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:

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


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