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, December 28, 2013


Looking for a change in 2014? Here are some AAC-related jobs for those looking to the north east for their next move. Click each position title to be linked to a more complete listing elsewhere.

Specialization(s): Speech-Language Pathology
Southern Connecticut State University
Brief Description of Duties/Responsibilities:
This is a 10-month tenure-track position available with possible summer employment. Responsibilities include graduate and undergraduate teaching, enhancement of interdisciplinary education and practice, participation in scholarly activities, and may include clinical supervision. Eligible candidates should have an interest in clinical practice, teaching and research in one or more of the following areas: Augmentative/Alternative Communication, voice disorders, fluency disorders.
Required Qualifications:
Earned Ph.D. in Communication Disorders or related field; ABD candidates considered.  If ABD, candidate must earn doctorate by end of first year of appointment.
Preferred Qualifications:
A Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP); Eligibility for Connecticut state licensure.

Speech Language Path-CCC

Part Time (8 hrs/wk) | Health & Technology Center | Allentown, PA
Seeking experienced SLP to work 8 hrs per week providing assistive technology assessment and training to an adult population.  Population has chronic or aquired disabilities (stroke, MS, ALS).  Will work with leading edge technology.   No assistive technology experience necessary. WE WILL TRAIN!!!
Requirements:  Graduate from a Masters Degree in Speech Language Pathology, Certificate of Clinical Competence from American Speech and Hearing Association and licensed by the Commonwealth of PA.  Cannot consider CFYs.


Cotting Consulting is an outreach program of Cotting School, Lexington, MA. Cotting Consulting offers client centered consulting services to meet the technology needs of students within the student’s educational settings. Consulting services include assessments, training, and therapeutic intervention related to assistive technology and augmentative and alternative communication.

Position Summary: Provide consultation services related to assistive technology and/or augmentative and alternative communication for Cotting Consulting to students and programs in various school districts.Essential Skills and 

• Experience with assistive technology (AT) and/or augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) including assessment, intervention and training within a school setting 
• Experience working with students on the Autism Spectrum and with a broad range of disabilities
• Strong technical skills with communication devices and other assistive technology
• Comfortable with creating language based materials to support the curriculum
• Ability to actively participate in formal and informal meetings

Re-Post: PrAACtical AAC's Most Popular Posts of 2013

It’s been a wonderfully prAACtical year. Here’s a look back at our top 10 most popular posts. Anyone see any patterns? Most Popular Posts of 2013
  1. How I Do It: Writing IEP Goals for Students Who Use AAC by Lauren Enders 
  2. Teaching Core Vocabulary
  3. 5 Great Resources for Pre-Made Communication Boards
  4. Core Samples
  5. A Year Of Core Vocabulary Words
  6. AAC ‘Must Haves’ the the Classroom and Therapy Room
  7. Pivotal Skills for AAC Intervention: Aided Language Input
  8. How I Do It: AAC in the IEP by Lauren Enders
  9. Getting Started with Core Vocabulary
  10. More on Teaching Core Vocabulary

Friday, December 27, 2013

Pinterest = AAC Ideas

If you are looking for AAC ideas and inspiration, and you haven't yet browsed a Pinterest search of "AAC," you have a lot of looking to do! Sign up for a free account HERE, and happy searching.
One of my favorite AAC Cake! (frosting PECS book and Dynavox Maestro, I belive)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Apple's 12 Days of Gifts (Dec 26-Jan 6)

While having nothing to do with AAC, Apple is giving away free stuff, and I thought I should spread the word for those of you that are paying attention during these quiet last days of the year...
From December 26 to January 6 (to mark the Epiphany/Dia de los Reyes, perhaps?), you can download a gift from Apple for free each day—"songs, apps, books, movies, and more" (no personal experience with this, so not sure what type of content Apple will be gifting). Day One's gift is Justin Timberlake's London 2013 single of four live performances.

Each day's gift will only be available for only 24 hours, so download this free app to make sure you don’t miss out. Note: Not all content is available in all countries.

1. Update to the iOS 7 operating system if you haven't yet.
2. Go to the Apple app store on your iPhone or iPad.
3. Download the free 12 Days of Gifts app.
4. Allow push notifications and/or check in daily 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

iEvaluate: Choosing the right app for the job

In the world of assistive technology its easy to get caught up with the tools. Recent innovations have excited professionals and parents alike - and rightly so - but central to the process of identifying a tool to match a need is feature matching.

Feature matching is the systematic process by which a person’s strengths, abilities and needs are matched to available tools and strategies (Shane & Costello, 1994).

Selecting an app as assistive technology is no different than selecting any other AT tool. The skills and needs of the individual must be identified first, and then the features necessary to meet the need are arrived at, and finally a tool with those features can be sought.  So many times the discussion of this or that tool is begun with discussion of the neat things the tool can do, rather than starting with the need. When the tool in mind is a consumer product, such as an app for a tablet, it seems to be even more common to start with the app rather than the student's need.

Jeannette VanHouten thought of all the tough feature matching questions to ask when looking for an app to meet a specific curricular need. She opens her multiple choice iEvaluate table with the question "What goal from the student's IEP/504 does this app need to support?" (perfect!) 
LINK to download the form
On AAC apps: [excerpt from Katie Lyon via the Spectronics' blog] 
"Carole Zangari from PrAACtical AAC This is an external link(which is a fabulous resource in itself!) has written a great Blog Post on the topic of app selection resources This is an external link and has listed those apps which come in a FREE or LITE version, which can be a handy way to try the app with your client to ensure it is the correct choice before going ahead. Carol has also developed a Rubric for Evaluating the Language of Apps for AAC (RELAAAC) This is an external linkwhich is a really useful tool for scoring the capacity of the language and communication functions of the app you are considering in more detail. I also really like her 5 things to do before you choose an AAC app: Take A GULP This is an external link."

Happy feature matching!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

AT Network (SoCal Schools) Meeting - 2/6/14

Join the first AT Network event of 2014!

MEETING TOPIC: AT Tools for School (and Home) (Low, Mid, High Tech options to support curriculum), Google Chrome (Read & Write)

WHO: School-based AT-interested professionals are invited to participate.

WHEN:  February 6, 2014 from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

WHERE: West San Gabriel Valley SELPA offices in Alhambra, CA (15 Alhambra Road, 91801).
Registration link will be coming soon. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Thoughts on Access, Part I (Gloria Soto at Univ Redlands)

The Technology + Collaboartion = Communication & Access" Conference (12/7/13) presented by the Center for Educational Justice at University of Redlands  was just great!

It was a very special treat to hear San Franceisco's darling, Dr. Gloria Soto, and the emphasis she takes on teaching language (not just communication) using AAC. Stay with me here. Dr. Soto made it clear that giving an individual instrumental communication (the ability to request) is important, but, essentially, to stop there is a crime. It is imperative that we push AACommunicators who have mastered requesting into every more diverse uses of language.  When we see learners only using systems to request after two weeks, 6 months, 5 years...its not right! AACommunicators need to be learning to use language. This starts with the provision of core vocabulary in their system and relies on the teaching of narrative language.

Thoughts sparked by Gloria Soto (some paraphrased, some extrapolated):

"Access is not possible without participation." Access to social opportunities is only actualized when an individual participates. Access goes beyond the provision of the tool. Being offered the opportunity is not enough. 
"...a piano alone doesn't make a pianist...An AAC device alone doesn't make one a competent, proficient communicator" (Beukelman, 1991).

...Narratives are used to socialize children into our culture and our families. We ask 'What happened?' in order to help children make sense of the world.

...Speaking communicators don't talk about routines; these are scripts. We also don't tell about experiences or information that is already known by our listener (or at least we try not to!). What we choose to talk about what is new and novel. Things that affect us. When predictability is applied to all aspects of life (in order to prevent behavioral dysregulation) there is nothing to get excited about! 

The desire to communicate is directly associated with the affect or emotion we feel toward an experience. Its important to add-in some surprises and out-of-the-ordinary experiences to get some affect going.
"Let's give 'em something to talk about" (sung by Bonnie Raitt, 1991).

...Vocabulary instruction in AAC often begins with 'I want' choice boards, whole-phrase messages, opportunities to respond to Yes/No questions, and highly scripted interactions. A best-effort language sample in response to the question, 'What did you do for your birthday?'
"Music guitar friends eight pretty flower white one blue picture doll my_little_pony book cupcake"

Without pronouns, determiners, verbs and prepositions what else can an AACommunicator say about her party? It's impossible to extract the specific narrative from this string of mainly nouns and the communicator is reliant on the partner to piece together the story. 
  • We provide communication tools in an effort to develop more independent communicators
  • Then we teach them in a way that produces dependence on 1) a known context, and 2) on a competent, familiar partner to fill out the story
  • This makes it impossible for the AACommunicator to generate messages that are unknown to the listener
  • We create vocabulary-related problems for learners of AAC
    • One-word utterances
    • Absence of grammatical morphemes
    • Small expressive lexicon 
    • Problems with morpho-syntax
    • Poor vocabulary knowledge
    • Context and partner dependency (G. Soto, 2013)
(to be continued in Thoughts on Access, Part II...)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

RERC: AAC for Primary Progressive Aphasia

Melanie Fried-Oken, Ph.D., 
Oregon Health and Science University  

Webcast Description

Melanie Fried-Oken describes her research on AAC intervention for people with primary progressive aphasia.
Key findings include that people with primary progressive aphasia
• are more successful in communication when they use AAC
• can use AAC both with family members as well as clinical researchers
• can make use not only of low tech communication boards, but also natural AAC supports (photo albums, newspapers, maps) available in their daily environments.
This webcast include both data and video from the research study, as well as videos by individuals with primary progressive aphasia (and their family members) discussing their experiences with primary progressive aphasia, and the positive impact of AAC. The webcast provides evidence, from a controlled experiment, that AAC is an important and valid intervention for people with progressive aphasia in clinical and natural settings. 

Click here to view the webcast in Adobe Presenter

(for viewers using Mac 10.6 or earlier, or PCs)

Click here to view the webcast in QuickTime

(for viewers using an iPad or Mac 10.7 and above)

 Additional Resources

Bourgeois, M. , Fried-Oken, M. & Rowland, C. (2010, March 16). AAC Strategies and Tools for Persons With Dementia. The ASHA Leader. (full text
Beukelman, D.R., Garrett, K. L., & Yorkston, K. (2007). Augmentative Communication Strategies for Adults with Acute or Chronic Medical Conditions. Brookes Publishing, Baltimore, MD.(Ordering Information)
Supporting Conversation
• Guidelines for communicating with persons with language difficulties (full text)
• Helpful hints for conversation (full text)
Making Communication Boards
• 1 topic template (Microsoft Publisher document)
• 4 topic template (Microsoft Publisher document)
• Visual Scene Templates (from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln)
 Slides and Handouts
• transcript (pdf)
• transcript (txt file)
• powerpoint slides (pdf)

Produced by: David McNaughton
Thanks to: Sarah Douglas, Megan Dooris,

Re-Post: Communication Boards for Adults (Amy Speech Language Therapy)

FREE AAC Boards For Adults 

Provided here are various types of communication boards for Adults who may not be able to communicate using their voice.  These type of boards are extremely important to arm yourselves with when your loved one experiencing such is in the hospital and cannot communicate.  AAC boards will allow the patient to not only communicate with loved ones and caregivers but most importantly they will be able to communicate their wants and needs to their nurses and doctors while in the hospital.  After looking through the pre-made AAC boards on this page, and you can not find what you are looking for in the Adult or Child section, please feel free to contact Amy at to discuss what you are specifically looking for!

Communication boards for Hospital stays
Download File

Download File

Bedside Communication Board

Download File

Alphabet Board & Yes/No

Download File

Fill in booklet

Download File

Accident & Emergency Communication Board

Download File

Verizon iPad Giveaway

64gb Verizon iPad giveaway

Helping to provide iPads to Children with Special Needs

Simply click on the image above to be taken to the page where you can apply for the iPad we are offering.

Here is the link if you are having problems

Please read all of the information on the page before applying and be sure to follow all instructions otherwise your application may not be accepted.

You will need to use a password to login.

The password is:    snow

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

FREE Professional Development from AbleNet (TODAY! and 12/17)

TODAY December 10, 2013
Using Literacy Activities to Build Language in AAC Users 
While we traditionally look at building language skills in order to achieve literacy goals, we can also build those language skills through literacy activities. This webinar will take a look at using guided reading activities - traditionally used to teach reading strategies - to develop language skills for AAC users.

• Time: 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM (Pacific) Look for it archived HERE in a few days...
• Presenters: Susan Berkowitz, M.S., C.C.C., SLP
• Level: Beginner

Register for webinar

December 17, 2013
Using iPad Storybook and Play Apps to Increase Language Skills Through Interactive Reading and Discussion 
This webinar will look at adapting activities for students with significant language disorders and using iPad content of interactive play and storybook apps to increase language and literacy skills. 

• Time: 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM (Pacific)
• Presenters: Susan Berkowitz, M.S., C.C.C., SLP
• Level: Beginner

Register for webinar

Toy Adapting (from TASC & STAR Training)

For those of us too far away to attend the training in Huntsville, TASC and STAR training has some easy instructions for us to follow. Check out the YouTube How-To videos in the left column. - SCAAC-N
adapted elmo toy
Watch How It's Done!
It is easier to show you how to do it then try to explain. Here are a couple of YouTube videos to show you how. 

TASC logo

1856 Keats Drive
Huntsville, AL 35810

STAR logo
Santa's Elves don't just make toys, 
they also adapt them! 
When visiting Santa's Workshop (or other stores in your area), you may find a toy that dances when you squeeze his hand or a dog that barks when you turn him on. Not all children can play with these toys--unless they are adapted. Once adapted, a child can use a capability switch to activate the toy.

Adapted toys can be expensive when purchased from specialty companies like Ablenet or Enabling Devices, which limits the amount of toys a child may have access to.  

Children get bored and need a variety of toys! 

Adapting toys is fun, easy, and a lot cheaper. 
What do you need?
Battery Powered Toy
The easiest toys to adapt have a switch in the hand or foot and you can feel the wires that go into the battery box. 
DO NOT attempt to adapt toys that need to be plugged in. 
1/8 Mono Audio Jack
This will allow most capability switches to be plugged into the toy. 
soldering iron
Soldering Tools
At the very least, you will need a soldering iron, solder, wire strippers, and wire.

Check out the kits in the T.A.S.C. AT lending library. 

Emergent Literacy K-12: MEville to WEville

Follow AbleNet on Facebook Follow AbleNet on Twitter Follow AbleNet on PinterestFollow AbleNet on FlickrFollow AbleNet on YouTubeFollow AbleNet on LinkedIn
The first K-12 research-based emergent literacy and communication program designed for students with significant disabilities.

MEville to WEville Complete Collection lessons provide instruction and experience in reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

The program introduces literacy strategies including interaction with text for learning concepts of print skills. Vocabulary is taught through relevant hands-on experiences and practice. The program comes integrated with assistive technology solutions including the QuickTalker7 and Bookworm.
Equals Pre-K lesson

We have representatives in your area to provide you with more detailed information regarding AbleNet Special Curricular Solutions for students with disabilities. Please contact Customer Service to find a representative near you at 1-800-322-0956 or via email at

Monday, December 9, 2013

IRSF Webinar Tomorrow with Susan Norwell (Time Change, 5:00)

December 10, 2013 (Tuesday)
“Emergent Reading”
Presenter: Susan Norwell, M.A. SPED-Educational Specialist
5:30 5:00 pm PST (as was sent in the reminder email today...)

To join webinars via your computer, CLICK HERE to register.

To call in and hear the audio only, join by phone:  (217) 258-5588 if your phone service includes unlimited long distance calling OR 800-409-5512 which is toll free
Code:  51739#

Mark your calendars for another IRSF Educators Network Presentation related to AAC:

April 29, 2014 (Tuesday)
“Write On: Developing Writing Skills in Children with Rett Syndrome”
Presenter: Rose-Marie Gallagher, M.Ed

2:00 pm PST