Tag Archive: advocacy

Call for Action: Public Comments on AAC Device Funding

December 2, 2014 by - Leave your thoughts

Call for Action: Public Comments on AAC Device Funding

Chances are that most of our US-based SLPs have heard about the funding challenges with Medicare. We now have only a few more days to make our voices heard to support clients with AAC needs. If you haven’t already submitted public comment, please take the time to help in these advocacy efforts. Medicare (CMS) currently is reconsidering its National Coverage Decision (NCD) for Speech Generating Devices (SGDs).  As part of that process, CMS will allow interested members of the public to submit comments about future Medicare SGD coverage until December 6, 2014.  The information that follows was prepared by the Medicare Implementation Team, an ad hoc group of AAC clinicians, researchers, advocates, educators, manufacturers, etc., many of whom worked on the 2001 NCD. FOLLOW THESE 5 SIMPLE STEPS TO SUBMIT A COMMENT TO CMS. 1. Review the 8 PROPOSED COMMENT AREAS below that are critical to include in a revised NCD for... [Read More...]

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Watch It Wednesday: Freed by Technology, Thwarted by Policy

November 12, 2014 by - Leave your thoughts

Watch It Wednesday: Freed by Technology, Thwarted by Policy

Tony and his team talk about the ways in which AAC makes living a full life possible, and the disastrous consequences of the Medicare policy implementation that restricts SGD features, among other things. The policy is on hold for now, and we have an opportunity for public comment. Take a look. Then take action. You can add your voice to the advocacy effort here. Public comments are open until December 6th.  

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Calling All PrAACtical Advocates

August 26, 2014 by - Leave your thoughts

Calling All PrAACtical Advocates

US Colleagues: It’s not too late! We still need your help to tell Congress and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, to stop denying our most vulnerable disabled people their ability to communicate! The initial advocacy effort was effective in delaying the start date for implementation of the proposed changes but more needs to be done.  New to these issues? Check out the post by Bill Binko here. Basically, Medicare has announced several changes to its speech generating device coverage policies that will be devastating to people with complex communication needs.  To protect our clients, we believe the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the most senior official responsible for Medicare policy, must be made aware of the harmful effects of these changes and must be asked to reverse them.  We must speak up now to ensure our clients also will be able to. You can call Medicare directly to... [Read More...]

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Strategy of the Month: A PrAACtical Resource – Communication Access

July 14, 2014 by - Leave your thoughts

Strategy of the Month: A PrAACtical Resource - Communication Access

There are some organizations and projects that just amaze us with the work that they do. Today, we are looking at one of those, Communication Disabilities Access Canada, led by Barbara Collier. They have a wonderful array of resources that address important topics related to safety, self-determination, advocacy, and more. Here are two of our favorites. Communication Boards Making and Using Communication Access Cards You can follow them on Facebook, too.  

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Video of the Week: The Right to Be Heard

July 13, 2014 by - Leave your thoughts

“People with disabilities are exposed to abuse at least four times more than the general population.” For this week’s featured video, we travel to Israel to learn about an initiative with the justice system that promotes the right of individuals with AAC needs to communicate in legal contexts. Kudos to ISAAC Israel and the many other organizations and individuals for their work on this important topic. Direct Link to Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bgmli_aElYY&index=149&list=PLSDejtWRUZQqCqWogs1ME9Z1dXfxwvrrY  

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Avoiding Insanity: AAC & the Pace of Change

October 4, 2012 by - 24 Comments

Avoiding Insanity: AAC & the Pace of Change

Although the field of AAC emerged only in the last few decades, the notion of communicating in alternative ways is centuries old.  In classical times, the use of manual communication by deaf individuals was referred to by Plato and documented in Europe during the Middle Ages.  In North America, American Indian Hand Talk evolved over generations to allow cross-cultural communication between speakers of diverse languages. As a clinical/educational field, AAC has been described as evolving through a “bottom-up” mechanism. Individuals with congenital conditions that prevented the development of intelligible speech invented their own communication systems long before teachers, therapists, and clinicians formalized instruction in alternative modes of expression.  AAC users growing up in the forties and fifties tell of communicating through grunts, vocalizations, “air writing,” and eye movements, which, though effective in some contexts, were maddening in their limitations. Individuals who were fortunate enough to have access to habilitative and... [Read More...]

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How It Is: Images for Sensitive Subjects

September 17, 2012 by - 2 Comments

How It Is: Images for Sensitive Subjects

There are things no one likes to talk about. Serious things. Sensitive things. Nonetheless, everyone deserves the tools to be able to talk about whatever they want to share.  The How It Is Project, by the UK-based Triangle organization, offers a set of free pictures developed so that everyone has access to images they can use to talk about their feelings, their rights, personal safety, personal care, and sexuality. We love how they developed the vocabulary list and symbols on the site with the help of children and youth with and without disabilities. You can download the document with images here.

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Communicating in the Hospital

September 14, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts

Communicating in the Hospital

We are so happy to share a link to downloadable resources that come from the collaborative effort of the Patient Provider Communication Forum, Central Coast Children’s Foundation, Dr. Bronwyn Hemsley, and Widgit Software. These research-based materials were developed to help improve communication in hospital settings.   The link takes you to the Widgit Health site and is a set of cards with 26 key phrases for patients who use picture symbols to communicate. The cards are printable and available in 20 different languages. You can access those materials here.

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Not Good Enough

September 7, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts

Not Good Enough

It’s been a depressing week for us. Too many  exchanges with SLPs who should know how to ‘do’ this intervention and don’t. Too many conversations with parents who have not been able to access decent AAC services. Too many delays in getting devices in the hands of clients. We’ll get back to being positive and solution-oriented, but first we need to wallow in the misery of it a bit. The case for improved services to individuals with little or no functional speech is perhaps best made by those whose voices we cannot hear in a traditional sense. Below is a sampling of quotations from scholarly and personal writings of and by users of AAC. Michael Twice a week my academic pursuits were interrupted.  I was sent out of the classroom and wheeled down to the other end of the building where I was put into a small, airless room to await... [Read More...]

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