Thursday, 1 December 2011

I can...when you believe in me!


This month we'd like to recognize the amazing contributions of communication partners.  Many people who use AC rely on people in their lives to help set up technology and low tech systems, teach them new vocabulary and provide opportunities to communicate with others.  Communication partners have the opportunity to really connect with people who use AC and see how the power of communication can allow kids to learn, make friends and have fun.

Anne Donnellan, in her book "Movement Differences and Diversity in Autism- Mental Retardation: Appreciations and Accommodations People With Communications and Behavior Challenges" (1994), challenges us to think differently about our assumptions of people with disabilities.  She wrote about a concept that she calls the "Least Dangerous Assumption".  

“Least dangerous assumption” states that in the absence of absolute evidence, it is essential to make the assumption that, if proven to be false, would be least dangerous to the individual. She continues by explaining that it is always safest and most respectful to make the “least dangerous assumption.” Read more on this interesting outlook at http://www.inclusive-solutions.com/leastdangerousassumption.asp.

Consider a child who uses AC...what assumptions do people make about this child?  One assumption could be that when a child does not use a communication system, he/she has nothing to say.  How might you work with a child like this?  Another assumption might be that this child can communicate effectively when strategies and support are put in place.  Which assumption fits best with you? 

As we reflect back on the past year, we want to celebrate all  people who are fantastic communication partners and advocates for kids who use AC.  We are seeing many people choosing to believe in these kids.  In classrooms, we have observed peers who have no previous experience with AC, work with a fellow classmate to help him learn the vocabulary on his new device. We also have experience with amazing individuals who instinctively know how to use communication strategies to allow successful interactions.

Take a moment to watch this great video of Linda Burkhart and a young child who uses AC.  Linda was a classroom teacher who had a passion for AC and now is a consultant and speaker in field of Assistive Technology.  (http://www.lindaburkhart.com/) Think about the subtle ways she is encouraging this child to become a great communicator.



Pati King-DeBaun is an SLP who speaks and consults throughout the world on topics of early language development, augmentative communication, early literacy support and children with disabilities.  (http://www.creativecommunicating.com/) She is the author of this inspiring oath for professionals who work with students with severe and/or mulitple disabilities.

The Power of Believing
  1. Believe that all students can learn and have the right to.
  2. Believe that all students can communicate and have the right to.
  3. Believe that all students have the right to choose and should be given the opportunity to do so.
  4. Believe that there is always hope.
  5. Believe that small miracles are the best.
  6. Believe that all movements, signals, cries and gestures are a form of communication.
  7. Believe in patience.
  8. Believe each individual has something positive and valuable to share with you.
  9. Believe that if there is a will, there is a way.
  10. Believe that you have something positive to give to individuals with severe and mulitple disabilities.
  11. Believe that all students need to be cognitively challenged.
  12. Believe that if you believe, the child will believe.
As the holidays are fast approaching and we are all busy trying to find the perfect gift, consider taking the time to connect with someone who uses AC. 

No-Tech Ideas:

Brag about your fantastic students...within listening distance!  It will help build the student's confidence.  It also highlights the student's strengths and provide immediate reinforcement for their efforts.  For example, "Mrs. Smith, Amber did a great job telling the class about her trip to the mall.  I was really impressed with how well she used her switch at just the right moment!"       

Share information about how your student communicate with others.  For example, tell the secretary how Michael says "Yes" and "No" so that she can ask him questions when he visits the office.

Create a communication dictionary.  This involves describing your students' communication abilities (what they do and what you think it means) to share with others.  This helps everyone interpret communication attempts consistently and help the student to understand the power of his/her communication.

Inspire family members to use photos to create a personalized photobook.  Add simple text related to the student to each page (For example: See Amy laugh, See Amy play. See Amy eat.) Add page fluffers (a piece of foam between the pages) to help students turn the pages on their own. 

Light Tech Ideas:

Consider recording lines for the Christmas play on your child's simple SGD or recording a message of congratulations if you child is in the audience e.g. "Way to Go!  Fantastic performance!"

Teach peers to listen to your child's voice (SGD) and how to reflect back on what has been said e.g. "I really like the new Selena Gomez song."  "Yeah, I really like that song.  I have it on my ipod."

High Tech Ideas:

Learn more about your student's communication software by watching a webinar online.

Model phrases and sentences using the vocabulary on your child's communication device


I Can...be a Star!

This month we'd like to recognize Jack Bedard.  He recently started using an iPod with Proloquo2Go app.  When he was out with his Mom at a restaurant, he asked her for more fries and chocolate milk.  She told him that they were all finished.  He took the initiative to go up to the counter and order fries and chocolate milk for himself.  Way to go Jack!  We love your determination and initative! 


Upcoming Events

We're All Stars: January 16, 2012. 10am – 2pm London Convention Centre
This is an annual celebration of TVCC's school age clients (10 years and up).  Clients enjoy games, participate in All About Me displays, listen to presentations from three of their peers, get autographs from Sports celebrities and enjoy a pizza lunch.  It's a fantastic opportunity to celebrate and recognize the achievements of TVCC clients.  For more information: http://www.tvcc.on.ca/all-stars-2009-4.htm 

Individual Authorizer (I.A.) for Communication Aids
Workshop: January 31st, 2012. 8am-4pm Thames Valley Children's Centre $80
Individual Authorizers (I.A.) for Communication Aids prescribe specialized equipment with funding assistance from the Assistive Devices Program (A.D.P.).  To get this designation you must be either an Occupational Therapist or Speech Language Pathologist in Ontario.  For more information: http://www.tvcc.on.ca/individual-authorizer-ia-information.htm
Call the Centralized Equipment Pool (CEP) to obtain a registration form. 416-698-1305.
Check out the neat resources you can borrow from CEP once you become an IA... http://www.cepp.org/Individual%20Authorizers/I0028A48A

Resources

Switch it Maker Christmas: http://www.acciinc.com/products.php?product=SwitchIt!-Christmas-Extra

Say it With Symbols:  This website has a variety of cards and gifts with PCS that you can purchase.  http://www.givinggreetings.com/

Baking over the Holidays...here are some recipes that have symbols to help your child participate in baking. http://www.oneplaceforspecialneeds.com/resources_online/resource_online_results.html?words=visual+recipes

Jewish Celebrationshttp://www.jgateways.org/resources-highholidays.html

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

I can...move beyond cause and effect!


Have you ever wondered what possibilities are available for students who use simple cause and effect activities?  What are some of the skills required to make choices using a switch?  In this issue, we will breakdown the skills involved in automatic scanning and review the hardware and software that can enable students to make choices using a switch.

Scanning is a method used to allow students to make a selection from a set of choices.  Students can use one or two switches to use this approach.  For this issue, we will be focusing on students who use one switch.  With one switch, the choices are automatically highlighted in a timed sequence and when the desired object is highlighted, the student must press their switch to make a choice. 

How can I help my students learn to use automatic  scanning?
Timing and visual tracking are important skills in learning how to use scanning to access a computer or Speech Generating Device (SGD).  Below are some suggestions on how to give your students opportunities to fine practice their timing and visual tracking skills.

Error-Free Automotic Scanning - Start by providing your students with the opportunity to explore scanning without any expectations related to time and place.  Allow them to explore choice making and experience the consequences naturally.  You can adjust the speed of the scan based on how much time your student needs to see/hear the choice and make a response.  We often start with 3-4 seconds and see how the student responds.

Free Software to try:
http://www.helpkidzlearn.com/games/djmaster.html
http://www.helpkidzlearn.com/games/auntmaggies.html#
Also consider software that has some cells that are blank as a stepping stone towards choice making.  This helps student include some visual tracking and response time skills but in an error free environment.  Check out these options:

At the right time....try using activities that require your student to hit their switch in response to something on the screen.  For example, "When the crocodile appears, hit your switch".  This helps them work on their response time.  If your student has visual challenges, you can help them by providing a auditory prompt e.g. " Crocodile"

Free software to try:
In the right place....try using activities that require your student to wait until their target is in the right area and then hit their switch.  This helps them work on their visual tracking skills.  If your student has difficulty using their vision, try using live voice scanning and ask them to hit a switch when they hear the target word. 

Free software to try:
Pirate Ship: http://www.shinylearning.co.uk/freegames/pirateship.shtml
Car Crusher: http://www.shinylearning.co.uk/freegames/carcrusher.shtml
Fly Swatter: http://www.shinylearning.co.uk/freegames/ShinyFlySwatter.html

Choice making in automatic scanning:  Whoohoo! You've finally reached the final stage!  In this step, students have access to a list of choices and they can exert control over what they want to choose, answer, and tell. 
Software for free online:
http://www.helpkidzlearn.com/games/chooseit_maker_2_farm_oddoneout.html
http://www.helpkidzlearn.com/games/chooseit_maker_2_shopping_time.html

Software (to consider for purchase)
Early Learning 1 by Marblesoft/Simtech
Switch Skills Scanning - Early Learning Software
Choose and Tell - Nursery Rhymes
Simtech Early Literacy

Hardware Considerations: How is your student's switch connected to the computer?  Is he/she using a switch adapted mouse?  Many simple cause and effect programs are activated with the LEFT CLICK of the mouse but some are not.  It may be time to explore using a switch interface - a box that connects to your computer that allows you to choose what keystroke you are sending to the computer e.g. spacebar, enter, left click etc.
Some switch interfaces include:
Don Johnson Switch Interface USB Pro
Crick USB Switch Interface *requires software installation.

Switch Skills Progression Road Map:  Ian Bean (www.ianbean.co.uk ) is known for his work at Priory Woods School, where he produced widely used cause and effect activities for children with disabilities.  Subsequently he worked for Inclusive Technology where he worked to produce early scanning activities as well as a fantastic FREE resource called Switch Progression Road Map.  You can download the entire document here:  http://www.inclusive.co.uk/publications

No Tech Solutions:  Use live voice scanning (also known as auditory scanning and partner assisted scanning) to practice choice making.  Say the choices aloud and ask your student to hit a switch (does not need be connected to anything) when you say the choice that is desired.  E.g.  "What would you like to eat first at lunch?  Sandwich, Apple, Crackers.  Hit your switch when you hear the one you want.  Sandwich, Apple, Crackers." For more information and a video: http://bridgeschool.org/transition/multimodal/partner_assist_scan.php

Light Tech Solutions:  Here is a simple idea to practice timing. Record a repetitive line (E-I-E-I-O) in a song such Old MacDonald.  Ask your student to sing the repetitive line during the song at the correct time using a simple Speech Generating Device (SGD) e.g. Step by Step (tm).

High Tech Solutions: Scanning can be used to access a computer as well as a Speech Generating Device (SGD).  There are a variety of scanning patterns that can be considered including row column, inverse, quadrant. Contact your TVCC ACS Occupational Therapist if you would like to explore scanning patterns to maximize your student's access speed and efficiency.

FAQs:
Challenge:  My student repeatedly hits his/her switch.  I'm not sure if he/she understands that hitting a switch makes something happen on the computer screen. 
Possible Solutions:  Provide simple verbal promps.  "Hit your switch once, and see what happens."  You may need to provide some hand over hand assistance or temporarily take the switch away in between activities. 
Make sure the reinforcement is brief to allow the student many opportunities to see the beginning and end to the activity.

Challenge:  My student always picks the first choice.
Possible Solutions: Hold the switch and ask your student to listen to the choices first and then provide them the opporunity to touch the switch.  If you are using authoring software (that you can program), add a speaking button that is programmed to say "wait".  You may also want to try swapping the buttons for a less preferred choice at the beginning. 

I can...be a Star!

Madison is a 13 year old student who attends high school at Parkside Collegiate Institute in St. Thomas, ON.  She has been using auditory scanning with a head switch attached to her Speech Generating Device (Springboard) since June 2006.  She also uses the same access method to use a computer with Intellitools software to write a daily journal.  Way to go Madison!!!


Saturday, 1 October 2011

I can...trick or treat!

 The month of October brings fall leaves, pumpkins and Hallowe'en.  We thought we would share some "tricks" for helping kids who use Augmentative Communication (AC) to learn the words and symbols they need.  The "treat" will be for them to be able to share their stories, thoughts and feelings with the people who are important in their lives.


Today's technology is truly astounding.  The Speech Generating Devices (SGDs) currently available to us have so many capabilities in addition to providing a voice for kids who need AC.  Devices have become more affordable and now many of them have that "cool factor". Software is more readily available and has become more user friendly, making it easier to produce communication displays that anyone would be proud to use.

Getting a new device or communication display is just the beginning of the story...kids who use AC still need to learn the words and symbols that are in their communication systems.

  • Many communication displays or devices come with pre-programmed vocabulary that is designed to be personalized for each child.  You need to decide which vocabulary items to teach first.  Often, this is goal driven and agreed upon by the child's team.  You can select vocabulary items based on the current classroom topic.  For example, in October the students may be talking about Hallowe'en or Fall. There are many specific words associated with these events such as "vampire", "pumpkins", and "witch".  While these words may be used for a short time, think about vocabulary that can be used in many different situations such as "scary", "dark", "look", "eat", "go".  These words are used more often in daily activities and may be more functional for the child. Here is some information about teaching children Core Words, the words that are used most frequently in daily language. http://ifonlyihadsuperpowers.blogspot.com/2009/04/therapy-thursday-language-based.html

  • Top 30 Core Words (Information from work by Gail M. Van Tatenhove)
all done / finished
all gone / gone
bad
different
good
more
what
not / don’t
that
this
I / name
it
you / your
again
ready
do / does / did
help
look / see
stop
want
big
little
away
come
drink
eat
get
give
go
like

  • Once you've decided "witch" words you want to focus on, the trick is to make sure everyone knows! 
    • Post a list on the classroom wall where your child can easily see it.  Paste the corresponding symbol(s) on the list.  Be sure to become familiar with where these words are on your child's communication system.
    • Post a list at home where everyone can see.
    • Think of opportunities for your child to use these words many times throughout the day.
    • Model the words yourself in the classroom and at home to help reinforce the meaning.
  • Kids who are verbal, learn the meaning of a word by repeatedly hearing it used in context and by saying it.  Kids who use AC need the same opportunities to see how symbols can be used to convey meaning. 
    • You can use your child's communication system when you are speaking to show them where a word is located and how to use it functionally.  
    • Point to the symbols representing the key words on your child's display or device.  You do not have to point to every word in your sentence to express your overall message.  A mini light pointer can also be used to "point" to the symbols.
    • Let your child know that you will be using his/her display.


Who Can Help?  If you want some extra support for teaching your child vocabulary, please contact your AC Clinician.

No Tech Solutions:  Try using the child's chosen vocabulary in word BINGO!  To reduce visual demands, try using colours/symbols in some boxes and the chosen vocabulary in other boxes.  See the example on the right.


Light Tech Solutions: Your child can use their simple SGD eg. Step by Step,  to practice using their chosen vocabulary in a variety of activities.  For example, take a walk around the school and let your child guide the way with pre-recorded messages such as "Let's go!" and "Stop!".

High Tech Solutions: Reinforce chosen vocabulary in writing activities either directly on your SGD or at a computer.  Check out this switch accessible book we've created using TarHeel Reader called "I like Fall"  that highlights some core words.  http://tarheelreader.org/2011/09/26/fall-14/6/  You can choose between 3 different voices for speech feedback options on the left hand side of the screen.   If you'd like to make some books, email them at  tarheelreader@cs.unc.edu to get an "invitation code" to create an account.

I Can...be a Star!
We'd like to recognize the use of communication displays within our Seating and Mobility Services (SAMS) at TVCC.  (Left to Right: Christie Beldom, Sue Kirkpatrick, Julie Denney).  If you would like more information about the communication displays that were developed for TVCC seating appointments, please contact Lisa Evans at lisa.evans@tvcc.on.ca

Feedback from Sue Kirkpatrick, Physiotherapist in SAMS:

"Using the communication boards has impacted my practice with my clients in many ways. I discovered that I was getting into a bit of a routine of saying hi to my ‘non verbal’ clients, acknowledging something about their lives then going into conversation with their parents. I would interact with the client but not delve too deeply into conversation with them. Using the communication boards has brought that to my attention and now I purposely engage with those clients over most of the appointment. The boards have provided a means to do this, as many clients do not bring their personal communication device to the appointment.

What I have discovered is that these kids have lots to say, of course. And they say stuff that I wasn’t expecting at all. For instance, one client let me know that he thought his mom was mad at him because he was falling forward a lot and couldn’t sit up straight anymore. Another client let me know that he was having pain…. And that wasn’t even on our radar.  It has given them a voice and let’s them know that I care about what they are thinking.

I had another absolutely amazing experience with a client has very limited movement and she uses a Kimba stroller for mobility. She uses fibre optic switches in custom hand molds that initially operated a switch toy. After it was known that she could access the switches consistently it was decided to try her on the Magic Carpet (a platform for power wheelchair training).   The Kimba was secured onto the Magic Carpet and the switches were set up for her. She was able to operate the platform and take it in the directions she wanted to go the first day. We knew it was purposeful movement because she drove it directly to a table. We thought she couldn't stop so we stopped her and pulled her back towards the center of the room. The client then promptly drove back to where she was before. On the table in front of her was the Communication Board. She wanted to tell us that she was hungry and wanted something to eat. It was the most amazing experience I have had in a very long time. It brought tears to my eyes."

Feedback from Julie Denney, Occupational Therapist in SAMS:

"Using the communication boards to interact with my seating clients has definitely been a learning curve for me, however, I have had some great experiences so far with a few of my clients to learn more about their seating issues and other things they have wanted to say.  I had a client state that his footrest needed some changes.  Mom did not express this issue as she had forgotten about it.  I also had a client who told me she went to see a movie with her dad.

My experience with the communication boards has motivated me to interact with my non-verbal clients more and improve my use with the communication boards as these clients may have thoughts of their own that they would like to express, but don’t always get the chance to do so."

Don't Miss It!
Can't make it to a conference or educational event?  Look for a webinar online.  Check out some of Bridges Canada's webinars: http://www.bridges-canada.com/eventswebinars.aspx

Resources:
Extension activites ideas are often readily available on manufacturer websites
Also check out great extension activities here: http://www.pisp.ca/kits/index_academic.html

Thursday, 1 September 2011

I can...connect with others who use AAC!

What are your favourite memories from this summer?  We hope that you've had a relaxing and fun break! Back in June, some of the ACS clinicians travelled to Toronto to experience Breaking the Ice, a conference for people who use AAC.  We have heard from many participants that this was an amazing opportunity to connect with people who use AAC and be inspired by what they had to say. 

Breaking the Ice Conference 2011 - Embracing Life

Conference Goals:
  • Provide a forum to discuss issues of importance to people who use AAC
  • Promote awareness of AAC and the interests of people who use AAC
  • Provide an opportunity for people who use AAC to network with other people who have similar experiences - as a way of reducing the feeling of isolation that people who use AAC often describe
The highlight of the conference is always the Town Hall Meeting.  An individual who uses AAC chairs the dicussion.  During this Town Hall meeting, while others may observe only individuals who use AAC are allowed to participate and discuss any issues that come to mind.

Here's what some local participants had to say:
Our first experience at “Breaking the ICE” by Robin (parent)
"We decided as a family to attend “Breaking the ICE” this year and it was a wonderful experience. Our son uses a Dynavox Mini V with step scanning, he has started with a new vocabulary and new layout on his device and we felt it would be great opportunity for him to witness people using a variety of communication aids and how they interact with others.  I was truly amazed to see everyone so fluent with their devices and how everyone participated in the town hall discussion about “ embracing life”, and to hear all the responses people had to the questions asked.  We were lucky that previous therapists of ours were there and they introduced our son to other people at the conference.  We were ecstatic to hear that he was having a conversation with another young man at the conference on his own with no guidance scanning through his device. 
            Town Hall was a great experience to be part of.  As a spectator to see how everyone got to take the time and communicate their answers.  Some were short and some were very in-depth.  I was in awe at how some people access their devices as well as some of the literacy skills.  And to hear how people view life with the limited physical abilities and communication.  It was also great to see the relationships that have formed over the years.  We were able to meet a lot of wonderful people and communicate with them openly and freely in an environment with no barriers.  It was also a great opportunity to meet and view the different resources that are available through the many vendors that were there as well as OFCP (Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy).  I can certainly say we will be attending next year as well and if you have the opportunity to attend next time you will not be disappointed.  It was a great opportunity and we embraced it with open arms. It was truly a very optimistic event - to know that even though we have access and vocabulary and literacy speed bumps now, at some point we will overcome them. One day our son will be at town hall with someone watching and realizing that one day they will be fluent with their communication as well; and it will be one less barrier for them to overcome as they are “embracing life”!"


Tracy Shepherd, SLP in Augmentative Communication Service at TVCC
"The “Breaking the ICE” conference is an event that is not to be missed!  It is always the highlight of my clinical experience because I learn more from people who use AAC and their families than in any other clinical learning situation.  It is an opportunity to interact with people who use various types of communication systems and hear their stories.  The value in networking with people from across Canada and hearing about their successes and challenges is truly inspirational.  The Breaking the ICE conference is one of the best things I am involved with and I hope to see you there sometime soon!"
 How can you get involved with the Breaking the Ice Conference? You can get updated information via their facebook page or visit their website.  http://www.breakingtheiceconference.ca/ or
 http://www.facebook.com/BreakingtheIce?sk=wall&filter=2#!/groups/84888948124/
Although the next conference seems a long way off (2013), it will be here before we know it!  If you use AAC, you can start getting ready by practicing speaking in a group setting and with new people.

Others ways to connect with people who use AAC:
Facebook: You can connect with individual people or join a group related to AAC.  Just search a few keywords such as AAC or augmentative communication to find a group that might suit you.  For example, Augmentative Resources and Help Facebook Group:  http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/groups/102393009850835/

Blog: a journal or diary written online by an individual to share personal experiences, thoughts and stories.  Here are some examples of blogs related to Augmentative Communication:

How Do I do That?
Create your Own Blog or Facebook Page: If you are an ACS client at TVCC and are interested in sharing your story and connecting with others, let us know.  If we have enough interest, we will organize an event where we can learn together about blogs and facebook.

Join a Forum:  Augmentative Communication Community Partnerships Canada (ACCPC) has recently launched a forum specifically for people who use AAC.  Sign up and make yourself heard!  http://www.accpc.ca/ctc-forum.htm

Ability Online is place where kids (and by that we mean kids, teens & young adults) with disabilities or illnesses can meet, learn from, develop skills with & enjoy the company of others who have faced similar challenges in the security of a monitored and constructive online environment. http://www.abilityonline.org/

No Tech Solutions
  • Create a "Communication Passport" to quickly and easily share information about your child's likes/dislikes, communication abilities etc.  Remember to customize your passport to reflect the personality of your child. Templates can be found: http://www.communicationpassports.org.uk/Home/
Light Tech Solutions
High Tech Solutions
  • Create some pages on your Speech Generating Device to quickly share your views and opinions.  Be sure to include questions you can ask others.
Little Bytes:
If your child has new educational staff, be sure that they have all the information they need to support his/her AAC system.  If you need assistance with training or getting new cheatsheets, please contact your ACS clinician.


I Can...be a Star!
Congratulations to our actors this year who participated in the theatre camps: Setting the Stage and On with the Show!  Together with the Original Kids Theatre Company they delighted the audience with 6 short plays and used their speech generating devices (SGDs) to deliver their lines.


Resources:
  

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

I can...keep on talking!

Summer is here again! Just a few more weeks of school, followed by the best time of the year… summer vacation! Here are a few thoughts for anyone who wants to take a few moments in the summer to tune up those communication skills or even to plan ahead for September!

Thanks for reading I Can this year – we hope to be back in the Fall!

Do you know about the AAC Curriculum?
“Students with severe communication difficulties require augmentative and alternative forms of communication. Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) is essential for the student to participate fully in their high school program, and ultimately to reach their full potential to live independently, have appropriate career opportunities, and to live rewarding and fulfilling lives. The mastery of AAC involves the acquisition of competencies that speaking students must acquire to become effective communicators. These competences, which fall in the linguistic, social-relational, strategic & operational domains… need to be taught systematically and sequentially”
www.setbc.org/lcindexer/  [AAC Curriculum Documents (2008), Augmentative and Alternative Communication Skills and Strategies, p.2]
Over the 2010/2011 school year, Duncan and his team have been working towards obtaining High School credits through the AAC Curriculum. Duncan is a 17-year-old student who uses a Vmax speech-generating device as a primary mode of communication in the school setting. AAC Curriculum was developed by Special Education Technologies in British Columbia specifically for students who use AAC devices. This course supports students through various levels of competency in using their AAC devices for academic and social purposes. Recently this opportunity has been made available to some students in Ontario who are supported by representatives from AAC clinics.

When working on this curriculum, students using AAC are provided with the needed time to work on essential communication skills while achieving a high school credit for their effort.  Instructional components are developed to meet the individual needs of the student and the teacher is provided with the necessary tools to teach their students how to use these systems proficiently. Specific outcome measure tools are provided, which enable teachers to assess ongoing progress of their students.

Progress toward curriculum goals is targeted through a combination of instruction during the school day, and practice of skills in the school setting, at home and in the community. If you know a High School student like Duncan who would be interested in this opportunity, talk to your ACS clinician about the possibilities.

No-Tech Ideas


Light Tech Ideas

 Go on an outdoor scavenger hunt! Your child who uses an introductory speech-generating device can be in charge of issuing the challenges. Work together ahead of time to program an overlay or sequence of messages. Your child can then decide what you need to be searching for whilst out on your walk. “Find something with stripes”, “Find the letter m”, “Point to a funny shaped cloud”.

 

High Tech Ideas

  • Send a card to your teacher to thank them for a great year!!!  Go to http://papunet.net/card and use keyboard or switches to write your card online.
  • Did you know that some e-mail accounts are more secure than others? Do your research when using web-based e-mail so that you make the right choices to help keep your information safe.  

Summer Events:
·         Do you know where Skye is?  Follow Skye across Canada and tune in for details of campaign activities: http://www.kilometresforcommunication.com/
·         Take a drive to Owen Sound on June 30th to cheer Skye into town and to take part in the local events surrounding Kilometres for Communication. Talk to your ACS clinician for more details.
·         Sign up for summer camps! The OTP brochure (Opportunities to Participate) is at www.tvcc.on.ca 
·         Save the date! Come see the shows! Setting the Stage & On with the Show actors invite you to come see the performances on Friday August 26th 10.00am at the Spriet Family Theatre in Covent Garden Market in London. Come early to get a good seat! 
·         Making time for making changes. Connect with your ACS clinicians over the summer to talk about support for reviewing vocabulary, training around device programming, functional communication training, computer access, etc.


I Can…be a Star!

Keira is 5 years old and is much happier now that people have learned how to communicate with her successfully.  Keira’s team has worked together to identify how she communicates “yes” and “no” and what a difference this has made! She now understands the power of communication, which will open up so many more possibilities for her. Keira also amazed everyone when she learned how to use not just one, but two switches to control her switch toys! Way to go Keira! 


Recently the spotlight shone on Ethan, when he was Best Man at a family wedding. As is tradition, Ethan gave a speech to help the happy couple celebrate their day. He was a star using his V speech-generating device with his switches. Great job Ethan!
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