Something to Celebrate

January 6, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


Something to Celebrate

What better way to start a new year than by celebrating the achievement of something wonderful in the AAC world?  – Hats off to the growing popularity of Avaz, the first commercially available AAC device developed in India. Avaz was put through its paces at Vidya Sagar (formerly the Spastic Society of India) where students with cerebral palsy used the device and gave feedback to the developers. – Earlier this year, the MIT Technology Review recognized one of its primary developers, Ajit Narayanan of Invention Labs, in its prestigious TR35 List, which applauds 35 innovators under 35 years of age. The device is already in use in 9 schools and centers around India. There is currently at least one study looking at its effectiveness with children who have significant communication difficulties. – Congratulations to the team at Invention Labs. We know that you will continue to change many lives and look forward to seeing Avaz in... [Read More...]

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5 Quick Steps to Getting Started with the Unconventional Communicator

January 6, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


We know that ALL people communicate. However, when someone has  communication challenges,  their signals may not always be obvious or conventional.  Here is our Quick Step Guide to getting to know about someone’s specific communication.  Using these steps will help facilitate spontaneous communication and move communication along the continuum of conventionality and symbolism.   1.  Observe:   What are they doing that is potentially communicative?  Look for clues in behaviors.  Consider  proximity, persistence, expressions, repetition, intensity, or anything else that might expresses a message.  More ideas from the National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness. Great information that is applicable to a wide range of early communicators. Don’t rule this out until you’ve looked at it.   2. Interpret: What does that behavior mean? Think about what would they ‘say’ if there was no communication problem. It can be a positive message (‘I want that’, ‘oh come on pretty please’) or a negative message... [Read More...]

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Possible Conflict of iPad2 & Programmable Shunts

January 6, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


Those of us who work with individuals who have hydrocephalus and other conditions in which a cerebral shunt may be used should follow the discussion about whether the magnets in the iPad2 could cause problems.  The Pennsylvania Pediatric Hydrocephalus Foundation and others have been looking into concerns about use of the iPad2 around individuals with programmable shunts. People with programmable valves/shunts have to take precautions to minimize exposure to magnets. There is a possibility of interference with the programming, but it all depends on magnet strength, orientation, and distance from the valve/shunt.

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5 AAC Things to Do in 15 Minutes or Less

January 6, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


Explore Janice Light and Kathy Drager’s site on AAC and early intervention. Great information and adorable kids: guaranteed to inspire. Take a look at the white paper on AAC and iDevices by the AAC-RERC. Advocate for full funding for IDEA to make it easier for schools to serve kids with AAC needs. SLPs can do it quickly and easily at this ASHA page. Mentally run through the people you work with who use AAC. Make a schedule to periodically back-up their SGDs and apps. (You’ll thank yourself later.) Check out an EBP map from the National Center for EBP in Communication Disorders

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Keeping Some of the Past

January 4, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


2012 is here and we have been reflecting on some videos (just a few) that will remain in our PrAACtical tool box. These videos ‘say’ it   better than any words, lecture, or article.  They inspire active exploration into the topic as you think about AAC systems & inclusion at home and the community. About Core Words About Employment And the program expands For critics of technology

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5 Nice Things to Say to Students Who Use AAC

January 4, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


Mama always said that if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all. – True enough, but sometimes people who mean to be nice, need a little bit of guidance. If you’ve ever cringed when someone said ‘Good pointing’ or ‘Nice talking,’ well, you know what I mean. Having SLPs in the classroom to support students who use AAC makes sense for many reasons. Among them is the opportunity to model appropriate interaction styles so that adults and non-disabled peers can learn by observation. With that in mind, we offer up some suggestions for great things to say to encourage communicative competence and self-esteem. “I like what you said.” “That’s a good way to say that!” “Can you teach that to ___ ?” “Here’s another way to say it.” “Take your time. I’m not in a hurry.” –

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Resolution 1: More Cooking

January 4, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


We have been thinking about what we would love to do more of for 2012.  We seem to be thinking in 5’s.   So in getting organized and goal focused for the year we will spend the next 5 days discussing 5 goals. Our first goal is More Cooking.  We love to cook with EVERYONE.  Cooking is an activity that everyone needs to do for independence. Cooking can also be a leisure activity and it is often naturally motivating because of the end result (our personal favorite)- eating.  1. You can use any of the picture recipe directions that are already on common food products.  The picture supports may need to be enlarged at the beginning but the idea is to use the picture directions on many packaged foods. These natural AAC supports were pointed out to me several years ago by Dr. Bridget Taylor. 2. Check out Your Special Chef which was... [Read More...]

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