Sunday, 1 December 2013

I can...say it with a simple SGD!

Do you own a single or sequential messaging device?  Be honest, when was the last time you used it?  Do you need some new ideas to dust off that device and get it up and running again?  This is the issue for you.  Simple SGDs can be used for a variety of reasons including sharing news, asking a question, making a comment, cheering for your team etc.  We've scoured the Internet and gathered all of these useful suggestions to allow kids who use AC to increase their active participation.



What are single or sequential messaging devices?  
Single message devices allow one message to be programmed in at a time.
Sequential message devices allow multiple messages to be programmed in one at a time.  
Check out PrAACtical AAC's post for more information on sequential messaging devices. 

Examples of Single Message Devices:  


BIGmack Communicator/LITTLEmack Communicator by Ablenet
Big Talk Communicator by Enabling Devices
Chipper by Adaptivation
QuickTalker 1 by Ablenet
Talking Brix  by Ablenet
Partner Plus by AMDi

Spectronics comparison of Ablenet Single Message Devices:
http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/article/ablenets-single-message-communicators-comparison-chart

Examples of Sequential Message Devices

Step by Step by Ablenet
Small and Big Talk Sequencers by Enabling Devices
Partner Plus Stepper by AMDi
Sequencer by Adaptivation





Setting up for Success
Here are some tips to help make using a simple speech generating device easy.

1.  Make sure the device is easy to find when you need it.  Generally, if you can get a message on a device and ready to use in 30 seconds, you're more likely to help your child catch the moment.  Caroline Musselwhite, experienced assistive technology specialist refers to this principle as the "30 second" rule. Show everybody  how to put a message in the device so that no opportunities are missed.
Here are two videos by Ablenet demonstrating how to record on a Big Mack and Step by Step.  Written instructions are also located at the bottom of most devices.

Big Mack Communicator:
 Step by Step Communicator:

2. Involve your child when deciding what message(s) to record on the device.  If possible, provide choices of messages to share e.g. "Do you want to say 'Good morning how are you today?' or 'Hey, Is it Friday yet?' "
3.  Record the message from the child's perspective "Guess where I went last night?, I went to see Elf" vs. "Elizabeth went to see Elf last night".  When you are able, ask a child of the same gender and similar age to
record the message so the voice is fitting.

4.  If you need to prompt your child to share her message, focus on the communication rather than the access.  For example: "I think Beth has something she wants to share with us" instead of "hit your switch".

5.  Acknowledge the message by reflecting back what you've heard and expanding on the information given.  "You're right, Jordan it's Wednesday.  We are going to do some cooking this afternoon."

6.  When you child is using a sequential speech generating device, it may be helpful to include an indication that there are no more messages to share such as a question.  "What are you hoping Santa will bring you?"


When can I use simple speech generating device?
  • Look for natural opportunities throughout your child's day where he can actively participate in what's happening around him.
    • greeting visitors to the classroom
    • wishing someone happy birthday
  • Regularly occurring activities also provide your child with the chance to join in.
    • Reading with a classmate
    • Jokes. Can't think of any good jokes?  Here are helpful lists from the CALL centre in Scotland and PrAACtical AAC.
    • Sharing news
    • Participation in circle time - talking about the weather, day of the week
  • In situations where it's not possible to take a complex SGD, using a simple SGD that allows you to quickly and easily add a message may be a better fit.
    • school trips
    • community outtings
    • sports events
  • These devices are often useful for activities in which the primary goal is participation. 
    • Lines for a play, a speech or announcements can be recorded on a simple speech generating device as it's not likely that they will be used in communication at a later date.  The use of simple speech generating device can also simplify the physical access so that a child can be successful when they are in the spotlight.

  • Sometimes it's fun to be the leader.  Record the sequential instructions for an activity e.g. baking, painting or a scavenger hunt.
Here are some other great ideas to make use of a simple SGD.
101 Ways to Use a Step by Step by Gretchen Hanser, OT
101 Ideas for using the bigmack or other single message communication device  by Spectronics

Resources

Upcoming Events:

TVCC's We're All Stars Event 
An event to celebrate and recognize the achievement of TVCC's school age clients!
February 3rd, 2014 10am-2pm

ISAAC Conference 
International Society of Augmentative and Alternative Communication Conference
July 19-24, 2014, at the Lisboa Congress Centre, Lisbon, Portugal

ATIA Conference 
January 29th, 2014-February 1st, 2014

Forest City Road Race  is scheduled for April 27th, 2014!!!!
Register before January 31st, 2014 for best rate.

Upcoming Presentations
by Caroline Musselwhite 


Friday, 1 November 2013

I can...clarify that!

Communication breakdowns happen to everyone from time to time.  When they happen, they can make us feel frustrated and not heard. Imagine how much more difficult it is for someone who uses AC to repair these breakdowns when they happen.  Introducing some simple clarification strategies can help ensure the intended message is understood by the communication partner.  In this issue, we'll explore some of the many ways that a person who uses AC can clarify a message.

First things first, getting the conversation started:
Being able to lead the topic of conversation can be highly motivating for many people, but can be difficult when a person has a limited vocabulary to choose from. Below are some strategies that allow someone to choose the topic.  These strategies also provide a way for someone to pinpoint a topic if a breakdown happens.

Remnant Book
A remnant book is a quick and easy way to share information or to spark someone's interest about
something that you've done recently. Any small, portable photo album can be used to house pictures, small items, tickets or labels to represent an activity, outing or event that has happened in someone's life.

Your remnant book might contain the ticket stub from the movie you saw last weekend, a piece of the popcorn bucket with a post-it note ("Uh oh - ate too much popcorn, felt sick all night!") or the business card from the speech path who visited from the treatment centre ("Guess who came to see me"). Anything that is of high interest to the student and will start a conversation.

For more information see the following: www.pisp.ca/strategies/strategies13.pdf

Conversation Starters are communication displays with questions related to a variety of topics. These communication displays can be used to as a fun way to engage others. There are lots of examples on BoardmakerAchieve - sign up for free to download activities at  http://www.boardmakerachieve.com .  In the search box type in "Conversation Starters".



Keep it simple with an "Ask Me"  button. A student may be able to draw someone into an interaction by wearing a button with an introductory message written on the front. "Wanna hear my news?" "Guess what I did!" or "I have pictures to share" may just spark the interest needed for someone to stop for a minute to join in the conversation. Follow up with a news message on a speech generating device, or a new item in a remnant book.



Keeping others in the loop:
Communication partners need to be aware of all the strategies that a student who uses AAC might want to use, to increase successful interactions. A student who has a remnant book in his backpack or a topic board at the back of a binder may need a way to inform others of where to find these resources. Remnant books or individual topic pages / alphabet boards may be hung on the back of a wheelchair in plain view. A brief explanation of the strategy can be added to the book or board so that partners know how to use them. More detailed information can be added to a Communication Dictionary or Communication Passport.

A Communication Dictionary is a personalized description of "what I do and what it means". It needs to be simple to read and contain a description of all of the consistent methods of communication that a student uses to express themselves. For example, "when I move my head to the right side, I'm telling you 'yes'". Here's a great summary of what a communication dictionary is, and the importance of keeping it up to date:
http://www.steppingstonesres.org/augmentandalt/004-comm.htm

A Communication Passport is similar to a dictionary, but may contain more information about the person, likes, dislikes, family, how to set up the mounting for my device, etc. Simple to make once you download the templates, but extremely powerful as a way to share information. http://www.communicationpassports.org.uk/Home/

Keeping the conversation going:
Everyone likes a chance to talk about what they like to do, their preferences and about what's happening in their own lives. It can be tricky for a person who relies on a symbol-based communication display to direct the conversation. A Topic Board can be helpful, allowing the person using it to provide some concrete hints about the topic they would like to talk about. A topic board can contain category hints, e.g. "It's about a person / place / thing / activity" to get the communication partner engaged in finding out more about the topic in question. An alphabet board can be included to allow a person to indicate the first letter of the word in question. You can download this and other boards for your child to clarify his/her message on Boardmaker Achieve.  Key search words are: Topic Board, Clarification, Communication Breakdown. For this clarification board: http://www.boardmakerachieve.com/Activity/1907212
 
The PocketMod is a small book that is created by folding a single piece of paper.  You can add symbols or text to a PocketMod create a portable communication display.  Take a look at this great PocketMod created by Nora Rothschild in this PDF. Create a customized one for FREE at http://www.pocketmod.com/


A little extra help please!
A student who primarily uses speech to communicate, but who may still have difficulty making himself understood may need an augmentative strategy to use as he speaks. Initial letter cueing is well described by Caroline Musselwhite, and can be an extremely effective strategy for appropriate candidates. It involves pointing to the initial letter of each word as it is spoken.



 http://www.aacintervention.com/home/180009852/180009852/tips/2006/08aug2006/Initial%20letter%20cueing%20tip.pdf.

Did you get that?
Partners play an important role in letting the person who uses AC know whether he has been understood. Sometimes a quick check-in can do the job: "This is what I'm hearing - am I right?". If it is still tricky to know what the topic is, ask 'yes/no' questions to narrow it down, starting with more general ("Is it about something at school?") to more specific ("Is it about something in your classroom?"). Ask the person if he can tell you in a different way, spell the first letter of the word or give you a hint with a related word.


Once you crack the code and discover the word ("Oh, I get it, you're talking about the thunder and lightning last night!"), celebrate and take a minute to talk about how some of those core words or more frequently used vocabulary words might be used to help explain ("last night, dark, big noise, I see bright light, I hide in bed"). If the word needs to be added to a device or display, now's the time!

Teaching how to fix a communication breakdown:
Think about a spot for clarification messages on a communication display or speech generating device and teach how to use these messages effectively. Just because they appear on a display does not mean that a person will automatically know how to use them. Being able to give feedback in this way can also be tricky
for someone who has in the past taken a more passive role in communication. Saying "That's not what I meant", "You got it wrong" and "Listen carefully and I'll try to say it a different way" may not come naturally to many people. Practice with games like "Simon Says" or "Broken Telephone" and by searching for items in an "I Spy" book.

Partner assisted scanning: 
When a communication partner is presenting all of the options for the individual to select between, there may be fewer items on the communication display. Think about adding some clarification strategies right from the start, to teach how a person can indicate "that's not what I meant", "not on this board" or "oops, let's start over". 

Resources:
The Augmentative Communication team at the KidsAbility Centre for Child Development in Ontario have a great stash of handouts on their website, covering Conversation Book Ideas, Partner strategies, Client strategies and more. Check them out at http://www.kidsability.ca/en/Resources 

Nora Rothschild has shared some great summaries on using clarification strategies in both long and shortened versions.  Thanks Nora!

I can...be a STAR!

Congratulations to Abby for her recent feature on the local and national news highlighting her use of her eye gaze system.  Check out the local news clip: http://kitchener.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1031520




Upcoming Events:
Save the date: Already dreaming about next Summer? If you are a TVCC client who uses a speech
generating device, here's one date that you can put into your calendar so that you don't miss the chance to shine on stage! TVCC and the Original Kids Theatre Company will be collaborating to present the theatre camps "Setting the Stage" and "On with the Show" the week of August 25th - 29th 2014. Put the date in your diary and look for more information coming Spring 2014. If you want a reminder closer to the time, send us a quick e-mail and we'll update you with information as it comes in: acs@tvcc.on.ca 


Quiet Coffee and Talkless Tea!

October was Augmentative Communication Awareness Month!  We celebrated by hosting "Quiet Coffee
and Talkless Tea" where people could ask for a beverage using augmentative communication strategies.  

You can host your own event by downloading FREE resources here:
http://www.tvcc.on.ca/what-is-augmentative-communication.htm










Upcoming Events:

TVCC How to choose powerful words (Core Words)
November 13th, 2013
http://www.tvcc.on.ca/index.php?option=com_events&task=view_detail&agid=374&year=2013&month=11&day=13&Itemid=830 

TVCC adapted books
December 4th, 2013
For more information and registration details: http://www.tvcc.on.ca/index.php?option=com_events&task=view_detail&agid=375&year=2013&month=12&day=4&Itemid=830

Boardmaker workshop at Thames Valley Children's Centre
November  25th, 2013
For more information and registration details: http://www.tvcc.on.ca/index.php?option=com_events&task=view_detail&agid=385&year=2013&month=11&day=25&Itemid=830

ATIA conference: Jan 28 & 29 2014
http://www.atia.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=4434





Tuesday, 1 October 2013

I can...use an iPad to communicate!

The popularity of the iPad and other touch screen devices has had a huge impact on the world of AC.  Manufacturers of dedicated speech generating devices are releasing their apps based on their many years of research and development. To top it off, Apple has just released iOS 7 with built in switch accessibility!!!  Although the AC community is familiar with ongoing changes with technology, the release of touch screen devices and apps has really changed the range of possibilities out there.  In this month's issue of we will review some of the frequently asked questions that we hear about using an iPad for communication.

iPad FAQ:


Will an iPad help my child communicate?

Tricky question! For a child who has challenges with communication, the broader question might be “will AC help my child communicate?”.  The iPad is just one of the many possible tools that can be used as a speech generating device. Given the relatively low cost (in comparison to some of the more traditional speech generating devices) and popularity of the iPad, it may be tempting to forge ahead with the purchase. However, as with any other communication strategy, consideration needs to be given to what an individual needs before determining which tool will be the best fit. Talk to your child’s Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) about an assessment for augmentative communication if you think it may be helpful. 

We have an iPad, what should we do with it?

How many times have you heard someone say “There’s an app for that!”  You can do so many things with an iPad from Solitaire to colouring to creating spreadsheets!  If you're thinking of using an iPad to help your child meet his communication needs, then start by identifying what those needs are at this point in time. Talk to your child’s team to determine where to start, to prioritize the communication goals and to agree on whether the iPad is the best tool to meet those goals. While the iPad is a fantastic tool for many, it’s still not the tool for everyone.

We have an iPad already, which communication app should I use?

As we mentioned above, having an idea of what your child might want to communicate during motivating activities will help increase the success of trying out a communication app with your child.  There are so many choices out there and it the list is growing!  There are some communication apps that are more expensive ($100-300) and there are some that are free.  Talk with your child’s Speech Language Pathologist or Occupational Therapist to help determine what might be a good fit for your child.  Jane Farrall has an AAC app list that is regularly updated http://www.janefarrall.com/aacappslist.html .  In terms of FREE communication apps that we’ve had some great experiences with, try out Sounding Board and Go Talk Now Free.

My child has difficulty targeting the screen, can he/she use a switch?

Yes!  We are still in the early days of switch accessibility on the iPad but one huge leap forward is that the new iOS7 has built in switch accessibility that allows some additional control over the iPad.  The individual apps need to have switch accessibility built in to work.  Jane Farrall and Alex Dunn have developed a comprehensive list outlining which apps are switch accessible and the Bluetooth switch interface (pg 20 & 21) you'll need to pair the iPad with your child's switches: http://www.janefarrall.com/html/resources/switch%20accessible/Switch_Accessible_Apps_for_iPad.pdf

How does iOS7 let me use switches with my iPad?
Here is a video from Ablenet that describes how to connect their bluetooth switch interface with the iPad and use iOS7 switch features.

Single Switch Access



 Two Switch (Dual) Access


Can my child use an iPad for writing?
Yes!  There are also a growing number of assistive technology apps for writing. 
Here are a list of some of the assistive technology apps that we are currently aware of:

 iWord Q  App ($24.99)
Co:Writer App ($17.99)
The above apps offer word prediction, abbreviation expansion and speech feedback features.

Clicker Docs ($30.99)
Abilipad ($19.99)
The above apps offer word prediction and allow for customized onscreen keyboards.

Dragon Dictation App - This voice recognition app works over WIFI or with cellular data.

How do I back up my iPad?
Here are the instructions from Apple on how to back up your iPad. http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1766

It's beneficial to check with your app manufacturer to make sure that there are no further instructions on backing up the customized vocabulary that you have created.  You certainly want to make sure that all the programming you've done isn't lost!

What will ADP fund?
Currently the Assistive Device Program in Ontario provides funding for the purchase of an iPad with one of four apps for individuals who have met the current eligibility criteria for face to face communication. The
current app options are:
Proloquo2Go
Predictable
Touch Chat
Talk Rocket Go

Who else might providing funding?
Individuals who meet the specific eligibility criteria may apply to President's Choice Financial Charity for funding of equipment such as an iPad.  Check out the criteria online: http://www.presidentschoice.ca/en_CA/community/pccc.html

Who is going to teach me how to use the iPad?
Once you and your child's team have determined that the iPad is the best tool for your child to use to communicate, you'll want to learn how to use it.

  • To learn more about the features and how to customize it for your child, check with the app manufacturer website. There is a ton of information online including tutorials, webinars and videos and you can learn at your own pace.
  • To learn more about how your child can use the app functionally to communicate, check with your child's Speech Language Pathologist.
How do I mount an iPad?
Some children benefit from having the iPad securely attached to a wheelchair or table top surface to help them accurately access the iPad screen.   Here are some options that are available:

Ablenet:  http://www.ablenetinc.com/Assistive-Technology/Mounting-Products/Mobile-Device-Mounting

Ideas For Independent Living: http://www.ideasfil.com/ideasarticulatingdeskmount.html

RAM Mounting: http://www.rammount.com/newproducts/appleipadmounts/tabid/2614/default.aspx#/

If you are using an iAdaptor Case here are some mounting options:
REHAdapt Mounting: http://amdi.net/index.php?route=product/category&path=141_124_177
Daessy: http://amdi.net/index.php?route=product/category&path=141_124_126

Can I play games on it too?
It depends.  Some kids are able to use an iPad to communicate and to play while others find it difficult to use it to communicate when they see it as a "game" device. If your child's device is funded through the Assistive Devices Program, its primary function is for communication.

To help kids with this challenge here are some strategies:
  • Use two cases - one colour case when it's used for communication, another colour case when it's for playing games.
  • Purchase a family iPad that's specific for games and activities.  Include a message on your child's communication iPad to allow a child to request the family's game iPad.
  • You can turn on "guided access" to restrict your child's access to other apps.  This feature keeps your child in one app until a password is entered to exit the app.  For more information about guided access: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5509
  • Bub caps are covers for the home button that make it more difficult for kids to exit apps.
What case should I use?
There are many different types of cases available for iPads.  Consider the following factors when choosing a case:
  • Protection:  Is your child likely to drop the device?
  • Mounting: Does your child's device need to be mounted?  If so, you may have to choose a particular case that works with the mounting hardware.
  • Ease of access: Can you child quickly and easily open the case and get to the vocabulary that he/she needs to communicate?
  • Bulk/Weight - Can you child manage the device on their own?  Can they carry it and store it away safely?
  • Aesthetics - Is the case visually appealing to your child?
In terms of funding, the Assistive Device Program (ADP) of Ontario currently provides funding for the following cases:

Upcoming Events:


Check out the events planned for October: AAC awareness month:
  
Closing the Gap: registration is still open:

 ATIA conference: Jan 28 & 29 2014
iPad Boot Camp - Apps, Accessories, Adaptations, Resources, and Research

ATIA archived Webinars cover a variety of topics, including:
iLOVE Writing! Using the iPad to Help Struggling Writers
Which One: Speech Generating Devices vs. Mobile Technology Apps?
AAC Apps: Finding a Good Fit
iPad and Writing: Apps for Reluctant Writers and Graphomotor Issues

Dynavox Compass App: this recently released app is available at a reduced price for limited time, here's the company's description:
"The DynaVox Compass App gives you everything you need to help your clients begin their journey toward more successful communication. Start your journey now! Subscribe to DynaVox Compass and enjoy 1 full year at the introductory subscription price of only $99.99* (regularly $299.99/year).
Hurry, this exclusive offer expires November 1st and only the first 1,000 subscribers are eligible!"
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dynavox-compass/id692773734?mt=8

Communication Apps by Apps for All: comparison app.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

I can...be a teenager!

We hope you had a great summer and are looking forward to the school year that lies ahead.  Many of our students will be entering High School for the first time, making the transition from the comfort of the familiar, to the new and exciting (although sometimes scary) experiences of a brand new setting. Finding resources that are a good match for the interests and abilities of teenagers who use AC isn't always easy.  In this issue, we will explore ways to support reading, writing and use of a speech generating device for older students.

With a Little Help from my Friends...

Although we may not wish to admit it, some of us are a long ways past our teenage years! Times have changed and it can be challenging to try and think like a teen, in the process of helping out our students who have reached that milestone. So, how about reaching out to siblings and friends to ask for some help when it comes to programming devices, developing resources and creating items such as Remnant books or communication passports. Students in high school may have buddies who spend time with them throughout the week. There are often opportunities for the students to work together, for example to share a novel or to browse through You Tube videos. Here are some other ideas for activities that peers could really help out with:

Updating vocabulary on speech generating devices: Vocabulary needs change over time. With the student's permission, ask a peer to try using a speech generating device or communication display in a specific situation. Pick a situation that is meaningful for the person who uses the device, e.g., ordering food

in the cafeteria, talking with friends, checking out books in the library. Have the peer make a list of any words and phrases that they would want to use in these situations, that are not currently available on the device or display. 

Creating personalized books with Tarheel Reader: We love this one! If you only try one thing this month, try this!! Tarheel Reader (http://tarheelreader.org/) is an easy to use (honestly!), free online resource that can be used for students to read or to write switch accessible books. Once books are written, they can be submitted for inclusion in the online collection. The real beauty of this resource is that you can create books

that are simple to read, but have content that is interesting for teens. Brainstorm some topics that your students would enjoy reading about, take some photos or browse the collection at Flikr and create a masterpiece! Instead of having book buddies reading a book this week, have them create one together. Challenge the other classes to get creative. See how many books you can write this school year!

Creating a Communication Passport or Remnant Book: Older students often have lots more experience using a variety of multi-media software and, with a little help to consider what content to include in a passport or remnant book,  might be a great resource in terms of putting together a document or media presentation that will stand out.


Personalizing a Communication Book or Display: Get some help with adding a personal touch to a display or communication book. Friends could help you shop for the perfect binder, or might volunteer to share their scrapbooking skills.


Teens giving back: In turn our students can help others in a variety of ways. Perhaps there are opportunities for a teen who use an SGD to help out by reading to younger kids. Or the class could work together to write a children's story (great practice for those core words). For more information about narrative development through story re-telling, check out these presentation notes from Tracy Kovach and Gail M. Van Tatenhove,http://www.vantatenhove.com/handouts.shtml

He said what?!?

As kids who use AC get older, their vocabulary needs also change. While they will always need and use core vocabulary words no matter what age they are, they may want to review and update fringe vocabulary to reflect the different style of communication.  Involve your student in this process. As we mentioned above, get some help with picking new words from other teens. Check out any different versions of vocabulary that might be available on your student's SGD. Here are some thoughts to consider when tackling vocabulary changes:
  • Ask your student for their input when considering making changes to the vocabulary.
     
  • Listen to what other kids are saying - teens often use a different words or phrases, and these come in and out of everyday use. Make a note of the words that you hear and check to see if your student knows where to find them or add them if they are not available.
     
  • Think about including and teaching slang words, swear words or vocabulary that might be needed to
    allow a teen to talk appropriately about their feelings, sexuality etc. Sometimes it's hard enough just trying to get through those teenage years, let alone not having the words to be able to communicate about it.
     
  • Consider adding texting lingo to a communication display or device. You can find lists of the most popular text and chat acronyms online, but it might be easier to have peers come up with a list of what they use most often.
Books for teens 
Easy reading books are mostly geared to young children.  Finding books that appeal to older students can be challenging. Take a moment and watch this video where Dr. Carolyn Musselwhite talks about the importance of finding "age respectful" material for older students: http://www.inclusiveeducationpdresources.ca/literacy/conversation_with_caroline_musselwhite.php#9
 
Here are some resources that we've come across that may appeal to older students:


Start to Finish books: High interest narrative books for older students reading at grade 2-3 and 4-5 reading levels-3 formats include paperback, audio and computer book. To purchase these books: 

http://www.donjohnston.com/products/start_to_finish/library/index.html


Tarheel Reader: Free online stories with digital pictures and simplified text in a variety of topics. http://tarheelreader.org/


Bookshare: Accessible books for people with print disabilities.  There is a fee for subscription in Canada however it is free in the US. https://www.bookshare.org/


Symbol World: Free online news and stories with simplified text and symbols. http://www.symbolworld.org/


Poetry Power! Ideas for AC users to explore poetry, performance, and poetry production.  $6 + 2 p & h. Click on "books": http://aacintervention.com/site/cpage.asp?cpage_id=180028669&sec_id=180009852


R.A.P.S. (Reading Activities Project For Older Students): 10 "whole language style" stories for older students with rhythm, rhyme (raps-style!), & repetition. Each story includes: story retelling overlay, role play overlay, and extension activities for: art, computer, reading, cooking, gross motor, etc. $25 + 2 p&h. Click on "books": http://aacintervention.com/site/cpage.asp?cpage_id=180028669&sec_id=180009852


Literacy resources for teens



Route 66 is an online instructional literacy program for adolescent and adult beginning readers, those who are not yet able to read and write above the beginning conventional level (first grade). Route 66 pairs beginning readers side-by-side with teacher-tutors who guide the reading and writing activities on the computer. Many of the books featured in this program are taken directly from Tarheel Reader.

If you are interested in this resource, but are not sure whether it’s a good fit for your student, check the website and complete the quick screening tool. You can also register free of charge for a 45 day trial – a great chance to try it out!  http://route66literacy.org/
 
ALL Curriculum: Accessible Literacy Learning Reading Program
This literacy curriculum is intended for learners with special needs, including children and adults. It is specifically designed for learners who have difficulty using speech to communicate. A facilitator uses the resources provided in the binders to teach students knowledge and skills in a variety of domains, including language skills, phonological awareness, letter sound correspondences, decoding skills, etc.

Check out the Literacy Instruction website for more information on the program and to view some videos of the process in action.http://aacliteracy.psu.edu/ Currently featured at a sale price of $449 CAN on the Mayer Johnson website.http://www.mayer-johnson.ca/all-reading-curriculum/

Literacy Lab: is a software program to help develop literacy skills for early readers of all ages.  It's provides symbol support and is switch accessible and has scanning capability.  To learn more about this software program and the research behind it: http://www.mayer-johnson.ca/literacy-lab/  In Canada, you can purchase it from Bridges Canada: https://store.bridges-canada.com/SearchByKeyword.aspx?word=literacy+lab



Cause and effect software for teens

Thankfully there are more cause and effect resources being developed with older students in mind.  Consider looking at some of these options:
I Can be a Star!
Meet Vikram. Vikram has been using a head pointer to access communication displays and other materials since he was young. Now entering High School, Vikram is an extremely competent communicator, who has a bright future ahead. Here Vikram shows us how adept he is at using his head pointer to ask and answer some questions.






Local Resources for Teens in London, ON

  • Youth En Route: is a joint partnership between Thames Valley Children's Centre and Hutton House which offers support to people who are between the age of 15 and 30 who are no longer attending high school but would like to explore continuing their education or becoming employed.    http://www.tvcc.on.ca/youth-en-route.htm
  • Youth for Youth is a group at Thames Valley Children's Centre that helps connect youth with disabilities.  You can find out more by joining their facebook page or sending questions to nicole.turner@tvcc.on.ca https://www.facebook.com/YFYsBreakAway
  • Self Discovery is a program of vocational exploration that helps support youth in planning their future after high school. They will explore employment, volunteer, free time, educational interests and independent living. They will decide what they need to plan your future, with your parents, teachers and therapists. http://www.tvcc.on.ca/self-discovery.htm

Upcoming Events:

TVCC ACS Education Events 2013

If you are a TVCC client, please take a moment to check out our upcoming education sessions:
  • How to choose powerful words
    • September 25, 9:30 – 11:30 am
    •  November 13, 9:30 – 11:30 am 
  • How to use symbols so your child will too! 
    • October 9th, 2013 9:30-11:30
  • Adapted books
    • December 4th, 2013 6-8 pm
For more information and registration: http://www.tvcc.on.ca/acs-education-sessions.htm 

Closing the Gap Webinars:
http://www.closingthegap.com/store/webinars/

ATIA: Assistive Technology Industry Association

http://www.atia.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=4381

Ablenet University:

http://www.ablenetinc.com/Professional-Development