Talking With Tech AAC Podcast



Wednesday Jul 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)

Wednesday Jul 08, 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 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!   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 to access previous episodes, resources, and CEU credits that you can earn for listening to TWT episodes!

Wednesday Jul 01, 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 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 and on Facebook at    Visit to access previous episodes, resources, and CEU credits that you can earn for listening to TWT episodes!

Wednesday Jun 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 and on Instagram (@a.spoonful)    Check out Picseepal, a low tech communication tool that is mobile, durable, and splash-proof, at and on Facebook at    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.

Friday Jun 19, 2020

This week, Rachel and Chris interview Cara Walton (@thebuckeyeslp), the author of a recent 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    Click here to sign the ASHA petition Cara started.    Resources: Donation Spreadsheet Speech-Specific Organizations:National Black Association of Speech Language Hearing NBASLH Sistas in Speech Therapy and Audiology S.I.S.T.A.S. SLPs of Color  Education-Related OrganizationsBlack Girls Code The Conscious Kid Social Media Accounts@equityslps @slpsofcolor  @the_juvenileforensic_slp  @speechologistsf   @theslpway   @jrc_theslp   @ei_incolor   @thebuckeyslp   @coffee.communication   Black Speech-Language Pathologists SLP Private Practice in Color (Townhall Meeting) Helpful PodcastsThe Mindful SLP Episode: Anti-Racist Mindfulness Brene Brown: How to Be an Anti-Racist Helpful VideosA Kindergarten Teachers Talking about Racism to her Students Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man  Helpful ArticlesThe New Yorker: White Fragility Comprehensive Anti-Racism Resource Guide

Wednesday May 27, 2020

This week, Rachel interviews Brittyn Coleman (, 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 !

Wednesday 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 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 for access to all of our episodes and more!    Help us develop new content and keep the podcast going strong! Support our podcast at!

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

Wednesday May 06, 2020

This week, Tara Wineinger and Rachel discuss Sophie’s Run (, 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 ( 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 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!   Visit for access to previous episodes, resources, and CEU credits that you can earn for listening to TWT episodes!

Wednesday Apr 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 ( and Chris’s latest stories involving characters that use technology to communicate. Listen for free at !   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 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!   Visit for access to previous episodes, resources, and CEU credits that you can earn for listening to TWT episodes!

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