PrAACtical Resources: Making Decisions about Reading Accessibility Options

April 30, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtical Resources: Making Decisions about Reading Accessibility Options

It’s easy to daydream when you’re sitting in the sun. It is a stunningly beautiful day here in south Florida. “Too nice to stay indoors,” my mom would have said, and so I’m sitting outside with my laptop working away. Before long, my mind starts to wander. – Ever think about what you would do if you weren’t an SLP? For me ‘reading teacher’ would be pretty close to the top of the list. – I was one of those kids who spent hours in the children’s library just devouring books. Melinda Cox Free Library was my home away from home, and In those days it was run by the Edgar sisters, Miss Martha and Miss Alice. They tolerated no nonsense in ‘their’ library and the adult books were strictly off-limits to young people. We were confined to the Littleton room, a well-stocked children’s section, where I spent most of... [Read More...]

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PrAACtical Resources: Toolkit for ASD

April 29, 2012 by - 1 Comment


PrAACtical Resources: Toolkit for ASD

– Where do you go after the diagnosis? Special Needs Resource Magazine has two amazing resources for families whose children were recently diagnosed with ASD. They shared two Autism Speaks’ guides, Autism and Asperger Toolkits for Families, both of which provide direction for the first 3 months after diagnosis. Each one contains lots of helpful information by respected professionals, such as Lynn Koegel, Wendy Stone, and others. There are very prAACtical tips, including an action plan, useful forms, and a safety guide. –

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PrAACtical Questions: How Do I Find Good AAC Service Providers?

April 28, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtical Questions: How Do I Find Good AAC Service Providers?

AAC is a field that involves many different disciplines, including OT, PT, SLP and education.  In the best-case scenario, professionals in these disciplines work together to evaluate and provide intervention for the individual with little or no functional speech. If that option is not available, consider what discipline makes sense in your particular situation.  For example, individuals with complex motor impairments may be best served initially through an OT who knows how to identify the best means of accessing AAC devices as the primary AAC service provider.  For a child who is just learning to communicate, a speech-language pathologist (SLP) may be the best person to coordinate AAC services. A comprehensive AAC evaluation will always have the SLP playing a central role, which is important because of the special knowledge that they have about language and communication. How do you find an SLP with adequate skills in AAC? While there... [Read More...]

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10 Interesting Resources for Learning to Sign

April 27, 2012 by - 1 Comment


10 Interesting Resources for Learning to Sign

1. My Smart Hands has resources on their website and also a sign dictionary app. (There’s a Lite version, too.) 2. Sign to Talk: ASL signs (150 nouns and 40 verbs) 3. ASL Dictionary: Over 4800 ASL signs 4. Sign 4 Me: Translates from English to Signed English, ASL 5. iASL: Conversion from English to ASL 6. ASL Lite: Free Android app with 100 ASL signs 7. iSign: 800+ ASL phrases 8. Signing Time Lite: Free flashcard-type app for teaching signs to young children 9. Sign Me a Story: Signed stories for little kids 10. Baby Sign and Learn: Free app for teaching signs to young children. Choose from various sign languages:  American Sign Language (ASL), Australian Sign Language (Auslan), British Sign Language (BSL), Hong Kong Sign Language (HKSL) and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL).   – –

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PrAACtical Resource: Free App for Medical Translation

April 26, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


PrAACtical Resource: Free App for Medical Translation

– Conversations with health care providers can be confusing, particularly when medical terminology comes into play. But what if you and your doctor literally speak different languages? Yup, there’s an app for that. – Medibabble is an app that translates thousands of medical questions and instructions into five different languages (English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Russian, Haitian Creole). The Spanish language option is preinstalled and the rest are easy in-app downloads. The app itself and all the languages are free.  – The main feature is a large database of questions, answers, and patient instructions that are organized by body systems (e.g., respiratory, digestive) and symptoms to allow medical staff to gather accurate case history information and convey information. There are also greetings/farewells, introductions (e.g., “I am your physical therapist), common responses (e.g., “Thank you for answering my questions”), and explanations (e.g., “Since an interpreter is not available immediately, this device will allow... [Read More...]

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5 Apps for Tempting Commenting & Other Language!

April 26, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


5 Apps for Tempting Commenting & Other Language

  Temptation can be hard but when we tempt for commenting- we don’t want to hold back.  With that in mind, we thought about some comment tempting apps.  We found many great free or close to free apps  that are very likely to tempt commenting from everyone who plays.  Commenting, by definition, is a social reason to communicate.  So be sure to ‘app together’ when the purpose of app play is to ‘tempt’ commenting. Toca Boca Paint My Wings – Cool Commenting About–  The beautiful symmetrically painted butterflies, The humming of the butterflies during drawing, & the language modeling of comments from the butterflies when touching them and saving their picture (i.e, ‘oh fancy’, ‘I’m not ticklish’, ‘Awesome’, ‘that’s a pretty color’- should I have quoted the butterfly??) . Nasa Lunar Electric Rover Simulator– Cool Commenting Because – It is easy to crash, run out of power, and get stuck.... [Read More...]

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5 "Go To" Sites for AAC & Visual Support Downloads

April 25, 2012 by - 2 Comments


5 "Go To" Sites for AAC & Visual Support Downloads

We’ve shared a number of resources for downloadable AAC materials in previous posts like this and on some of our Pinterest boards. Sometimes we start from scratch but other times we check out what other professionals and families have created, then download and adapt them for our use. It’s wonderful to see the generous online community growing! Here are some more sites we like for AAC and visual support downloads. – 1. For Visual Supports from Hamilton Boone Madison Special Services Cooperative 2. From Special Education Technology-British Columbia: PictureSet 3. Free software with symbols for making visual supports: QuickPics Symbols from Patrick Ecker 4. Behavioral supports from eLearning Visuals 5. Wonderful activities to support language and literacy from Dr. Caroline Musselwhite – Where do you go for online materials to download materials for your AAC work?

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5 AAC-related Facebook Groups/Pages We Love

April 24, 2012 by - 2 Comments


5 AAC-related Facebook Groups/Pages We Love

– We’re still getting used to the whole idea that social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, can play such a powerful role in professional development. In addition to our our very own Facebook page, we, regularly visit a number of others for AAC and related content. – Augmentative Communication Resources and Help Boardmaker Sharing Group Raising and Teaching Individuals with Severe Disabilities Assistive Technology Technology in Education – How about you? What Facebook groups/pages do you find helpful? –

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PrAACtical Alert: Free AAC App

April 23, 2012 by - 2 Comments


PrAACtical Alert: Free AAC App

If you follow us on Facebook you know that we got some disturbing news this weekend about an AAC app developer who launched an app based on someone else’s work without giving credit. Boo, hiss. Long story that we won’t get into here, but it was disheartening, to say the least. While we are pretty upset to see this happen, we are thrilled to let that karma play out and turn our attention to something wonderful. – That ‘something wonderful’ is the Give Speech Foundation, a New York nonprofit that is developing a new AAC app for the iPad that they plan to price below their actual costs. For now, FreeSpeech is available without charge and, apparently, will remain so while it is in beta. The development team has big plans to improve the app in the next few months, and then charge a nominal fee. Your feedback will be very valuable... [Read More...]

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Go Ape! 10 Commenting Communication Temptations

April 23, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


More About Communication Opportunities: It doesn’t matter your personality, but for students who do not naturally comment, you need to go ape!  And then still, you need to teach with wait & signal cues, visual supports, aided language input, modeling, expansions, and positive feedback.  We will never forget a semester with Mikey and our hair clips of butterflies, whales, dinosaurs, and even a spider. These hair clips allowed for the item to hang in our face…… until Mikey commented and we could ‘go ape’ with surprise. A great strategy to use with commenting communication temptations is  Wait & Signal.  Wait and Signal involves setting up the temptation and then pausing with raised eyebrows like you expect the learner to take a ‘turn/a conversational turn’. As always, make sure the learner has access to the appropriate communication device or communication boards.  10 additional commenting communication temptations and opportunities: Move a huge stuffed... [Read More...]

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