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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Saturday, September 29, 2012

TouchChat HD - Take a look at WordPower 80

This new, updated version of TouchChat with WordPower offers next-word prediction, within-word prediction while typing, and plenty of things to say right from the Home screen.  Take a look!

WordPower at work following the composed message, "I don't..."

Friday, September 28, 2012

Chapel Hill Snippets: Angry Birds (number concepts, location words)

Re-Post (CLICK HERE for the) Chapel Hill Snippets: 5 Angry Birds book -- number concepts and location words
The first theme is the repetitive backward counting book pattern that most kids really like (such as "Five Little Pumpkins")... I think it's simple, it follows curriculum goals for the early grades, it's motivating, and it can be used to target a number of speech and language goals. Both teacher and therapist can use it!   
Have fun!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

FREE AT Trainings for Ed - West SGV SELPA

The West San Gabriel Valley SELPA (in the city of Alhambra) has scheduled a series of informative workshops related to assistive technology for classroom teachers, administrators, and other direct service providers from Private Schools, Public Schools and Non – Public Schools. "AT 101"on September 25th offered a solid overview of AT assessment and resources (a post with highlights will follow!).  Two upcoming sessions relate directly to the mission of SCAAC-N, and the topic for our Thursday, November 15th Quarterly Meeting ("iPad Show and Share"). Read on...and attend these free, full-day trainings!!

All About Apple iDevices (iPod, iPads) - Presented by Jenn Park
DATE: Tuesday, November 6th, 2012 (Don't forget to vote!)
TIME: 8:00am – 8:30am (Registration) 8:30am – 3:00pm (Workshop)
     This FREE workshop will provide an overview on the accessibility features on the iPod and iPad. In addition, discussions about deployment, volume price purchasing, and maintenance will be discussed. Information and resources will be given for those who wish to learn more about Apple iDevices discussed in the training. 
CONTENT: Accessibility Features • Curricular apps • Deployment • Volume price purchasing • Maintenance  NOTE: If you have an iDevice, (ipod, iPad), please bring it to the training.
SKILL LEVEL: Beginning, Intermediate 
EQUIPMENT: An iPod or iPad is suggested for this hands on workshop
PRESENTER: Jenn Park, WSGV SELPA Program Specialist 
LOCATION: WSGV SELPA Office - 15 West Alhambra Rd, Alhambra, CA 91801 (entrance to building is on Garfield Ave) 
CLICK HERE to link to the registration page for this FREE training.
AAC Apps Training on – Proloquo2Go, Touch Chat, and GoTalk Now - Presented by Jenn Park 
DATE: Tuesday, December 4th, 2012 
TIME: 8:00am – 8:30am (Registration) 8:30am – 3:00pm (Workshop) 

     This workshop will provide an overview and basic training on the AAC apps Proloquo2Go, Touch Chat, and GoTalk Now for the iPod and iPad. Other AAC and curriculum apps will also be discussed. Information and resources will be provided. 
CONTENT: Proloquo2Go App • Touch Chat App • GoTalk Now App • Other Apps for curriculum access NOTE: If you have an iDevice, (ipod, iPad), please bring it to the training.
SKILL LEVEL: Beginning , Intermediate 
EQUIPMENT: An iPod or iPad is suggested for this hands-on workshop 
PRESENTER: Jenn Park, WSGV SELPA Program Specialist 
LOCATION: WSGV SELPA Office - 15 West Alhambra Rd, Alhambra, CA 91801 (entrance to building is on Garfield Ave) 
CLICK HERE to link to the registration page for this FREE training.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Guided Access - Restricting the Back button

The Accessibility feature of iOS6 for iDevices has given us the great gift of Guided Access which will disable the Home button and essentially lock the user into an app. There is a second function that Guided Access offers, and that is to disable touch access in a particular area of the screen. I have used the "disable touch" feature when introducing a new page of vocabulary in an AAC app or in educational game play where I want to limit access to the game settings or an on-screen skip ahead button.
When starting Guided Access, you will be brought to this screen - an image of the app in play with a frame of options around the sides. The instruction just below the screenshot reads "Using your finger, circle areas on the screen you would like to disable." In this image, the user has circled the Home button across the top of the screen. The iPad recognizes your imperfect selection, and snaps it to the border of the touch-sensitive area or button you intended. At the upper right, select Start, and the disabled area will be visible through a translucent gray shade. 
To lift the restriction, triple-click the home button and enter the passcode, then use the "X" in the upper left of the shade to remove it, or End Guided Access all together using the End button in the upper left.

Some third-party apps have a bug with this feature that cause them to lock into Guided Access (meaning the triple click of Home doesn't offer the prompt for the passcode). Scroll to the bottom of this post (HERE) for a workaround. Hopefully iOS6.1 will have a permanent fix for this bug.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Free Apps for Early Communicators

When just getting started with an early communicator, try a free app such as Sounding Board, GoTalk Now Free, or Picture Card Maker to teach cause-and-effect via the iPad touch screen. In these apps you can create boards with anywhere from 1-25 message areas/"buttons" using your own pics, by taking a photo with the iPad, or adding a saved image from the web (only SoundingBoard has a limited in-app image library).

With a single message area, the student could request "MORE" of a preferred item, food, or quick activity (such as bubbles, a spin in a chair, squeezes, etc.), and then move to two messages for with the addition of "ALL DONE" to refuse, protest, or escape non-preferred tasks. These same 1- to 2-message layouts could be used for highly motivating cloze activities ("E-I-E-I-O" if Old McDonanld is motivating, activating the on screen "button" to fill-in his name during a group song or rhyme, etc.) or Hi / Bye if greetings are motivating to your student. Here are some screenshots of these three, free apps:

(field of 1-12 message areas/"buttons")

GoTalkNow Free
(1, 4, 9,  16, or 25 message areas)

PicCard Maker 
(field of 4 or 16 message areas)
Single button for cloze Old McDonald activity. 
Image drawn and saved in the Doodle Buddy app & "Select from Library" in PicCardMaker

Saturday, September 22, 2012

AAC "buy-in" in the School Setting

Callie Herrenbruck posted a conundrum all too familiar to SLPs involved in AAC implementation in the school setting (read more at ASHA Community SIG 12 discussion board).  In Callie's words:
"...I'm finding it to be very difficult to show some of the general education teachers, special education teachers, and even some of the other SLPs the need for AAC at school...

Some great ideas poured in from SIG members:
  • Let teachers that you know they are very busy and already have a lot on their plates, and also ask them, "How can I help?  What can I do to make this easier for you?"(Jacalyn Baxendale, Collingswood, NJ)
  • Use this five minute, interactive tool (LINK HERE) to help show educators what they may not know about AAC (Jennifer Mitchell, Virginia Beach, VA)
  • When Assistive Technology is checked as a requirement in the IEP, it's a legal requirement and is really not a choice...There are quite a few great resources for training communication partners on the Dynavox website in the Implementation Toolkit.(Lesley McGilligan, St. Louis MO).
  • I found it helpful to teach every person working with the child that an AAC system is the child's "voice."  You have to appeal to their hearts and minds! (Shanna Lund, Sedona AZ).
  • I do think it is best to go to the teachers, Paras and/or SLPs to ask what they would like to see the students use the device to communicate and help them figure out how to use the device to show progress and meet IEP goals.  I've found that it's important to listen to their concerns/issues and try to use their ideas in your programming.  Sometimes it's also good to start small and just prioritize a couple things to use the device for so they see success.  I think there is a certain amount of discomfort with technology for some people and then the resistance is often there because of feeling intimidated or overwhelmed.  Then, of course, there are those that just like to be in control and don't like others giving them instructions so they need to see how it benefits the student and have input into how it's used.  I've also had success when I've found someone who is buying into it, like the SLP or a Para, and have that person help to support the student and show the teacher the success when using AAC.  It's great if you can have examples of how a student can respond to a question in class, communicate a need, contribute to a discussion, make a presentation or interact with others  using a device.  Another idea that may be helpful is to have peers trained to help with the device because they are always so interested, can model the way to use the device, help the teacher and keep the student motivated! (Lisa Kestling, Colorado Springs, CO) 
  • From Heather Helter (South Bend, IN): 
"When I started at my school, one students school-provided device was found stashed in a supply cabinet. Clearly the teacher didn't see the value and/or didn't understand how to use it! What helped was me taking it for a time just as a therapy device, and working on use directly related to what I knew would be useful in the classroom. Then, I would take him into class with the device and have him proudly demonstrate to the teacher. I then asked her what we could work on that would help her with her goals. She wanted him to be able to read, so we practiced reading simple books (level B) in therapy. He was very good, and she was quickly sold. She came up with an IEP goal to have him read a book to the gen Ed class at least once a week. This got the device into the classroom and he then was able to use it to communicate. The whole process took less than a month, and worked. I also hope the next time that teacher has a student with an AAC device, she won't be so reluctant to use it."

GeekSLP TV #32: Apps for Aphasia

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Limit access to the AAC app in iOS 6

Install iOS 6 (released Sept. 19) and you can finally put your iPad into "single app mode" by disabling the Home button. This mode is officially called Guided Access. In addition, Guided Access allows you to disable selected areas of the screen. (I have used this feature in TouchChat and Proloquo apps to disable the backspace button for students prone to backspace and erase a constructed message before delivering it to their partner)

Full disclosure: The info and images below are pasted from an ASHA Community SIG 12 discussion via Bruce Engholm of Kingston, NY, originally retrieved from Thanks Bruce!

How to turn on Guided Access
  1. Launch Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Scroll down and tap Accessibility.
  4. Scroll down and tap Guided Access.
  5. Toggle Guided Access to On.
  6. Set a Passcode you'll remember. If you don't set a Passcode immediately, iOS will have you set one the first time you use Guided Access.
  7. Triple click the Home button while in the app of your choice to turn Guided Access on. Triple click Home again to turn it off by choosing the option at the upper left of the screen, "End."
Be aware - this fantastic addition to iOS occasionally works too well! 
At times, the required triple click of the Home button, while in Guided Access, does not do anything, and then you're really stuck in the app. This leaves you unable to leave Guided Access mode, but here’s a workaround to get out of it until the bug is resolved:
  • Hold the Home and Power button together for 15 seconds until a reboot is forced on the iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch
  • With the device rebooted, go back to Settings > Accessibility > Guided Access > and turn OFF as necessary
Because just about everything is disabled when the feature is on, even Force Quit won’t work. Yes that means you’ll have to reboot the device in order to escape from Guided Access in certain apps for the time being.
The stuck app bug doesn’t appear to impact any native Apple apps, but it does affect many popular third party apps. Expect a resolution soon that doesn’t involve rebooting with iOS 6.0.1 or a similar incremental update.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Oct 11 Webinar: Transitioning from High School Using Assistive Technology

The 2012 Assistive Technology Workshop Series hosted by Frank D. Lanterman Regional Center and ATEC. The AT Workshop series will provide a variety of topics that provide people with disabilities, families, caregivers, professionals, and those interested in AT greater knowledge and resources. Assistive Technology is any device, software, or resource that can increase skills and maximize an individual’s potential. 

Local public and private agency representatives will discuss the continuation of AT services beyond high school. Panelists will be present to discuss their agencies’ responsibilities and services regarding AT in the transition process. SCAAC-N will be represented! Gwendolyn Meier, SLP, MT (Villa Esperanza Services) will be on the panel of presenters. This Webinar is for anyone interested learning more about assistive technology and transition from high school, including people who use AT (ages 14-22 years old), parents, caregivers, case managers, family members, therapists, educators, and professionals who support transitioning students.  CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE FLYER

All workshops will be presented via webinar or in-person at Frank D. Lanterman Regional Center. For additional information, and to register for workshops, contact the Koch-Young Resource Center at 213.252.5600 or

Monday, September 17, 2012

Minspeak E-Newsletter, Issue 57

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September 17, 2012

  • Pixon Teaching Tip: Pixons are single meaning pictures that are used on manual communication boards, but you can also use the Pixon for “go” to bridge to learning the Unity® icon sequence. Compare the Pixon of the green traffic light and green arrow to the Unity icon of the green traffic light and the frog going. Teach the meaning of the word “go” in the context of physical movement, then work on de-contextualization of the word “go” by using it in different contexts (e.g, make an object go and move, turn on something that “goes” but doesn’t actually physically move in space, etc.).
  • Intervention Planning: Thank you to Christina Dal Santo, Annette O’Connor, and Malia Vigil for the Intervention Plan for teaching the core verb “go”. Use it with a PowerPoint show they developed called Go! Go! Go! Go! to show “go” in action.
  • Teaching Materials Exchange: Commemorate the start of autumn on September 22 with the book It's Autumn Again. The book is coded with Pixons and icon sequences from Unity®45, Unity®60, Unity®84, and Unity®144.
  • Pittsburgh AAC Language Seminar Series: Register TODAY for an upcoming seminar series. Registration is FULL for the September and October presentations. Go to the Minspeak website for more information and to register for an upcoming series.
  • Unity® App: PRC recently launched LAMP Words for Life™ for iPad, an App that combines the power of the Unity® program with the LAMP® principles and strategies. This powerful App is available through iTunes for $299.99.



Sunday, September 9, 2012

30 Things A Student Can SAY When They Have AAC

Re-Posted from via some Facebook sharing...

AAC Supports- Don't Go ANYWHERE Without Them!
Access To AAC & Visual Supports Allows Students to:
  1. Let you know what they want (requesting is only item 1...there is so much more - Jennifer at ProLoQuo2Go)
  2. Let you know nicely what they don’t want
  3. Answer class questions
  4. Ask a question
  5. Say ‘I don’t know’
  6. Ask for help 
  7. Tell you they are having fun
  8. Create a sentence
  9. Argue
  10. Negotiate
  11. Say a line in a school play
  12. Say ‘here’ during attendance
  13. Tell what they did on the weekend
  14. Tell what they did over the summer
  15. Tell you what they want to do at home
  16. Tell you if they are happy
  17. Tell you if they are scared
  18. Tell you if they are frustrated
  19. Tell  you about their family
  20. Tell you about their pets
  21. Say please
  22. Say their name
  23. Say hello to a person
  24. Tell you what they like to do
  25. Ask for more
  26. Tell you which color they want
  27. Ask for a break
  28. Tell you why they are upset
  29. Tell you to stop 
  30. Say THANK YOU 

Thanks to PrAACtical AAC (via Judy Bailey) for other posts - Read "Not Good Enough" by clicking HERE


FREE online AAC Workshop from ASHA

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) for School-Age Children With Intellectual Disabilities: Basic Strategies for Immediate Results
The 64-minute Web Workshop "Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) for School-Age Children With Intellectual Disabilities: Basic Strategies for Immediate Results" by Krista M. Wilkinson, PhD, has been made available by ASHA for free (CEUs are not available with free participation; $39 to receive ASHA-member CEUs).

Learning Outcomes
You will be able to:
  • describe and analyze the relative advantages and disadvantages of different components of AAC, including the modes involved and the types of access methods available
  • list a variety of communication functions that AAC should be designed to fulfill, as well as some practical ways to achieve those functions
  • apply the skills you gained from the course to a case study of a child with intellectual disabilities, designing an intervention for a hypothetical child, and justifying your decisions