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Talking With Tech AAC Podcast
Kevin Williams & Lateef McLeod: Black AAC User Perspectives on Racism and Disability

Kevin Williams & Lateef McLeod: Black AAC User Perspectives on Racism and Disability

July 15, 2020

This week, Kevin Williams and Lateef McLeod share about racism and ableism from their perspective as Black AAC users. Kevin Williams is a freelance web developer and the Chief Technical Officer of USSAC. Lateef is a PHD Candidate in the Anthropology and Social Change program at California Institute of Integral Studies, Vice President of ISSAC’s LEAD Committee, and published poet/author. In the interview, Kevin and Lateef discuss the importance of having difficult conversations about racism and ableism, the intersection of race and disability in their own life, and the importance of patience, especially from the police, when communicating with AAC users. 

 

Before the interview, Chris and Rachel discuss the need for more options for AAC users to socialize with other AAC users online, especially during the pandemic. 

 

Key Ideas this Week:

 

🔑 Have uncomfortable conversations about racism and ableism with people in your immediate circle of friends and family. People are more likely to listen to someone they care about and respect

 

🔑 Police should inspire compliance with their own behavior, including telling someone why they are being physically restrained, rather than simply demanding compliance. Police need to be the most patient with people with disabilities. 

 

🔑 An AAC user’s personality is communicated by more than the software or voice on a device; it also comes from that person’s gestures, vocalizations, and body language.

 

Links: 

 

Some of Lateef's books on Amazon

 

Lateef’s podcast “Black Disabled Men Talk”

 

Join USSAAC and ISAAC

 

ISAAC PWUAAC Chat page

 

Speak Up blog

 

Body Cam Footage of the Death of Rashad Brooks Warning: Video Contains Graphic Images

 

Where is Hope, The Art of Murder (the documentary)

Erik Raj: Apps That Make Learning Language Fun

Erik Raj: Apps That Make Learning Language Fun

July 8, 2020

This week, Rachel interviews Erik Raj, a Speech-Language Pathologist and app developer. about using apps to make language development more motivating and fun! Rachel and Erik discuss picture-manipulation apps to get students laughing, telling stories with the my story app, making passive screen time more active, teaching students to comment and not just request, integrating parents into therapy with the superherofx app, and more! Learn more about Erik at Erikxraj.com and on Instagram @erikxraj

 

For extra apps and hacks from Erik Raj and to enter to win Erik’s Your Face Learning apps, become a TWT Patron at patreon.com/talkingwithtech!

 

Before the interview, Rachel and Chris discuss their presentations on AAC in the Cloud: Chris’s presentation on robots and coding for core language, and Rachel’s presentation with Lauren Enders on attention-grabbing tools. They also share about some of the other interesting presentations from this year's AAC in the Cloud conference.

 

Visit talkingwithtech.org to access previous episodes, resources, and CEU credits that you can earn for listening to TWT episodes!

Chris Ellis: Improving Hearing With the Audio Cardio App

Chris Ellis: Improving Hearing With the Audio Cardio App

July 1, 2020

This week, Rachel interviews Chris Ellis of Audio Cardio, an app designed to help strengthen hearing. They discuss how the app uses threshold sound conditioning (TSC) and barely audible sound to stimulate the cells in the ear, and the results of research studies suggesting TSC can improve hearing thresholds.  

 

TWT listeners can get a free 30 day trial of Audio Cardio by going to audiocardio.com and using the code AAC3XS

 

Before the interview, Chris and Rachel talk about intersection of hearing and AAC. Rachel shares about an AAC user who had recently received cochlear implants. This AAC user benefited from the visuals on the device and he rapidly improved his functional communication by using the device. Then, Chris shares about some of the issues regarding speaker volume he has solved with solutions like bluetooth speakers. Finally, Chris and Rachel discuss teaching AAC users how to change volume on their devices so they can be heard above the background noise.

 

Check out Picseepal, a low tech communication tool that is mobile, durable, and splash-proof, at picseepal.com and on Facebook at facebook.com/picseepal 

 

Visit talkingwithtech.org to access previous episodes, resources, and CEU credits that you can earn for listening to TWT episodes!

Gemma White: Fostering a Growth Mindset With Core Words

Gemma White: Fostering a Growth Mindset With Core Words

June 24, 2020

This week, Rachel interviews Gemma White, an SLP who owns a private practice specializing in AAC and feeding support. Gemma and Rachel discuss a “growth mindset” and why mindset is important for everyone, including people with complex communication needs.

 

Before the interview, Rachel and Chris play a game where Rachel decides on which words she would use to communicate with fictional “veggie” creatures! Then, Rachel and Chris discuss resources for learning about state license reciprocity and how Chris teaches growth mindset to his kids.

 

Key ideas this week: 

 

🔑 The idea behind a “growth mindset” is that a person’s personality, intelligence and abilities are not fixed. People grow, change, and develop when they make mistakes and decide on a path forward.

 

🔑 Promoting a growth mindset isn’t just being a cheerleader- it’s also about fostering an environment where people are brave enough to make mistakes, receive feedback on what was done correctly and incorrectly,  and choose a path forward

 

🔑 We can promote growth mindset while also teaching core language and modeling. We can model things like “you tried, it’s hard, you can do it” to support the idea that learning is a process, they made an error, and we are going to move forward.

 

🔑 When giving corrective feedback, try to say “not yet” instead of “no”.

 

You can find out more about Gemma at gemmawhiteslp.com and on Instagram (@a.spoonful) 

 

Check out Picseepal, a low tech communication tool that is mobile, durable, and splash-proof, at picseepal.com and on Facebook at facebook.com/picseepal 

 

Research

 

Dweck, C. S. (2008). Mindset: The new psychology of success. Random House Digital, Inc..

 

Dweck, C. S. (2000). Self-theories: Their role in motivation, personality, and development. Psychology press.

 

Rhew, E., Piro, J. S., Goolkasian, P., & Cosentino, P. (2018). The effects of a growth mindset on self-efficacy and motivation. Cogent Education, 5(1), 1492337.

Cara Walton:  Action Planning for Anti-Racism and AAC

Cara Walton: Action Planning for Anti-Racism and AAC

June 19, 2020

This week, Rachel and Chris interview Cara Walton (@thebuckeyeslp), the author of a recent change.org petition “Demands for ASHA to Increase Cultural Sensitivity.” Cara shares about her experience as a Black woman becoming a speech-language pathologist, what ASHA can do right now to increase cultural sensitivity, and ways that AAC can better support people of color.

 

Before the interview, Rachel and Chris talk about their previous attempt to discuss anti-racism and AAC on the podcast, how they responded to mistakes they made, and how that response has led to a better understanding of their own cultural “blindspots” and the importance of learning from our mistakes.

 

Key ideas this week: 

 

🔑 There is a need for more diversity in the field of speech-language pathology - only 8% of SLPs self-identify as people of color, and only 3% identify as Black. We need to recruit more people of color to become SLPs and audiologists, and push graduate schools to have requirements to enroll a more diverse class.

 

🔑 Most AAC symbol sets typically default to white male icons being showcased in vocabulary templates and it requires a high level of customization to select and program racially diverse icons. Considering whether the symbols will represent the user can be an important factor when choosing a system for an AAC user. If software developers know racial diversity in symbol sets is a consideration when feature matching, we may see more diverse symbol options in AAC software. 

 

🔑 There should be a mandatory diversity CEU requirement that is similar to the mandatory ethics CEU requirement, and there should be more CEUs on diversity and multicultural issues available on the ASHA Learning Pass.

 

We invite you to write your own goals for improving racial equity and share them with us at https://bit.ly/twtequityform

 

Click here to sign the ASHA petition Cara started. 

 

Resources:

  1. Donation Spreadsheet
  2. Speech-Specific Organizations:
    1. National Black Association of Speech Language Hearing NBASLH
    2. Sistas in Speech Therapy and Audiology S.I.S.T.A.S.
    3. SLPs of Color 
  3. Education-Related Organizations
    1. Black Girls Code
    2. The Conscious Kid
  4. Social Media Accounts
    1. @equityslps
    2. @slpsofcolor 
    3. @the_juvenileforensic_slp 
    4. @speechologistsf  
    5. @theslpway  
    6. @jrc_theslp  
    7. @ei_incolor  
    8. @thebuckeyslp  
    9. @coffee.communication  
    10. Black Speech-Language Pathologists
    11. SLP Private Practice in Color (Townhall Meeting)
  5. Helpful Podcasts
    1. The Mindful SLP Episode: Anti-Racist Mindfulness
    2. Brene Brown: How to Be an Anti-Racist
  6. Helpful Videos
    1. A Kindergarten Teachers Talking about Racism to her Students
    2. Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man 
  7. Helpful Articles
    1. The New Yorker: White Fragility
    2. Comprehensive Anti-Racism Resource Guide
Brittyn Coleman: How Nutrition Can Affect People with Autism

Brittyn Coleman: How Nutrition Can Affect People with Autism

May 27, 2020

This week, Rachel interviews Brittyn Coleman (https://www.autismdietitian.com), a pediatric dietitian who specializes in supporting children with autism and ADHD. She talks with Rachel about the difference between the different types of food reactions, when biomedical testing may be used to evaluate food sensitivity, the different reasons why some foods may be avoided by picky eaters, and more!

 

Before the interview, Chris and Rachel finish their game of AAC Bingo! Topics that they rate themselves on this week include if they “inspire not require”, if they are CEU “junkies”, if they use password managers, and how much they enjoy laminating!

 

Key ideas this week:

 

🔑 There are up to 30 different steps that may be necessary before we ask a picky eater to eat a new food (e.g., seeing, smelling, touching, tasting). Going straight to eating a new food may elicit a “fight or flight” response that reduces appetite even further.

 

🔑 There are different types of food reactions that can occur. Food allergies often involve anaphylactic reactions and typically can bee seen on the outside. Food sensitivities can take longer to show up and may only occur internally and manifest as cognitive and/or behavioral issues. Food intolerance is when there is a digestive enzyme that is missing and the body can’t break down a particular food.

 

🔑 Every person on the autism spectrum is unique and there is no one diet that works for everyone. Even if someone doesn’t benefit from one diet (e.g., gluten-free diet), it doesn’t mean they won’t benefit from a different approach.

 

Listeners can get $500 off Brittyn’s services by using the promo code talkingwithtech !

Brittani Rollen: Author of “Lucas the Lion Loves the Tiny Talker”

Brittani Rollen: Author of “Lucas the Lion Loves the Tiny Talker”

May 20, 2020

Brittani’s son Lucas is a 7 year old AAC user who has Joubert’s syndrome. Brittani shares about her journey with teaching Lucas to communicate and how it led to writing her book “Lucas the Lion Loves the Tiny Talker,” a social story about a lion who uses AAC. It teaches kids about AAC and even comes with its own light-tech AAC device, the Tiny Talker! 

 

Before the interview, Chris plays the “Opposite Challenge” with Rachel, a game with a surprise ending! Next, Chris remembers the late, great Bruce Baker and talks about the impact Bruce made on his life. Rachel discusses starting new online therapy groups for kids that combine direct therapy activities and integrated parent training - learn more at rachelmadel.com/vitual. Chris and Rachel also talk about the need for a “telepractice” license that allows you to practice in multiple states at the same time. 

 

Key ideas this week:

 

🔑 Joubert’ syndrome is a genetic condition causing the vermis of the cerebellum to be underformed, which causes global developmental delays in eye movement, speech, coordination, and balance.

 

🔑 Considering the size of a device is important when doing an AAC assessment. A very heavy device may not be a good fit for a small child to take around at home and school.

 

🔑 Talking with Tech has a new website! Visit talkingwithtech.org for access to all of our episodes and more! 

 

Help us develop new content and keep the podcast going strong! Support our podcast at patreon.com/talkingwithtech!

Carson Covey: AAC User and Future SLP

Carson Covey: AAC User and Future SLP

May 13, 2020

This week, the TWT team presents Chris’s interview with Carson Covey, social media manager & AAC mentor at Jill Tullman & Associates, ambassador with PRC, and AAC user! Carson shares about changing his AAC system to TouchChat; the importance of having his circle of support use his device; updating AAC devices when sheltering at home; and going to school to become an SLP!

 

Before the interview, Chris and Rachel play AAC Bingo & score themselves on AAC in their lives, including advocating modeling, using low tech AAC, valuing motor planning, and using AAC memes.

 

Key ideas this week:

 

🔑 Having an AAC user’s 1:1 aide know and use the device can be a huge help when navigating the school environment inside and outside of class. Having the family know the device is similarly helpful at home.

 

🔑 It is important to avoid helping AAC users too much - we must give them the time and opportunity to communicate before jumping in to help.

 

🔑 AAC users should trust in themselves, and trust their technology!

 

Help us develop new content and keep the podcast going strong! Support our podcast at patreon.com/talkingwithtech!

 

Visit bit.ly/twtpod for access to previous episodes, resources, and CEU credits that you can earn for listening to TWT episodes!

Tara Wineinger: Hosting a “Virtual 5k” to Support an AAC Nonprofit

Tara Wineinger: Hosting a “Virtual 5k” to Support an AAC Nonprofit

May 6, 2020

This week, Tara Wineinger and Rachel discuss Sophie’s Run (runsophies5k.com), a “virtual 5k” that supports decreasing the amount of time students wait for AAC devices and to assist communication partners with training in the Kansas City area. Tara shares about building awareness for AAC, the services they have been able to provide, and ideas for how you can bring fundraising like this to your school district.

 

Before the interview, Chris and his wife Melissa talk about how the school closures have changed their personal and professional lives. They discuss how “eduspeak” can be overwhelming to some parents, how getting emails from multiple teachers for multiple kids can be a lot to manage, and why we need to have a lot of compassion and empathy for each other in these times. 

 

Key Ideas This Week:

 

🔑 If possible, educators and therapists should focus on helping students to understand academic content and apply it to their lives (e.g., graphic organizers, reflective coaching, solving authentic problems.) rather than just providing content.

 

🔑 Having teachers and therapists meet as a team with AAC users and their parents to support AAC implementation and provide resources can help promote language development during school closure.

 

🔑 Co-Vidspeak (covidspeak.org) is a free open source, web-based video conferencing tool built for people who can't speak but still need to connect with others.

 

Double Time Docs helps you write your pediatric SLP, OT, and PT evaluation reports in a fraction of the time. SIgn up for a free 30 day trial at doubletimedocs.com and use promo code TWT2020 for to get 1 free Doc credit! 

 

Help us develop new content and keep the podcast going strong! Support our podcast at patreon.com/talkingwithtech!

 

Visit bit.ly/twtpod for access to previous episodes, resources, and CEU credits that you can earn for listening to TWT episodes!

Caitlin Calder: True Confessions of a Parent of an AAC User - Part 2

Caitlin Calder: True Confessions of a Parent of an AAC User - Part 2

April 29, 2020

This week, the TWT team presents part 2 of Rachel’s interview with Caitlyn Calder, parent of a child with complex communication needs and SLP at CHI St. Luke’s Health in Houston TX. Caitlin continues to share from all that she has learned about being a parent of an AAC user, including thinking of parents as “co-clinicians”, how she second-guessed herself about her daughter’s progress with her device, how grief can impact family buy-in, and more. 

 

Before the interview, Rachel and Chris talk about running a “virtual 5k” called Sophie’s 5k to help fund devices for people with complex communication needs (runsophies5k.com) and Chris’s latest stories involving characters that use technology to communicate. Listen for free at  nightlightstories.net !

 

Key ideas this week:

 

🔑  Caitlin’s daughter learned how to communicate much faster once there was more family buy-in for modeling. Showing parents how to model by watching the SLP do it first can be very helpful.

 

🔑  It can be really stressful for parents when a child starts to make progress with AAC, because often the family could have started supporting AAC sooner. It’s important to recognize that progress can be made at any age and to celebrate success rather than focus on what could have been done at a younger age.

 

🔑  Parents of students with disabilities experience grief in different ways at different times. The grief can be so overwhelming at times that working with a device feels impossible, but that doesn’t mean that it will feel impossible forever.

 

Double Time Docs helps you write your pediatric SLP, OT, and PT evaluation reports in a fraction of the time. SIgn up for a free 30 day trial at doubletimedocs.com and use promo code TWT2020 for to get 1 free Doc credit! 

 

Help us develop new content and keep the podcast going strong! Support our podcast at patreon.com/talkingwithtech!

 

Visit bit.ly/twtpod for access to previous episodes, resources, and CEU credits that you can earn for listening to TWT episodes!

Teaching with Tech: Double Time Docs

Teaching with Tech: Double Time Docs

April 28, 2020

On this episode of Teaching with Tech, Rachel and Chris do a deep dive into Double Time Docs, an online software that helps you write speech and language reports, including AAC assessments! By answering multiple-choice, fill-in, and short answer questions, you can have a fully written and formatted report generated in moments. It has an extensive bank of standardized tests that only require a few fill-ins to complete, as well as sections for articulation, voice, fluency, pragmatics, parent & teacher reports, observations, developmental history, and more! Their AAC evaluation section includes device trailing, method of access, and common standardized testing used to evaluate people with complex communication needs. Whether you are a new clinician that could use help making your assessments more thorough, or a veteran who would like to write reports in a fraction of the time, it is worth taking look at Double Time Docs!

 

Go to doubletimedocs.com for a free 30 day trial, and use the promo code TWT2020 to get an additional report “doc credit” for FREE! 

Caitlin Calder: True Confessions of a Parent of an AAC User - Part 1

Caitlin Calder: True Confessions of a Parent of an AAC User - Part 1

April 22, 2020

This week, the TWT team presents part 1 of Rachel’s interview with Caitlyn Calder, parent of a child with complex communication needs and SLP at CHI St. Luke’s Health in Houston TX. Caitlin shares from some of the many lessons she has learned, including working with specialists, teaching her daughter AAC, dealing with expectations that don’t match reality, and navigating the many challenges that complex communication needs can bring.

 

Before the interview, Rachel and Chris discuss dealing with co-workers and communication partners who are not motivated to provide the best service they can. Ideas for overcoming this include focusing and talking about the positive, charting out growth for everyone to see, incorporating language opportunities into routines, and more!

 

Key ideas this week:

 

🔑  Parents & teachers can think “this isn’t working” when there isn’t quick success, but its normal for kids with complex communication needs to take significant time to learn language.

 

🔑  Parents who expect to use the device 24/7 may feel badly when the device isn’t being implemented all the time, which can lead to negative feelings that discourage them from using the device even more.

 

🔑  We can help parents feel less overwhelmed by setting realistic expectations for using the device (e.g., starting small,)  telling them it’s OK to feel awkward to start using AAC, and teaching them how to model at home.

 

Double Time Docs helps you write your pediatric SLP, OT, and PT evaluation reports in a fraction of the time. SIgn up for a free 30 day trial at doubletimedocs.com and use promo code TWT2020 for to get 1 free Doc credit! 

 

Help us develop new content and keep the podcast going strong! Support our podcast at patreon.com/talkingwithtech!

 

Visit bit.ly/twtpod for access to previous episodes, resources, and CEU credits that you can earn for listening to TWT episodes!

Teaching with Tech: Smarty Symbols

Teaching with Tech: Smarty Symbols

April 20, 2020

For a FREE 30 day trial of Smarty Symbols, go to smartysymbols.com and use coupon code TWT30 at checkout!

 

On this episode of Teaching with Tech, sponsored by Smarty Symbols, Chris and Rachel do a "deep dive" into Smarty Symbols! Smarty Symbols provides access to over 21000 clean and modern symbols that can be used to create visuals supports and materials for therapy and language enrichment. Chris and Rachel discuss how the Smarty Symbols website can be used to create comic strips, planners, low tech AAC boards, visual scenes, and more! The site also provides access to a library of ready-made materials and simple drag-and-drop tools for creating materials. The symbols can be used in other apps to create new materials as well, such as using them to create Boom Cards.With a commercial license, you can even sell your Smarty Symbols creations on sites like TPT!

 

Visit bit.ly/twtpod for access to previous episodes, resources, and CEU credits that you can earn for listening to TWT episodes!

Mike Hipple, Tami Altschuler, and Sarah Blackstone: USSAAC’s Role in Policy Making & Disaster Relief

Mike Hipple, Tami Altschuler, and Sarah Blackstone: USSAAC’s Role in Policy Making & Disaster Relief

April 16, 2020

This week, Chris interviews Mike Hipple, Tami Altschuler, and Sarah Blackstone of the United States Society of AAC (USSAAC) to talk about USSAC and its role in policy making, disaster relief, and providing funding help for AAC users.

 

Before the interview, Rachel & Chris answer a Patreon member’s question about using music to teach AAC and how to support her son’s fine motor challenges. Chris and Rachel discuss teaching core words by starting and stopping music with edpuzzle.com, using a switch with powerpoint, adapting instruments to make them more accessible, creating a grid of links to music with symbaloo.com, putting links on a picture with thinglink.com, and more!

 

Key ideas this week:

 

🔑  Without the work of USSAAC & Lew Golinker, Medicaid and Medicare would probably not cover AAC devices

 

🔑  patientprovidercommunication.org is providing free alphabet boards, symbol boards, medical decision making boards, and other communication resources for people in acute care & ICUs, including people in respiratory distress due to COVID-19.

 

🔑  We should look at communication as a medical priority - its a quality and safety issue. If you use AAC, having a “go bag” with chargers, low tech options, and anything else you might need in the hospital can help with emergency preparedness. 

AAC in the Cloud: AAC & Telepractice

AAC in the Cloud: AAC & Telepractice

April 8, 2020

This week, the TWT team presents Rachel’s pre-conference presentation for AAC in the Cloud on AAC and telepractice! This session is filled with practical solutions for practitioners who are working with anyone over telepractice, with an emphasis on working with AAC users.

 

Key ideas this week:

 

🔑  All children are candidates for telepractice, but telepractice will look different for everyone. They don’t have to be able to watch a screen for us to facilitate communication!

 

🔑  Checking in with parent’s to gauge how overwhelmed they are is critical right now; some parents are ready to take on more responsibilities, while other parents may need something simple and achievable.

 

🔑  Communication should not feel like work - look for the opportunities that already happen during the day and take advantage of them. What is their favorite time of day to spend with their child? When does their child communicate spontaneously, and what do they say?

 

🔑  Include a variety of communication partners, including siblings, friends, ABA professionals, teachers, etc. You can have them join in virtually as well as in person.

 

🔑  You can plan ahead and track progress using a shared google sheet to provide materials prior o the session, share photos/videos, and provide feedback after the session.

 

🔑  Use strengths-based coaching - start with what communication partners are already doing well, build a strong relationship through collaboration & listening, provide performance feedback, and encourage self-reflection.

 

Links:

Handout from the presentation: bit.ly/teleAAChandout

Free Coaching Guide: www.rachelmadel.com/aaccoach

Rachel’s Free Communication App List: www.rachelmadel.com/applist

Help us develop new content and keep the podcast going strong! Support our podcast at patreon.com/talkingwithtech!

Visit bit.ly/twtpod for access to previous episodes, resources, and CEU credits that you can earn for listening to TWT episodes!

Caroline Musselwhite: Coaching Communication Partners Using Telepractice

Caroline Musselwhite: Coaching Communication Partners Using Telepractice

April 1, 2020

This week, the TWT team is proud to present the amazing Caroline Musselwhite! Caroline shares from her 45 years of experience with low- and high-tech AAC, including the communication circle of people around an AAC user, the importance of pranks & humor when using AAC, recognizing gestures, and more.

 

Before the interview, Rachel shares from her webinar on telepractice and AAC and why “all children are good candidates for telepractice.” Rachel notes that telepractice can look different for different students, but all children can benefit from a qualified speech-language pathologist and/or AAC specialist facilitating communication, even if students won’t pay attention to the screen. Telepractice doesn’t have to be a direct service model - we can always coach communication partners, including parents, siblings, and other family members on how to support an AAC user's communication.

 

Key ideas this week:

 

🔑  Coaching an AAC user’s circle of support should include peers whenever possible. Training friends and siblings allows for exposure to different communication functions, and involving peers can increase an AAC user's motivation and buy-in.

 

🔑  “Coaching” is not necessarily the same thing as “consulting.” They are both important, but coaching can be more valuable because it involves follow up and showing communication partners how to work with AAC users, not just telling them what to do.

 

🔑  Gestures are an important part of multi-modal communication. Recognizing what each AAC user communicates (or can communicate) with things like facial expressions can add to the overall effectiveness of their communication.

 

You can learn more about Caroline and her work at www.aacintervention.com, her AAC Girls blog, on Pinterest, and Teachers Pay Teachers.

 

Help us develop new content and keep the podcast going strong! Support our podcast at patreon.com/talkingwithtech!

 

Visit bit.ly/twtpod for access to previous episodes, resources, and CEU credits that you can earn for listening to TWT episodes!

An Hour-By-Hour Guide To Implementing AAC At Home

An Hour-By-Hour Guide To Implementing AAC At Home

March 25, 2020

This week, the TWT team presents the audio recording of Chris and Rachel’s AAC Hour-by-Hour webinar originally presented on Xceptionaled.com! This episode is jam packed with practical strategies and advice for parents and professionals working with AAC users who are staying at home. These ideas can be implemented in the home or shared with parents and communication partners via teletherapy!

 

Key ideas this week:

 

🔑  Look at your daily schedule and plan out the “when what who and how” for incorporating core words into your routines. Choose routines that happen every day to allow for more chances to model.

 

🔑  It’s OK to take a break and not model 24/7, especially when you are with an AAC user all day long. When giving AAC users a break, you can let them “babble” and explore with the words on their device freely.

 

🔑  Have a family meeting and create a to-do list for your extended time at home. Create the to-do list together to increase everyone’s motivation, and give everyone a chance to talk about feelings regarding the break.

 

For links to the slides used in this episode, including shared resources, go to bit.ly/aachourbyhour

 

Help us develop new content and keep the podcast going strong! Support our podcast at patreon.com/talkingwithtech!

 

Visit bit.ly/twtpod for access to previous episodes, resources, and CEU credits that you can earn for listening to TWT episodes!

Elena Dukhovny: Current Research on Motor Planning & Paraeducator AAC Coaching

Elena Dukhovny: Current Research on Motor Planning & Paraeducator AAC Coaching

March 18, 2020

This week, the TWT team presents Chris's interview with Dr. Elena Dukhovny, professor at CSU East Bay! She is a leading researcher on motor planning, AAC training for paraeducators, and more, and she shares some of what she has learned about these two important topics!

 

Before the interview, Rachel shares a wealth of useful advice on preparing to consult with parents and the circle of support, including 1) asking what gets kids excited to communicate; 2) having parents write down all non-verbal communication, including behaviors; and 3) asking what parents would change about the child’s communication, if they could. Rachel also shares about gently approaching situations where a non-robust language system was already recommended to parents and she wants a robust language system implemented instead.

 

Key ideas this week:

🔑  Developing a motor plan allows AAC users to have a rate of speech that is closest to verbal speech. 

 

🔑  Elena’s research indicates fluent AAC device users plan and remember words by where their hands move on the device, similar to how speaking people remember words by how they sound and sign-language users remember words by how they are signed.

 

🔑  Briefly trialing different language systems isn’t always the best way to determine what system will be best for a user in the long term. For example, a system that is simpler or easier to visually scan may be learned quickly, but if motor planning isn’t supported then a user may not become as fluent with that system long term.

 

Help us develop new content and keep the podcast going strong! Support our podcast at patreon.com/talkingwithtech!

 

Visit bit.ly/twtpod for access to previous episodes, resources, and CEU credits that you can earn for listening to TWT episodes!

 

Research

 

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.

 

Thistle, J. J., Holmes, S. A., Horn, M. M., & Reum, A. M. (2018). Consistent symbol location affects motor learning in preschoolers without disabilities: Implications for designing augmentative and alternative communication displays. American journal of speech-language pathology, 27(3), 1010-1017.

Teaching with Tech - Speech Blubs Speech Therapy App

Teaching with Tech - Speech Blubs Speech Therapy App

March 16, 2020

Speech Blubs will be giving away a lifetime membership to anyone who signs up to become a Talking with Tech Patreon member by April 2nd, 2020! Just go to patreon.com/talkingwithtech!

 

In this episode of Teaching with Tech, Chris and Rachel dive into the Speech Blubs speech therapy app. The Speech Blubs app utilizes games, video/peer modeling, and augmented reality to make learning language and improving speech skills fun and engaging! You can use the app to teach emotions & core words, work on wh- questions, improve verbal speech, and more. The app has been used successfully to improve communication for children with speech delay, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down syndrome, and apraxia!

 

You can download a free trial of the app by going to speechblubs.com

 

Find out more about Speech Blubs on Instagram (@speechblubs) or by emailing them at hi@blubblub.org

Christine Tripoli & Ellen Mazel - Assessment & Treatment of Cortical Visual Impairment

Christine Tripoli & Ellen Mazel - Assessment & Treatment of Cortical Visual Impairment

March 11, 2020

This week on TWT, Chris interviews Christine Tripoli, an SLP with the Deaf/Blind program at Perkins School for the Blind, and Ellen Maisel, Director of Cortical Visual Impairment project at Perkins. They discuss cortical visual impairment (CVI), including what it is and how to look for it.

 

Before the interview, Chris shares about his discussion on AAC Certification with Marie Ireland, VP of ASHA. Chris wonders if a slippery slope argument (if we let A happen, then Z will happen) is happening with AAC certification and talks about yourlogicalfallacy.com. Marie talked with Chris about the lack of data to support anyone getting denied services once a certification is put in place.

 

Key ideas this week:

 

🔑 CVI is a brain-based visual impairment that affects visual attention and recognition. The cause of visual impairment for people with CVI isn’t their eyes, but their visual brain.

 

🔑 Just because a child is looking at something, doesn’t mean they understand what they are seeing. This understanding is the primary challenge for children with CVI.

 

🔑 For brain-based visual impairment, you don’t need to just make it bigger or closer. Its about teaching them to understand what they are looking at.

 

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