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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Sunday, March 30, 2014

2014 Clinical AAC Research Conference

September 19-20, 2014

Fontbonne University
St. Louis, MO

(click to download .pdf announcement)

Improving clinical service delivery for people who use AAC.

The CAAC Research Conference is an annual forum for clinicians and researchers engaged in the study and clinical management of persons who use AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication.

The 2014 Conference Co-Chairpers are Dr. Gale Rice & Dr. Barbara Braddock and the Conference Program Chairs are Dr. Lisa Proctor & Dr. Susan Bashinski. The CAAC Steering committee directs the conference. Steering committee members include: Lyle L. Lloyd, Chair, Erna Alant, Elizabeth Hanson, Katya Hill, Filip Loncke and Richard Steele.

The CAAC Research Conference Funding

The CAAC Research Conference is funded primarily by participant registration fees and contributions by sponsors. A grant from AAC Institute provided startup funding. Administrative support is also provided byAAC Institute.

Free & Inexpensive iPad Apps for Getting Communication Going

At early language stages the lure of a screen can help captivate learners' attention much more so than static displays. There are oodles of iPad apps that can be used for communicating early requesting messages and phrases, but they are not all so easy to use. 

Here are some apps to try and some ideas about moving learners beyond requesting and choice-making using the iPad. Answers Yes/No, Sounding Board, Picture Card Maker. Screenshots tell the story, but downloading the apps will help you to walk through and try some for yourself!

(Please note that screen shots of Proloquo2Go and TouchChat HD are also included - however, these full-featured apps are neither free nor inexpensive.)

Follow the link HERE to view or download the slideshow.

Minspeak E-Newsletter, Issue 94

  • Spread the Word: How do you create a core vocabulary culture?  Check out how they did it in Loudon County, VA.  The team of Christopher Bugaj, Peggy Fees, Sally Norton-Darr and Judith Schoonover shared their strategies at the recent ATIA Conference in Orlando.   Their resources are highlighted in the Spotlight section of this newsletter.
  • Bored? Games!:  Lotto is a simple, but fun game for practicing core vocabulary.  Gail Van Tatenhove's website includes visual support materials for this game, focusing on the verb "go" plus adverbs.  Use these materials as a template to make more of your own materials.
  • Appdapted for Core: My PlayHome Stores ($2.99) by Shimon Young is an interactive "felt board" that allows you to go shopping at different types of stores. There is a clothing store, ice cream shop, produce market, and a grocery store. There even an ATM where you can take out money.  The available characters include opportunities to target all pronouns and the different store settings allow you to target vocabulary such as more, get, go, make, give, plus many others! It's also convenient for children at all stages of language development. They can formulate simple utterances like "go in" or more complex utterances like "I want to go in there and get more please."  For more ideas on how to use this app to teach core vocabulary, check out Jeremy's blog post on
  • Pixons to Unity: Pixons can be used as teaching materials for picturing the metaphors behind Unity® icon sequences.  The word for this week is "how." Compare the Pixon for how  to the icon sequence . Teach the meaning of the word how using props, such as a hammer.  The metaphor is a rhyme: how-pow.  Bring in the concept of "wondering" by asking "how will we fix this?" or "how will we pound this in?"  Generalize the concept of how to new contexts, asking "how do it feel" or "how does this taste." 
  • Spotlight:  Kudos to Christopher Bugaj, Peggy Fees, Sally Norton-Darr and Judith Schoonover who did an incredible presentation at ATIA 2014 entitled Creating Core Vocabulary Culture: A Little Help From Our Friends.  Not only was it one of the engaging presentations at ATIA, but it was resource-rich!  Check out their link to, a social bookmarking website for tagged resources about Minspeakand core vocabulary.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Training: Word Prediction Apps for the iPad (3/25/14)

Word Prediction Apps for the iPad that Support Writing
Dates Offered: March 25th, 2014 from 3-4:30 p.m.
Cost: $35/per person
Presented by: Kevin Daugherty, Rehabilitation Engineer, RESNA ATP
· Participants will learn how to use the Co:Writer, iWordQ and iReadWrite apps
· Participants will learn how word prediction apps support the writing process
· Participants will learn implementation strategies for school and home

 For more information and to register, please contact Lauren Wetzler at or 714.361.6200 x226. Space is limited, register now!
Lauren Wetzler
Manager, Assistive Technology Exchange Center (ATEC)
Goodwill of Orange County
1601 East Saint Andrew Place, Santa Ana, CA 92705

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Resources from ASHA's "Assessment that Drives AAC System Implementation"

If you missed the March 11, 2014, ASHA online chat entitled “Assessment that Drives AAC System Development,” you're in luck! The many valuable online resources shared and a link to a curated transcript are included below. 

More about the event:
In this two-hour event, SLPs all over North America posed 21 important questions to a panel of three AAC experts. The panel consisted of:
  • Mary Ann Abbott, SLP and AT/AAC Specialist at Ontario Montclair School District & Adjunct at California State University, Los Angeles
  • Celeste Helling, SLP at North Carolina Assistive Technology Program
  • Angela Standridge, SLP at Region 4 Education Service Center specialist in Special Ed, AT, and AAC
Many participants also weighed in with their own ideas. Take a look at the curated translation of these 21 topics made somewhat easier to read in an outline format HERE (download PDF)

Some of the GREAT online resources that were mentioned:

WATI Resource documents (woah! lots here)

Friday, March 7, 2014

Music in Therapy from IRSF Educators Network

Thank you to those of you who joined us for Marybeth Brand’s presentation on March 4th titled, “Don't Make Me Sing - Non-threatening Music for the Musically Shy Classroom Teacher." Don’t let the name fool you; the material covered can be included in therapy sessions as well.  Included in this message is an outline of the presentation, music resources and the recording of the presentation.  If you have trouble accessing anything, please let me know.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Upcoming Webinars - March 2014

Thank you to AT Coalition for collecting this fabulous looking list of upcoming webinars from various sources. Take a look at these offering (some free, some $):

AAC in the Classroom for Students with Significant Disabilities: Implementation and Data Collection on Low Tech AAC and Apps - from AbleNet
March 13, 2014 at Noon Pacific, 3PM Eastern

AT & the IEP - from ATNetwork
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 3:30 PM Pacific, 6:30 PM Eastern
How to ensure AT is considered.

Adapting Early and Emergent Literacy Activities and Materials to Assess and Provide Intervention For Children With Complex Communication Impairments  - from AbleNet
March 18, 2014 at 10 AM Pacific, 1 PM Eastern

QIAT Session on AT Transition - from AbleNet
March 19, 2014 at 9:30 AM Pacific, 12:30 PM Eastern
Resources to support effective AT services for students in transition.

Low-Tech Communication Strategies for Cortical Visual Impairments - from Georgia Tech
Thursday March 20 2014 at 12 PM Pacific, 3 PM Eastern

iPad Access and iOS7 Switch Control - from  AbleNet
March 25, 2014 at 11 AM Pacific, 2 PM Eastern

AppyHour! A Review of Free and Fun Apps - from AbleNet
March 26, 2014 at 1:30 PM Pacific, 4:30 Eastern
Apps with multiple creative uses.

Introduction to ARIA - from ADA Online Learning
March 27, 2014 at 11 AM Pacific, 2 PM Eastern
Learn about Accessible Rich Internet Application (ARIA) and how it is important to accessibility in web design.