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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Sunday, December 30, 2012

ATI Conference, 2/2/13, $25

Registration is now open for the 9th Annual ATI Conference on Saturday, February 2nd at the Orange County Dept of Ed.

The Assistive Technology Institute (ATI) conference provides an opportunity to learn about assistive technology and interact with professionals and vendors in this specialized field.
For more information, please visit the conference website:

Full Day Conference Details:
Date: Saturday, February 2nd, 2013
Time: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Cost: $25
Location: Orange County Department of Education (200 Kalmus Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626)

Description: Various AT speaker breakout sessions offered throughout the day, vendor fair and keynote speaker. For more information on speaker sessions and vendors participating in the full day conference, please visit the conference website at

Keynote: We will be having a parent panel for the "keynote." Three sets of parents who have a child or children who use AT will share their stories. As a part of the registration process we are welcoming attendees to submit suggested questions for the parent panel. Please feel free to enter a question for the parents when entering your registration information (this is optional).

(Preconference is SOLD OUT for Friday 2/1/13. Limit was 20 registrants)

Singapore Rehabilitation Conference - Call for Abstracts

The Scientific Sub-committee of the 2nd Singapore Rehabilitation Conference invites participants to submit their abstracts of original, unpublished works, case reports, and reviews for oral or poster presentation. The Sub-committee will decide on the form of presentation for all abstract submissions. 
One workshop offering of interest (in case you happen to be in the area):
Fundamentals Course In Assistive Technology by RESNA: 1-2 March 2013

Friday, December 28, 2012

FREE - All About iDevices - Feb 21, 2013

(From Jenn Park, West San Gab. SELPA)
Back by popular demand is the All About iDevices Workshop provided free of charge to
classroom teachers, administrators, and other direct service providers from Private Schools, Public Schools and Non – Public Schools. February 21, 2013 from 8:00 - 3:00 pm at the West San Gabriel Valley SELPA offices in Alhambra, CA. 
This is the same workshop that was held in November 2012 so if you would like to attend again, you may...
Please pass this information on to those you know that may benefit from this workshop. The link is available on our website  under the Registration-Trainings/Workshop. A direct link to the registration form is:
If possible, sending at least two from each site would be beneficial as the content can be quite heavy to digest alone. Participants will also need an iPad/iPod along with the Apple ID and password in order to install/delete apps.

If you have questions please let me know. Thank you and have a Happy Holiday season!
Jenn Park
Program Specialist
Assistive Technology Specialist

West San Gabriel Valley SELPA
15 W. Alhambra Rd.
Alhambra, CA 91801
(626) 943-3435
(626) 943-7459 (Fax)

Job Announcement: ATEC Orange County

Position: Technology Specialist, Part-Time
Location: Santa Ana, CA

From Lauren Wetzler at ATEC:
We are proud of our reputation as a leader in rehabilitation services. Our Assistive Technology Exchange Center (ATEC) provides comprehensive assistive technology (AT) services for persons with a broad range of disabilities throughout Southern California.  The ATEC team is growing to meet the increasing demand for services. We have an opportunity for a new team member.

ATEC currently has an position available for a Technology Specialist. The position would be a part-time position located at our office in Santa Ana, CA. The main job responsibilities would be to provide technical support for people with disabilities and clinical staff, market/outreach program services, and coordinate AT services.

If you are someone you know is interested or would like more information, please have them email me their resume to my attention at

Thursday, December 27, 2012

ZYGO Newsletter, Dec 2012

Chatter Newsletter (excerpt, below) December 2012 (find it in its entirety, HERE)
Product Spotlight: PapooTouch
If you have not yet seen the PapooTouch, you should make a point to do so. It is stylish, portable, and functional, and lets you communicate easily with your friends and family while on the go. It’s a dedicated communication device with a range of installed apps, including Grid Player, with SymbolStix for symbol users, text for typists, and digital pictures for realistic active scene displays and photographs of real people...
AD Head Pointers with NEW iPad Tips!
Our three head pointers have just been upgraded to include a brand new tip that is intended for use with iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch, as well as other touch screen tablets including Android and all other AAC dynamic display devices...
Grid 2 on Windows 8
As you may know, Windows 8 was released last month. You can continue using The Grid 2 on Windows 8 machines ...
ATIA Orlando
ZYGO-USA is heading back to Orlando next month for the ATIA 2013
conference being held at the Caribe Royale from January 30 to February 2, 2013. Come see us in Booth
#408 and spend some time getting to know our lineup of new products we have this year.

Demo products and literature
We have demonstration devices in our loan bank. All of our products are available to SLP’s and AT Centers for evaluation demonstrations. We have special pricing if you would like to add our products to your AT Center. And let us know if you need any catalogs, or The Grid 2 demo CDs, or other product literature to hand out.

From all of us at ZYGO-USA, Happy Holidays, and best wishes for a Happy New Year!
If you have any questions or need any support for our products, please contact me at, or by phone at (888) 321-6006, or any of our Customer Support representatives at,, or (800) 234-6006.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Birth of Bliss Symbolics - Thanks Radiolab

Idealized languages in the news: Two stories this week

What a good listen! The Radiolab podcast brings you fantastic stories about all sorts of fascinating things (see our previous post on Radiolab's episode called Words). Their podcast this week explored stories of BLISS.  Among other stories, it includes the genesis of Bliss Symbols (read more HERE or HERE). It is an amazing reveal and poses a bizarre conundrum. I hope you that use Boardmaker Picture Communication Symbols or Symbol Stix might find an hour+ this holiday season to give a listen to this intriguing episode that touches on the early days of symbol-based communication.  Wow!

Listen to "Bliss" HERE, via Radiolab.

Read more about Charles K. Bliss on Wikipedia, HERE. There was a book, Mr. Symbol Man, published in 1975 that just now made it onto my Christmas List (if you're reading this, Santa. It's out of print and may require some pulling of strings...). Radiolab thanks National Film and Sound Archive of Australia for use of audio from the documentary Mr. Symbol Man, by Bob Kingsbury (1974). Let me know if you find out how to view this film or get a copy of this book. Fascinating story!

Another language-y story this week, "Utopian for Beginners," from the Annals of Linguistics via the New Yorker is in the Dec 24 & 31 issue (read it online, HERE) explores one idealistic, amateur linguist's invented language, a la Esperanto, called Ithkuil. Great reading!

Happy Holidays! Felicxa Ferio!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Using USB switch interfaces with switch accessible apps on your iPad

Re-Post: This is a very quick blog post to share a great resource from Bill Ziegler, Apple Distinguished Educator and Assistive Technology Consultant.

Bill has created a very informative Vimeo about how to use a USB switch interface for a computer to access switch accessible apps on your iPad. This is a question I often get asked about – and I’m so pleased that Bill has figured out how to do it and has also shared the solution with all of us. Please check out the video below!

Using BlueTooth Apps from Bill Ziegler on Vimeo.

Thanks Bill!

2013 TouchChat Webinars, Save the date(s)

TouchChat (35 min) and NOVA Chat (45 min) overview courses online from January through April. 

Also, Dec-Jan, one-hour, basic customization webinars ($40 for TouchChat, no price listed for NOVA Chat).

TouchChat Basic Customization Learning Outcomes:

1. Participants will be able to edit the settings and enable restrictions in order to meet their needs.
2. Participants will be able to locate the version of TouchChat they are running.
3. Participants will be able to perform simple editing tasks such as copying a file and editing buttons to customize a vocabulary set.
4. Participants will be able to explore use of SocialChat to share text with social networks.  

NOVA Chat Basic Customization Learning Outcomes:

1. Participants will be able to show two vocabulary options offered in the NovaChat.
2. Participants will experiment with vocabulary options that offer a core language system.
3. Participants will be able to complete basic editing tasks such as editing buttons to customize a vocabulary set.
4. Participants will be able to demonstrate how to create a new page and navigate to it.
5. Participants will be able to test file export/syncing with NovaChat editor and device.

App Donation Program: Proloquo2Go

We are happy to remind you that we have teamed up with Easter Seals DuPage and the Fox Valley Region to offer our App Donation Program for those who cannot afford Proloquo2Go!

For more information and the policy for the Proloquo2Go App Donation Program, please email
We are happy to remind you that we have teamed up with Easter Seals DuPage and the Fox Valley Region to offer our App Donation Program for those who cannot afford Proloquo2Go!

For more information and the policy for the Proloquo2Go App Donation Program, please email

AAC Girls: QUICK! Holiday Apps & Ideas!

From AAC Girls: QUICK! Holiday Apps & Ideas! 
Fun app for taking a photo and adding Santa hat, beard, etc.
Idea:  I was working with a student working on access on her device.  We used hide / show to isolate GO & STOP.  Ex:  Okay, the beard (GO = make it bigger;  STOP = stop)

Christmas Sounds Free
Lots of sound effect apps but this one combines 16 good pics and interesting. sounds.
Idea:  We used this as impetus for a 'playlet' for a Communication Circle with a 5th grader using an AAC device.   Each student chose a sound, and wrote a line about it . . . using the device.  Then we performed it for family and friends.  FUN!

American Greetings eCard
Fantastic free app!  Great videos to watch & include.  Must be online to use videos.
Ideas:  Watch the video and comment, narrate, etc. before completing the card.

 I would love to have people share great Hanukkah or Kwanzaa apps that you've found.  ENJOY!!!

Women and Girls with Rett's: Access To Communication

Conference 2008, Chicago, IL

Access to Communication: "Working Together Makes it Better"

 Judy Lariviere, M.Ed., OTR/L
Assistive Technology Specialist & Occupational Therapist
 Links to Ms. Lariviere's materials and video from the conference:
Spare time over the holidays? Be sure to watch IRSF’s webinar recording from Oct. 23rd of Jennifer Larimore, PhD, Agnes Scott College and IRSF funded investigator, presenting “From Mind to Molecules: Neurobiology of RTT." Fresh from the annual Society for Neurosciences meeting, we heard the latest news in easy to understand terms. Fact: did you know that in 2 minutes, your brain consumes more energy than your legs need to run a marathon? Nourish your brain with this webinar, and nourish those brains of our children with Rett syndrome by exposing them to an enriched and varied environment every day! CLICK HERE to register and view the webinar.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Minspeak E-Newsletter, Issue 63

Send to Friend
December 14, 2012

  • Pixon Teaching Tip: Pixons can be used as teaching materials for picturing the metaphors behind Unity® icon sequences. The word for this week is “make.” Compare the Pixon to the icon sequence . Teach the meaning of the word “make” using cookie cutter props with raw cookie dough or bread. You can “make” cookies for the holidays or sandwiches for a party. Extend the meaning making holiday cards, making your bed, making an art project, making up after fighting, and making up a story, etc.
  • Intervention Planning: Practice the word “make” in two-word phrases, such as “make some,” “to make more,” “making it,” and “made that.” Practice future, present and past tense in sequential activities (I will make it, I am making it, I made it). Check out the Language Lab: Core Words App from PRC to practice the word “make.”
  • Teaching Materials Exchange: Read It is Christmas Time. The book is coded with Pixons and icon sequences from Unity®45, Unity®60, Unity®84, and Unity®144. Go to the Minspeak website for more Christmas materials!
  • Register today for the ATIA 2013 Conference which includes presentations that support or feature people who use Minspeak or Pixons!
  • Pittsburgh AAC Language Seminar Series: Register TODAY for an upcoming seminar series. Go to the Minspeak website for the schedule and registration materials.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

PrAACtical AAC Re-Post: Mining Preschool Routines for AAC Opportunitiess

Link to the original entry on, HERE
Thanks to Terry Kappe, SLP, for forwarding this great blog entry.

Meet Jenna, a spirited little girl with developmental delays who is learning to communicate using multiple modalities. Follow her along this morning as she goes to her preschool and gets dozens of opportunities to practice the AAC skills she is learning. 101 opportunities to practice target skills before lunch? It’s a piece of cake with this well-oiled preschool team! Jenna’s communicative functions are noted in CAPS in the entry. The variety of them are summarized, below... LINK TO THE FULL STORY, HERE.

Carole Zangari Thanks Carole Z.!

Update from the AAC Center at Univ. Nebraska Lincoln

Augmentative and Alternative Communication Centers 

Supporting Communication for People with Minimal Movement

New Vocabulary Lists

photo of book cover

Rick Hohn Autobiography: More Than A Watchmaker

From Rick: I am excited! My autobiography, More Than a Watchmaker, guaranteed to make you laugh and cry is released. The title of the book is from the prognosis of the pediatrician that diagnosed me with CP but told my parents that I would do everything except for making a watch. You can then order it from my website And go to my new bookstore. The book is $16.99 and shipping is $4.95.Read more about Rick Hohn, Preacher, Artist, Author, Mentor, and Sales Consultant, HERE. 

AAC Assessment Resources from SIG 12

The ASHA Community for SIG 12 has done it again! Provided great resources for AAC-interested SLPs nationwide. If you don't already belong to SIG 12, it is something to consider ($35 annually). The Perspecitves in AAC journal even offers CE units for reading and taking a quiz on the contents ($5 per issue, I believe).

Megan in Oregon asked the Community:
Are there good, inexpensive AAC assessments for preschool and elementary school children that you enjoy using in your community clinic or private practice?
Does anyone have experience with the Augmentative and Alternative Communication Profile?  Is it user friendly, informative, and relevant to lite and high tech?

Nicole Dupre in Houston, TX wrote:
I use the TASP (Test of Aided-Communication Symbol Performance; more info in a previous post HERE), the AAC profile, the Protocol for Metaphoric Use of Pictures and the Communication Matrix. I love them all for different reasons but I think they are all easily administered and applicable to assessing different groups of users. The Protocol for Metaphoric Use of Pictures is on Gail Van Tatenhove's download page (Gail posted THIS DROPBOX LINK because that page of her website is down). The Communication Matrix is a free online tool, HERE (or use it offline - download the 26-page PDF handbook HERE).

The TASP and Gail's Protocol are both actual tests to administer student knowledge whereas the other two are inventories completed with the assistance of caregivers (Namita Maunder of Fremont, CA added that the TASP includes a report writing guide). And for students needing additional support I like Ever Move Counts and The Inventory of Functional Communication (LINK to it HERE).

Namita also referred to the AAC Assessment Genie app for the iPad ($9.99; more info in a previous post HERE). Susan Morgan (Lynchburg, VA) commented that some of her learners were distracted by the iPad and so she might have to use low tech assessment tools. 

Susan also added the Functional Communication Profile to the list of assessment options. She also mentioned a test specifically for TBI patients, from her days with an older population, that was available free online (great article on AAC in TBI from ASHA, HERE). She couldn't recall the name of it, but found it to be a helpful guide even with the younger kids.

Monday, December 10, 2012

AppyMall iPad Mini Giveaway!

If you love FREE apps and multitudes of useful app reviews and you don't already follow AppyMall, you should! (@appymall) If you want to enter to win an iPad Mini, you should visit the giveaway site and follow the prompts. You might even connect with some valuable companies and developers in the process. CLICK HERE to see rules, etc. 

H-app-y Birthday to You!

I happen to know an inordinate number of December babies, and want to share a couple FREE birthday apps that I love. (Both give you 'something to talk about', but, full disclosure, neither are communication apps)

 Sharing with Duckie Deck is FREE (at least at present) and has a birthday cake decorating activity in which you can drag decorations, candles and all sorts of do-dads onto a variety of cake styles. Listen to a lovely marimba version of happy birthday song as many times as you like after tapping the green check mark, then tap to cut, and serve to three plates, then do it all over again with a different style cake. Great FUN! The other 3 activities in the app are completely cute, as well. Enjoy.

Cake Day (also FREE, for now) invites you to blow out the on-screen candles, and it WORKS! Don't ask me how. Magic. Cake Day allows you to enjoy a Free Cake (ready to go, no prep required, ready to blow the candles and hear the kind of cake!) or Personalize a cake with number of candles, card recipient's name, message, and signature. This cake/card combo can be sent via Facebook, Text, or Email. I can't promise that you can "blow out" the candles on your desktop, though...

Both apps contain zero calories and are fat-free.