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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Friday, December 18, 2015

Winter Meetings - Westside (NEW), OC, LA, Ventura

The Network is expanding! Read on for a list of Winter 2016 quarterly meetings.

Our newest branch, SCAAC-N Westside, will hold their inaugural meeting this winter on Thursday, February 11th at Language and Learning Centers of Los Angeles (West Olympic Blvd). Download a flyer, below, and bring a colleague or parent!

TOPIC: Regional Director of LLCA, Meghan O'Brien, M.S., CCC-SLP, will present "From Assessment to Funding: Obtaining AAC Devices."  An open forum/discussion will follow the presentation.  Parking is free.  Refreshments will be served.   

Mark your calendars for the Winter 2016 Quarterly Meeting near you!

  • Orange County - Thursday, January 14th, 6:00-8:00 at the Orange County Dept of Ed
  • Ventura County - Thursday, February 4th, 6-8:00 p.m. at A1 Speech Therapy
  • Westside - Thursday, February 11th, 6:00-7:30 p.m. at Language and Learning Centers of Los Angeles
  • Pasadena - Tuesday, February 16th, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Villa Esperanza Services

Friday, November 13, 2015

AAC Implementation: Where Do I Start? (Speak For Yourself AAC)

AAC Implementation: Where Do I Start?

This post title poses a very good question. If this is something you or someone you know has ever asked - please read a great post by Heidi LoStracco, MS, CCC-SLP on the Speak For Yourself AAC blog. The first few paragraphs are included below. Read the entire article, HERE.

You have a nonverbal child who is depending on you to find him/her a way to communicate. Whether you are a parent or a speech-language pathologist (SLP), that’s a lot of pressure, and the stakes are high. You take the responsibility seriously. You have an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) app or device.  If you’ve decided an app is the best fit, you have an iPad dedicated to the child’s communication. You have a case with amplification. You have the AAC app downloaded. You’ve been following thePrAACtical AAC blogs, Lauren Enders’ Pinterest and Facebook page, and you’ve joined theSpeak for Yourself Users Group  .  Regardless of the communication system you’re using, these are all good AAC resources.
You have tried other systems and strategies with the child, and they haven’t worked or they’re not enough. You keep telling yourself that this time it has to be different. Communication is the key to access all of the child’s other goals successfully…appropriate behavior, the ability to express cognition, academic progress, peer relationships, and independence. The excitement that comes with starting something new is accompanied by its faithful sidekick…the fear of failure. Kick him to the curb, take a deep breath, and make the decision to get started.  Now, what do you do? Where do you start?
I’ve been coming across this question frequently, so I’ve decided to outline some of the first things that we do when we are starting to introduce AAC. We don’t have a system that we follow exactly because everyone is different, but there are some things that we do pretty consistently.
Read the entire article on Speak For Yourself AAC, HERE!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

November Online Trainings from PRC

Teaching Language in the Classroom: Speaking, Reading and Writing with AAC

•  November 16, 2015 (Monday), 12:00p.m. to 1:00p.m. ET
•  Price: $35.00
•  ASHA CEUs: 0.1

"This was a great course for learning how to incorporate devices into daily activities in a classroom!" - Rachel F.

Ten Tips to Help Grow Language

•  November 16, 2015 (Monday), 3:00p.m. to 4:30p.m. ET
•  Price: $49.00
•  ASHA CEUs: 0.15

"I am not an SLP.  I am a grandmother/caretaker doing my best to be a good conversation partner for my grandson.  Online courses like this help me accomplish my goals!" - Barbara K.

Getting Beyond Basic Requesting

•  November 17, 2015 (Tuesday), 3:00p.m. to 4:00p.m. ET
•  Price: $35.00
•  ASHA CEUs: 0.1

"PRC's online trainings are quick and efficient. I loved that I could take my lunch to learn something new that I could start incorporating immediately into my therapy plans." - Teresa H. 

AAC Evaluations: Painting a Successful Submission

•  November 18, 2015 (Wednesday), 11:00a.m. to 12:00p.m. ET
•  Price: $35.00
•  ASHA CEUs: 0.1

"This was a quick and easy guide for submission of reports.  All questions were answered and it was delivered in a very clear way." - Kim M.

AAC 101: Using Early Language Development to Guide AAC Intervention

•  November 18, 2015 (Wednesday), 3:00p.m. to 4:00p.m. ET
•  Price: $35.00
•  ASHA CEUs: 0.1

"I found this to be one of the most enjoyable trainings I have participated in - from the cost to the ease of interaction.  Lots of valuable information in a short period of time.  Thank you." - Pier R.

Apps to Help Grow Language

•  November 19, 2015 (Thursday), 3:00p.m. to 4:00p.m. ET
•  Price: $35.00
•  ASHA CEUs: 0.1

"I loved this course. It was fun and really got me thinking about "fun" ways to teach new vocabulary or reinforce learned vocabulary." - Marsha B. 

SCAAC-Networkers in the CSHA Magazine

Check your mailbox! (the paper kind) And look for SoCal AAC Network in the Fall 2015 issue of the CSHA Magazine. Gwendolyn Eberhard, SLP, recounts the SCAAC-Network origin story. Jessica Gutierrez, SLP, and her colleagues report on their Rett Syndrome Interdisciplinary Assessment Team at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, including elements of AAC evaluation. Click the links below to read these great articles!
Read the article HERE
Read the article HERE

Monday, November 9, 2015

Affordable! Linda Burkhart at Loyola Marymount in January - Early Bird by Dec 1

The Voice For Maddie Foundation will be bringing Linda Burkhart to Loyola Marymount University January 22 and 23rd for a full two day workshop. We anticipate that it will be a sold out workshop and seating is limited.  

The workshop title is Multi-modal Communication and Learning Strategies for Children who face Significant Challenges: Including Severe Multiple Disabilities and Children on the Autism Spectrum.  The use of PODD will be discussed. Early bird registration is $175.00 prior to December 1. 2015. This includes parking and lunch for both days and a 50 page handout. Unfortunately we were not able to obtain CEU's for this event. Registration is on line at

We are thrilled to have Linda come out and do a workshop here in California!

Our thanks to Kathy Rausch, SLP, for alerting us to this opportunity. Please share with your colleagues and consider attending in a group. It's going to be a great couple of days.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

LA/Pasadena Quarterly Meeting Wrap Up

The LA/Pasadena Fall Quarterly Meeting on October 20, "Update on iPad AAC Apps," was attended by 10 Networkers and was graciously hosted by Anne Davis, SLP, and Professional Child Development Associates (PCDA) in Pasadena.

Loyal Truong is the SLP at Goodwill Industries' assistive technology assessment center - ATEC - housed within the Koch-Young Family Resource Center in LA. Loyal shared on his use of the GoTalk Now app, one highlight of which is the ability to link to a URL via a button/message area. Loyal demonstrated a remarkable visual scene display he created in GoTalk Now to replicate the functionality of a robust language system (that is, using a screen shot of another language system he was able to - with lots of programming - simulate this vocabulary). He admitted that this intensive programming is not necessary with access to an appropriately feature-matched app, but it was great to see what's possible!

Bernadette Kennard is the founder of Trivinity Consulting, an AAC consulting company operating out of Long Beach. Bernadette is involved in both the LA and the OC branches of SCAACN and was excited to share on her use of the AutisMate app; however, she wasn't able to make the meeting at the last moment. So sorry Bernadette! She was so kind as to share some highlights of the app in this summary document, HERE.

Gwendolyn Eberhard (that's me) is the Director of the Speech & Language Center at Villa Esperanza in Pasadena. Gwendolyn shared on her use of the Proloquo2go app with a student who has very limited movement. The app is set up for 2-switch "inverse" or "hold" scanning (hold switch 1 to scan continuously as long as the switch is depressed, lift and then hit the 2nd switch to select). Proloquo doesn't list inverse or hold scanning as an option, but through some creative settings in their Step Scanning it is possible to simulate this type of scan. Thanks to Dr. Sean Early of Pasadena Unified's Assistive Technology program for introducing me to this possibility within PLQ!  HERE is a written description of the settings and switch placement for a sample student whose best movement is head roll right and left on a wheelchair headrest.

Terry Kappe is a local SLP/AAC specialist and owner of Speech & Language Therapy Services. She shared some of the outstanding features of the TouchChat HD with WordPower app. These included: 

  • Use of a photo as a background image to create visual scene display pages within a vocabulary;
  • The Play Video feature that is helpful in assessment to determine whether or not a client is able to retain a sequence of hits in order to reach a highly preferred outcome;
  • Use of the app to create assessment vocabulary sets both for AAC assessment, and also to replicate flashcard-like standardized tools for less-than-standard probes (i.e., anecdotal reporting only)

Great information! Thank you to all of our participants and presenters. See you all for our Winter Quarterly Meeting on Tuesday, February 16 back at Villa Esperanza Services.

Monday, November 2, 2015

iPad Grant Application is Open! (Autism Speaks)

Autism Speaks is thrilled to announce that this year, 1,045 iPad Airs will be awarded to financially disadvantaged individuals with autism. The application is now open!
Eligible applicants are individuals who:
  • Have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder by a licensed professional
  • Reside in the United States
  • Have limited income and cannot afford to purchase an iPad
The timeline is below:
  • November 2: Online application opens at 6:00AM EST
  • November 7: Application closes at 11:59PM EST
  • November 9 - December 3: Review committee selects recipients
  • December 7: Recipients announced and iPads sent out!
Applications must be submitted by the person with autism, an immediate family member of the person with autism, or a licensed teacher, social worker or therapist. The Technology Grant Review Committee will review applications and select the iPad award recipients. All applicants selected to receive an iPad Air will be contacted on December 7. If selected, the iPad will be shipped via UPS directly to the address provided with the application. Others will receive an email informing them of their status.
You must create a login and further instructions will be provided.
Questions? Contact us at or (888) 288-4762. Please note that we cannot accept applications from outside the United States.

Autism Speaks Family Services Team

Ablenet Free Resources

Here are some highlights from this morning's email from Ablenet. Follow the links to free stuff!  If you aren't on Ablenet's email list, join HERE


Easy to use augmentative and alternative communication app for iOS devices.
Available in different languages.
Symbol Overlay Maker

Symbol Overlay Maker
Create symbol overlays for your AbleNet devices using images from your computer.
Technology Tidbits

Technology Tidbit:
QuickTalker 7, 12, 23

Learn about QuickTalker 7, 12, 23 in this short Technology Tidbit video.
Action Dictionary

Action Dictionary
Hundreds of alternative access strategies to ensure all students can participate and learn.
Equals Mathematics

Free Curriculum Loan Kit
Equals math curriculum provides best practice mathematics methodologies for educators who teach students with disabilities, including students with autism.
iOS 9 Accessibility

iOS 9 Accessibility
Download our latest edition of Switch Control – The Missing User Guide and learn step-by-step how to set up and customize the Switch Control user experience.

We Rock The Spectrum Gym

Does anyone have personal experience with a We Rock Kids Gym? I'm very curious and would love to know your impressions!
LINK to their website
A dear colleague, Joe Rothstein, authored this great song for WRTS. Click HERE and scroll down to find a We Rock location near you (so many SoCal locations to choose from! Such as Northridge, Agora Hills, Pasadena, Glendale, Laguna Hills, San Diego on and on).

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Affordable Autism & Technology Conference - Redlands, Nov 14 ($35)

Intergrating Technology in the Home, Community and School  Conference

Come hear from experts in the field –educators and SLPs who specialize in high tech and low tech methods to help promote teaching and communicating in the classroom, community and home!
Keynote Speaker:  Kristen Schulte, Speech Pathologist, Assistive Technology Specialist at Corona-Norco Unified School District
 Two tracks to choose from:
  • Education.  Literacy & Writing Technology including how to modify work using technology, technology include Co-Writer/Universal app data collection/Solo suite/ Word prediction/Adobe and Low Tech Solutions for the Classroom
  • Augmentative Communication.  Working Your Way through Proloquo2Go, Symbol hierarchy, Aided language stimulation, how to model AAC.
  • And much more!
There are a wide range of technology products available for special education students.  These products are designed to motivate students to learn, they can equalize education, build confidence and help these students find success. 
Cost is $25 before 11/1 and $35 after 11/1; lunch is not included. Scholarships may be available to cover half the cost of the conference.Co-sponsored by:
Autism Society Inland Empire
University of Redlands – Department of Communicative Disorders
University of Redlands – School of Education

Friday, October 30, 2015

Nov 12 - Benefit for A Voice Discovered

If you haven't heard of A Voice Discovered, let me introduce you to this fantastic organization out of Ventura County that actively fundraises so that they can provide funding assistance for AAC assessment and intervention to folks in need.  

From their website: A Voice Discovered will help the person with complex communication needs obtain a thorough AAC assessment if he or she does not already have one.  A Voice Discovered will also consider applicants for funding assistance for devices/communication apps once they have had a thorough AAC assessment.  

Please consider helping AVD do this great work by attending their upcoming, 2nd Annual Casino Night Fundraiser (Nov 21) or with an in-kind contribution (Donate HERE).

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Workshop: Differential Diagnosis and Treatment of Childhood Apraxia in Speech (Pomona, Nov 5)

CSHA District 7 and Pomona Unified School District Present Edyth Strand for a full day, Thursday November 5th (6 CEUs). 
Download the flyer, HERE
Workshop Description

Edythe Strand is an international expert on Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS). She has presented at numerous conferences and workshops as well as having written multiple publications on the topic of CAS. This is a unique opportunity for the Southern California SLP to attend and participate in a Dr. Strand presentation.
This one-day course focuses on both assessment and treatment of CAS. Assessment procedures will be described and interpretation of assessment data will be discussed to facilitate the participant’s ability to determine which children actually have at least some degree of difficulty with praxis for speech. A number of treatment strategies will be discussed and available evidence for treatment efficacy is presented. Video examples are used to facilitate discussion.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

"The Strange Case of Anna Stubblefield": Reaction

For those of us on the fringes of the facilitated communication (FC) community, this week's article in the NY Times magazine came as an unexpected blow and a sour case of deja vu. While not a damning scientific study as in the 80's, Mrs. Stubblefield's relationship with her client, prosecution and criminal conviction remind the disabilities rights community to tread with caution when providing physical support to communicators. 

Might I strongly suggest adopting the following protocol on the provision of backward resistant physical support for pointing (my preferred, descriptive name for "facilitation") as a treatment approach: (LINK to download a slideshow version
    • When support is provided anywhere below the elbow (such as forearm, wrist or hand), ONLY rely on the client's responses to predictable questions (e.g., with a known answer or multi-choice) - even if you believe they have more to say. Work on fading support before relying on generative responses.
    • Then, only when support is faded to the elbow, can we rely on the responses of clients when they share their original ideas and answer open-ended questions (e.g., What did you do last night? What's your favorite movie? Is there anything you want to say?)
    • Help the client learn to move more independently; try to move support from hand, to wrist, to forearm, to elbow EVERY time you practice pointing/typing.
    • Always include more than one 'facilitator' in the training process. Individuals that show potential for pointing with backward resistant support MUST be able to do so with more than just their therapist or teacher. It is our responsibility to include no fewer than one other facilitator in any client's life. This might be a parent, caregiver, sibling, aide or related professional.
    • Teach your communicators who require  that they MUST learn to point/type with more than one 'facilitator,' or else listeners cannot rely on their messages. 
    • Share with your client that independence (i.e., no physical support) and pointing/typing with multiple 'facilitators' is the goal.
    • It's the ethical thing to do!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Open House - Language and Learning Centers of America, 11/4 & 5

Please join SCAACN in attending the upcoming Open House at Language and Learning Centers of America. Not familiar with LLCA? What a great reason to pay them a visit?! 
Download flyer, HERE.

Not able to attend? Read more about the Visual Immersion System care of Brookes Publishing HERE. Hear from Howard Shane and Meghan O'Brien directly in this 3-part webcast, HERE.

Friday, October 16, 2015

JOBS! Ventura County Speech/AAC Specialist

SCAAC-N is very sad to see our colleague Sharon Redner, SLP, leaving SoCal for a bright future in Northern CA as the Assistive Technology Specialist for the Fremont Unified School District. 

Sharon will be missed tremendously! And will be vacating her position at Ventura County's Office of Education on November 6th. Applications currently being accepted for this exceptional position: Speech & Language Specialist/Augmentative Communication Specialist. Search it on Ed Join or link HERE.

EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE: Master’s degree in Speech and Language and valid Speech/Language Credential from accredited university and experience in AAC and assistive technology. 
LICENSES AND OTHER REQUIREMENTS: Valid California credential authorizing services as a Speech Therapist; valid California driver's license. Willing to successfully complete the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) examination to meet the requirement to be certified as an Assistive Technology Practioner within a three year period. Willing to successfully complete the Diagnostic Center Southern California AAC Assessment Training within a two year period. A complete application package MUST include the following: • A completed VCOE certificated employment application. • Resume. • A copy of your Credential(s). • Three current letters of reference. Current is 2014 to present. • A letter of introduction telling why you feel qualified for this position and what you have to offer VCOE. 
Note: Hard copy application & a hard copy of materials are not required if applying online at

Perhaps Sharon will be inspired to launch a NCAAC-Network in the future...We hope that she will keep in touch!

- Gwendolyn for SCAAC-N

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fall Quarterly Meetings! Pasadena and San Diego

Fall Quarterly Meeting - LA/Pasadena, October 20th

This Fall the Los Angeles/Pasadena branch will meet on Tuesday, October 20th. Many thanks to Anne Davis of Professional Child Development Associates (PCDA) for hosting "Update on iPad AAC Apps." 
  • GoTalk Now, 
  • Autismate, 
  • TouchChat and 
  • Proloquo2Go
Four presenters will get the conversation started with the ins and outs of four AAC apps including features, alternative access, and vocabulary options. Be sure to download the latest update of these fine apps to your iPad and join us Tuesday at 6:30 to hear and see from Loyal Truong, Bernadette Kennard, Terry Kappe and Gwendolyn Eberhard

Tuesday, October 20th6:30-8:30 p.m. 
(presentation will start promptly at 6:30 due to the amount of great ideas we have to share!)
Professional Child Development Associates (PCDA)
620 N. Lake Ave, Pasadena 91101, small conference room upstairs
Fall Quarterly Meeting
Topic - Update on iPad AAC Apps
AAC-Interested folks like you, your colleagues, AAC parents, teachers, therapists, administrators, etc.

FREE as always. Carpool with a friend!

Please RSVP by Monday, Oct 19 (reply to this email) so we will know to have a seat for you.

Fall Quarterly Meeting - San Diego, November 4th

The SoCal AAC Network has branches in Pasadena, Ventura, and Orange Counties and we are so excited to announce....San Diego! Come and join the inaugural quarterly meeting for Fall, Thursday, November 4th! And please reach out and forward a link to this post to AAC-interested folks you might know in greater San Diego County.

Hosted by - United Cerebral Palsy San Diego: Susan Berkowitz and Bruce Fleming; Crimson Center for Speech and Language: Karyn Searcy; SoCal AAC Therapy: Margaret Perkins

Thursday, November 4th6:00-8:00
, 8665 Gibbs Drive Suite 100, San Diego, CA 92123

Snacks and drinks will be provided but feel free to “Brown Bag” your dinner!!!
Fall Quarterly Meeting
Nov 4th's Topic - As this is the first meeting we will have a meet and greet, bring topic ideas for future meetings, and feel free to share one AAC idea “What I Know for Sure”

FREE! Always. Bring a colleague.

For additional information on San Diego's new branch, please contact
or Bruce Fleming 

​...for Winter Quarterly Meetings, 2016

Orange County (Location: OCDE, Costa Mesa) - Thursday, January 14th 

Ventura County (A1 Speech Therapy) Thursday, January 28th

Pasadena (Villa Esperanza) Tuesday, February 16th

Affordable ASHA CEU Workshop - From Assessment to Implementation (Camarillo)

Nov 04, 2015 at 9:00 AM — 3:30 PM

Professional Building, 155 Granada Street, Suite C
Camarillo, CA 93010

Holly Schneider MA CCC/SLP


Cost: $20.00

Course Description:
Innovation in technology combined with the latest AAC research has enabled individuals with significant communication challenges to access powerful tools for interactive and efficient communication. This session will address the design strategies, development process and research behind the Tobii Dynavox product communication content. Participants will explore both Compass and Communicator software and learn the purpose and function of each communication tool and learn the key elements for successful AAC assessment, planning and implementation. 
Using video examples, case studies and relevant research, participants will explore how the communication tools found in both the Compass and Communicator page sets can be used to support language and literacy development, social participation and efficient communication. Participants will leave with a collection of practical ideas and tools that can be immediately implemented with individuals of various ages, abilities, and communication levels.
Learning Objectives:  Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to: 
•Identify key elements of the content design process.
•Describe 3 research articles that influenced the content design on the Compass and Communicator page sets.
• Compare and contrast efficiency and precision communication tools.
•Locate evaluation and therapy resources to support effective AAC service delivery.

This course is offered for .5 ASHA CEUS (Introductory Level, Professional Area)

Presented by: Holly Schneider, MA CCC-SLP

Holly Schneider, MA CCC-SLP, has prior experience as an Elementary & Intermediate English and Language Arts teacher. After graduating from the University of Texas in 2000 with a Master’s degree in Speech and Language Pathology, she began a clinical career at St. David’s Rehabilitation Hospital, working with clients ranging in age from adolescent to geriatric.  Here her focus and passion grew towards working with augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) to increase her clients’ ability to participate more fully in their lives. Now with TobiiDynavox she is presently a member of the Clinical Training & Implementation Team where she develops and conducts internal and customer trainings, creates implementation resources, and presents at local, national and international conferences about AAC topics. She has publications in JMSLP (2010) and most recently in Advance Healthcare Network for Speech and Hearing (2015).

Financial Disclosure: Holly is a full time employee at Tobii Dynavox. 

Non-financial Disclosure: Holly has no non-financial relationships and the publications written have no non-financial relationship with the content of the presentation. 

Content Disclosure: Because of the unique characteristics of our product(s), this presentation will focus exclusively on the Tobii Dynavox product line and will not include information on other similar communication or educational product(s).

This location is directly off the freeway across the street from the In and Out. There was no name for the building.