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Talking With Tech AAC Podcast
Carole Zangari: AAC Educator and Co-Founder of Praactical AAC

Carole Zangari: AAC Educator and Co-Founder of Praactical AAC

July 3, 2018

Rachel, Lucas, and Chris are joined this week by the amazing Carole Zangari! Dr. Zangari, co-founder of the Praactical AAC website and professor of speech-language pathology at Nova Southeastern University, shares some of her ideas about improving the experience for pre-service (i.e., unpaid and new to the field) teachers and SLPs who work with AAC users. The team also discusses the need for greater funding for AAC research, ways that people can get involved in AAC education, and the importance of implementation science. Carole then shares about her journey building Praactical AAC (praacticalaac.com) into one of the most well-known and widely-used AAC resources available!

Questions addressed this episode include: How can we educate graduate students about AAC in a more meaningful way? How can SLPs and teachers promote more evidence-based AAC implementation? What areas of research should we be focusing on next? What can SLPs and teachers do to get started sharing their AAC expertise with others? 

We want to hear what you think! Join us on Facebook at Talking with Tech and on Instagram and Twitter @talkingwithtech. If you haven't yet, please subscribe and write us a review, it will help others find us!

Eric Sanders: How do we Support Reading and Writing Skills with AAC?

Eric Sanders: How do we Support Reading and Writing Skills with AAC?

June 12, 2018

This week, Rachel, Lucas, and Chris are joined by Dr. Eric Sanders for a roundtable discussion of how we can help augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) users develop reading and writing (i.e., literacy) skills. Topics addressed include: Should we support AAC users in their development of reading and writing skills? What is the role of story time and shared reading in emerging literacy? What kinds of activities and goals encourage the development of reading fluency? How can we support a comprehensive reading approach for children who use AAC?

Eric Sanders, PhD, CCC-SLP is an AAC specialist and professor at Pacific University, Oregon whose areas of expertise include the development of literacy and language skills by AAC users and individuals with intellectual disabilities.

We want to hear what you think! Join us on Facebook at Talking With Tech and on Instagram and Twitter @talkingwithtech. Don’t forget to subscribe and give us a rating on iTunes!

References

Erickson, K., Koppenhaver, D., & Cunningham, J. (2016). Comprehensive Reading Intervention in Augmentative Communication. In R. J. McCauley, M. E. Fey, , & Gillam, R. B. (Eds.). Treatment of language disorders in children. (275-300).

Chris Klein: Why Does Motor Planning Matter in AAC?

Chris Klein: Why Does Motor Planning Matter in AAC?

June 5, 2018

This week, Rachel, Lucas, and Chris discuss the implications of motor planning in instruction and use of Augmentative and Alternative Communication, including: Why motor planning is important, when to start considering a child’s motor plan, and practical ways to incorporate motor planning into your practice. Then Chris Bugaj is joined by Chris Klein, an educator, mentor, past president of the United States Society of Augmentative Alternative Communication (USSAAC), and founder of Building Connections with Others through Mentoring and Education about AAC (BeCOME AAC). Mr. Klein, an AAC user himself, is a voice for AAC users and individuals with disabilities everywhere; his thoughtful insights on motor planning are not to be missed!

We want to hear what you think! Join us on Facebook at Talking With Tech and on Instagram and Twitter @talkingwithtech. Don’t forget to subscribe and give us a rating on iTunes!

References

Dukhovny, E., & Zhou, Y. (2016). Effects of icon size and location on speed and accuracy of SGD access. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 32(4), 241-248.

Dukhovny, E., & Gahl, S. (2014). Manual motor-plan similarity affects lexical recall on a speech-generating device: Implications for AAC users. Journal of communication disorders, 48, 52-60.

Scott Badesch, CEO of the Autism Society of America

Scott Badesch, CEO of the Autism Society of America

May 30, 2018

This week Scott Badesch, President and CEO of the Autism Society of America, sits down with Lucas to talk about the most urgent needs of those on the Autism spectrum, what the ASA's strategic plan is for the coming year, the critical state of the health care (and political) system in the United States, and the impact of vaccines on Autism (there isn't any).

Meanwhile, Chris and Rachel talk about unique considerations for AAC in the ASD population including strategic use - and avoidance - of preferred utterances and many more concerns.

You can contact Mr. Badesch via the Autism Society of America at http://www.autism-society.org/about-the-autism-society/staff/, and we also would love to hear your feedback and opinions! Come join us on Facebook, email us at tech@speechscience.org, or @talkingwithtech on Instagram or Twitter. Like what we do at Talking With Tech? Take a moment to leave us a review on iTunes as that helps others find us!

Roundtable: When Should We Start Using AAC?

Roundtable: When Should We Start Using AAC?

May 22, 2018

This week Rachel leads the team in a discussion of AAC for emergent communicators, focusing on early intervention through school-age children. Topics covered include the influence of AAC use on speech and language development, family and peer training, and a spirited debate about when to go high-tech - or not.

We'd love to hear your feedback and opinions! Come join us on Facebook, email us at tech@speechscience.org, or @talkingwithtech on Instagram or Twitter. Like what we do at Talking With Tech? Take a moment to leave us a review on iTunes as that helps others find us!

Research referenced in this episode includes:

Davidoff, B. E. (2017). AAC With Energy—Earlier: Research shows that children with communication challenges do best when introduced to augmentative and alternative communication as early as 12 months. The ASHA Leader, 22(1), 48-53.

Romski, M., Sevcik, R. A., Barton-Hulsey, A., & Whitmore, A. S. (2015). Early intervention and AAC: What a difference 30 years makes. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 31(3), 181-202.

Ellen Winchester & Andrea Gardner: Building On Demand and Interactive Supports for Communication Partners, Students, and the Community

Ellen Winchester & Andrea Gardner: Building On Demand and Interactive Supports for Communication Partners, Students, and the Community

May 14, 2018

This week the team discusses community accomodations for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder, focusing on specific opportunities that already exist and ideas for more sensory-friendly events as well as community-based communication opportunities. Then Chris speaks with Ellen Winchester and Andrea Gardner - see bios below - on the same topic and more. 

We'd love to hear your feedback and opinions! Come join us on Facebook, email us at tech@speechscience.org, or @talkingwithtech on Instagram or Twitter. Like what we do at Talking With Tech? Take a moment to leave us a review on iTunes as that helps others find us!

***

Andrea Garner is a practitioner and researcher specializing in the education of people on the autism spectrum. She has been working with young people on the spectrum for the last 17 years as a class teacher, an in-home ABA therapist, and therapeutic outdoor educator.  Andrea has continued to study while working and has completed a Master of Education in Autism and a PhD.  Her research interests include social-sexual development, inclusion into work environments, social cognitive development, and family support.  She currently works directly with children, their families, and with teachers developing programs and strategies to improve long-term outcomes for young people on the spectrum.  Andrea is currently working towards accreditation as a Multi-sensory Language teacher and is involved in ongoing research in the assessment and delivery of social skills programs, training models for parents of children on the spectrum and a project to create an Autism Friendly Community.

***

Ellen Winchester is a Speech Pathologist who has worked for Aspect for the last 9 years in various roles in Early Intervention in various settings (schools, home, preschools and group therapy programs) as well as being part of a Learning Support Team in Aspect’s schools for children with Autism. She is currently the Service Coordinator for the Aspect Therapy team in the Illawarra region of NSW.

Ellen has a particular interest in the areas of feeding difficulties in children with Autism and also Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). In 2013, Ellen was awarded the Elizabeth Hoyle’s fellowship which gave her the opportunity to begin to conduct research into supporting teachers to implement high-tech AAC into the classroom, and increase the effective use of high-tech AAC (with a focus on the use of Core Vocabulary and the Language Acquisition Motor Planning –LAMP approach) into the daily classroom routine of students who required it. Ellen is a certified LAMP Therapist and trainer.  

Ellen’s current focus is to support teachers at South Coast School to conduct accurate communication assessments for students with complex communication needs who use AAC, and using these assessments to directly inform intervention planning and classroom programming.

AAC Agreements: Universal Principles for AAC Intervention

AAC Agreements: Universal Principles for AAC Intervention

May 7, 2018

Join Chris, Rachel and Lucas this week for a discussion of universal principles in AAC intervention - in other words, what do we all agree on, and why? Then Chris sits down with Shaun Pearson and Chris Chichoskikelly to talk about the "AAC Agreements," which continues along the same theme in more detail and highlights the opinions of clinicians and researchers from the Assistive Technology Industry Association conferences in 2016 and 2018.

Shaun is a Speech-Language Pathologist, trained at McGill University in Montreal and now practicing in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He currently works as an Assistive Technology Specialist supporting students with complex communication needs ages 5-21. Shaun believes his primary focus is to foster relationships and build capacity with others therapists, teachers, classroom staffs, and families.

We'd love to hear your feedback and opinions! Come join us on Facebook, email us at tech@speechscience.org, or @talkingwithtech on Instagram or Twitter. Like what we do at Talking With Tech? Take a moment to leave us a review on iTunes as that helps others find us!

Roundtable: Modeling

Roundtable: Modeling

April 29, 2018

After many requests to cover modeling in more detail, for the second time ever Talking With Tech is interview-free this week so that we can take a deep dive into the who, what, where, when, and why of modeling in Augmentative/Alternative Communication. We'd love to hear your feedback and your strategies! Come join us on Facebook, email us at tech@speechscience.org, or @talkingwithtech on Instagram or Twitter.

Like what we do at Talking With Tech? Take a moment to leave us a review on iTunes as that helps others find us!

Referenced during the episode: AAC Modeling Intervention Research Review - Samuel C. Sennott, Janice C. Light, and David McNaughton -102 Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities 41(2)

WPS: Assessment Considerations for AAC and Assessment Authorship

WPS: Assessment Considerations for AAC and Assessment Authorship

April 25, 2018

This week members of the team from Western Psychological Services (WPS), creators of the Arizona, CASL, and more, join Rachel and Lucas to talk about assessment authorship and the assessment process generally. Meanwhile, Chris, Rachel, and Lucas discuss specific considerations for AAC users, including using materials otherwise not normed for your student population for informal assessment and progress monitoring.

For more on WPS visit https://www.wpspublish.com! Like what we do? We appreciate any gesture via http://patreon.speechscience.org - and please take a moment to leave us a review on iTunes as that helps others to find us!

Eva Sweeney: Consultant for ABC’s Speechless, Author, Activist, AAC User

Eva Sweeney: Consultant for ABC’s Speechless, Author, Activist, AAC User

April 15, 2018

In this episode Eva Sweeney, filmmaker and consultant for ABC's Speechless - as well as author, activist, AAC user, and overall dynamo - talks with Rachel and Lucas about her AAC device, the importance of aides (and giving them breaks), her work as an activist on sexuality in the disability community, and more. Meanwhile, Lucas briefly flies solo to talk about the importance of a whole-person approach to AAC assessment and intervention - and our work generally.

For more on Eva, check out Speechless (obviously) and follow her on twitter at @disboi. 

Like what we do at Talking With Tech? Take a moment to leave us an iTunes review - it helps others find the information we share - and join our Facebook group (or page) to chime in on the conversation! We'd also love to hear your comments and questions at tech@speechscience.org, and appreciate any gesture via patreon.speechscience.org.

Leanna Fox: Professional Development and AAC in Australia

Leanna Fox: Professional Development and AAC in Australia

April 8, 2018

In this week's show Chris sits down with Leanna Fox, a Speech-Language Pathologist based out of Sydney who works as a consultant with Liberator, the Australian arm of the Prentke Romich Company, as well as other settings. The discuss international work (she's previously also practiced in Ireland and New South Wales), funding in Australia and the local AAC community, and the need for constant professional development due to the rapidly changing nature of the field.

Meanwhile, Lucas, Rachel, and Chris discuss options for professional education ranging from websites to conferences to individual resources and blogs - and, of course, the upcoming ISAAC conference, which just happens to be in Australia.

Like what we do here at Talking With Tech? We appreciate any small donation to help keep the lights on via Patreon! Also, follow us on Twitter or Instagram at @talkingwithtech or our Facebook page and group, where we will link many of the resources discussed! We'd love to hear any questions or feedback as well at tech@speechscience.org, and please take a moment to give us an iTunes review as it helps others find us.

Talk to you next week!

Vicki Clarke: Tips on Making Clinical Decisions in AAC Assessment

Vicki Clarke: Tips on Making Clinical Decisions in AAC Assessment

April 1, 2018

In this episode Vicki Clarke of Dynamic Therapy Associates and @AACchicks joins us to share advice and talk through clinical considerations related to AAC assessment and selection of a communication system. Meanwhile, Lucas and Rachel discuss the ethical considerations - and potential advantages - related to cultivating vendor relationships.

For more from Vicki, follow her on Twitter at @AACchicks, on Facebook at Dynamic Therapy Associates, or her website www.mydynamictherapy.com.

Like what we do here at Talking With Tech? Follow us on Twitter or Instagram at @talkingwithtech or our Facebook page and group! We'd love to hear any questions or feedback as well at tech@speechscience.org, and please take a moment to give us an iTunes review as it helps others find us. Talk to you next week!

Lauren Enders: AAC Implementation and Consultation in the Schools

Lauren Enders: AAC Implementation and Consultation in the Schools

March 25, 2018

In this episode the incomparable Lauren Enders, SLP and AAC specialist, joins Talking With Tech's Lucas Steuber and Chris Bugaj to talk practical tips for implementation and consultation in the schools. Meanwhile, Lucas and Rachel discuss some of the resources Lauren has created, including the "dos and dont's" of AAC instruction. Thanks so much for listening! For more on Lauren check out her frequent submissions to PrAACtical AAC as well as prolific posts on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. 

If you like what we do, don't forget to subscribe and leave us a review on iTunes! We also appreciate any help keeping the lights on at patreon.speechscience.org. Happy listening!

Roundtable: Core Words

Roundtable: Core Words

March 5, 2018

In a small departure from form, the gang - Rachel, Chris, and Lucas - decided that they had so much to say about core words (especially after speaking to Jane Odom last week) that an interview wasn't even necessary. Let us know what you think about this format, as we're considering alternating between strictly educational content like this interspersed with thought leaders like those we normally have.

Click here to visit the Patreon mentioned in the episode. Also, check out www.aaclivenow.com to visit AAC Live Now (seriously, reach out to lucas@speechscience.org or call him at 541-952-1699 if you would either like to help or would LIKE help - spoiler alert, Lucas - or even one more member member of TWT - just may end up being your consultant). 

... and of course, as always, don't forget to rate, subscribe, and come join our the Facebook Page and Group, not to mention Twitter and Instragram. We'll only get better if we know what will benefit your practice!

Jane Odom: Resources and Strategies for Successful AAC Instruction

Jane Odom: Resources and Strategies for Successful AAC Instruction

February 25, 2018

This week Rachel and Lucas are joined by the brilliant Jane Odom, director of PRC's LanguageLab! The conversation covers the importance of presuming competence, incorporating user interests and age-relevant material in AAC, PRC's LanguageLab and Realize Language, family and peer training, and specific instructional strategies for the classroom. Check it out - and if you like it, don't forget to rate us and subscribe on iTunes!

For more information, see:
PRC AAC LanguageLab
Realize Language

Erin Compton: Adopting Two Children with Cerebral Palsy and Getting Started With AAC

Erin Compton: Adopting Two Children with Cerebral Palsy and Getting Started With AAC

February 12, 2018

Erin Compton is a mom to 13 children who blogs about family life, adoption, special needs and AAC learning. As a homeschool instructor she has over 20 years of experience working with young language learners. Through the recent adoption of two sons with cerebral palsy, the family has started on an AAC journey to find voices for their sons.

For more, see Erin's YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook!

Interview Show Notes:

  • Adopting two sons with cerebral palsy from an orphanage in China

  • In the beginning of AAC it’s more about educating yourself than educating your child

  • Spreading the AAC gospel

  • AAC is a journey and belief that your child is capable is the first step

  • Erin’s experience homeschooling 13 kids and the disbelief that she’s encountered.

  • How the comfort of home is typically the first place you see communication happens

  • Making modeling a whole family experience

  • The power of peer modeling

  • The first time Erin heard the word “mama”

  • The importance of SLPs working together with parents

  • International perceptions of special needs children and the high incidence of abandonment

  • Karma and how it plays into special needs perceptions in China

  • Experience of touring a Chinese orphanage with 700 children

Erek Engar: A Specific Language System First Approach to AAC

Erek Engar: A Specific Language System First Approach to AAC

February 4, 2018

It's time for what might be our most controversial show yet! If you have an opinion - for or against - please comment below or email at us at tech@speechscience.org and we'll be happy to address your concerns next episode!

Problem:

School districts are faced with having to consider the AAC needs for many children. The focus has been on selecting the perfect system. Teaching communication partners how to implement all day long has been the challenge. What if we could decrease the amount of time the selection process takes and spent that saved time on teaching implementation?

So how do we do it? Or should we?


Interview Show Notes:

  • Erek introduces himself
  • The concept of Specific Language System First approach to AAC
  • Erek describes what happens when a student comes into the school district - starting with Proloquo2go 6x10 grid.
  • Why use this approach?
  • Multiple teachers using multiple devices meant they have trouble developing a community of practice...but not anymore.
  • Chris describes feature matching.
  • Previous model of selection was born in an era when devices were more scarce.
  • Language systems were different years ago...now the systems are more robust.
  • Good systems + low cost
  • Teachers still struggling with implementation so spend more time on teaching them how to implement (rather than selecting the “perfect” device”)
  • “A system that isn’t perfect for a student but is implemented well is better than choosing the perfect system that is implemented poorly.”
  • Coaches spend less time on assessment and more on implementation.
  • The number one reason a teacher says it doesn’t work is, “The student doesn’t like it”
  • Explicit instruction- I do, you do, we do.
  • First two questions people used to ask.. “There are too many buttons” and “I need different buttons.”
  • After implementation training on Aided Language - now people don’t ask those anymore.
  • Over summer, started developing a repeatable, easy to implement, language-based word of week program
  • Modeling Mondays! Pull up PowerPoint slides on how to use the word.
  • Tuesday is Literacy Day! Use and read the core word a day using stories and books. Writing as well.
  • Wednesday is Math Day!
  • Thursday - Review previous introduced words.
  • Folder Friday - Explore folders (Fringe)
  • Generalization is what is being tackled next.
  • The best feature you can match is implementation.
  • Homework on word of the week lessons and involving parents.
  • Your system is in place and then you adapt.
  • Be patient! Progress will come if you stick with it.
  • 200 high tech aac users and doing well - used to be 10 who weren’t using it well.
  • If we had to switch systems, we could.
  • It is hard to pick a bad system
  • The focus should shift from selection to implementation.

Potential Solutions:

Have discussions about implementing this approach.

Beyond word of the week programs, use a language-based curriculum (materials where language is the object of the lesson, not infused into some other point of the lesson. Ie, Use apples on a tree to teach prepositions NOT do a lesson on apples where we try to also sneak in spatial concept words)

 

 

Karen Owens of We Speak PODD

Karen Owens of We Speak PODD

January 16, 2018

Karen Owens of We Speak PODD joins Rachel Madel for a conversation about parenting children with complex communication disorders. Meanwhile, the group discusses the nature of parents' relationships with both the schools and broader therapeutic systems and how they - and we - can be strong advocates for their children.

Thanks for listening! As always, contact us at tech@speechscience.org with any feedback and make sure to subscribe and share with your friends! If you'd like to support our work, we always appreciate any gesture via Patreon.

 

Alex Pavtoulov and Ofir Harel of Olà Mundo: Their app Socky, Social Reciprocity in AAC, and Building Engaging Tools for ASD

Alex Pavtoulov and Ofir Harel of Olà Mundo: Their app Socky, Social Reciprocity in AAC, and Building Engaging Tools for ASD

December 21, 2017

Alex Pavtoulov and Ofir Harel of Olà Mundo join Rachel and Lucas to talk about Socky, a symbol-based two-way communication system for children with Autism as well as their parents and circle of support. The group also discusses social reciprocity in ASD and how to make therapy tools engaging.

For more information about Olà Mundo and Socky, visit their site  and try out the app, which is available on both iOS and Android - and it's free!

Thanks for listening! As always, contact us at tech@speechscience.org with any feedback and make sure to subscribe and share with your friends! If you'd like to support our work, we always appreciate any gesture via Patreon.

 

Chris Gibbons: Smartbox & the Evolution of the AAC Industry

Chris Gibbons: Smartbox & the Evolution of the AAC Industry

December 17, 2017

In this episode Talking with Tech's Lucas Steuber, Rachel Madel, and the long-list Chris Bugaj sit down and discuss international development in AAC before welcoming Chris Gibbons of SmartBox to the show. Chris shares beautifully about his many years of experience in the industry, the transition from intervention to the lab to the market, changes over time to the funding model - both good and bad - as well as Grid 3 and some thoughts on what's to come.

For more information about Chris and SmartBox, be sure to visit their site and - if you get a chance - catch him presenting at many related conferences such as ASHA, ATIA, ISAAC, and pretty much everywhere else.

Thanks for listening! As always, contact us at tech@speechscience.org with any feedback and make sure to subscribe and share with your friends! If you'd like to support our work, we always appreciate any gesture via Patreon.

*Disclosure, Lucas Steuber and Chris Gibbons have worked together before on minor projects through their shared venture GiveLanguage, but neither party received financial compensation.