Advocate in Your Pocket: Free App to Support Inclusive Education

February 17, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


Advocate in Your Pocket: Free App to Support Inclusive Education

The thought of an IEP meeting fills many parents we know with dread and anxiety, particularly if they are in a district where inclusive education is not running very smoothly. Jillian, a very passionate and competent mom of a youngster who uses high tech AAC, was pretty blunt about it. “I’d rather have root canal,” she said, and the parents within earshot gave her a round of applause. — So when we came across an app that provides support to families in this process, we had to check it. Developed at the Syracuse University School of Education, iAdvocate is an app designed to share information that parents can use to support their request for inclusive education. It lists some of the common roadblocks that families sometimes encounter, such as: “Your child needs small group instruction with few distractions and that can only be provided in a separate classroom.” “Meeting your chid’s needs is... [Read More...]

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Magic Moments: AAC Intervention with Stop and Go App

February 17, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


Magic Moments: AAC Intervention with Stop and Go app

We’re always looking for engaging ways to give our preschool children practice with their core word vocabulary. Stop and Go by ShortStack is an app that will get your little friends using core language without even realizing how much practice they are getting. — We love the simple structure of the app, which shows vehicles stopped at a traffic light. We see and hear the name of the vehicle and then press the green light for the vehicle to go. It has an English or a Spanish option and lots of interactive elements to try and then talk about. — Magic Moments with Stop and Go 1. Core Word Practice: As expected, there are tons of opportunities for the child to move the vehicles in this app. Using the strategy of controlled access, we can elicit ‘stop’ and ‘go’ multiple times in this game. 2. More Core Word Practice –... [Read More...]

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PrAACtical Solutions: AAC Goes to High School

February 16, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtical Solutions: AAC Goes to High School

One of the reasons that we fell in love with AAC community was the seemingly boundless capacity for creativity. Creativity is something that most people associate with art and writing more than clinical work, but the reality is that creative problem-solving is a key skill among successful SLPs. As clinical educators, we’re always interested in finding ways to help our students (future SLPs) to analyze a problem situation and come up with a host of possible solutions. Creativity is enormously valuable in that process and we’re always looking for great examples of creative approaches to tough AAC problems. – So I was very intrigued by the way that educators, administrators, and therapists in British Columbia set out to help high school students with AAC needs master their systems. Approximately 5 years ago, SET-BC began the process of developing an AAC course that could be used for credit in provincial high... [Read More...]

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PrAACtical Questions: What Happens to SGDs When Kids Move?

February 15, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtical Questions: What Happens to SGDs When Kids Move?

This is the first in an occasional series in which we attempt to address questions posed to us by families, SLPs, and others who are providing AAC services. The first question we’ll tackle came from a school administrator who asked about what happens to AAC devices during transitions.  — The Situation: School district A had purchased an AAC device for a student following sound educational practices, such as a feature match assessment in which all key stakeholders played a significant role. The student then moved to a different part of the state but the device did not. The administrator from School District B wondered, “Shouldn’t the student be able to keep her AAC device?” The administrator from the original school district didn’t think so. The device was costly, she reasoned, and while it had been customized for this particular student, it could easily be re-programmed for a different student. Budgets are... [Read More...]

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Getting Here From There

February 15, 2012 by - 2 Comments


Getting Here From There

We wanted to take a breather from all the busyness to reflect on the year and to offer up some words of appreciation. For us, 2011 started with our version of a retreat: a long walk in the sun, a half day of venting our frustrations and a half day of planning new projects interspersed with lunch at the beach. (There might have been a bottle of wine in there somewhere, too.) We’d both been feeling more than a bit discouraged that the quality of AAC services is still so spotty. There are some fantastic SLPs and teachers, of course, but not enough to go around. The ‘good ones’ are too busy. And the not-so-good ones were doing too much damage. It seemed to us that too many folks with significant communication challenges weren’t getting what they needed and that stressed us out to no end. Just when we had calmed down, we... [Read More...]

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5 Great Places to Get AAC Therapy Materials

February 14, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


5 Great Places to Get AAC Therapy Materials

1. Various activities for the K-12 set from the SLPs and educators in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. 2. For AAC systems that use DynaVox SGDs make sure to explore the DV Implementation ToolKit 3. For AAC systems that use Pixon symbols 4. All kinds of goodies in Ms. Click’s classroom site. (Those of us here in South Florida especially love the materials for hurricane preparaton.) 5.  For AAC systems that use Minspeak/Unity, the AAC Language Lab has a host of resources.

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Eye love…

February 13, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


Eye love...

So much to love about Speakbook, a lovely and hugely functional tool for people who communicate by eye gaze.  – Love the generosity of its designer, Patrick Joyce, in making this available under a Creative Common license Love the creative approach of blending an eyegaze board with a communication book Love the use of color encoding so that the communicator has access to more words/messages Love the plentiful access to the alphabet for spelling novel messages Love the beautiful feel of the Speakbook website – Check out this video when you can and share the eye love.

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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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