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, 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).