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, May 31, 2015

Minspeak E-Newsletter, Issue 122

  • Spread the Word: "My speech therapist has been writing Icon Family Stories for my son. She got the idea from a PALLS presentation by Gail VanTatenhove. She makes the stories so special for him. When we read a story together, over and over, it helps him remember the words coded with that icon. And he practices saying the target words when we read it together." From Donna in New York
  • Core with Core: Help your students cope with vocabulary used in the common core state standards (CCSS). The word of the week is distinguish. Have your student define distinguish with these core words: "tell apart; to set apart as different; to see how things are different." Have the student say and write the definition. Add the word and definition to a chart of CCSS critical words. To learn with rhythm, rhyme, and movement, repeat this short chant: "Distinguish from the very start. Tell me how it's set apart." Apply the word in a context that is meaningful to the student. For example, help the student distinguish between right and wrong ways to interact with a person using AAC. Use a graphic organizer to distinguish the students right and wrong answers. Then apply distinguish to an academic context: distinguish between two climates, using a graphic organizer to point out the differences between the two climates.
  • Cooking with Core: Each recipe in the Cooking with Core series shows how to simplify directions in a recipe in order to model and prompt use of core vocabulary. The recipe for this week is Milk Dud® Torte. Use the PASS program to make any necessary visual support materials.
  • Spotlight: Kristy Davis will be presenting at the Pittsburgh Language Seminar Series (PALSS). Her presentation entitled, "Core Strength and Strong Wills: Getting Communicator Partners on the Right Track" will report on the strategies she used to help staff members at her school feel comfortable, confident, and capable in supporting students using AAC systems. As a member of the Minspeak Learning Community or a past attendee at a PALSS meeting, you won't want to miss the live feed of her presentation!

Friday, May 22, 2015

FREE Webinars from Presence Learning

The SPED Ahead series "Special Agents of Change" from Presence Learning has hosted a number of rich and informative live webinars this year, most of which are available for viewing in their entirety on their website. While not specifically AAC-related, the insights and strategies on learning apply to many teaching contexts.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015
1:00pm-2:30pm Eastern | 10:00am-11:30am Pacific

Uniquely Human: A Different Way to See Autism and Create Pathways to Success (from Barry Prizant, Ph.D.)

Archived Webinars, LINK:

AAC/AT: Presentation on Using Software

The day after our SCAAC-N Spring Quarterly Meeting in Pasadena, Maggie Mahoney will present on AAC/AT Software for nonverbal learners! 
I believe this presentation is FREE, but I will check and update this when I am sure.

Speech/Language Pathology, Interactive Metronome & Cognitive Training
5567 Reseda Blvd. #107  Tarzana, Ca. 91356

Phone (818) 968-2337  Fax (818) 591-1346 
Every individual deserves a voice, the choice to convey their thoughts and be understood
And have the ability to enter the world as an active & successful participant!
this WEDNESDAY 5/27/15  

Maggie will discuss new AAC/AT trends, uses in the schools and much more.
Sharon & Maggie will review reasons and basis for success or failure for effectively implementing AAC devices into the life of an individual

It will be a packed meeting based upon RSVP's to date

Grasp Assistive Technologies will showcase software to support users with reading and writing difficulties, as well as communication impairments, plus new niche computer access methods. 
5567 Reseda Blvd.  #107 Tarzana, Ca. 91356
park in back lot by entering driveway just south of the building
if gate is closed call Sharon to open
We know it is hard to get out at night but come and learn, ask questions and have fun. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

From the 2015 AGOSCI Conference (Brisbane, QLD)

Australia loves its AAC! I don't know about you, but I wasn't able to attend the 2015 AGOSCI 12th Biennial Conference in Brisbane, QLD. But that doesn't mean we can't eavesdrop on those who did! Follow one of these four paths to more information about AGOSCI and the excellent conference proceedings:

1. Jane Farrall posted a few of her presentations on her blog, HERE. Take a look at:

2. Take a look at tweets from the conference, #AGOSCI2015.

It sounds like good times were had by all!

Established in 1981, AGOSCI is an inclusive group interested in enhancing the participation of all people with complex communication needs.  AGOSCI also aims to build the capacity of society to achieve our vision.

Our vision is that people with complex communication needs participate fully in all aspects of life.

AGOSCI’s membership includes individuals with complex communication needs, family and community members, teachers, speech pathologists and other professionals.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Announcing! SCAAC-N Ventura County (Thurs. May 28)

- Ventura County -

For those of you AAC-interested folks living on up the 101, you're in luck! SCAAC-N Ventura County is kicking off their mentoring and support network this month with an inaugural quarterly meeting in two weeks. Please join the group on Thursday, May 28th, from 5:45-7:45 p.m. at A1 Speech Therapy in Camarillo and set the wheels in motion for a vibrant presence in the "805" (area code, that is). Janet Barsoumian, SLP, will lead the discussion of AAC-related resources and needs in your county. Don't miss it!

Who: Speech people, OT people, AT people, parents, teachers, others?
When:  Thursday, May 28th, 5:45-7:45 p.m.
Where: A1 Speech Therapy, Inc.
             400 Camarillo Ranch Road, Suite #209
             Camarillo, CA 93021
             (805) 443-0788 Tel.

FREE as always. Bring a colleague.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Change the Date! Pasadena Meeting, May 26th

Hello Networkers,

Due to presenter conflicts our new Spring Quarterly Meeting date will be Tuesday, May 26th. Please join us to hear our networkers share stories of diverse learners and systems and their individualized application, development and evolution of AAC use over the years.

If you are interested in presenting a learner in your life, please use this template to organize your information. 

L.A. Winter Quarterly Meeting (in Pasadena)
Where: Villa Esperanza Services' Board Room
                2116 E. Villa Street, Pasadena, 91107
Time:    6:30pm PST Greeting, Introductions, Announcements
                6:40 presentation start; end by 8:30pm

Please RSVP to no later than Monday, May 25, at noon so we can have snacks and handouts for you!

FREE AAC Webinar from PRC (FREE CEUs)

To learn more about communication options for your 
pediatric clients, please register for a FREE 30-minute ASHA approved webinar. 

To learn more about communication options for your 
adult clients, please register for a FREE 30-minute ASHA approved webinar

If you can't attend, register anyway and we will send you a recording.  ASHA CEUs available for live attendance only.
Earn up to one hour of FREEASHA CEUs and a chance to win a FREE subscription to the AAC Language Lab

Workshop: Introduction to Universal Design for Learning (Anaheim, 5/20/15)

This workshop introduces the principles of UDL taught using the principles of UDL filled with activities.
The morning focus emphasizes understanding the 3 principles of UDL and practicing each principle.  In the afternoon sessions, teachers are given scenarios to teach and practice integrating the three principles into a lesson plan. These plans are shared with the whole group for added suggestions. Ideas flow easily and teachers leave with a strong basic understanding of UDL and its implementation. 
To download the full flyer please go to:
Wednesday May 20, 2015 from 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM PDT
Add to Calendar

Anaheim City School District
Technology and Information Systems building,
313 S. Melrose St.
Anaheim, CA 92805

Friday, May 1, 2015

2015 CSUN Conference Handouts and Reports

Handouts and Reports from the CSUN Conference

2015 was the 30th Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference, more fondly known as CSUN. They announced the publication of Volume 2 of the Journal on Technology & Persons with Disabilities with papers from CSUN 2014.

WebAxe has a podcast (with transcript) of 3 CSUN interviews and links to sessions that include materials. has posted their session materials on Accessibility and Online Job Applications, under "What's New." (PEAT = Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology; promoting employment, retention, and career advancement of people with disabilities through accessible technology.)

Slides from the CSUN 2015 Digital Accessibility Legal Update are also up.

AccessWorld Magazine from AFB has CSUN 2015: What's New from the Exhibit Hall and Beyond

Medicare SGD Policy Open for Comment

ASHA Headlines
Medicare Releases Draft Speech-Generating Device Policy for Comment
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a draft of the revised National Coverage Determination 50.1: Speech Generating Devices with a comment period ending May 29, 2015.

CMS is proposing to expand the type of communication and features of the speech-generating device (SGD) to allow for more “remote” speech in the form of “audible and written communications.” CMS also agrees that the term “dedication” is too restrictive, and indicates if only patients with severe speech impairments use the device, the qualification of being a speech-generating only device is unnecessary.

Medicare clarifies that Internet or phone services, such as plans for Internet coverage or landline use, are not covered, along with any additional computer functions that are not directly related to communication. Equipment and software for video communication or conference is also not a Medicare covered benefit. Suppliers are encouraged to furnish the beneficiary with an Advanced Beneficiary Notice informing the patient of the features not covered by Medicare and that the patient is liable for the expenses of those additional features.

The proposed policy is anticipated to be effective July 28, 2015.

This policy revision is the result of collaborative advocacy efforts by ASHA and ASHA members, the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association, the Independence Through Enhancement of Medicare and Medicaid (ITEM) Coalition, and the speech-generating device manufacturers.

The coverage issues for SGDs arose in February 2014, when the Medicare contractors that administer Durable Medical Equipment (DME) claims issued a "coverage reminder" that prohibited SGDs from having any non-speech capabilities (e.g., e-mail, Internet, environmental control) or the ability to for the patient to upgrade for those features at their own expense. Related to the coverage reminder prohibitions, Medicare's contractors are routinely denying coverage for eye-gaze, a technology that is needed by patients with limited or absent mobility in the arms and hands.

Due to advocacy efforts by ASHA’s members, the coverage reminder was delayed and then rescinded. Meetings with CMS officials resulted in revision of the National Coverage Determination and comments were accepted from November 6-December 6, 2014. The introduction to the draft policy states that 2,290 comments were received in the 30-day comment period and commenters were unified in supporting coverage of devices that allow other types of communication, such as e-mail or other written messages.

SGDs continue to be subject to the CMS “capped-rental” policy, which requires a 13-month rental period prior to the transfer of ownership. ASHA will continue to work with the ALS Association and other key stakeholders to advocate for the exemption of SGDs to the capped-rental policy through legislation that has passed in the Senate and has been introduced in the House, H.R. 1919.

ASHA Resources
For more information on SGD issues, please contact Lisa Satterfield, ASHA's director of health care regulatory advocacy, at, or Ingrida Lusis, ASHA's director of federal and political advocacy, at
Lemmietta G. McNeilly, PhD, CCC-SLP, CAE, ASHA Fellow
Chief Staff Officer, Speech-Language Pathology
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
2200 Research Boulevard, #229
Rockville, MD 20850-3289
+1 301-296-5705 telephone
301-296-8577 fax
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The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
2200 Research Boulevard
Rockville, MD 20850
Members 1-800-498-2071
Consumers 1-800-638-8255 | © Copyright 2015

JOBS! AT Specialist with UCP (Huntsville, TN)

Assistive Technology Specialist (Full-time)
Please share this job post with any interested parties
UCP Huntsville is seeking a highly motivated individual to use assistive technology to support individuals with disabilities, their families, and the professionals who work alongside them.

A bachelor's degree in special education and/or a minimum 5 years of experience working directly with individuals with special needs is 
REQUIRED. Extensive knowledge of current Assistive Technology (AT) and Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC) is preferred. 

Reliable transportation and availability for overnight travel are requirements of this statewide program position.

Candidates must exhibit strong oral and written skills and be able to lift a minimum of 25 pounds.

Duties include, but are not limited to, the creation and/or execution of:
  • One-on-one AT training and/or resource referrals for individuals with disabilities, their families, and the teaching/health professionals who work alongside them;
  • Onsite AT trainings for both consumer and professional audiences;
  • Online AT webinars and modules and management of training website content;
  • AT demonstrations and loans, including program management of AT lending program;
  • Program awareness and outreach, including T.A.S.C. representation at statewide agency fairs and conferences and content creation for e-newsletters and social media efforts;
  • AT support of other UCP programs, including summer activities and developmental playgroup; and
  • Management of new AT initiatives, including grant opportunities and reporting.
Email resume, salary requirements, and three professional references (required) by May 8 to Interviews will be conducted on or before May 18.

United Cerebral Palsy of Huntsville & Tennessee Valley, Inc. | Website