Archive for the ‘Augmentative Communication’ Category

Making Informed AAC Purchasing Decisions

Making Informed AAC Purchasing Decisions

Thinking about getting an AAC app? Many AAC apps typically go on sale for a few days in April (or May) and October. You can see the pricing history for any app on the AppSliced website (https://appsliced.co/apps) and watch Lauren Enders’ page for her round up posts of AAC app sale dates/details (https://www.facebook.com/LaurenSEndersMaCccSlp/).

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Looking for a way to try out AAC apps before making a purchasing decision? If you are in the USA, all states are supposed to have an Assistive Technology Lending Library program where you can borrow AAC devices, iPads with AAC apps & other AT for short-term trial. It’s a great way to try various options out before making purchasing decisions. How to find the AT Lending Library in your state: https://www.at3center.net/stateprogram

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If you are a Speech-Language Pathologist, then see this post for tips on how you can get free access to AAC apps, AAC app user groups, funding options & more: https://omazingkidsllc.com/2016/06/11/aac-tips-how-slps-can-get-free-access-to-aac-apps-aac-app-user-groups-funding-options-more/

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Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP

Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC

Retired Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist with 28 years experience …. still posting occasionally about apps & AAC stuff.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsYoga

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

Free printable AAC core board with alphabet, numbers, shapes & colors

Free printable AAC core board with alphabet, numbers, shapes & colors (4 page PDF that you can print, assemble and laminate). It was recently shared in the AAC for the SLP Facebook group (original source seen on Pinterest from the Angelman Syndrome Foundation but the link is broken… appears to be no longer available on their website). I saved it to my blog:

https://omazingkidsyoga.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/150-location-core-board-with-alphabet.pdf

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I found this one on Boardmaker Share that is very similar and could be edited if you have the Boardmaker software or online subscription: https://www.boardmakeronline.com/Activity/8583743
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Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP

Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC

Retired Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist with 28 years experience …. still posting occasionally about apps & AAC stuff. 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsYoga

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

70 Kids Picture Books to Target Core Vocabulary for AAC

 

Here is a list of 70 kids picture books with lots of opportunities to target Core Vocabulary that I recently sold (60 in a large SLP buy sell trade group on Facebook and the remaining 10 on my own OMazing Kids SLP Retirement Sale page). As part of my original post I had included a list of the books and the core words in each. Unfortunately the SLP admin of that group blocked me from that group, froze the post and now deleted it. She did not respond to my messages asking why this was done. I followed all the rules of posting in that group. Anyways…. this soon to be retired SLP does not have time or the energy to deal with that craziness. So I will no longer be posting items for sale in that group.

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Fortunately I still have the list that I had posted and decided to share it here. These are not all the books that I had or used for Core Vocabulary. They are just the ones that I hadn’t sold yet when I decided to sell Core Vocabulary book bundles.

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* A Book of Sleep by Il Sung Na (when, go, some, make, up, open, all)
* A Dark, Dark Cave by Eric Hoffman (through, in, up, down, what, this, out, who, to, play)
* A Fish Out of Water by Helen Palmer (like, more, all, big, no, not, put, in, stop, up, can, down, help, come, to, do)
* An Island in the Sun by Stella Blackstone (I, see, my, little, in, by, on, me, beside, together, play)
* Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman (on, here, want, eat, get, away, out, where, my, look, up, not, see, down, go, no, big, get, stop, want, put, in)
* Away in My Airplane by Margaret Wise Brown (in, my, over, through, up, fast, not, out, down, look)
* Baby Bear Sees Blue by Ashley Wolff (down, in, up, who, that, see, me, what, good, those, let, off, look, close; also have used for targeting colors)
* Big Yellow Sunflower by Frances Barry (little, what, you, be, under, out, up, come, big) (kids love the unique way the pages flap open and form a sunflower)
* Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin & Eric Carle (what, you, see, look, at, me; also have used for targeting colors)
* But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton (board book) (not, in, on, to, with, come, go, yes)
* Count to 10 with a Mouse by Margaret Wise Brown (little, in, look, through, there, see, what, here, up, around)
* Down by the Cool of the Pool by Tony Mitton (down, by, in, can, you, like, me, I, not, you, see, all, stop, no)
* Duck in the Truck by Jez Alborough (board book) (this, in, where, down, help, can, not, out)
* Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow (board book) (put, on, off, no, more, can, go)
* From Head to Toe by Eric Carle (I, am, can, you, do, it; also have used for targeting body parts)
* Go! Go! Go! Stop! by Charisse Mericele Harper (board book) (little, go, like, new, into, to, up, look, here, there, stop, not, across)
* Goodnight Little One by Margaret Wise Brown (little, on, close, in, stop, no, all)
* Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss (I, am, that, not, like, here, there, in, with, on, you)
* Hooray for Hat by Brian Won (up, go, away, on, look, give, not, want)
* Hot Rod Hamster by Cynthia Lord (I, need, you, want, which, more, now, go, where)
* I Could Be, You Could Be by Karen Owen (I, can, be, make, all, in, on, like, up, me)
* I Like Bugs by Margaret Wise Brown (paperback) (I, like, in, on, big)
* I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont (oversized board book) (I, like, myself, me, no, be, my, different, same, fast, slow, go, do, down, all, want, not, look, stop)
* I See Summer by Charles Ghigna (I, see, at, in, with)
* I Went Walking by Sue Williams (board book) (I, what, you, see, look, me)
* If You Give a Cat a Cupcake by Laura Numeroff (if, you, give, go, with, up, take, in, look, find, put, need, want)
* If You Give a Dog a Donut by Laura Numeroff (if, you, give, some, go, it, when, drink, all, up, more, make, up, want, play, get, need, off, around, finished)
* If You Give a Pig a Party by Laura Numeroff (if, you, give, want, put, on, to, look, all, be, there, take, play, finished, come, make)
* If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff (if, you, take, give, want, on, see, make, need, finished, help, go, up, get, look)
* If You’re Happy and You Know It: Jungle Edition (if, you, it, your, give, up, around, go, do all)
* Inside, Outside, Upside Down by Stan & Jan Berenstain (go, in, down, out, on, to, off, come, up)
* Let’s Go Visiting by Sue Williams (paperback) (go, what, you, play, no, more)
* Like a Windy Day by Frank Asch (I, want, play, like, down, through, turn, in, make, help, big, on)
* Little Bitty Friends by Elizabeth McPike (little)
* Monkey Puzzle by Julia Donaldson (my, little, not, help, you, big, me, come, no, not, her, she, over, that, where, go)
* More Spaghetti, I Say! by Rita Golden Gelman (play, with, me, can, on, by, no, not, eat, you, do, it, I, need, more, love, with, look, that, look, away)
* Mouse by Zebo Ludvicek (have, not, more, all, me, like, look, can, up, see, here, go, no, you)
* Mrs. McNosh Hangs Up Her Wash by Sarah Weeks (out, big, take, all, on, up)
* Natsumi! by Susan Lendroth (small, big, not, fast, want, like, help, yes, open, come, look, all)
* Not a Box by Antoinette Portis (why, you, in, not, it, what, on, I, this, around,
* Oh, No! By Candace Fleming & Eric Rohmann (in, help, no, not, down, get, out, slow, on)
* Old MacDonald’s Funny Farm by Roxanne Lanczak Williams (small paperback) (no, not)
* One Duck Stuck by Phyllis Root (board book) (down, by, in, help, who, can, to, no, all, we, out)
* Over in the Garden by Jennifer Ward (over, in, on, where, through, by, up; includes facts about the creatures in the book)
* Over in the Meadow by Ezra Jack Keats (over, in, all, where, on, by, we)
* Peek-a-Moo by Marie Torres Cimarusti (who) (fun flip down flaps)
* Put Me in the Zoo by Robert Lopshire (I, will, go, in, want, see, it, do, like, this, where, will, you, here, not, out, why, put, me, can, look, all, more, on, make, up, there,
* Say Boo to the Animals! by Ian Whybrow (off, we, go, through, some, up, in, not, you, who, that, what, now, this, where, want, play)
* Say Hello to the Baby Animals by Ian Whybrow (this, go, want, hello, look, me, I can, see, you, love, in, love, who, go, here, down, goodbye)
* Sitting in My Box by Dee Lillegard (in, my, let, me, over, all, no, this, it, go, not)
* Ten Apples Up on Top by Dr. Seuss – includes small character pics on Velcro inside front cover (up, on, look, you, I, can, do, it, more, on, me, not, stop, let, come, this, want, they, get, out)
* The Itsy Bitsy Spider by Iza Trapani (up, down, out, again, off, no, go, in, next to, me, stop, done)
* The Napping House by Audrey Wood (board book) (there, where, in, that, on, who, no)
* The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle (board book) (on, want, go, not, eat, on, in, who)
* The Wheels on the Bus: read-along sing-along trip to the zoo by Jeanne Willis (all, on, go, at, down, off, we)
* There Was an Old Martian Who Swallowed the Moon by Jennifer Ward (there, old, with, why, I, off, not, down, on, it, after, over, this, done)
* Tiptoe Joe by Ginger Foglesong Gibson (fast, slow, hello, come, with, me, you, see, what, under)
* Trashy Town by Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha (put, on, in, big, down, look, stop, there, by, it, around, no, behind, all, yes, up, love, off, go) (very fun to read)
* Warning: Do Not Open This Book! by Adam Lehrhaupt (put, this, want, let, out, why, not, like, no, what, can, you, stop, that, make, love, all, need, away, go) (hilarious to read…. I seriously lol every time)
* Way Far Away on a Wild Safari by Jan Peck (far, away, on, for, me, I, hello, see, you, goodbye, find)
* We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen (board book) (we, go, on, big, not, no, through, over, under, that, get, open, up, in)
* We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen (paperback) (we, go, on, big, not, no, through, over, under, that, get, open, up, in)
* We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt by Steve Metzer (we, go, on, not, under, over, up, those, away, over, through, around, what, that, it)
* We’re Going on a Lion Hunt by Margery Cuyler (get, put, on, use, we, go, on, big, look, what, can, not, over, around, through, under, up, see, out, close,
* We’re Going on a Nature Hunt by Steve Metzer (we, go, on, what, look, not, in, to, down, up, through, over)
* What Will Grow by Jennifer Ward (what; also lots of great adjectives and includes facts about seeds)
* Where are You Going, Smitty Baby? by Meridith Smith (where, go, look, let, me, see, can, I, know, have)
* Who’s in My Garden by Phyllis Gershator (oversized board book) (who, see, between, across)
* With Any Luck I’ll Drive a Truck by David Friend (at, when, myself, make, in, with, my, that, yes, I, can, on, all, like, if)
* Worms for Lunch? by Leonid Gore (who, eat, not, me, like, love, more)

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Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP

Founder of OMazing Kids

Soon to be retired and doing something totally new 🏔😎🌲

Spanish AAC Apps, Devices & Resources (Hablo con CAA)

Spanish AAC Apps, Devices & Resources (Hablo con CAA)

It can be challenging to find information about and resources for AAC in languages other than English. Since Spanish is the most common language after English in my state I have compiled a list to make it easier to share with parents:
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Hablo con CAA is a great website in Spanish: https://habloconcaa.wordpress.com. They also have a Facebook page & Facebook group. Most posts are in Spanish.

https://www.facebook.com/habloconcaa/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/habloconcaa

Prompting hierarchy: https://habloconcaa.wordpress.com/2017/10/01/repensar-la-jerarquia-de-peticiones-en-la-caa-aac-prompting-hierarchy/
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Video about Aided Language Stimulation – in Spanish:

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The Communication Matrix assessment is available online in Spanish: https://communicationmatrix.org. See this post in Spanish explaining the website: https://habloconcaa.wordpress.com/2017/05/04/evaluando-la-caa-la-matriz-de-comunicacion/
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Saltillo webinars in Spanish: https://saltillo.com/videos/x/webinar/es
Saltillo Core Vocabulary handout: https://saltillo.com/downloads/chat/escogiendo-el-vocabulario-clave-el-acercamiento-de-actividad-primero-choosing-core-vocabulary-act/Escogiendo%20el%20vocabulario%20clave%20El%20acercamiento%20de%20actividad%20primero.pdf
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PRC Spanish info: https://www.prentrom.com/prc_advantage/unidad-espanol-language-system
LAMP Words for Life Quick Reference Guide in Spanish: 

http://file.prentrom.com/2097/17908v1_1-LAMP%20WFL%20SE%20Vocab%20Quick%20Reference-Español.pdf
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Assistiveware’s resources for Proloquo2Go in Spanish: http://www.assistiveware.com/es/producto/proloquo2go/recursos
Core Word Board: front: http://coreword.assistiveware.com/uploads/db6476/original/1X/1f0f35191fd7c602c2016dfec3f5f3980d4255f2.pdf, back: http://coreword.assistiveware.com/uploads/db6476/original/1X/8ffa70e175c74006c2b60b7d0a229ff1ab8f7d2d.pdf
Core Word Poster: http://download.assistiveware.com/assistiveware/files/A0-840×1189-CoreWord-Poster-es-ES.pdf
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More printable options:

* AAC Core Words to Go in Spanish Picture Communication (available for purchase on Teachers Pay Teachers: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/AAC-Core-Words-to-Go-in-Spanish-Picture-Communication-1829593)

* Spanish Communication Flip Board (FREE on Teachers Pay Teachers: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Spanish-Communication-Flip-Board-2838262)

* Graduated Core Word Photo Boards with Flip Fringe Vocab & Spanish Version (FREE on TPT: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Graduated-Core-Word-Photo-Boards-with-Flip-Fringe-Vocab-Spanish-Version-3127128)

* 72 Spanish Graduated Core Board (FREE on TPT: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/72-Spanish-Graduated-Core-Board-2865788)

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More materials:

* http://aulaabierta.arasaac.org
* http://aulaabierta.arasaac.org/materiales-caa
* http://aulaabierta.arasaac.org/materiales-caa-recetas-de-cocina
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Adapted books: http://chapelhillsnippets.blogspot.com/p/spanish.html
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High Tech AAC for Spanish Speakers – in the ASHA Leader 3/18/16: http://blog.asha.org/2016/03/08/high-tech-aac-for-spanish-speakers/ (note: The AAC app world is constantly changing. Even though that article is less than 2 years old it is already outdated. LAMP Words for Life now has a bilingual Spanish/English option & Snap + Core First has been released and then updated to add a bilingual Spanish/English option).
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PrAACtical AAC: http://praacticalaac.org/?s=Spanish
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Boardmaker boards in Spanish: http://prekese.dadeschools.net/Resources/BMDSpanish.html
https://www.boardmakeronline.com/Activities/Search#?page=1&text=Spanish
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Dedicated Speech Generating Devices:

* PRC’s Accent series of devices with UNIDAD bilingual English – Spanish language system.
* Saltillo’s NovaChat series of devices. Several Spanish pageset options.
* Tobii Dynavox offers Snap + Core First in several dedicated devices. This vocabulary has a bilingual Spanish/English option.
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Robust AAC apps:

* CoughDrop by CoughDrop, Inc., https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/coughdrop/id1021384570?mt=8

How to translate a board in CoughDrop: https://coughdrop.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/115001290091-How-can-I-translate-a-speech-board-into-a-different-language-

* Proloquo2Go by AssistiveWare
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/proloquo2go/id308368164?mt=8, has a bilingual Spanish/English option

* Proloquo4Text by AssistiveWare, https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/proloquo4text/id751646884?mt=8 (has Spanish option)

* LAMP Words For Life by Prentke Romich Company
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/lamp-words-for-life/id551215116?mt=8, has a bilingual Spanish/English option

* Snap + Core First by Tobii Dynavox LLC
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/snap-core-first/id1072799231?mt=8, has a bilingual Spanish/English option

* TouchChat HD – AAC with WordPower by Silver Kite
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/touchchat-hd-aac-with-wordpower/id412351574?mt=8, has 10 different Spanish pagesets options within the app

* Avaz Español – AAC App para el autismo (Software de comunicación aumentativa Imagen para Niños con Necesidades Especiales) by Avaz, Inc.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/avaz-espa%C3%B1ol-aac-app-para-autismo-software-comunicaci%C3%B3n/id923997149?mt=8 – Spanish only

* BRIDGE Communication by Bioprism, Inc.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bridge-communication/id983660714?mt=8 (has Spanish & English options in the settings area)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVIr5fmx0b2WTA1yluY-MkQ
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Other AAC apps (not robust but can be helpful to meet specific needs):

* LetMeTalk by AppNotize UG (haftungsbeschraenkt), https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/letmetalk/id919990138?mt=8 (Android version: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.appnotize.letmetalk&hl=en)

* Verbal Me Español by fishdog.net, https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/verbal-me-espa%C3%B1ol/id747621945?mt=8

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3/15/20: Check out the updated Pinterest boards by Lauren Enders. Nicely organized by sections within the board to help you find what you’re looking for: https://www.pinterest.com/lasenders/aac-caa-spanish-implementation-supports/

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If you know of other good Spanish AAC resources, feel free to let me know over on Facebook messaging on my OMazing Kids page.
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Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC – inclusive wellness & educational activities for kids of all abilities
Facebook Messaging for OMazing Kids: http://m.me/OMazingKidsYoga (note: Facebook frequently changes the link to messaging so if this one doesn’t work head over to my page and click on the “Send Message” button)
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsYoga
AppPeeps Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/OMazingKidsAppPeeps/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/amoorad
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/omazingkids
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/amoorad1
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/OMazingKids/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/110305433538768736741
Boardmaker Share: http://www.boardmakershare.com/Community/FriendsProfile/10916/Angela-Moorad
Blog: http://omazingkidsllc.com
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Angela Moorad is the founder of OMazing Kids, LLC and is an ASHA certified & licensed pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Kids Yoga Teacher with 28 years experience working in a variety of settings (early intervention, schools, teletherapy & a nonprofit pediatric rehab hospital for children with developmental disabilities). She is an app beta tester for educational & therapeutic app developers and loves sharing info about great apps, products, books & toys to use with kids of all abilities.

{AAC Core Vocabulary: Not} “Natsumi!” by Susan Lendroth

{AAC Core Vocabulary: Not} “Natsumi!” by Susan Lendroth

I love using kids picture books in speech therapy and am especially excited when I get a book that has repeated opportunities for teaching core vocabulary for AAC users. This cute new picture book will be released on 3/15/18. It has the following opportunities for teaching “not”: “Not so fast”, “Not so hard”, “Not so loud”. I love the spunkiness of the main character, Natsumi, and how her grandfather found a positive outlet for energy.
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Available for pre-order on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Natsumi-Susan-Lendroth/dp/0399170901
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I was off work for a snow/ice day today so I had extra time to see which of the AAC apps already have the following words in them and located in a way that is easy to access: not, fast, hard, soft. The following AAC apps passed that test: aacorn Plus, Avaz, LAMP Words for Life, Proloquo2Go with Gateway, Snap + Core First & Speak for Yourself.
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aacorn Plus

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Avaz

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LAMP Words for Life

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Proloquo2Go with Gateway

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Snap + Core First

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Speak for Yourself

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Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC – inclusive wellness & educational activities for kids of all abilities
Facebook Messaging for OMazing Kids: http://m.me/OMazingKidsYoga (note: Facebook frequently changes the link to messaging so if this one doesn’t work head over to my page and click on the “Send Message” button)
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsYoga
AppPeeps Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/OMazingKidsAppPeeps/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/amoorad
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/omazingkids
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/amoorad1
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/OMazingKids/
YappGuru: http://yappguru.com/user/omazing-kids/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/110305433538768736741
Boardmaker Share: http://www.boardmakershare.com/Community/FriendsProfile/10916/Angela-Moorad
Blog: http://omazingkidsllc.com
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Angela Moorad is the founder of OMazing Kids, LLC and is an ASHA certified & licensed pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Kids Yoga Teacher with 28 years experience working in a variety of settings (early intervention, schools, teletherapy & a nonprofit pediatric rehab hospital for children with developmental disabilities). She is an app beta tester for educational & therapeutic app developers and loves sharing info about great apps, products, books & toys to use with kids of all abilities.

{Video} Creative uses for the GoTalk Now Plus AAC app

A quick video of some of the ways that I use the GoTalk Now Plus AAC app from Attainment Company, Inc. It has several unique features that make it a “must have” on any speechie’s iPad 😃.
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In case you are wondering how the sound is that loud… This is my 9.7″ iPad Pro. It is in an original Gripcase USA case with handles on all four sides. I made a “bumper” out of a piece of pool noodle to prevent the bottom handle from getting bent out of shape when using my iPad on my lap.

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Little Light House Therapy Team’s post about how to make LAMP Words for Life CVI friendly: http://www.thelittleanchor.org/2017/03/10/how-to-make-lamp-words-for-life-cvi-friendly/.
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Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC – inclusive wellness & educational activities for kids of all abilities
Facebook Messaging for OMazing Kids: http://m.me/OMazingKidsYoga (note: Facebook frequently changes the link to messaging so if this one doesn’t work head over to my page and click on the “Send Message” button)
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsYoga
AppPeeps Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/OMazingKidsAppPeeps/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/amoorad
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/omazingkids
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/amoorad1
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/OMazingKids/
YappGuru: http://yappguru.com/user/omazing-kids/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/110305433538768736741
Boardmaker Share: http://www.boardmakershare.com/Community/FriendsProfile/10916/Angela-Moorad
Blog: http://omazingkidsllc.com
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Angela Moorad is the founder of OMazing Kids, LLC and is an ASHA certified & licensed pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Kids Yoga Teacher with 28 years experience working in a variety of settings (early intervention, schools, teletherapy & a nonprofit pediatric rehab hospital for children with developmental disabilities). She is an app beta tester for educational & therapeutic app developers and loves sharing info about great apps, products, books & toys to use with kids of all abilities.

AAC Funding: Jumping Through Hoops & Proving Accuracy

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Pursuing funding for augmentative communication devices is not for the timid or the faint of heart.

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Unless you are working with a family who is very wealthy and can afford to purchase it themselves you need to be prepared for the paperwork & “fiery hoops”.

The funding department at the company selling the device will provide valuable support but a lot will rest on the shoulders of the SLP submitting the funding request.

It is wise to get as much information as you can before you start the process. Read through the definition of “medical necessity” and all the required elements for purchase of a speech generating device (SGD) as durable medical equipment (DME) for that insurance company and/or Medicaid in your state. This will give you both verbiage to include in your report and a checklist of all the bases you need to cover.

In my most recent funding request I had to deal with both the requirements of private insurance and Medicaid. Each had their own requirements. This patient’s insurance company required at least a 30 day trial with the SGD being requested. Medicaid in my state requires a video demonstrating clear communicative intent, independent use and for eye gaze devices “proof of accuracy”. Trying to submit a funding request before we had all of those elements would have been fruitless.

“Proving accuracy” may not sound like a big deal but I can testify that it was a huge fiery hoop when the patient was a 2.5 year old who had huge meltdowns every time I tried “show me the _____” activities. As in several sessions went down the toilet because we tried that.

So I laid in bed at night mulling over the quandary of how to “prove accuracy” in order to get her the AAC device that I knew she needed and that she had already shown me she could use. Add the extra self induced pressure of desperately wanting to get this accomplished before my retirement. Thank the Lord for stumbling upon a toy that this child was intrigued by. Not really the most highly preferred item. In fact early in the trial of the eye gaze device her Mom and I thought she may have been accidentally activating the button to request it since her reaction upon getting the toy was pretty “meh” 😐. So her Mom asked if I could move the button for it to a different location. Guess who immediately activated the button for that toy again and gave us her famous impish grin. Every time I moved that button she found it and grinned. So that was our golden ticket to making it through the fiery hoop of “proving accuracy”. I added a tiny button to her home page in Communicator 5 on the Tobii Dynavox i15+ eye gaze SGD and linked it to a page set that I built with the “noisy ball” and three other items with the placement randomized on each page. The first session I showed it to her she was a little fussy so we didn’t stay there long. The next week she was well rested and especially perky. Guess who found the “noisy ball” with 100% accuracy when presented in a playful way as a game of “hide and seek”? Yup. She did. And I got it all on video including her huge smile at the end as if to say “I rocked that didn’t I?”.

Tip: When you are required to provide a video with your funding request it’s important to always have a means of videoing on you in all sessions so you can capture the moments.

That was a huge fiery hoop to make it through and I worked late that evening to start the AAC eval report to get the funding request process started. Here’s the deal…. once you start that ball rolling you have to be willing to do what it takes under very short timeframes when they request additional video or ask for an addendum for additional information. If you don’t meet their very short timeframes then the request will automatically be denied and you have to start all over. For this child I had to provide documentation as to why she could not use handwriting as a means of communicating (ummmm…… not a developmentally appropriate expectation for any 3 year old let alone one with Rett Sydrome and no functional hand use) & additional videos proving she was making independent and intentional requests with the SGD. All of which had already been documented both in video and in writing. Of course I was frustrated every time but I had to vent to my fellow SLPeeps and then did what it took to make it through that next fiery hoop. I cried tears of relief and joy when I finally got the e-mail that her SGD had been approved and the day it arrived.

In the end it is all worth it to see the look on a child’s face when they get to take home their “voice” for the first time.

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I’m not sharing this to brag on myself but rather to leave pearls of wisdom learned from my 28 year career as a SLP. I’ll be retiring in 11 weeks so I’m trying to pass along things that I’ve learned before I move on to the next chapter in my life. I spent several hours researching the internet and posting in AAC and SLP Facebook groups begging for ideas for how to “prove accuracy” for a 2.5 years old using an eye gaze device. But there was nothing. So I hope that this info helps some other speechie in the future. For your patient it will likely be some other random toy or activity but the concept of turning it into a playful “hide and seek” activity may be your ticket to making it through the “proving accuracy” fiery hoop.

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Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC – inclusive wellness & educational activities for kids of all abilities
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Angela Moorad is the founder of OMazing Kids, LLC and is an ASHA certified & licensed pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Kids Yoga Teacher with 28 years experience working in a variety of settings (early intervention, schools, teletherapy & a nonprofit pediatric rehab hospital for children with developmental disabilities). She is an app beta tester for educational & therapeutic app developers and loves sharing info about great apps, products, books & toys to use with kids of all abilities.