Kelly Fonner. In our own teaching and clinical work, when AAC apps... [Read More...]

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