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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Thursday, April 25, 2013

AAC Courses at is a great resource for SLPs who want to know more at their own convenience and for a (relatively) small price. If you thirst for information:
1) In an area of the field that may not be your specialty,
2) But can't get out to all the conferences around the country, or
3) On a subject that didn't even exist when you were in school
...then may be a good fit for the $99/year unlimited CEU credits.

* SCAAC-N has no financial ties to

Take a look at some these courses offers on AAC:

- AAC: Demystifying the "Assessment Process"
- AAC Apps: Finding the Right One for Your Client
- Augmentative Communication: Assessment Strategies for Teens and Adults
- AAC Funding and Report Writing for Medicare, Medicaid and Insurance
- AAC: Medicare/Medicaid Funding and Documentation
- AAC in the Schools: Report Writing & Funding
- AAC Techniques & Strategies: Supporting Natural Speech Development in ASD & Other Disorders
- AAC & Aphasia: A Review of Current Assessment and Treatment Methods
- AAC and Aphasia
- Use of AAC Devices and Strategies for People with Aphasia
- AAC in School Settings: What is the Role of the SLP?
- Practicing AAC in Acute Care Settings

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

AT Workshops from ATEC (Santa Ana)

ATEC Banner
Assistive Technology Workshops for Professionals, Parents and Caregivers Offered!
Goodwill of Orange County's Assistive Technology Exchange Center (ATEC) is now offering a variety of Assistive Technology workshops geared for professionals, parents and caregivers.
App Academy: Proloquo2Go
A Professional Development Workshop Series
Presented by: Randi Horikawa, M.A., CCC-SLP, certified Proloquo2Go trainer & Kathleen Rausch, M.S., CCC-SLP
When: Tuesdays in May & June (see flyer for dates/times and topics covered)
Cost: $50/per class or $175/series
Description: Everything you wanted to know about Proloquo2Go! Topics covered include; getting started, adding and editing vocabulary, options, tips and tricks and much more!
Space is limited, registration is required.
Summer Learning Made Easy (and FUN!)
A Workshop for Parents and Caregivers
Presented by: Julie Dunbar, Technology Specialist
Date: Wednesday, June 5th, 2013
Time: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Cost: $20
Description: This workshop will aid you in preparing fun implementation activities to keep your child using their assistive technology devices and equipment while working on academic skills.
Space is limited, registration is required.
Individualized Workshops & Trainings for Organizations
The clinical and technical staff at ATEC can provide individualized workshops and trainings on specific areas of assistive technology for your organization! Topics include, but not limited to;  Introduction to AT, Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC), iDevices and Apps, Microsoft Accessibility, and specific AT equipment and software, such as Dragon, ZoomText, JAWS, and much more.
Contact Deanna Collins at or (714) 361-6200 ext. 221 to inquire about an individualized workshop or training for your organization.
To register, please contact:
Deanna Collins (714) 361.6200 ext. 221 or
Assistive Technology Exchange Center (ATEC)
Goodwill Fitness and Technology Center Building About ATEC
ATEC is a comprehensive assistive technology resource center that is one of Goodwill of Orange County's vital health and human services programs. We have been helping people with disabilities and other barriers maximize their independence since 1996. We offer consultation, assessment and training services, equipment trial, equipment loan and reuse and support in learning how to use assistive technology equipment.
The center is centrally located and has expanded space which allows us to offer a new sensory room where ATEC therapists can better adapt their AT assessments to the needs of individuals with sensory processing difficulties.

ATEC is located at:
Goodwill Fitness and Technology Center
1601 East St. Andrew Place
Santa Ana, CA 92705
Voice (714) 361-6200
Fax (714) 361-6220
TTY/TDD (714) 543-1873

For more information visit:

KVCR, Autism Initiative - AAC & Autism tonight! 6:00

KVCR, public radio and TV celebrates Autism Awareness Month with an Autism Awareness Initiative of TV and radio programs on autism. Each Tuesday in April,  their director of marketing, Lillian Vasquez, hosts a call-in show with a variety of guests from 6:00-7:00 p.m.  Archived programs are available online at their website, previous guests are listed below. Listen in this evening for a 15-minute segment on autism and AAC presented by Gwendolyn Meier.

Listen in at  91.9 FM in the Inland Empire, call in with your questions at 866 367-5827

On this week's show:
Jose L Fuentes, Ph.D - Clinical Neuropsychologist. Interim Director of Neuropsychology @ Casa Colina Centers for Rehabilitation.
Gwendolyn Meier, SLP, MT - Speech-Language Pathologist, Music Therapist; Director of Speech & Language at Villa Esperanza Services in Pasadena 
Linda Lemke - Specialized Music Teacher, Blasting Echo
On 3rd week's show:
John Elder Robinson - Author, Raising Cubby. Click here for more information.
Andy and Melissa Areffi - Author, Navigating Autism. Click here for more information
On 2nd week's show:
Brian Herritt - Consultant/Presenter, Autism Risk & Safety Management. Click here for more information.
Beth Burt - Author, Mother of a 20 year old with ASD & President Autism Society Inland Empire.
Eric Ochs - Rock Autism
                                                                                                                                                                                           On 1st week's show:
-Temple Grandin PhD - Author and Professor - University of Colorado. Click here to learn more about the guest.
-Robin Kilcoyne - Queen of Hearts Therapeutic Riding Center - Riverside.
-Kawika Kahiapo - Singer from Hawaii - Click here to listen to his song "Father to Son"

TV Shows on Autism
Apr 2nd:
8:00 PM - Autism: Emerging From The Maze (The research and advancements in Autism treatment at the UC Davis MIND Institute are examined)
9:00 PM - Autism: Coming of Age (An inside look at the lives of three adults with Autism)
Apr 8th:
8:00 PM - Autism - Oh, the Possibilities (Explains early signs of autism, and shares a possible intervention for autism)
9:00 PM - Autism - Making it Work (Explores the growing needs of adoloscents and young adults with autism)
To order DVDs on the subject of Autism produced by KVCR, Click Here.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  AUTISM PANEL DISCUSSION: In Our Voice: Panel of Adults with Autism who tell their story.
Open to the public
Venue: San Bernardino Valley College Library in the Viewing Room
To help promote understanding and acceptance - hear a panel of adults on the spectrum talk about what it feels like to have autism, and how they overcome the challenges it presents. There will be a time for questions and answers.
For more details, click here for Autism Society Inland Empire website 

This evening, Tuesday 4/23, Gwendolyn Meier will be on KVCR 91.9's Autism Awareness Initiative public radio program for a 15 minute segment on autism and AAC. This is a live call in show hosted by their director of marketing, Lillian Vasquez, that runs from 6:00-7:00 every Tuesday in the month of April. Archived programs are available online at their website (nevermind the typos)

Monday, April 22, 2013

FREE Technology Webinar, Tues 4/23, 9:00 PST


Don't miss this FREE WEBINAR.

Are you using the tech tools of the 21st century effectively in your classroom?

There is no such thing as a "typical" classroom these days. Standard teaching tools of the past are changing rapidly. New tech tools can feel intimidating if we aren't quite sure what to do with them or how to use them. But technology is a "game changer" for our students with autism and related special learning needs. Modern tech tools can become powerfully effective for helping students avoid behavior problems and participate in activities successfully.

The bonus is how ALL students can benefit as we integrate these tools into our learning environments.

This is a FREE webinar. . . .our gift to YOU to honor April Autism Awareness Month.

5 Tips & Tricks Using
"High Tech" Visual Supports
to Improve Behavior in the Classroom

How to Update Visual Strategies Using
21st Century Tech Tools

Here's the reality. . .

When YOU learn some simple tips & tricks with technology, your students will:
  • Engage in active learning
  • Understand the activities in their environment better
  • Decrease challenging or unexpected behaviors
  • Increase productive "time on task"
  • Improve learning success
  • Plus lots more. . . .
Please join Linda Hodgdon and Lauren Stafford for a FREE webinar as we take some classic visual strategies of yesterday and learn how to update them with technology. You'll learn how easy it is to use them to innovate, educate and create positive change in your classroom.

Plus special bonus. . .everyone who registers will receive a FREE gift so you can use some new technology tools with your students.

Join us Tuesday, April 23 at 12:00 PM (EST)

Click Here to Register***

***Be sure to sign up even if you can't attend the webinar on the date offered. Don't worry! We know people will have timing issues. We will provide an opportunity for you to attend the webinar on your own time schedule.

I'll be presenting with my guest, Lauren Stafford. Lauren is a talented lady who has lots of experience as an Intervention Specialist for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. She currently serves as Vice President, Visual Learning Solutions for Monarch Teaching Technologies where she oversees professional development and supports development of innovative Web-based technology. That means she "gets" the technology and she knows how to translate it into very simple, practical support for students and teachers. That's why I love her!!!!

Back to School & More Autism/Asperger Conference, giveaway

Autism Conferences of America
We've Gone Social!
Have you?

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Join Our List
Lori Ernsperger
Lori Ernsperger
Saturday Keynote
Temple Grandin
Temple Grandin
Sunday Keynote

and we are celebrating!
Enter to WIN registration for TWO to attend
 the "Back to School  & More" Autism/Asperger's Conference, August 10-11, 2013 in Pasadena, CA.

That's right! Meet our keynotes Lori Ernsperger, Temple Grandin and over 20 other autism experts in person!
Receive additional entries when you "Follow" us on Twitter and join in the conversation with other autism families  just like you!
In addition, you can increase your chances of winning by signing up for E-mails or  forward your email to their friends, tweet the email to their Twitter followers, or "Like" your email to share it with their Facebook friends.  
Stay Connected
Like us on Facebook    Follow us on Twitter           

Deadline to "Follow" , "Like" or subscribe to E-mails is June 30, 2013. Winner will be notified via E-mail and will have 2 weeks to claim their complimentary registrations. Open to residents of continental US.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Advice from the ASHA Community - Repetitive Requesting...

There are so many useful conversations on the ASHA Community SIG 12 discussion board (the group's AAC Special Interest Group) 

Here are excerpts from one that got a lot of response recently, subject line: "Advice"
Does anyone have any advice on how to reduce a student's use of her AAC device to request one item only? I am trialing the Dynavox with a student who goes straight for 'I want Cookies' every time she sees the device. (she is independent with this and has the potential to use the device to request other items) I recently deactivated the button but she continues to attempt to navigate to the location. I have not given her any cookies for the last (at least) 20 trials. I don't know what else I can do to break this habit! Thanks in advance. :)
- Canton, MA

Don't break the habit! Try using it to expand the communication, instead!  I don't know much about her skill level with the Dynavox as you are trialing it with her or the number of buttons she can utilize on one screen - but I know at this point, you have found what motivates her - so now you can use it for more natural communication exchanges to expand her repertoire and sentence length!  You could actually pair it with number so she has to hit 2 or 3 buttons - to get 1, 2 or even 3 pieces of a cookie!  (I want...3 pieces...cookie) You could use it in a play routine with a doll/monster/puppet - feed  the doll/monster/puppet a cookie or find the lost cookie or play 'who took my cookie?' with a series of questions to ask to gather clues about which doll or person took her cookie.  Instead of Where's Waldo - play 'Where's the cookie' and take turns hiding the cookie and asking and responding to Yes/No questions. You could combine it with 'Lets sing... a cookie.... song' or perhaps 'Lets watch... a cookie... video.' You could add a series of buttons for a recipe that will lead to the making and eating of a homemade cookie try adding some funny comments for her to say during the baking to develop sense of humor!  Later, after she gets the idea that she will always be able to talk about cookies, and you have spent time discovering other motivating things she'd like to talk about, you could use a paper visual schedule with other topics to show her:  first we have to do this, then this, and then we can talk about cookies again!  You may have to pair this with a visual reward system so when she completes two other topics/activities then she sees its time to talk cookies again! Eventually, she will find another motivator to talk about and the cookies will lose their luster!  I would be careful removing access to something that she has found empowering and motivating because it could cause her to feel loss of control or even hope and I have found that something you want to avoid!  I hope these ideas help! Good luck!  
- Southbury CT  

Dynavox has a online training through their Pathways series called "Beyond Requesting". You may want to view this series. The cost is minimal $25 and you can also get 3.5 CEU's.
- Nashville TN  

From your post, it seems your student can use the device to make varied requests but maybe always starts out with "I want cookies" because of a learned motor pattern. I've had success with "reteaching" the motor pattern -- leave the device programmed as-is, without blocking or hiding the "cookies" button. Reteach the motor pattern by supporting her intent in a reciprocal activity (i.e. a game or activity the student likes to play or engage in with another person that has a back and forth/reciprocal component --- singing lyrics to a song, playing a board game, etc.). Start off wuth her typical pattern (asking for cookies, then saying her intent/other message) and acknowledge there are no cookies available while you act as per the message she relayed after the rote message was activated. Once you can understand the message she is going to respond with in that back and forth game, you can show her she can initiate that communication without composing "I want cookies" first. You may need to support her by guiding her hand to her supposed "true intent" so she does not activate the "I want cookies" --- if you can break the motor pattern and she experiences successful communications more quickly if bypassing that rote message she may carry that over. Does this make sense?
Of course, if she really just likes cookies she may just always have cookies on her mind. No amount of reteaching or motor plan intervening is going to stop her from asking everyone for cookies. So, she should always have access to ask even if the answer is "no".

- Philadelphia PA

I know it's not very fun to deal with this all the time, but I would strongly recommend that you do not deactivate a button that she uses. If this same student was using verbal communication, we would not and could not delete this message from her vocabulary but instead would continue to try to teach her when it is appropriate to ask for cookies. We need to treat her communication development the same as we would if she was a verbal communicator. To me, deactivating her favorite button would be the equivalent of putting your hand over her mouth to stop her from inappropriately requesting cookies during circle time. It takes a lot of patience, but I would recommend continuing to explain that it is not time for snack and modeling appropriate messages to use during those other activities. I hope this helps!
- Albuquerque NM  

 So good to hear from helpful colleagues!