Cute & Trendy AAC ~ think like MacGyver + involving users in customizing their AAC

Vera Bradley AAC strap

Thanks to Ability Connection Oklahoma one of my sweet 12 year old patients received an iPad Mini with the Speak for Yourself AAC app in a ChatWrap case by Saltillo Corporation!

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Several of my coworkers commented “How cute!” as they saw me assembling it on Friday…. first time I’ve ever heard AAC described as “cute”. Love it! There is no reason why AAC can’t be cute & trendy. The white case with the light purple edge definitely adds a cute feminine look to a white iPad Mini. But the strap that comes with it is black and not dainty enough for this girlie girl.

So I put on my MacGyver thinking cap. Ever since attending a Linda Burkhart workshop back in 1993 I have built quite a stash of items with the intent of someday using them for another purpose. {If you ever have the opportunity to attend a Linda Burkhart workshop sign up as quickly as you can. She’s been doing Assistive Technology & AAC before the internet, cell phones or iPads were invented. She’s a guru of low-tech solutions & the original MacGyver in the special needs world}

After rummaging through my closets & drawers I found everything I needed to make a stylish lightweight shoulder strap worthy of this sweet 12 year old patient’s new AAC device.

I decided to repurpose an old Vera Bradley Pedal Pink belt (circa 2006) into a carrying strap. My mom had used it as a belt then passed it on to me. I used it as a belt but hadn’t worn it in several years. It almost made it into the donation pile a couple of times…. but my MacGyver/Linda Burkhart mindset said “No that would make the perfect strap for a PECS book or AAC device some day”.

I forgot to take a pic of the belt before I started deconstructing it so here’s one I found on e-Bay:

VB belt

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Here’s my kitchen table with all my MacGyver supplies:

 

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It took less than an hour to transform the old belt & parts from an old duffel bag strap into a new carrying strap and cost $0.00 since these were all things I’ve had laying around my house for years.  I don’t own a sewing machine so it’s assembled with heavy duty iron-on stitch witchery fusible tape and then hand sewn. I’m pretty sure this sweet patient will be the only owner of this combo of a white iPad Mini + Speak For Yourself + ChatWrap Case w/ purple “boot” edging + a custom-made Vera Bradley carrying strap 🙂

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If you were a 12 year old girl, which carrying strap would you like? Which one would help your AAC device look cute & fashionable? Which one would promote attachment to the device and confidence in carrying it? The Vera Bradley one of course! Since many AAC devices are abandoned these are important things to consider. Hmmm…. I wonder if developing AAC fashion accessories could be a retirement career?

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 https://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsAAC/photos/a.191017694282577/821747994542874/?type=3

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AirDrop totally rocks…. and so does my sweet 12 year old patient. I’ve spent the past week seeing her an hour every day to work on programming & training in use of her speech generating device (an iPad Mini with the Speak for Yourself AAC app in a ChatWrap case by Saltillo Corporation). As a SLP I tend to explain everything I’m doing & include patients in decisions regarding their AAC. After all it’s her voice not mine. Her school has been fabulous about texting me photos of staff & classmates. Totally LOVE how easy it is to AirDrop them from my iPad or iPhone to this patient’s iPad Mini. This is by far the most personalized AAC I’ve done so far in my 24+ year career as a SLP. All because it’s so easy to save pics to the iPad camera roll, import them from another iPad or iPhone using AirDrop & then upload them into SFY. Guess what this sweetie did today after being included in the process of adding customized buttons to SFY over the past week?! As I was working on saving a button we had just customized, her iPad Mini went “ping”. Up pops the message to accept a picture via AirDrop. OMG…. as she was looking through pictures from the movie Charlie St. Cloud on my iPad she had independently found one she liked, saved it to my iPad’s camera roll, opened the camera roll, tapped on the send arrow, waited for AirDrop to appear & then tap on it to send it to her iPad Mini. Let’s see…. I’m counting about 6 steps in that process. The cool thing us that I didn’t spend time specifically teaching her how to do that but I guess after spending a week with me narrating aloud and including her in the process it “stuck”.

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Updated contact info 6/28/21:

Have questions? The best way to reach me with any questions is via messaging on the OMazing Kids Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsAAC/. That way messages don’t get lost among the spam in my e-mail.


Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP, Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC, OMazing Kids AAC Consulting

Teachers Pay Teachers Store: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Omazing-Kids-Aac-Consulting

Ko-Fi: https://ko-fi.com/omazingkidsaac

Personal Professional Facebook Page (linked to OMazing Kids): https://www.facebook.com/angela.moorad (adding “friends” who have a direct role in AAC or Assistive Technology – AAC / AT app or product developers, AAC / AT consultants, SLPs who specialize in AAC, other professionals who specialize in AAC or AT, etc.)

OMazing Kids AAC Consulting Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsAAC/

AppPeeps Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/OMazingKidsAppPeeps/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/omazingkidsaac/

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/amoorad

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/OMazingKids/

Linktree: https://linktr.ee/amoorad1

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