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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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Sept. at ASHA SIG 12 Online

Join in online, and read a moving post (below) from ASHA's Special Interest Group 12: AAC

AAC Fears and Myths
September 17, 2014
8:00 p.m.–10:00 p.m. ET (5-7:00 PT) 
This free event is open to all ASHA members (it is not offered for CEUs).
This live chat event will discuss some of the common fears and myths about augmentative and alternative communication. The discussion will focus on evidence and practical solutions to combat both historical fears/myths (e.g., AAC impede speech development, there are prerequisites to using AAC) and newly emerging fears/myths (e.g., devices are out-apps are in). The following panelists will be available to answer questions:

Amy S. Goldman, CCC-SLP, Elizabeth (Liz) Hanson, CCC-SLP, Nicole Dupre, CCC-SLP, Traci Peplinski, MA, CCC-SLP

A post from the ASHA Community...Speech-Generating Device funding and MediCare

Last week, Sarah Thimmes, CCC-SLP our colleague and whose husband has ALS contacted the local TV station and was able to obtain an interview regarding the Medicare pending policy revisions as well as the impact on the restrictions that Medicare has implemented.  Sarah and Ben did a fabulous job communicating how these restrictions will hurt our consumers.  We should all keep in mind that private insurance follows Medicare and so do state Medicaid programs.  These restrictions have the potential for a domino effect to medicaid recipients who rely on SGD for communication.  If those programs follow Medicares lead, then this will effect individuals of all ages.  If the health industry stops funding SGD's then it will hit the local school districts for all the students who need this equipment.  There may no longer be an option for state Medicaid to fund SGD's for students in school.  As practicing practitioners in AAC we know how the dedicate speech generating devices as compared to laptops, iPads, androids is apples to oranges.  Emerging research is continually reinforcing that early use of SGD's, specifically with many individuals with autism spectrum disorder can lead to verbal speech.  I can not emphasize how critical advocacy is at this time to stop these changes for consumers of all ages who need SGDs. 

I would challenge each of you to send Sarah and Ben's message to you representatives as you advocate for our consumers. This may be our only chance.  There are very few SGD manufactures. They serve a small market.  When their market shrinks, so does the services, support and research for future products for our consumers.  We watched many SGD companies disappear.  There are only a few left.  We need them and they need us to give our consumers a voice.

Here is Sarah and Ben's message.  Share it.  Send it to representatives. Contact the newspapers with our message.  Better yet...get an interview with a TV station with your consumer and tell a local story....then refer them to this one.

Kimberly Hale
Athens, OH

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