Random Apps of Kindness

February 12, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


Random Apps of Kindness

Early Valentine’s Day Surprises! From time to time we find out about free apps for holidays, other special occasions, or just as a Random Act of Kindness.  We will put out our version of  a ‘Random Apps of Kindness’  post to let you know.  Many will be for the iOS (apple) platform. However, some will be for other platforms like Android, the Web, or even google tv.  Enjoy! Be a MeeGenius Newsletter Subscriber and Get a Free Valentines Day Book We wrote a post the other day about MeeGenius and some of the things we Loved about it.     Subscribe for Free to the MeesGenius Newsletter and you get will a Valentines Book added to your Bookshelf free.   The book, I Love You For Who You Are by Meredith Hairston, is a story about a boy who gets assigned a Valentine’s Day project at school. He ends up finding out that love... [Read More...]

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Feeling the Love

February 12, 2012 by - 4 Comments


Feeling the Love

Some people thrive on conflict. Not us. We’re happiest when things are running smoothly and everyone is getting along. Nonetheless, we’re secretly thrilled by the conflict that has erupted between apps and traditional SGDs.  — Here’s what we love about this conflict. 1. We LOVE that the technology that launched this controversy has raised the public’s awareness of AAC as an option. AAC in the local papers and New York Times. AAC on 60 minutes and segments of the nightly news. No matter how you feel about apps versus traditional SGDs, you gotta love the fact that more people now know that there are tools out there for people with little or no functional speech. – 2. We LOVE that AAC technology has progressed to a point where there is something to argue about. When I started my AAC career, the Express 3 (PRC),  Zygo 100 (Zygo), and the HandiVoice... [Read More...]

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5 Creative Ways to Use the Big Mack and Other Talking Switches

February 11, 2012 by - 1 Comment


5 Creative Ways to Use the Big Mack and Other Talking Switches

We all have them. We all use them. We all get in ruts. Here are some creative uses for using single message voice output communication aids. — 1. To build letter-sound correspondence: Record the sound that the letter makes so that the AAC user can participate in phonological awareness activities. Works great with multiple talking switches, each programmed with a different letter sound. – 2. To give time-limited access to a battery-operated toy: By using the Big Mack as a switch, you can record a message and the toy will stay on for the length of the message. Great for creating teachable moments to practice recurrence and cause/effect in a meaningful way. – 3. To build support communicators who are learning 2-switch step scanning: With this type of scanning, we use one switch to move the highlighted item and the other to select it. By using a talking switch, you can... [Read More...]

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5 Genius Reasons to Discover & Love MeeGenius

February 11, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


Reasons to Discover and Love MeeGenius

Books, books, and more books!   We love reading, personally and professionally.  We found this e-book  site and it just keeps getting better.   It has many  free e-books (some even have  repeated story lines), Many, Many additional books for purchase at reasonable prices. Works on ALL technology platforms (web, iPad, iPhone, iTouch, android, google tv) and has Read -Along Technology (word highlighted while read) Bookshelf updates automatically and across platforms Has special accounts for schools and libraries- with access to over 70 free books. Has sharing options, you can use the ‘Like it’  to share with friends about books (great communication activity) —                                                                                             ... [Read More...]

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Magic Moments with Toca Boca Doctor

February 10, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


Magic Moments- Toca Boca Doctor

Magic Moments:  AAC Intervention with Apps You Love-                                    Toca Boca Doctor                                                 “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”… If it were only that simple.  But it is not that easy and since we are right in the middle of cold and flu season, it reminds us about teaching AAC users to let us know when they are not feeling well.  The more we can find ways to make the concepts of pain, injury, and distress more concrete and specific, the easier it is to learn.  Telling others about your own discomfort is an important self-advocacy and self-determination skill. —- On a more PrAACtical note, telling about your symptoms... [Read More...]

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5 Quick Wishes for SGDs & Apps

February 9, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


5 Quick Wishes for SGDs & Apps

With apologies to the SGD and app designers for making things more complicated for you  we offer up these wishes for the next generation of AAC devices and apps. Everything should have a readily accessible ‘un-do’ button. Seriously, folks. Are we the only ones who make mistakes? AAC devices/apps that let you pick the symbol set/system and organize the vocabulary accordingly. Variety is still the spice of life. A universal standard or convention across SGDs/apps for button shapes and color-coding, with option to customize, of course. (Isn’t it great to have your cake and be able to eat it, too?!) Built in core word libraries that make it easy to populate screens with the words we use most often ‘Smart’ templates that suggest vocabulary and organization options as you build the display. – How about you? What do you dream of in the next generation of AAC technology?

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Lightwriter Swift

February 9, 2012 by - 2 Comments


Lightwriter Swift

We had a lot of fun playing with the new Lightwriter Swift at the 2012 ATIA conference in Orlando. Previous models of the Lightwriter have had revered places on our AAC Lab shelves and so we were looking forward to the new and improved Lightwriter. I have mixed feelings about the smaller size. Some of our folks really liked the feel of a more standard keyboard and they won’t get that in the Swift. The newest model is a radical departure from the older versions, but they’ve retained their signature feature of the dual display. I love the conversational fillers (sigh, laugh, uh huh) but what really amazed me was the clarity of sound in a very noisy exhibit hall. Here’s video tour of the new device posted by the folks at Toby Churchill last week. –

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February: Jewish Disability Awareness Month

February 8, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


February: Jewish Disability Awareness Month

– I just learned that February is Jewish Disability Awareness Month. In honor of that, we wanted to share resources developed by an organization called Gateways. Their site offers downloadable materials for these thematic units: Shabbat Bar and Bat Mitzvah Preparation High Holidays Chanukah If you have suggestions for other sites that offer resources for individuals from other faiths, we would love to hear about them.

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Let’s Get PrAACtical

February 8, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


Let's Get PrAACtical

It feels awfully strange being a newbie again. We’re certainly not new to AAC. And we’re not new to talking about it either, having worked with families, graduate students, and other professionals for more than two decades. But, somehow, this whole blogging thing and sharing our thoughts with the wider world in this way seems a bit daunting. Even in our second month, it gives us pause. Nevertheless, it’s time. – Time to put our ideas about making AAC work out there. – Time to add to the conversation about new tools and technologies. – Time to stop repeating the same sorts of things over and over to new crops of graduate students, SLPs, teachers, and families and put it all down in writing. – As Dr. David Beukelman once said in an editorial for the AAC journal, “the weakest ink is better than the strongest memory.” When he wrote that in 1995, Dr.... [Read More...]

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Sites We Love: Online AAC Assessment Tool

February 7, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


Sites We Love: Online AAC Assessment Tool

Looking for some well-grounded, yet concrete ideas for assessment of early communicators? Communication Matrix is one of my ‘Go To’ places for just that sort of thing. The site is home to a tool that allows you to develop a clear communication profile for someone at the earliest stages of communicative learning. It is not a direct assessment instrument, but rather a systematic way of capturing knowledge gained through observation, interaction with the communicator, and interviewing families and other professionals. The tool itself has been around for over 20 years (I have the paper version on my shelf). Its primary author, Dr. Charity Rowland of the Oregon Health and Science University, has been refining it over the years and developed the online site with the support of the US Department of Education. The profile covers 7 levels of communication, 4 communicative intents, and 9 communication modalities. I’ve been using the online... [Read More...]

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