PrAActically New- Success

March 2, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtically New Success

The Secret to Succeeding At Anything We found this very cool photo message through  Russ Ewell on google + (re-posted from Robert Nahas) and it really sums up our learning and teaching philosophy.  Everyone can improve in their communication, behavior, and organization skills (and anything else).   These are some examples of PrAACtically New resources that exemplify the photo message: 5 Examples of Success after Plan A For Employment- Walgreens Rocks For Communication Intervention- Speaking Up Too Late For AAC Apps- 39 Free & Lite AAC Apps For Expectations & Awareness- From Service Dog to SURFice Dog! For Independent Living- hanging with 20 somethings with special needs  

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February AAC Round-Up

February 29, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


February AAC Round-Up

The Fives 5 Features of AAC Apps & SGDs that Make Us Happy 5 Little Things that Make a Big Difference in AAC Intervention 5 Ways SLPs Can Support Friendships for People who Use AAC 5 Ways to Help People With AAC Needs Develop Inner Speech 5 Great Places to Get AAC Therapy Materials 5 Creative Ways to Use the Big Mack and Other Talking Switches 5 Genius Reasons to Discover & Love MeeGenius 5 Quick Wishes for SGDs & Apps 5 Reasons Why A ‘Speech-Only’ Approach Isn’t Good Enough 5 Sources of AAC Inspiration Strategy of the Month: Aided Language Input AACtual Progress: Learning to Use Aided Language Input Using the AAC Device/App: Getting the Team On Board Why We Love Aided Language Input Strategy of the Month: Aided Language Input Video of the Week: Aided Language Input Demo Teachers in Action: Aided Language Input Other Posts Malls &... [Read More...]

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5 Features of AAC Apps & SGDs that Make Us Happy

February 29, 2012 by - 2 Comments


5 Features of AAC Apps & SGDs that Make Us Happy

1. Doing a back-up or restore by email? Sounds good to us! Thanks, PictureCanTalk. 2. Allowing people to explore all of the available vocabulary without interfering with the page programming is the AAC equivalent of babbling in the app Speak for Yourself. 3. Ability to turn off the history feature and clear prior communications when privacy is a concern. Noted and appreciated in SonoFlex, Predictable, and other AAC apps/SGDs. 4. Auditory scanning has long been of value in SGDs and now it’s gone mobile. Kids with visual impairment or poor head control appreciate this feature in apps like Sounding Board. 5. Voice morphing: Electronically altering recorded speech. Can’t someone please bring back the awesome vocal aesthetics that were in the Tango? We’re still grieving that loss.

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Malls & Communication…. Supports

February 25, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


Malls and Communication Supports

 I was in the mall with my teenage daughter yesterday (because that is her favorite place to go) and we saw a group of adults with developmental disabilities.  Some of the group members were in wheelchairs and others walked.  It appeared that they were on a ‘field trip’ or community outing. My daughter has been ‘working’ with me since she participated as a ‘typical’ peer for various pragmatic groups while she was in preschool.  She has been known to regularly (and not always so quietly) identify people who I must know since “they probably go to my clinic”.  This would occur even if we were nowhere close to the geographical location of  ‘my’ clinic.  She has been known to find people who probably need my services so I can help them ‘talk better’.  Although my daughter seems to be doing a lot of identifying without any formal training, I have to... [Read More...]

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Teachers in AACtion: Aided Language Input

February 24, 2012 by - 2 Comments


Teachers in AACtion: Aided Language Input

We love people who take a chance and put themselves out there to learn and grow. This video of teacher Amy Powell, who had 2 hours of Minspeak instruction before her “friends” caught her on video, gets a double thumbs up from us. Using the Smart Board to Model AAC for the learners is a great way to make learning big and real.   Direct link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQmWw3GprW8&feature=related

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5 Little Things that Make a Big Difference in AAC Intervention

February 23, 2012 by - 2 Comments


5 Little Things that Make a Big Difference in AAC Intervention

“If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito.” Betty Reese – Little things can make or break a good streak of AAC implementation. Here are some things that we’ve come to appreciate. They’re small in size, expense, or time demands but pay off in a big way. – 1. Wait time: There’s nothing like a 10-second expectant pause and controlled access to help someone learn to respond without more intrusive prompts. – 2. Clear plastic jars with screw-on lids (nothing beats these for limiting access so that kids are tempted to make a request) – 3. Button covers for the iPad, like these from BubCap. Amazing how a tiny piece of plastic can keep an activity or conversation from derailing. – 4. Bragging (authentically) about a colleague. “Ms. Mama, I have to tell you how awesome Polly Para was... [Read More...]

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5 Ways SLPs Can Support Friendships for People who Use AAC

February 22, 2012 by - 2 Comments


5 Ways SLPs Can Support Friendships for People who Use AAC

No feeling person could read Louise Kinross‘s post, My Child’s Dream: To Have Friends, without being moved. One of the most basic fervent wishes that all parents have is for their sons and daughters to make and keep friends. Disabled or not, parents fear loneliness for their kids, and rightfully so. Loneliness is a sharp and lasting pain.  And, in many cases, completely unnecessary. Kinross’s post, brought to my attention by Ellen Seidman of (Love that Max), inspired me to generate this list of things that we SLP’s can and should be doing to support kids and families. is 1. Make friendship skills a priority: Are there friendship goals in the IEP? There could be. If you’re thinking about working on a social skill, take a step back and see if it makes sense to focus more specifically on communication skills in the context of making and keeping friends. Educationally relevant?... [Read More...]

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Commenting to the Max!

February 21, 2012 by - 2 Comments


Commenting to the Max

Communication and language involves so much more than requesting.  Without much effort, communicators with typical language development and even delayed language development communicate for many  reasons.   Showing or telling about a shared interest comes easily and is a form of commenting to communicate.   Commenting is one of the most social reasons that we communicate.  So, it makes perfect sense that children with social communication disorders may not have an easy time with these social aspects of communication and language.  We know many children who frequently use long  (or short) sentences to say ‘I want the blue truck’, ‘I want the big ball’, or even ‘Can I have the cold drink’.  They may even communicate frequently to ask for toys, games, or activities of their choice. All of the requesting is GREAT but not enough to be part of comprehensive conversations and social language interactions.  It is not that children with... [Read More...]

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39 Free and Lite Versions of AAC Apps

February 21, 2012 by - 5 Comments


39 Free and 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. Graduate student SLPs are a fairly diverse group, but one thing that is common to almost all of them is that they are on a very limited budget. Although many of the AAC apps are reasonably priced, even that can be a lot for a struggling student. We wanted to put together a list of the free or lite versions of AAC apps for them to explore on their own iDevices. First, a few caveats: 1. Selection of AAC tools is always made after a thorough assessment. This is as true for apps as it is for SGDs. 2. This list isn’t intended in any way to endorse these apps or suggest that the free/lite version is sufficient. Hopefully, it will give future professionals a taste... [Read More...]

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5 Ways to Help People With AAC Needs Develop Inner Speech

February 20, 2012 by - 4 Comments


5 Ways to Help People With AAC Needs Develop Inner Speech

Recent research has strengthened this clinician’s belief that developing inner speech is an important strategy for many people who use AAC and are working to build their literacy skills. But how do we teach someone to develop that inner voice? Here are some ideas. – 1. Begin by using a ‘think aloud’ strategy to make your internal thought processes obvious to the person who uses AAC. Articulating your thoughts as you work through different communication and literacy learning processes gives the learner insight into what you are thinking. Once they are used to that, it is easier to introduce the concept of private/inner speech. – 2. Use explicit instruction. “Say it to yourself.” “Say it in your head.” Using natural gestures, like tapping your temple, can be helpful as well. We’ve found that this allows us to reduce the prompting over time. Fade the verbal prompt and continue the gestural one,... [Read More...]

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