5 Tools & Tips for Making Transitions Easier

April 22, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


5 Tools & Tips for Making Transitions Easier

Transitions can be hard for everyone, whether it is turning off the TV to finish grading papers or leaving a favorite place to go run some errands or following through to finish cleaning out the garage. For people with significant communication difficulties, there can be additional challenges. Here are some of our favorite tools and strategies for making transitions easier for everyone. – Visual Schedules: Our hands-down favorite way of helping people transition smoothly is to make the expectations visual and explicit. Lots of info on making this strategy successful here and here. Timers, timers, and more timers! We love them because, once the routine and expectations are established, they work so beautifully in so many situations. Social stories:Well-written social stories shared via high quality intervention can go a long way in preventing or minimizing transition issues. Transition items: Lots of families, teachers, and SLP have had success using objects... [Read More...]

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PrAACtical Alert: Confessions of a Former FC Facilitator

April 21, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


Gestures as Part of a Multimodal Communication System

Although every field has its moments, speech-language pathology is not generally known for high levels of controversy and drama. In the AAC world, the glaring exception to that is Facilitated Communication (FC). FC has had many critics and supporters (e.g., Syracuse University’s FC Center, now the Institute on Communication and Inclusion).  The editors of Evidence-Based Communication Assessment and Intervention, Drs. Ralf Schlosser and Jeff Sigafoos, have graciously allowed us to share a link to a paper by a former FC facilitator which appears in the EBP Speaker’s Corner section of the journal. You may download the article for free until June at: http://bit.ly/I7JEt4 .

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49 Free or Lite Versions of AAC Apps

April 20, 2012 by - 6 Comments


49 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. It’s hard to believe that since our original list of free/lite AAC apps was posted two months ago, there have been at least 10 more that we were able to add. Thanks to Amy Taylor for her suggestions on the previous list. Keep them coming! This list is for iOS devices. Stay tuned for one for Android devices. – AlexiCom AAC Answers: Yes/No Free Augie Free (Free version not currently available in US) Autism 5-Point Scale EP (Autism Help) Com App Comunicador Personal Adaptable(Spanish) DIME Lite Grid Player iBlissymbols Lite iComm Education iPhonic Lite iPicto Lite Locabulary Lite MetaTalk Lite My Talking Phone MyTalk Tools MyVoice Communication Aid Neo Julie (also Kate and Paul) Noni Lite OneVoice-AAC Phrase Board Pic A Word Pics Aloud Lite Picture... [Read More...]

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5+ Sites for Free AAC-Friendly Literacy Resources

April 19, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


5+ Sites for Free AAC-Friendly Literacy Resources

Reading is one of our passions and we love to address it in our therapy not just because of its importance but also because it is so much fun. Here are some of our current favorite places to visit for resources on AAC, reading, and writing. – 1. Communication 4 All: See their literacy section for helpful resources –  http://www.communication4all.co.uk/HomePage.htm 2. The Bridge: Assessment protocol for literacy learning in people who use AAC by the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies at https://www.med.unc.edu/ahs/clds/resources/early-childhood-resources-1/the-bridge-assessment 3. Handout on adapting books by Pam Harris on the AAC Institute site at http://bit.ly/HQ7oHM 4. Printable Classroom Signs and Labels for Early Years at SparkleBox: http://bit.ly/xITodP 5. Mini books, book materials, resources for alphabet learning, and other goodies at DLTK’s Educational Activities site: http://bit.ly/zJV28S 6. More fun downloads that are AAC-friendly at Let’s Book It withTech’Knowledge’y: http://bit.ly/HStHx0 – Happy reading! –

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What Works!

April 19, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


What Works

We have many students who are getting older. It’s a time many of our families are looking at transition steps.  Some families are interested in employment opportunities, others in having their now adult children live outside the home with a little or a lot of support, and others just wish there was a place for them to go after school ends.  .  It is difficult finding quality options. Even if there are options, it seems ‘they’ want the ‘easy’ people.  (disclaimer: Now I move from the ‘we’ into the ‘me’ since Carole has been on vacation and I have been dealing with some ‘crap’ and don’t want to speak for Carole since I am hoping she is relaxed and positive).  So here goes…. I could argue now that there are no ‘easy’ people.  I could rant now because it has been one of those days where not a lot has... [Read More...]

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Modeling, AAC Style

April 18, 2012 by - 7 Comments


Modeling, AAC Style

This is a strategy that is too powerful to ignore. Here’s why Aided Language Input is at the top of our list of skills that all clinicians should master. – 1. Helps children and adults learn their AAC faster: There is good research demonstrating how valuable this kind of modeling is for our AAC clients. See studies by Drs. Kathryn Drager, Cathy Binger and Janice Light, Jennifer Kent-Walsh, Shakila Dada and Erna Alant for starters.–   2. Helps the SLP get competent with the client’s AAC system: This is hands-down the quickest way for us to get familiar with our client’s AAC device. – 3. It’s common sense:  Think about it: How many times does a typical 1-year old hear the word ‘more’ before she says it?? Don’t AAC kids need that much exposure to ‘their’ language systems?? – 4. Expands our sphere of influence: Other communication partners will imitate us. If WE use it, then parents and teachers are... [Read More...]

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5 eGames for Switch Users

April 17, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


5 eGames for Switch Users

We’re in the mood to play! – 1. AbleGamers Foundation: http://www.ablegamers.com/ 2. Free from Shiny Learning: http://www.shinylearning.co.uk/freegames/ 3. Assistive Gaming: http://www.assistivegaming.com/ 4. Switch Games from the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbbc/games/by/type/switchgames 5. Switch Effect’s Gamebase: http://www.gamebase.info/home.html – Let the (accessible) games begin!

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How to Make Communication Temptations Really Work

April 14, 2012 by - 8 Comments


Communication Temptations Really Work

We have been thinking about communication opportunities & temptations for a long time.  We actually think communication temptations are super fun (we promise, we really do have lives).  We are not actors by nature but we can pull off almost anything for a communication temptation.   We will pretend it is hard to open that jar, pretend we didn’t know that it is sooo hot, pretend we didn’t know the gorilla was in the room … at least until the learner lets us know.  But……We still need to go past our acting skills to make communication temptations work.   Here is a our quick 5 step process  for making communication temptations work: Decide on the Goal–  Goals can be anything from specific communication functions (i.e., requesting, protesting, showing off, greeting, commenting, etc.),  semantic concepts (i.e., recurrence, action, attribute, locative, object etc…we need to always think about the goal), or even syntactical... [Read More...]

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PrAACtical Resources: Communication Boards for Downloading

April 13, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtical Resources: Communication Boards for Downloading

  If you’re like us, you’re always happy to find sites where AAC materials can be downloaded, preferably for free. Bookmark those sites because they are huge time savers. If you’re trying to build your own professional resource library, check out this site for boards designed for people to communicate about healthcare, employment, sexuality, transportation, and other topics.  Several of the communication boards are also available in Spanish (like the example shown here) and Haitian Creole.   Kudos to the fine work done by the AAC-RERC and the Temple University Institute on Disabilities. –    

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The Precious Power of Play

April 12, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


The Precious Power of Play

The Chicago P.L.A.Y. Project is on a mission to empower parents to help their children build language through play. We love the joyful nature of their mission. – Of course, the clinical educators in us see huge potential for adding visual supports to enhance the language learning, but this is an amazing way to build good interaction and language opportunities. – Enjoy!    

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