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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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Parents Webinar from PRC - 12/22/14

CoreScanner: Vocabulary Review and Basic Setup

  • December 22, 2014 (Monday), 11:00a.m. to 1:00p.m. EST
  • Price: FREE

AAC in the Home:
For Parents, From Parents

  • December 22, 2014 (Monday), 12:00p.m. to 1:00p.m. EST
  • Price: $24.00
"This course highlights how to make AAC communication a part of daily life in our home." - Elizabeth S.

We Believe Everyone Deserves a Voice™

Friday, December 12, 2014

iPad Webinars from Closing the Gap

Tuesday, December 16, 2014
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm Central Standard Time

It can be challenging to find apps for students who have significant developmental delays, significant motor developmental impairments or multiple disabilities and find apps that are appropriate to meet their unique needs. They can have sensory, motor, neurological or medical issues that can make it difficult for them to access a mobile device. This webinar will focus on alternate ways to access a mobile device, such as switches, pointers, mounting systems, etc. We will cover device features and apps that can be used to support students with significant needs, such as cause and effect, communication, literacy, entertainment and more.

PRESENTER: MARK COPPIN, B.S., is an Apple Distinguished Educator and the Director of Assistive Technology, Anne Carlsen Center for Children, Jamestown, ND.

Using iTechnology as Evidence-based Practice! Self-regulation Strategies for Students with ASD
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
10:00 am - 11:30 am Central Standard Time
iTechnology (iPads, iPods, iPhones) can be highly motivating tools that, by design, remarkably address the unique learning style of students with ASD. This fast-paced webinar will provide an overview of various apps that can be customized to meet the learning and behavior needs of students with ASD and, most importantly, to increase their independent functioning for self-regulation. Apps that use the evidence-based practice for self-regulation to teach students with ASD how to recognize signs of increased anxiety and subsequent strategies for relaxation and stress management will be shared.
Participants should have a general knowledge of iTechnology device "basics", including accessories and access tools, for making these systems user friendly for both students and adults.

PRESENTER: Susan K. Lewis Stokes, M.A., CCC-SLP; Educational Autism Consultant and Trainer, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Comment on Medicare SGD Funding Today!

Medicare Funding Alert
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday and you are feeling recharged for some advocacy work.

Medicare has given all of us the opportunity to comment on how Speech Generating Devices (SGDs) should be covered in the future, but with a comment deadline of December 6th, the window for comment submission is closing fast.

This is a critical opportunity to help educate Medicare about the people we work with who do not use natural speech and who deserve every right to communicate using the most appropriate technology available.

Please use a few minutes today to take action on this issue!
Chris Gibbons
Chris Gibbons, PhD, CCC/SLP
Director of SGD Services
AbleNet, Inc.
Take Action Now

Re-Post: It's PrAACtically Chanukkah!

Re-Post from, 11/29/12

Its PrAActically Chanukkah!
Hanukkah Marshmallow & Chocolate Kiss Dreidels
Chanukkah is prAACtically here, even though it seems very early.  Chanukkah starts at sundown on December 8th and ends at sundown on December 18th.   Holidays are usually fun and busy.  With all the fun comes changes in routines, less sleep, more stress, more excitement, more people, more compromise, and overall different expectations.  This is a time to plan in advance the visual supports, visual systems, and AAC displays that will help everyone understand, organize, and communicate most optimally. Check out these great resources to help with the planning:
Gateways Program Resources- There are  visual supports for the  Chanukkah Blessings. There are social story books that help with understanding that birthday candles and Chanukkah candles are different, that Chanukkah candles go out by themselves, and about Chanukkah candles and fire safety.  There are visual instructions for the steps in lighting the Chanukkah candles (which is a mini-schedule). There are also folder activities for keeping busy while learning vocabulary, word knowledge, matching, and relationships between objects.  But maybe most fun of all, there are visual supports for Chanukkah songs.
HanukkahPinterest Board by Pediastaff- Hanukkah Themed Therapy Activities- The most comprehensive Hanukkah resources, stories, projects around.
Visit PrAACtically AAC's blog for daily info, tips, and resources on implementing AAC. It's Fantastic!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Core Vocabulary communication board

Pulled from many sources, this 49-location core vocabulary board was designed for language modeling at the 1-word and 2-word stage using SymbolStix. The activity row at the top provides a few extra words that might be helpful in reading a book.

If you are a TouchChat user, HERE is a link to this vocabulary (just a single page you can duplicate and/or modify up or down as you please) to save to your iPad with the TouchChat app using iTunes file sharing.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Android Switch Access from AbleNet

Android Switch Access - Now Available!
Yes, you read that correctly. The new Android Lollipop (5.0) has switch access built into the mobile operating system! This new feature in the Android mobile operating system is a tremendous step forward for Google, and will help provide individuals with severe physical disabilities an assortment of options for switch accessible tablets and mobile phones.

Before upgrading to Android Lollipop, verify that all critical applications and operating system functions are available in the latest edition of Android Lollipop. In many cases, it may be prudent to demo new features found in Android Lollipop at a local retailer near you before upgrading.
Download Our Guide to Switch  Access for Android Lollipop!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Medicare Rescinds Speech-Generating Device Policies (from ASHA)

Medicare Rescinds Speech-Generating Device Policies 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has informed ASHA that they are rescinding the policies from the February Durable Medical Equipment (DME) contractors “Coverage Reminder” that required speech-generating devices (SGDs) to undergo product approval and reclassification, and are opening up the National Coverage Determination for a 30-day comment period ending December 6, 2014.

This decision is consistent with the recommendations that ASHA proposed to CMS in a September 24, 2014, meeting with CMS officials. The capped-rental rule, forcing Medicare beneficiaries to rent the SGD for 13 months before ownership is transferred, is still in effect.

ASHA will continue to work with the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association and other key stakeholders for coordinated comments and revision recommendations.

ASHA’s Special Interest Group 12 (Augmentative and Alternative Communication), ASHA staff, and SGD manufacturers will be hosting a discussion regarding SGD policies during the ASHA Convention on Thursday, November 20, from 7:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., in the Hyatt Regency Ballroom K. This is an opportunity for ASHA members to ask panelists about Medicare policies related to SGDs. This is not a session offered for CEUs.

Re-Post: Aided Lang Input in Conversation (VIDEO)

Thank you PrAACtical AAC for your amazing dedication to getting the good news of AAC up online! (Re-Post from 11/16/14)

Video of the Week: Aided Language Input in Conversation

It’s a great day to see AAC strategies in action. Today, the AAC Chicks from Dynamic Therapy Assoiates are back with another prAACtical video about using aided language input in conversation.
Video of the Week: Aided Language Input in Conversation
Direct link to video:

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

AAC Sessions at ASHA Orlando (Nov 20-22)

Not able to make it to the annual American Speech-Language Hearing Association Convention in Orlando, FL, this year? Here are some resources online to help you feel closer to the action on the ground. 

Follow the links below to read/view more from these notable presenters. I only made it through Friday morning's scheduled sessions and had to stop myself. You can continue down the rabbit hole by copying these and more presenter name(s) and ", AAC" into your favorite search engine. I know you will be impressed with what you find! Link to the complete Pocket Guide to the Convention to view all of the "AAC" coded sessions, HERE.

AAC Session 1002
Language Sample Collection & Analysis With People Using AAC Systems: Considerations for Ongoing Assessment (Gail Van Tatenhove, Meher Banajee, Tracy Kovach, Jade Coston, Juliann Woods)

AAC Session 1004 
Strategies for SLPs Working With Students With AAC Needs in Schools (Dan Phillips, Martha “Michaela” Sullivan & Gloria Soto

AAC Session 1049
AAC Revolutionizes Aphasia Therapy: Changes in Cortical Plasticity & Spoken Language Production (Aimee Dietz, Jennifer Vannest, Joe Collier, et. al.)

AAC Session 1050
Teaching Preschoolers With Unintelligible Speech to Produce Rule-Based Sentences: AAC Solutions (Cathy Binger & Jennifer Kent-Walsh, et. al.)

AAC Session 1051
The Successful Employment of Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorder Who Use AAC (Laura Richardson & David McNaughton

AAC Session 1096
Giving Voice to Augmented Communicators (Rupal Patel, Northeastern U)

AAC Session 1097
Outcomes of Clinician Training for Integrating Assistive Technology for Cognition in the Rehabilitation of mTBI (Carole Roth, Michelle Wild)

AAC Session 1301
Embedding Augmentative & Alternative Communication in Naturalistic Teaching Sessions (Lauren Hampton, Courtney Wright, Elizabeth Fulller, Ann Kaiser)

AAC Session 1303
Revisiting the Definition of Communicative Competence for Individuals who require AAC: Research & Evidence-Based Practice (Janice Light; David McNaughton)
  • Read and view previous webcasts and ASHA handouts from Light, HERE

Download the ASHA Pocket Planner HERE and browse all of the sessions with the "AAC" topic code and continue the fun. 

Maybe there will be access to handouts or slideshows available after the fact. Keep your eyes open online and let the SCAAC-Network know what you find (email SCAAC-N, CLICK HERE).

If it's any consolation, the convention will be in Denver, CO, November 12-14, 2015. A little closer to home for us CA-types.