Friday, 30 September 2016

I can...say Goodbye

The I Can Newsletter was first published in May 2007, with an issue related to playing board games. This was in response to a request for ideas to be used in a classroom. Since then, we have covered dozens of topics, including going on a road trip, using social media, talking about math and using switches. We have tried to include resources that we've found helpful in our own practice. In the early days, I Can was sent out via email blast and evolved over time to the blog you see today. Along the way, we've learned lots about blogging and have had fun exploring topics that we think might interest our clients, their families and their school teams. We have now decided that the blog has run its course and that this will be the final I Can post. 

We hope that you will still look back through the archived issues of the blog, to find answers to some of your questions, websites of interest and just to get some ideas for using AAC in everyday activities.The Blog Archive sits along the left side of the blog and has a search function at the very top so you can look up blogs on a specific topic quite easily! 

We will leave you with some of our favourite websites, blogs and resources that we go back to time and again.  Thank you for following our blog and remember, You a difference-maker for your children who use AAC!

Image result Something to watch out for!
"Speechless" is the new TV comedy about Maya DiMeo (Minnie Driver), a mother who is willing to do anything for her family. Her son, JJ (Micah Fowler) has cerebral palsy and uses augmentative strategies for communication. Maya will fight for justice in order to give her son what he deserves. It's on at 8:30 on Wednesday nights on ABC. 

Something fun to do!
HomeStorybots!  Free unlimited access for teachers... Subscription access for everyone else...StoryBots lets you put your students right into the videos. Invite parents to upload photographs so that their child can star in the videos and story books available. Highly motivating and a great activity that encourages students to comment, make choices, requests etc.  You can also download StoryBots apps onto your iPhone, iPad or Apple TV to use hundreds of educational books, videos, games, activity sheets and more. 

Tar Heel Reader is a collection of free, easy-to-read, and accessible books on a wide range of topics. Each book can be speech enabled and accessed using multiple access methods including touch screens, an IntelliKeys with custom overlays, and 1 to 3 switches. You may write your own books using pictures from the huge collection at Flickr or pictures you upload and you can publish to the Tar Heel Reader site once they're finished so that others can enjoy your book!!!

Some new ideas every day!

Praactical AAC never fails to deliver on sharing information that is truly practical and helpful for families, educators and clinicians.  

Jane Farrell is a leader in the field of AAC and has lots of experience to pull from.  She also has an amazing blog where she shares her ideas and suggestions for supporting literacy, AAC and other Assistive Technology

Uncommon Sense is Dana Nieder's honest and humorous blog where she talks about her family's journey with communication, AAC and different things they've tried with their daughter Maya who uses AAC.  It's always a great read and has LOTS of great resources!

And you can't forget SET BC! 
SET BC maintains searchable databases of resources that are created and updated by dedicated professionals working with students who use assistive technology in British Columbia, Canada.  
CurriculumSET is a searchable database where you can find, download, and customize activities, templates and public domain accessible books based on the curriculum as set out by the British Columbia Ministry of Education.  
PictureSET is a collection of downloadable visual supports that can be used by students for both receptive and expressive communication in the classroom, at home, and in the community.  It allows you to find a wide range of visual supports for curriculum areas, activities, and events. 

AAC Intervention
Here you'll find years and years worth of "Tips of the Month'' with free practical suggestions for teaching & learning AAC strategies, writing using alternative tools, literacy development, participation and the list goes on and on!!!  They also have resources that you can purchase for more in depth information.  The Links section takes you to lots of other fabulous expert resources that are great to have in your communication toolbox!  

VocaliD - be a voice donor!!!

Over ten million people rely on text-to-speech devices that use synthesized speech to express themselves. There is a limited pool of voices available, so whether they are young or old, male or female, shy or outgoing — they all speak with similar voices. VocaliD is a voice company that is using voice blending technology to create unique vocal persona for any device that turns text into speech. 14,000 speakers from over 110 countries have already contributed over 6 million sentences to their growing spoken repository but in order to continue to create these unique voices, they need more!!! Please, visit the VocaliD site to learn more about how you can add to this voice bank from the comfort of your own home!

Something to inspire!  
Watch "Talk to me" -  a short video where Pheobe helps to raise awareness of living with a disability and using AAC.   

Upcoming Education Sessions for TVCC client families:

How to Choose Powerful Words  
Date: Tuesday October 4, 2016 Time: 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Register: online at 

With the space limitations of most low tech augmentative communication systems, we want to ensure that our communicators have access to the words that will have the most impact and usage throughout the day. This workshop will demonstrate how to use Core Vocabulary, the 200 words that account for 80% of our communication, to enhance a client’s communication potential.

Transition to Highschool  
Tuesday October 18, 2016, 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. (registration and pizza start at 5 p.m.)
This evening workshop is designed for parents/caregivers and youth planning ahead for the transition to high school, access to support and goal planning. Parents/caregivers will hear from other parents and special education staff from the Thames Valley and London Catholic District School Boards and Thames Valley Children's Centre.  Youth will enjoy listening to peers who have been there and done that! They can also explore practical skills (like lockers), hear about clubs or just hang out with other future high school students.

How to Use Symbols so Your Child Will Too 
Tuesday November 8, 2016, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Children learn how to talk by listening to and copying others. Learn how to facilitate communication by using symbols/strategies for children who are non-verbal or difficult to understand. During every-day fun activities, you will learn some key strategies and techniques. Materials will be provided for you to take home so that you can start immediately. 

Adapting Books   Tuesday December 6, 2016 
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Is your child learning to use symbols for communication? Does your child have a difficult time holding a book or turning the pages? Come join us for this session and learn how to adapt a book for your child.
Registration deadline: November 15, 2016.