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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Friday, November 30, 2012

Minspeak E-Newsletter, Issue 62

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November 30, 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 “turn”. Compare the Pixon to the icon sequence . Teach the meaning of the word “turn” using a prop that turns around and around. Then apply that to stirring around and around in a pan. Extend the meaning to turning around on a merry-go-round, turning the page in a book, and turning something on or off.
  • Intervention Planning: Thank you to Christina Dal Santo, Annette O’Connor, and Malia Vigil for the Intervention Plan for teaching the core verb “turn”. Use it with an animated PowerPoint show they developed called Turn!
  • Teaching Materials Exchange: Read Happy Hanukkah and talk about what families do during this holiday. 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. Go to the Minspeak website for the schedule and registration materials.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Video Contest - Show Off Your AT!

Graphic of Show Off Your Assistive Technology Video Contest

Does Assistive Technology (AT) play a role in your life?

Do you use an assistive device to get things done, or to make your life easier?

Have you modified a device to make it work better, or come up with your own device?

Then show off your AT!

Share your ideas and win some cash doing it.

The purpose of the contest is to showcase the creative ways people with disabilities use assistive technology in their daily lives. Many people with disabilities use assistive technologies to accomplish tasks they otherwise could not. Sometimes they modify a commercial device or improvise their own device to meet a specific need. By sharing your ideas and the solutions you created, you can motivate and inspire others who are looking for solutions of their own.
Five finalists will be selected from submitted videos and posted to the AT Network Channel on Youtube. Online voting by the public will determine the winner. The winning video will be featured on the new AT Network website.

The winning Video will receive,

1st Prize   $400
2nd Prize  $150
3rd Prize   $75

How to Enter:
  1. Create your video in accordance with the Official Rules and post it to your account.
  2. Complete the entry form located at
  3. Include your name, address, email, telephone number, age, a description of your video and the URL to your unlisted Youtube video.
  4. Read and accept the Official Rules.
  5. No more than 2 Entries may be submitted by any one Entrant.
  6. Contest begins at 8:00 AM (PST), Wednesday, November 7, 2012.
  7. All submissions must be received no later than 11:59PM (PST), Friday, January 18, 2013.
  8. Tell your friends and family to vote for your video beginning February 6, 2013. The Online Voting period ends on 11:59PM (PST), February 28, 2013.
  9. The winning entries will be notified via email by March 8, 2013.
* CLICK HERE for official website and entry rules

Monday, November 26, 2012

The 'R' Word - US Premiere 12/1/12, Hollywood

Inline image 1

Before the holiday madness takes over completely, mark your calendar for the U.S. Premiere of "The 'R' Word"—an extraordinary documentary film that explores the experience of having a developmental disability (or loving someone who does). 

Rarely, do we see the experiences of our children and families reflected so directly and clearly in the media. Winner of the 2012 TASH Positive Images in the Media Award, "The 'R' Word" will be screened at this special—and FREE—public event.

Special thanks to the Achievable Foundation, Frank D. Lanterman Regional Center, Tarjan Center at UCLA, and the Canadian Association for Community Living for their kind and generous support.


Friday, November 23, 2012

PrAACtical AAC Goals that Matter - Creating an AAC Goal Bank

Re-Post from PrAACtical AAC

Like some of you, we often get asked “The Question.” People sometimes ask us to give them a  recommendation about what AAC device or app is best for a particular individual. When the question comes from a parent or therapist whom we don’t know, it’s understandable. But when it is from a clinician we’ve taught, (who should know better), it’s a bit baffling. Obviously, we’d never make that kind of recommendation without having done an evaluation, or at least reviewing someone else’s assessment. We dread “The Question.”
On the other hand, there are a lot of things that we wish people would ask that relate to how to help the communicator develop strong skills. This post relates to to one of those type of questions. “What should I work on?” “What kinds of AAC goals should we write?”  We like those kinds of questions and our answers generally have one consistent theme: Write goals that matter.

Goals That Matter - To us, here’s what writing Goals That Matter means.
  • Goals That Matter DO address skills that make the communicator happier or more independent.
  • Goals That Matter DO teach things that enable the communicator to be a more efficient learner.
  • Goals That Matter DO provide a strong foundation for further language development.
  • Goals That Matter DO positively influence how other people treat the communicator.
  • Goals That Matter DON’T address a skill just because the communicator missed it on a test/ evaluation instrument.
  • Goals That Matter DON’T teach something just because it is part of a goal sequence that someone developed for a generic program.
  • Goals That Matter DON’T assume that because someone hasn’t mastered ‘early skills’ that ‘later skills’ are out of the question.
Help Develop an AAC Goal BankWe don’t pretend to have all the answers in writing goal writing in AAC. Not by a long shot. But we do have some experience with this issue and, more importantly, the opportunity to gather together some collective wisdom from all of you out there doing the work. So, consider this an invitation: Please join us is developing a set of goals that young clinicians or those relatively new to AAC can use as a resource. Even experienced AAC clinicians may enjoy browsing them. As clinicians, we are frequently inspired by the exchange of ideas and the fresh perspective that offers.
How Do I Get Involved?
  1. Go to PrAACtical Goals That Matter, a collaborative document on Google Drive.
  2. Browse. We’ve started the list off with 100 ideas for AAC goals.
  3. Add any that you wish, but please follow the DO’s and DON’Ts that we listed above.
  4. If you’d like to be acknowledged as a Contributor, add your name. This is completely optional.
  5. If you have difficulty modifying the document, send them to us by email (addresses in the document) and we’ll take it from there.
Editable document on Google Drive:
PDF for printing on Dropbox:
Feel free to pass this invitation on to others whose perspective on AAC you value and respect. Hopefully, we will end up with a list of meaningful goals that we can browse to use when we need some new ideas. Thanks in advance for any prAACtical input you can give.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Nov. Summary - LA AT Collaborative

Good afternoon Los Angeles Assistive Technology Collaborative –

Thank you everyone who was able to attend our meeting last week and a special thanks to Gwendolyn at Villa Esperanza Services for hosting! I wanted to provide a meeting summary and share some resources from our collaborative partners.

·        So. Cal AAC Network (Gwendolyn): Hosted fall meeting last week on “iPad Share & Show,” summary and other group announcement/resources can be found at SCAAN’s website:
·        EmpowerTech (Judy): Hosts Open Access Labs on Wednesdays from 330-6 p.m. and on Thursdays from 330-6 p.m. for Seniors. For more information, please visit the EmpowerTech website (LINK)
·        Frank D. Lanterman Regional Center – AT Program (Rose & Lauren): Facilitates an adult AAC users group, typically on the 2nd Wednesday from 430-530 p.m. at Lanterman Regional Center. For more information on the program, please visit: and more specific information on the AAC users groups, please contact Marjorie Gell at or 213.383.1300 ext. 6340
·        AT Network (Rosemarie): Hosted its fall So. Cal. AT Network meeting this week. Other upcoming trainings/events is on 11/29 webinar on “AT in Medi-Cal managed care” presented by LA Care. Other trainings/webinars can be found on:
·        CCS (Kelly): Presented at the OT conference on AAC, spoke on team approach and access. Possibly presenting at the National OT conference in April 2013.

·        The LA AT Collaborative will be submitting a session application to present at the 9th Annual ATI Conference on Saturday, Feb. 2nd (save the date PDF, HERE) 2013 at the Orange County Dept. of Ed. in Costa Mesa. The session will discuss the collaborative, it’s history, goals & objectives, and speaking about the benefits of collaboration. For those interested in participating in the presentation, please contact me. Further information to follow as the conference nears.

·        TASK South Gate Tech Center Open House (LINK) – Saturday, 12/01 9-1 p.m.
·        AT Network provides FREE devices loans and reuse items:
·        CA AT Reuse Coalition:
·        9th Annual ATI Conference – Friday & Saturday, Feb. 1st & 2nd, 2013 (see attached)

·        Moving to quarterly meetings, will send out another Save the Date email with the 2013 dates/details
·        LAUSD is to host the first quarterly meeting at one of their AT Lending Libraries (LINK to flyer)

Hope everyone has a wonderful & safe Thanksgiving holiday!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Social Media Tools for SLPs - FREE Guidebook Download

Re-post from PediaStaff. Thanks to Megan Panatier, our SCAAC-Networker, for her work in this area!

Cutting Through the Hype: Essential Social Media Tools for SLPs – A Guidebook

Thank you for visiting the PediaStaff Social Media Learning Center – Featuring the #SLPeeps and/or our Learning Lab – Cutting Through the Hype: Essential Social Media Tools for SLPs. We hope you found our sessions educational and engaging.
As you discovered, Pinterest, Blogs, Twitter, and other social media platforms can be for far more than sharing baby pictures!   Used wisely, these technologies can be an indispensable part of your personal learning network and profoundly impact your effectiveness as a speech-language or audiology clinician.

To help you implement these tools upon your return home PediaStaff and our guest faculty #SLPeeps from our Social Media Learning Center booth and Learning Lab have authored a guidebook to help you get started.   Please enjoy Essential Social Media Tools for SLPs – A Guidebook, with our compliments.

Download Essential Social Media Tools for SLPs HERE

Oh, and for those of you that are new to PediaStaff, please take a look around.  Our PediaStaff blog is very informative, and is a great way for you to get started on your journey towards becoming a social media savvy SLP!   Welcome to the #SLPeeps!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Invitation for proposals extended to 11/21 - 9th Annual ATI Conference

From Lauren Wetzler of ATEC
The deadline for the 9th Annual ATI Conference breakout session speaker applications has been EXTENDED to Wednesday, Nov. 21st! 
If you are interested in presenting at the 9th Annual ATI conference is on Saturday, Feb. 2nd, 2013 at the Orange County Dept. of Education in Costa Mesa, CA, please contact me at or 714.361.6200 x226.

iPad Giveaway: Apps for Children with Special Needs

 From the 40 iPads in 40 Days Page...

You MUST check off on the subscription, one of the following.
Teacher, Therapist, Parent, None of the Above

Here is the link to the email sign up, Please make sure you have UPDATED your information. 

The 40 iPads will be given away between November 10 and Dec 19.
Over the past couple of months and up until Nov 10th you have many opportunities to gain extra entries into the Drawing.

The drawings will take place using and will be BROADCAST LIVE on our USTREAM CHANNEL. You can follow me on USTREAM here –

The iPAds will be distributed as follows:
10 iPads to Parents of Children with Special Needs
10 iPads to Teachers
10 iPads to Therapists
10 iPads to the general Public

I Got This Device...Now What...? Garrity & Garrity

A great session handout from Closing the Gap 2012! 

"I Got This Device, Now What Do I Put On It?" by Megan Garrity, SLP, and Kathleen Garrity, SLP. Click the title, above, to link to the 34 page, PDF slide show.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thanksgiving AT Tools - from Star Training

 November, 2012
Happy Thanksgiving
For individuals with disabilities, preparing and eating the Thanksgiving dinner can be difficult without the right assistive technology (AT) tools.   

Difficulty with chewing and swallowing can result in choking, aspirating, and other medical complications; therefore it is critical consult with a medical professional if chewing and swallowing are challenging. An occupational therapist or speech-language pathologist can assist with determining what AT may aid with self-feeding, eating, and swallowing.   
Assistive Technology Tools 
Food Prep:
Cutting Board
Cutting Board
* Nails hold food in place 

* Corner guards keep food from sliding
Universal Cuff
universal cuff
* Built up foam makes it easier to grasp
* Velcro strap keeps securely in place

Scoopable bowl
* Suction base prevents bowl from moving if accidentally bumped or hit
* Deeper side makes it easier to scoop

Nosey Cup
nosey cup
* Cut-out for nose to allow for drinking without tipping your head
* Helps to maintain proper positioning 

Funding provided by:STAR logo
Content created by:
TASC logo
(256) 859-8300
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United Cerebral Palsy of Huntsville & Tennessee Valley, Inc. | 1856 Keats Drive NW | Huntsville | AL | 35810

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Autism Speaks AT Series: FREE Webinar December 6!

Thursday, December 6th 4:00 Pacific (7PM EST)
Jennifer Leighton, M.A., CCC-SLP
From Pictures to Technology: Creating an Environment for Language Learning, Communication, and Independence

Join us for a webinar hosted by Jennifer Leighton, M.A., CCC-SLP to learn how to create an environment for language learning, communication, and independence.
Register today!
Jennifer joined the Cotting Consulting team at the Cotting School, in Lexington, Massachusetts, in May 2012. As part of this program Jennifer goes out to schools to teach strategies and best practices for technology integration and implementation, increasing staff comfort with higher-tech options. She provides staff education and therapeutic interventions.

Archived Webinars on AT in ASD from Autism Speaks:

How to Use Technology to Enhance Learning for People with ASD

Mark Mautone, Special Education Teacher 

On October 2nd, Mark Mautone's webinar covered the ways technology is being used to improve the life of people with autism spectrum disorder.
Mark has extensive knowledge in assistive technology that includes adapting curriculum, creating individualized technological curriculum using iWorks and iLife, and effectively harnessing standard curriculum with iPad/iPod Touch applications to create a seamless learning experience.
Didn't get a chance to see it? You can watch Mark's Webinar here!(you'll be asked for your email address. Mac users may need to install a player)
Click here to see the webinar overview.
Click here to see the webinar slides.
Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC), Evaluation and Treatment

Kate Grandbois, MS, CCC-SLP 
On November 14, Kate Grandbois, MS, CCC-SLP,  covered the different technologies that can help people with autism and how to request a Technology Assessment.
Kate is a certified and licensed speech and language pathologist who serves children and adults with developmental disabilities. Kate specializes in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), autism and related neurological disorders, speech and language disorders, and social skills development.
 Didn't get a chance to see it? You can watch Kate's Webinar here! (you'll be asked for your email address. Mac users may need to install a player)

Click here to see the webinar slides.
Click here to see a list of key words for AAC Evaluations.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

PRC Consultant Corner

PRC Solutions for Successful AAC  
New!  Accent™1200, Accent™1000, and Accent™700

With changes in technology and equipment, access has become extremely important for success with AAC.  The Accent™ family of PRC devices ( Accent™1200 and Accent™ 1000 and Accent™ 700) will feature capacitive touch-screens.  This means they can be controlled with a very light touch of a finger.  Capacitive touch-screens are commonly found on many cell phones and tablet computers.  Individuals who are accustomed to the light touch required to activate a capacitive touch-screen will appreciate the ease-of-use of this new feature.  Individuals who are accustomed to resistive touch-screens, such as those on PRC's legacy devices (i.e. SpringBoard™, Vantage™, and ECO™) know that they require a slightly higher level of pressure to activate than the new capacitive touch-screens.  Fortunately, a slight setting adjustment in the Accent devices can help make the screen less sensitive.  To adjust the capacitive screen:

  • Go to the Toolbox
  • Choose the Access Method Menu
  • Change Acceptance Time to .20

This adjustment will make the Accent's screen feel more like that of a SpringBoard, Vantage, or ECO.  If your touch-screen is still too sensitive, you can try increasing the acceptance time until you reach a level that works best for the device user.  This small adjustment can make all the difference in assessing the Accent.  If the device user has difficulty with accidentally activating the same key twice, the Release Time function can also be adjusted.  Here's how:

  • Go to the Toolbox
  • Choose the Access Method Menu
  • Increase the Release Time (increase up to .5 or higher), and the key will not be activated again due to a secondary selection right after the first.
Another suggestion is to try a TouchGuide™, as well, as it can increase accuracy in pushing the desired key, and provides some tactile feedback when finding the desired key.

If you have any questions or would like to explore the variety of access methods offered in PRC devices, please contact me.  I am extremely knowledgeable in regards to both language and access and can assist you in getting things as close to perfect as possible.

New!  PRC Online Order Status Center
Want to check the status of your order online?  Now you can at  The Online Order Status Center provides 24/7 access to order information simply by entering your Sales Order Number, Customer Number, or Last Name and Zip Code.  Try it today!

New! PRC Trainings Available in Your Area

Unity Language for LifeDate:  November 14, 2012
Time:  9:00am - 3:30pm
Facility:  Assistive Technology Exchange Center
Location:  Santa Ana, CA
Attend This Training

This course will focus on the features of Unity for Unity 60, 84, and 144 (Accent, ECO, or Vantage Lite devices). Participant will review overlays and icon features/functions, Unity Pattern 1 (verbs, nouns, adjectives, and adverbs) and Unity Pattern 2 (pronouns). You will also learn Unity Pattern 3 (pronoun phrases), Unity Pattern 4 (noun categories), Unity Pattern 5 (closed class categories), and strategies for teaching Unity vocabularies.

Devices for this training are not required. If you choose to bring a device or laptop computer, please bring a Vantage Lite/Vantage/Vanguard with software version 5.06 or higher; ECO with software version 2.07 or higher; Accent 1200 with software version 1.02 or higher; or laptop computer pre-loaded with the appropriate PASS Software.

Julie Dunbar, M.S., Ed.
Phone:  (800) 262-1984 Ext. 445

Monday, November 12, 2012

Re-Post: Force Quit an App in iOS

Re-Posted from OSXDaily (Click HERE to link to the original)
Force Quit an App on iPhone
iOS is generally very stable but every once in a while you’ll encounter a third party app that isn’t. Apps can freeze or become stuck, you’ll usually know instantly because the iPad or iPhone becomes unresponsive to touch behavior or something within the app is clearly running amuck. When this happens the best thing to do is to force quit the app.

Force Quit an App in iOS

This will be the same on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch:
  1. Hold down the Power button at the top of the device until the “Slide to Power Off” message appears and then release the power button
  2. Now hold the Home button at the base of the screen until the app forcibly quits, this can take several seconds
You’ll know force quitting was successful because the app will close and you will be returned to your home screen and icons.
iPhone and iPad apps should rarely freeze, if you continuously encounter stability issues you may want to backup and then reset to factory defaults or restore to try and resolve the problems.

QR Codes - An Introduction

They've been popping up for years, and I've been wondering why to care about QR Codes, aka. Quick Response Codes.  This two-dimensional bar code was originally created by a Japanese company (of course) in 1994 for use in the Automotive industry for tracking parts and high-speed data decoding.  In recent years, QR codes have made their way into the education field's broad and sometimes overwhelming category of emerging technologies, and while this post does not directly relate to AAC, I think these little guys are worth knowing about.

qrcodeQR codes consist of black squares of varying sizes arranged on a white background and in our modern advertising world are intended to be scanned into your mobile device from a billboard, bus ad, poster or magazine page in order to get more information, a special coupon, etc. With an app such as Scan by QR Code City on your mobile device and WiFi service, you aim, your device locks onto and scans the QR code frame, and then (most often) takes you to a web site.

A QR code can store all kinds of information. Here are some common uses:  
  • Text
  • Web Addresses /  URLs
  • Phone Numbers
  • Numeric Code, Part Numbers: Up to 7,089 Characters
  • Alphanumeric: Up to 4,296 Characters
  • GPS Data / Coordinates
  • Contact Information / Business Card Info / Vcard Data
  • Wi-Fi Network Info
Sean Sweeney, SLP, of SpeechTechie suggests creating a QR code yourself that a client can use their mobile device to scan in order to be taken to:
  • A word with a target sound
  • A vocab word or definition
  • Contextual info
  • Or a strategy you want the student to use
From Sweeney: QR codes lend themselves to be used in scavenger hunts in which a child locates the codes you have hidden around the classroom, therapy center, or wherever. They also lend themselves to story mapping, as a story can be broken down into text elements and printed as QR codes, one for character/setting, one for kickoff, and so on.(CLICK HERE to go to an example of Sweeney's story grammar marker QR codes)
Here is a QR code I created on a free website called Kaywa. Open your QR scanner app, point, scan, and your device will procede to a URL for my post of the 46 ASHA Convention 2012 sessions on AAC (poster sessions excluded).
A little more about QR codes from Sean Sweeney is available on the ASHAsphere (ASHA's official blog)... So what about QR codes is applicable to us as SLPs and educators? First of all, they are extremely easy to create and print for use in sessions (though again, you need to have access to [a mobile device], or a computer with a webcam in order to read them). Secondly, they are an instant attention-grabber for kids, and constitute a kind of high-tech hide and seek. Rather than giving kids a piece of paper that serves as a stimulus (word or picture), you can present (or hide!) a QR Code they can scan in order to read a text message or see an image, website or video. Students from Kindergarten to High School are engaged by this little hook, which adds the process of discovery to any of your sessions.
From Patrick Black via Teaching All Students blog (scan the code I created for this URL, at left, and read the blog on your device): QR Codes are everywhere, and I've started using them in my classroom.  One use I have been trying, is attaching them to homework for students.  Typically I'll print them out on an address label and the code will link to a screencast or video explanation of the homework activity... great way to share information with parents, and help students remember what they need to do on worksheets.  Nothing special but an easy way to incorporate multiple representations in an activity. 
Read Sean Sweeney's Part 2 on creating your own QR codes, posted on ASHAsphere. He describes in detail how to create various kinds of QR codes, apps to use to scan them, and lesson ideas for you to try out right away! 


Friday, November 9, 2012

Online CEUs - Rett Syndrome (T. Bartolotta) offers unlimited online CEUs for a one-year subscription of $99! This course on Rett's looks right up our alley...

Rett Syndrome: Communication Assessment and Intervention – Part II
Thu, Nov 29, 2012 at 9:00 am PST

CEUs/Hours Offered: ASHA/0.1 Intermediate, Professional; CASLPA/1.0
Live Webinar Course: #5600 · Duration: 1 hour
Cost: Included in $99 unlimited CEU package Learn More
This course is the second of a two-part series that will provide a comprehensive introduction to Rett syndrome for the practicing clinician. This course will review the best evidence on assessment and treatment of communication skills in individuals with Rett syndrome and provide practical strategies for design and implementation of intervention programs with this complex population. The use of augmentative and alternative communication strategies, from low-tech options to electronic eyetracking systems, will be discussed. The course will include description and demonstration of a communication coaching model that can be implemented in schools and in the home with a variety of communication partners. 
theresa bartolotta

Theresa Bartolotta, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Theresa E. Bartolotta earned her Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Queens College of the City University of New York and her Ph.D. from Seton Hall University. She is Associate Professor of Speech-Language Pathology and Director of Assessment in the Office of the Provost at Seton Hall. Her primary research interests are in communication impairment in autism spectrum disorders, including Rett syndrome. She has published articles and presented widely on Rett syndrome and communication intervention in this population.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

iPad Dog Commands - TouchChat

Another great story, referred by Terry Kappe, SLP!

The folks at TouchChat have put their app to work for a young girl with autism and two trusty dogs. Personalized with pics/words, this TouchChat vocabulary can be used to allow the child to give these pups commands using her iPad. 

Ricochet and Rina have been learning how to take voice cues from the synthesized voice (Laura) from an electronic device. Watch a training session video HERE. Technology creates learning curves for all beings (not just the human kind).  Alternatively, the programmer could have also used the Button Action called "Play Audio" so that the app can play digitized speech of an actual person delivering the verbal command with proper inflection.

Please LIKE TouchChat's Facebook page!