The Southern California Augmentative and Alternative Communication Network... a support group for professional development, problem solving, leadership, mentoring, and training in the use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) to develop communication in non-speaking and minimally verbal individuals in the Southern California Region.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Radiolab Archive: Words (2010)

Always a good listen (or re-listen)! Radiolab's program about loss of and creation of language.  Listen to it at their archive website (HERE).

It’s almost impossible to imagine a world without words. But in this hour of Radiolab, we try to do just that. We meet a woman who taught a 27-year-old man the first words of his life, hear a firsthand account of what it feels like to have the language center of your brain wiped out by a stroke, and retrace the birth of a brand new language 30 years ago.

Watch a lovely short film created to accompany this episode:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Boardmaker Share - Holiday Activities!

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Mayer-Johnson - Your Special Education Super Source
The Holidays are getting closer and your to-do list is getting longer.
Hang Lights
Buy Presents
Create Holiday Activities for your Students
Don't worry, is here to be your special holiday helper!
We have tons of pre-made activities that will keep your students in high spirits
as the holiday approaches. Check out a few below!
Boardmaker Share

Order by Wednesday, December 21st and get $5.99 two-day shipping,
so your gift gets to you by Christmas!

DynaVox Mayer-Johnson | 2100 Wharton Street | Suite 400 | Pittsburgh, PA 15203 | 1 (800) 588-4548
© 2011 Mayer-Johnson

Thursday, December 15, 2011

RERC - Mobile Devices Video & MORE!

Boston Children's Hospital's Howard Shane and Jessica Gosnell, chat with David McNaughton and Sam Sennott discussing the use of mobile communication technologies (e.g., the iPad) by children with complex communication needs. 
The discussion includes:
  • Benefits of Mobile Communication Technology 
  • the Assessment Process 
  • Learning about New Apps
  • Intervention 
  • Building Vocabulary and Language Skills 
  • What's Next? 
  • Additional Resources 
Some points to ponder from their discussion...
- Let's give them something to talk about (via the internal camera on the iPad2). Snapping photos in vivo easily sets the stage for later communication - one really beautiful aspect!
- The paucity of a strong language system in most available communication apps. Do we start from scratch or use and modify an out-of-the-box vocabulary set?

Future needs, musing, and resources mentioned:
  • Motion detection and vocabulary detection based on the user's location, 
  • Audio speakers for various environments,
  • Significant access needs with the capacitive touch-access screen,
  • Restricting access to apps (!) and integration of functions, such as Time Lock for school hours (love it).
ASHA Division 12 Perspectives issue on Mobile Technologies

RERC White Paper on the use of Mobile  Technologies

Full, 3-part webcast by Howard Shane, PhD and Megan O-Brien on Visual Immersion Program for Autism (comprehension and expressive language skills)

    Using Visual Sequences for Autism - SERVAM

    SERVAM for Autism is a parent training book out of Australia that has some excellent information to share. I have used their Expressive Skills Questionnaire (available in PDF online HERE) in my interview of parents and teachers of nonverbal and minimally verbal students with functional communication needs.

    SERVAM stands for...
    S - sensory processing
    E - environmental change
    R - routines and planned change
    V - visual supports
    A - autism-friendly communication
    M - motivation

    Visit the SERVAM website HERE.

    Download SERVAM's current, free How-To on Visual Sequences for Autism (HERE)

    Monday, December 12, 2011

    FREE - AAC Language Lab Webinar (PRC) Wed, 12/14/11, 1-2:00

    AAC Language Lab Webinar Wednesday, December 14, 2011
    1:00pm - 2:00pm EST

    Take a tour of PRC's AAC Language Lab.  In this tour you will find...
    • Descriptions of Six Language Development Stages
    • Sets of Lesson Plans for Teaching Language
    • Unity® Curriculum
    • Lessons to Use with IntelliTools Classroom Suite
    • Smart Charts with Icon Sequences for Unity
    • PowerPoint Slide Shows for Teaching Language Concepts
    • Goals and Objectives for Language Development

    Click here to reserve your FREE Webinar seat!  

    After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.
    System Requirements
    Pc-based attendeesMacintosh®-based attendees
    Required:  Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 ServerRequired:  Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer

    Friday, December 9, 2011

    Online AT Training Alternatives (ATACP FasTrax at CSUN cancelled)

    Due to unforeseen departmental restructuring at the Center on Disabilities at Cal State Northridge the 2012 ATACP Training Program is on hold at this time.  The scheduled FasTrax training at the San Diego AT conference February, 2012, will not happen and all funds will be returned. Rest assured, the promised discount to conference registration fees will still be honored, and there will definitely be an ATACP Program at the 2013 CSUN Conference, should registrants wish to carry over their already-paid fee for the course ($1,795).

    FEAR NOT! 

    SCAAC-N has researched some alternative, and many times FREE, options for those wishing to learn more about Assistive Technology, and not wishing to wait.  Take a look at the following links to whet your appetite, or possibly satisfy it all together.

    Texas Assistive Technology Network - FREE online printable presentation slides and transcripts with intro and closing video on the topics of: Providing Assistive Technology, Considering AT in the IEP Process, Legal Perspective, Administrators Perspective, Team Evaluation, Implementation, Reading Support, Writing Support, and Transition

    STAR Training through TASC (Alabama) - scroll down to FREE video modules online once you've created a login/password on the topics of AT Laws, ALS and Voice-Banking, Microsoft Accessibility, Adapting Books, Note Taking, AT in the Classroom, Low Tech AT, Switch IQ, Preparation for Employment, Transportation, etc.

    Equal Access to Software and Information (EASI) - online, university-affiliated courses (month-long, $350) such as Barrier-free Information Technology, and Creating and Repurposing More Accessible Content

    University of Washington's DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) Center - FREE, web-based tutorials, streaming video training (also available in DVD format), and links to useful resources for those who prefer self-directed learning.

    Alliance for Technology Access - archived training webinars FREE online. Titles such as: AT 101 (also in Spanish), AT in recreation, Intro to Accessibility Checklist, various vendor forums, etc.

    Assistive Technology Training Online Project (ATTO) - FREE - provided by SUNY Buffalo, articles to read online targeting elementary classrooms

    Other online trainings run across through this hunt:
    Intro to Boardmaker (lots of others, arranged by topic, at Mayer-Johnson's site)
    ProLoQuo2Go iPod/iPad communication app Introductory Videos

    Wednesday, December 7, 2011

    Linda Hodgdon - Clearing Confusion About APPS for Autism

    From Linda:
    "One of the exciting things about the iPad and other tablet devices is there are a lot of APPS (applications) that can be downloaded to use for many different purposes. (For those who don’t know what this is . . . . an APP is a little piece of software that helps you do something on the iPad. It is like the software that you put on a computer to help you accomplish various tasks.)

    I keep getting questions
    So many people have contacted me with the same question. They tell me, “I bought an iPad for Tommy or Kevin or Sarah who has autism or Asperger’s. Now . . . what APPS should I use?”

    The confusion grows
    You can do a quick search on the internet now and easily find web sites and articles listing lots of APPS for autism. By now there are hundreds of thousands of APPS of all kinds available for the iPad and thousands more are added to the collection each week.

    The equivalent in books would be to walk into one of the major chain bookstores or go into one of the huge major city libraries. Bookstores and libraries have so many choices that it’s hard to know where to begin.

    So we need a strategy
    In a book place I would begin to think about what category I wanted to explore. Army tanks? Astronomy? Cookbooks? Once I think of a category, I begin to narrow down what I want to accomplish or what I want to learn about or do. Then I can start to search for books that will lead me to my goal..."

    Thursday, December 1, 2011

    Blog BFF: AAC Girls

    Caroline Musselwhite, and periodic 'special guests,' have a really wonderful blog that is a companion to the equally valuable website

    From a recent post.....(view more at

    Fun Videos: Girl Washing . . . (click the title to get to the video link)

    This video is a delight!! Enjoy watching it. Then share it with your children / students in some of the following ways:

    Language: Support students in:
    - Sequencing: take screen shots and help students determine first, next, and last
    - Narrative: re-tell this story
    - Commenting: this video is fun for practicing making comments (sweet, uh-oh, oh no, yikes!)
    - Core Words: this is ideal for summarizing using high frequency words (look at that. Is she bad?)

    Literacy: Support students in:
    - Watching Response: Writing a response to this story
    - Descriptive Narrative: re-tell this story
    - Word Choice: describe the video using strong verbs and / or sparkle words

    Another great post on AAC Girls for those of you that don't access to video services like YouTube ...

    ZAMZAR – 1 Easy Way to Manage Movies

    Monday, November 28, 2011

    Signs of the Week - Social Words

    Join us in visually/gesturally supporting clients' comprehension by adding manual signs to your spoken messages...a few signs at a time

    Graphics used without permission (but for an educational purpose!) from:

    Sunday, November 27, 2011

    30% off at Mayer-Johnson, thru 11/30/11

    Use the GIVE30 promotional code at Mayer-Johnson through 11/30/11 and receive 30% off your entire the added lure of FREE shipping for orders over $25.  
     I used it today and bought the picture-supported cooking program Look 'n Cook!  (originally $169; cookbook, lesson plans, and two DVDs)
    Cooking Club can't wait to try it out...

    Save the Date: 27th Annual Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference

    Coming February 2012...(register by January 12)

    Where:  Manchester Grand Hyatt, One Market Place, San Diego, California 92101, United States, 619-232-1234
    When: February 28-March 3, 2012 (extra day - Feb. 29 - its leap year!) 



    This year's Keynote Address at the Conference which will be held February 28, Tuesday evening, at 5:30 PM. Our Keynote Speaker will be Ms. Geri Jewell. Geri Jewell is best known as Cousin Geri from the NBC sitcom, “The Facts of Life” and was the first person with a disability to have a regular role on a prime time series. [Geri also played the maid "Jewel" on the excellent HBO hit series "Deadwood." - G.M.] Geri is sure to enlighten and entertain attendees with her personal life experiences and perspectives in her presentation. Michael Paciello, this year's Conference Chair will host the Tuesday evening event. A Reception will follow the Keynote Address.


    Conference Schedule

    A listing of Pre-Conference Workshops will be available soon 

    (CLICK HERE for official site)

    Monday, February 27, 2012

    • Conference Registration 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    • Full-Day Pre-Conference Workshops 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
    • Pre-Conference Workshops Half-Day 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    • Lunch Break 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM
    • Half-Day Pre-Conference Workshops 1:30 PM - 4:30 PM

    Tuesday, February 28, 2012

    • Conference Registration 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
    • Full-Day Pre-Conference Workshops 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
    • Half-Day Pre-Conference Workshops 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    • Lunch Break 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM
    • Half-Day Pre-Conference Workshops 1:30 PM - 4:30 PM
    • Keynote Address and Welcome Reception 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

    Wednesday, February 29, 2012

    • Conference Registration 6:30 AM - 6:30 PM
    • General Sessions 8:00 AM - 4:10 PM
    • Lunch Break 12:30 PM - 1:45 PM
    • Opening of Exhibit Halls 12:00 PM - 7:00 PM

    Thursday, March 1, 2012

    • Conference Registration 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM
    • General Sessions 8:00 AM - 5:20 PM
    • Exhibit Halls 9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
    • Lunch Break 12:30 PM - 1:45 PM

    Friday, March 2, 2012

    • Conference Registration 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM
    • General Sessions 8:00 AM - 5:20 PM
    • Exhibit Halls 9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
    • Lunch Break 12:30 PM - 1:45 PM

    Saturday, March 3, 2012

    • Conference Registration 7:30 AM - 11:00 AM
    • Conference Adjourns


    The exhibit halls will be open Wednesday, February 29, 2012 through Friday, March 2, 2012. The Exhibit Halls are FREE, but you must register to attend. Please register and select "Exhibit Hall Only" if you are only visiting the exhibitors.and the hours are as follows:
    • Wednesday, February 29, 12:00 PM - 7:00 PM
    • Thursday, March 1, 9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
    • Friday, March 2, 9:30 AM - 5:00 PM

    Conference Fees

    • Early Bird: $455 (by January 12, 2012)
    • Regular: $510 (after January 12, 2012)
    • Late: $550 (after January 31, 2012 & On-Site)
    Cancellation Request must be made in writing and received by Tuesday, January 31, 2012. A $60 processing fee will be assessed. There will be no refunds after Monday, January 30, 2012. All no-shows will be charged the full amount.

    One-Day Conference Registration

    Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday

    • Early Bird: $280 (by January 12, 2012)
    • Regular: $330 (after January 12, 2012)
    • Late: $350 (after January 31, 2012 & On-Site)

    Discounts & Scholarships

    Student Discounts

    Full-time students are offered a 50% discount code when your class schedule or letter form registrar (showing 12 units or more) and a copy of your school ID are faxed to us at (818) 677-4929 or submitted via email to

    CSU Discounts

    CSU Faculty and Staff are offered a 50% discount code when staff ID and work email address are faxed to us at (818) 677-4929 or submitted via email to

    Veterans and Active Military Personnel

    Veterans and active military personnel are offered a 50% discount code when military identification or Certificate of Release (DD-214 Copy #4) are faxed to us at (818) 677-4929 or submitted via email to

    Scholarships (for first-time attendees only)

    For information on and how to apply for a scholarship, please download and complete the Scholarship Application.

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    Apps! Apps! Apps! & more from RJ Cooper...

    Full-text posted from an email sent by RJ Cooper...

    "Hello fans of AT/AAC!

    I am happy to *finally* announce the availability of my latest 2 apps that have been 'ported' over to iPad! I had promised these by end of summer, but programming for the iPad is just not that easy. And I try to make my apps very 'rich' in features.

    Spell-A-Word - LARGE print, spelling app, where you can make your own WordLists, or use those that we've made for you (complete with pictures and recorded words). When searching for this app, make sure you use the dashes.  To view in iTunes click below:


    Point To Pictures - The only AAC *training* app in the world. I believe this app is a *necessary* prerequisite for successful AAC on the iPad for anyone that doesn't immediately 'get' an actual AAC app!  To view in iTunes click below.


    PLEASE don't assume you can hand an iPad with an AAC app, like Proloquo2Go (which is a fine app), to someone with significant challenges, and expect them to be able to use it, just because it's *on* the iPad (and don't scoff at this! I am seeing this *countless* times. The iPad is *advertised* as being "magical" but it is not ;-) .

    And remember, if the user cannot reach UP and out to use a finger on the iPad, please consider my Auggie for its many alternative input methods (running Windows 7, but same basic size as iPad).


    My apps are free for the first 2 weeks of release so go get 'em! After that they will be $29.95 each (each cost me over $10K to create!)

    Soon to follow are switch versions, Scan-A-Word, and Scan to Pictures.


    P.S. As always, if you want off this list, just Unsubscribe below.

    P.P.S And if you want something by Xmas, do NOT wait until 1 week before and then blame it on *us*! Order by Dec. 1 to *ensure* you'll get it in time. Remember my Mac/PC software is almost all on sale for 1/2 price, and some titles are even free (with purchase or anything of mine)!

    RJ Cooper & Associates, Inc. | 27601 Forbes Rd. #39 | Laguna Niguel | CA | 92677 | US"

    Monday, November 21, 2011

    Overcoming Holiday Meltdowns - giving information

    Useful tips from Linda Hodgdon (check out her website and newsletter, CLICK HERE)

    Thanksgiving turkey, mashed potatoes, football and lots of people are just the right recipe for a
    major meltdown for lots of [individuals with special needs].  Why?  The schedule changes, people are busy and there are lots of unexpected surprises. 

    Remember that GIVING INFORMATION in a visual way helps those [folks] navigate through
    potentially difficult days.  Write it down, draw pictures, use your calendar.  Prepare them by
    giving information about what is going to be happening.  Remind them what activities they
    can choose to do if the environment gets too over-stimulating.  Give them lots of choices. 

    Putting information in a visual form helps students achieve success during those high activity days.

    Have a great Thanksgiving!

    Thursday, November 17, 2011

    Book: APPS for AUTISM (Authored by an SLP, $29)

    As Discussed on CBS’s 60 Minutes
    New Book for You

     If you
cannot see this picture click on the X

    Apps for Autism An Essential Guide to Over 200 Effective Apps for Improving Communication, Behavior, Social Skills, and More!

    Autism? There’s an app for that!

    Actually, there are more than 200 apps for autism, and this book will guide you through them so you can confidently utilize today’s technology to maximize your child or student’s success!

    Speech Language Pathologist Lois Jean Brady wrote this book in order to educate parents, teachers, and other professionals about the breakthrough method she calls “iTherapy”—which is the use of Apple products (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) and various apps (computer applications) in meeting students’ individual educational goals.

    Lois believes that all persons on the spectrum can learn how to use technology in a way that is relevant to them. She shares important tips on how to use apps responsibly and effectively by maintaining a child-centered, team approach to teaching and learning, taking into account the individual’s interests, strengths/challenges, vision, motor planning, attention, sensory processing, memory, cognitive ability, environment, and access to tools. Lois also coaches adults on how they can use prompting and reinforcement techniques to help establish and generalize skills learned, until students are able to consistently demonstrate the skills in various environments (home, school, etc.).

    For those who are new to the wonderful world of apps, worry not! Lois provides helpful sections on how to get started, including: Choosing an iDevice, Basic iDevice Operations, Opening an Account, How to Download an App from iTunes, and more!

    You will be astonished and excited by the number of apps available, and the vast variety of issues they can address:
    • Voice Output
    • Sign Language
    • One-Touch Switch
    • Text-to-Speech
    • Articulation
    • Encouragement
    • Listening and Auditory Processing
    • Language Comprehension
    • Vocabulary
    • Concept Development
    • Video Modeling
    • Social Skills Group Activities
    • Eye Contact and Body Language
    • Hygiene & Pre-Vocational
    • Graphic Organizers & Visual Supports
    • Visual Timers
    • Sound Masking
    • Handwriting
    • Bilateral Coordination
    • Motor Planning
    • Activities of Daily Living
    • Reading
    • Spelling
    • Math
    • Preschool
    • Dysphagia
    • Aphasia, Apraxia & Dysarthria
    • Stuttering
    • Music, Songs & Creativity
    • Information about Autism
    • Eating Gluten Free
    • And more!

    Meet the Author:
    Lois Brady, M.A., CCC-SLP, is passionate about working with the special needs community. She found her calling while in high school, when she spent her summer breaks volunteering in camp programs for children with special needs. Lois has over two decades of experience working as a Speech Language Pathologist specializing in Autism Spectrum Disorder. She has earned a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology, Certificate in Assistive Technology, Certificate in Computer Based Intervention, and has completed an Animal Assisted Therapy Program. Lois coauthored the book Speech in Action, featuring approaches that combine occupational therapy, adaptive physical education, and speech-language pathology, and is currently conducting research in communication disorders and developing products (apps) to enhance communication and language.

    "Lois has taken an important leap in writing this book, providing a much-needed primer for considering the newest, mobile, educational technologies … For parents, teachers, and therapists, it is important to understand what the individual apps can and cannot do, and to be able to carefully consider features relevant to individual needs. From communication to literacy, recreation, and accessories, Apps for Autism provides a wealth of useful information to read and reference." —Samuel Sennott, a Ph.D. Student in Special Education and Augmentative and Alternative Communication at the Pennsylvania State University

    396 Pages of Life-Changing Value
    Get this Incredible New Book Today

    click here to get yours now

    An investment in the future whether you are a Parent, Educator, Paraprofessional, Pediatrician, Therapist, or anyone else envolved in the life of a child with autism.
    Autism Today Education Corp.1425 Broadway
    Seattle WA

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