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Talking With Tech AAC Podcast
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).

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)

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!

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)

 

 

Kate Ahern: Thoughts, Tips, and Wisdom from an AAC Thought Leader

Kate Ahern: Thoughts, Tips, and Wisdom from an AAC Thought Leader

December 12, 2017

In this episode Talking with Tech's Lucas Steuber and Rachel Madel talk to the legendary Kate Ahern about her work with special populations, the importance of presumed competence, and the need to use every skill in our toolkit to properly serve kids - not just the high -tech ones - as well as the importance of learning from teachers.

For more information about Kate, see her collected slides and presentations here, her blog here, her highly active Facebook community, and many other places around the web.

Thanks for listening! As always, contact us at tech@speechscience.org with any feedback and make sure to subscribe, rate, and share!

Pradeesh Thomas: Educational Technology & Its Role in Better Outcomes for Staff  and Students

Pradeesh Thomas: Educational Technology & Its Role in Better Outcomes for Staff and Students

November 3, 2017

In this episode Talking with Tech's Lucas Steuber goes one-on-one with entrepreneur and angel investor Pradeesh Thomas, founder of both SmartEdTech and AlphaVista, and now a member of the Stepping Stones Group.

We discuss the present and future of educational technology, the impact that it can have on outcomes for both students and teachers, and EdTech internationally from the perspective of both an engineer, technology thought leader, and past staffing agency CEO.

Bill Binko: DIY Assistive Technology, “Makers,” & the Convergence of Assistive Technology and Universal Design

Bill Binko: DIY Assistive Technology, “Makers,” & the Convergence of Assistive Technology and Universal Design

November 2, 2017

In this episode, Talking with Tech's Lucas Steuber and Chris Bugaj interview Bill Binko of ATMakers (and much more) about his work in do-it-yourself assistive technology, the growth of the "maker" movement in our field, and the future of assistive technology when so many large companies focus increasingly on usability in electronics.

For more information, see http://atmakers.org/ - and thanks for listening!