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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PRC & Saltillo Corporation Donate Speech-Generating Devices To Three Children with Speech Disabilities
Employee Owners of Leading Assistive Technology Companies 
Celebrate ESOP Month by Giving Gifts of Communication

The employee owners of PRC and its subsidiary Saltillo Corporation, two leading manufacturers of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices, are celebrating Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) Month in October by donating over $17,000 in communication devices to three children with speech disabilities who lack insurance coverage for an AAC device.
Five-year-old Ryann Franz of Chesapeake City, Maryland, has low muscle tone, or hypotonia, which makes speaking or using sign language extremely difficult.  She is one of only two individuals in the world diagnosed with a rare genetic mutation.  Ryann was presented with a Saltillo NOVA chat 10 plus device that is designed to help children acquire and use language skills.
Delany Dowdy, a first grader from Pleasant View, Tennessee, has speech and language delays, hearing loss, and an articulation disorder that make it difficult for her to be understood.  She received a PRC Accent 1000, a powerful speech-generating device preloaded with Unity®, a proprietary language system that supports robust communication and language development.
Eleven-year-old Ryan Hudson of Blackwood, New Jersey, who is largely nonverbal as a result of autism, was selected to receive a PRC Words for Life NOVA Edition, which features an 84-location vocabulary and supports Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP), an approach pioneered by PRC that has proven successful for those with autism.
Device recipients and their families have been overwhelmed by the generosity of PRC and Saltillo employees. “Having her own NOVA chat 10 that enables her to communicate at home and at school is going to change Ryann’s life immensely,” said her mother, Heather Frantz.
According to Delaney’s mother Melissa Dowdy, “Delaney is highly motivated to use her new device and gets excited when she hears her message!  Her father and I are eager to help her use it to express herself and expand her vocabulary.”
“Receiving this device is just like hitting the lottery for our family,” said Ryan’s mother, Barbara Hudson. “We are so excited that ‘thanks’ just does not feel like enough.”
“At PRC and Saltillo, we truly believe that everyone deserves a voice,” stated PRC President David L. Moffatt. “Our employee owners are committed to helping individuals with disabilities achieve their full communication potential. We’re extremely proud that our employees chose to celebrate ESOP month by giving the gift of communication to children who could not otherwise obtain a speech device.”
About the Donated Devices

NOVA chat 10
 plus is a versatile speech-generating device with proprietary Chat software designed to help children acquire and use language skills. Built on an Android platform, NOVA chat 10 plus offers a durable yet sleek, portable design with features that include a 10.1" display, switch scanning, ChatPower vocabulary, IVONA speech synthesizer, and many other Chat features. The device costs about $4,395.
The powerful Accent1000 speech-generating device is preloaded with Unity®, a proprietary language system that supports robust communication and language development. Portable and featuring a 10" display, Accent 1000 enables users to communicate freely at home, in the classroom, and on the go. The device costs about $7,295.
Words for Life (WFL) NOVA Edition features an 84-location vocabulary on an Android platform in a durable, sleek, and portable device. The WFL vocabulary is an adaptation of the Unity®language system that supports the Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP) approach.  The device costs about $6,095. 
About PRC and Saltillo

PRC is a global leader in the development and manufacture of technology solutions for people with speech disabilities. A 100% employee-owned company headquartered in Wooster, Ohio, PRC leads a consortium of organizations providing innovative communication products and services, including Saltillo Corporation, the Center for AAC & Autism, and the AAC Language Lab.
Saltillo Corporation, headquartered in Millersburg, Ohio, develops and manufactures augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices, computer access products, and other assistive technology for people with speech disabilities.
PRC and Saltillo have enabled thousands of children and adults worldwide with speech disorders to achieve spontaneous, independent, and interactive communication regardless of their disability, literacy level, or motor skills.

The National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) estimates there are roughly 7,000 employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) covering about 13.5 million employees in the U.S. in 2014. For PRC and Saltillo, employee ownership demonstrates dedication to innovative, quality communication technology products and customer-driven service standards.
For more information about PRC, go to or call (800) 262-1984. For more information about Saltillo, go to or call (800) 382-8622.
Joystick Accessibility - Books (continued from June 24)
For all titles, select the "Read to Me" option to start the book's first page.

TabTale Books
These classic children's stories have a more mature appearance with lots to look at in the illustrations and interaction opportunities within the picture scene (action and some sound, for those users that can touch). Many of the screens have movement built in - which is great for some users, but possibly too visually busy for some users. I'm not sure that all TabTale apps have arrows at the bottom corners, but each download is FREE (with the ads) for you to check out yourself. The following list have been previewed. The ad at the bottom of each page is close to the page-turn arrow. Full versions are available as an In-App purchase, $1.99 each.**
- Alice in Wonderland
- Princess and the Pea
- Goldilocks and the Three Bears
- The Princess and the Frog
- Sleeping Beauty
- The Emperor's New Clothes
- The Shoemaker and the Elves
- The Ugly Duckling
- The Fox and the Crow
- The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse
- The Fisherman and the Golden Fish
- Wizard of Oz
- Pinocchio
(and many more!)
Classic children's stories by Zubadoo. Simple, lovely, high contrast illustrations with little movement. More child-friendly than TabTale. No interaction (action or sound) with the picture scene. $0.99 each. 
- The Three Little Pigs
- The Gingerbread Man
- Three Billy Goats Gruff
- Little Red Riding Hood
- The Magic Porridge Pot
- The Ugly Duckling
- The Elves and the Shoemaker
- The Tortoise Twins
 - The Greedy Squirrel 
(also available from Zubadoo: "London- Kids' Factbook" app for those Anglophiles in your household!)

Disney Digital Books. Lot's of interaction within the picture (action and sound).
- Arrows at the bottom corners - Pooh's Birthday Surprise ($4.99).
- Arrows at the top corners - Disney Storytime (FREE three titles, 17 more available as in-app purchase), What's a Bear to Do ($0.99). The Jungle Book ($1.99).

ABC Mouse. Portrait orientation rather than landscape. Arrows in bottom corners, but not all the way at the edge so that a strong grasp could nudge the joystick out of alignment. 
- The Boy Who Cried Wolf ($0.99)
- The Tortise and the Hare ($0.99)

** RE: TabTale books - To get the full version, first download the free version from the app store. On the opening screen of the app, choose "GET FULL VERSION" to be directed to the app store. I believe the full version must be purchased on each individual device, rather than shared by all devices linked to a single Apple ID. Please write to me if you have found otherwise!

(January 27, 2013)  
Continued from "All Behavior is Communication"

I agree with the statement that all behaviour communicates. This is quite different from intentional communication. For example, if I observe that you are having a seizure, this communicates a great deal to me regarding the nature of your behaviour immediately before the seizure, what I need to do for you during the seizure and afterwards. Often people have behaviour that help them to regulate their bodies and create comfort. Rocking, flapping and twirling can be helpful in self regulation for some people or may signal that achieving a regulated state is becoming more difficult. Usually, however, those behaviours are not used to intentionally communicate. When people can communicate more conventionally by using an AAC device, they may or may not be able to express in words the neurological events that they experience.
Halifax NS

I agree with the statement that all behavior is communication, although not always intentional. I think you brought up a good point that some teams have a high expectation that an AAC system will immediately and significantly decrease negative behaviors. I have same the same doubts in using words such as "always" in promising a reduction in negative behaviors because there are so many other factors in play. For example, I have observed students who have ASD, have learned to use communication to describe what was causing the anger frustration (e.g., a room that was "out of place") but still had an escalation in negative behaviors because his or her sensory system was thrown out of whack. In this case, the communication piece was not the main factor leading to the meltdown.
As for new language for that phrase, I think an additional statement telling teams and parents that communication skills will always help students to feel more in control of their surroundings and may reduce behaviors but that ultimately, the entire system of the student needs to be taken into consideration for possible antecedents of behavior.
Tustin CA 


The situation you described does frequently occur. As you indicated, the issue is often presented by a team that "all behavior is communication" and the follow up proposed solution is that the individual with the behavior issues should use an AAC system to communicate the message their behavior was trying to convey. Unfortunately the individual may be at an early stage of learning to communicate, and may not yet have the skills to intentionally use conventional communication or yet have the understanding of the abstractness of the meanings of symbolic language necessary to use an AAC system.

I have found the the Communication Matrix provides a wonderful resource to educate the team working with the individual as to the levels of communication, and how they may relate to the behaviors presented:

As is explained, there can be early behaviors that have no direct intention, and are therefore subject to the interpretation of the caregiver. Intentional communication does not occur until Level III when unconventional pre-symbolic behaviors are used intentionally to communicate (such as waving, pointing, nodding the head etc.). Even at this level the individual's communicative behavior does not involve symbolic language. However it should be understood by the team that our AAC systems rely on the individual being able to understand and use symbols to represent their intended words.

Through using the Communication Matrix it can be determined which levels of communication the individual is using. For example if the individual has behaviors that are unconventional and pre-symbolic, it can be explained that this does not equate to the individual being able to use concrete or abstract symbols in an intention manner to express themselves.

There is a free handbook that can be downloaded at the Communication Matrix site as well. This can help the team to set proper communication goals in line with the individuals actual abilities.
As it states in the handbook's conclusion area:
The Communication Matrix results may help parents and educators to decide upon general communication goals that are appropriate, given the individual's current skills. You may develop a general intervention goal (what level of communication to target), as well as specific intervention goals (what specific communicative behaviors and messages to target).
In general, an individual should be allowed to perform at his or her current level of communication, while being steadily encouraged to progress to the next logical level of communication...."

(Another point I have brought up in these cases is that there are many other individuals with high levels of communication skills, but they may also display some extreme negative behaviors at times. Even though a person may be capable of full expressive speech, the behavior incident may still happen. When one is in a stressed situation, communicating about it might not come easily to a lot of individuals, regardless of their communication abilities or available system of communication. The individual's communication abilities and system may therefore only be part of the behavior issues.)

I hope this is helpful.
North Olmsted OH 

Like yourself, I have worked for many years with people impacted by multiple severe and profound disabilities. And like you, I maintain a distinct aversion for terms like "all", "always", and "never", particularly in reference to these extraordinarily unique individuals. While I do subscribe to the notion that all behavior can be considered a form of communication, it does not then follow that provision of this or that device is going to lead to improved communicative competency. Somewhere along the way in the field of AAC, we have, in my opinion, come to focus too heavily on the "Augmentative" aspect of our field while offering too little attention on the "Alternative" communication forms that, in some cases, represent far more accessible and functional means of conveyance.
Object symbols, touch cues, attention to the consistent provision of responsive and respectful partner behaviors that offset the likelihood of a situation spiraling so far out of control that anyone feels sufficiently desperate to resort to aggressive or self-injurious means, these types of interventions can make a world of difference in the quality of interaction for all participants. We must strive to craft interventions as truly individuated as the unique needs of each person require.

Fort Worth TX

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