Posts Tagged ‘Augmentative Communication’

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/

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

AssistiveWare’s Spanish user group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2123537574601002/

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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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5/1/20: Spanish translations of the great handouts from The AAC Coach – in this album on Facebook: 

https://www.facebook.com/pg/theaaccoach/photos/?tab=album&album_id=142370680583444&__tn__=-UC-R

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5/1/20: Spanish versions of Users Guides for GoTalk products & GoTalk apps from Attainment Company

GoTalk 4+ User Guide – Spanish Version

https://www.attainmentcompany.com/mwdownloads/download/link/id/1528/

(For this product: https://www.attainmentcompany.com/gotalk-4)

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GoTalk 9+ User Guide – Spanish Version

https://www.attainmentcompany.com/mwdownloads/download/link/id/1529/

(For this product: https://www.attainmentcompany.com/gotalk-9)

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GoTalk 20+ User Guide – Spanish Version

https://www.attainmentcompany.com/mwdownloads/download/link/id/1533/

(For this product: https://www.attainmentcompany.com/gotalk-20)

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GoTalk Express 32 User Guide – Spanish Version

https://www.attainmentcompany.com/mwdownloads/download/link/id/1530/

(For this product: https://www.attainmentcompany.com/gotalk-express-32)

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GoTalk Now AAC app Users Guide

https://www.attainmentcompany.com/mwdownloads/download/link/id/1527/?fbclid=IwAR0YdHLBZGK7JPBjaO-JD2oi4kLuGIb1SBc-9Oz0LXvP5err1kAztq6YVho

(For this app: https://www.attainmentcompany.com/gotalk-now. The same guide should be applicable to the other versions of the app. I use this version: https://www.attainmentcompany.com/gotalk-now-plus). The Users Guide is also available within the help section in the apps. The Spanish version will only appear if the iPad’s language is set to Spanish (Settings > General > iPad Language & Regions). Then, when in the app, if you go to the Help section it will display the Spanish guide. 

More info: As you adjust the language on that iPad (Settings > General > iPad Language & Regions) the buttons in the app are translated and the user guide has been translated for Chinese, Czech, English, Finnish, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, and Ukrainian. Then, for Danish and Greek, the app is translated into the language, but the user guide remains English. 

It is also worth noting that the app can be programmed to speak any language supported by the iPad. For instance, someone who speaks French and has a French keyboard downloaded on their iPad, when they use the text-to-speech within the app, it will speak in French.

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Update 8/15/20:

A Facebook page in Spanish with frequent AAC posts: https://m.facebook.com/patriciagutierrez.es/

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Update 8/22/20:

Spanish translation of Lauren Enders’ brand new AAC Boot Camp Infographic (CAMPAMENTO DE CAA (en Español)): http://bit.ly/CampamentodeCAA2020

(English version: http://bit.ly/AACBootCamp2020PDF)

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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
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.

I have something to say…… about PODD (updated with additional resources and a review/comparison of all digital PODD apps for the iPad)

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Have you ever had a patient who you knew had something to say but you struggled to find a means of communication?

I spent almost a year trying literally EVERY possible AAC device and app and every type of access option in a quest to find a “voice” for a child who I knew had so much to say. She made it very clear that she wanted to use her hands for direct access despite having minimal use of them. She hated head pointing and eye gaze devices and any type of scanning. I would seriously lay in bed at night and ponder what else we could try. I spent hours scouring the internet looking for PODD resources and watched just about every video I could find. Thank goodness a PODD training finally came close enough and was priced affordably enough that our facility sent two SLPs to get trained. Ideally I would have gone to that PODD training but it didn’t make sense for me to take a spot being so close to retirement. But having two of our SLPs trained gave me access to a PODD book to trial with her and then was able to order a premade one for her. Ideally you would custom make and print a book but the facility where I work had not figured out the logistics of printing on special water and rip resistant paper and spiral binding. So I have customized the premade PODD book for her by using clear packing tape to add symbols. Her older sister has even hand drawn a few symbols and the family has written lists on the back of pages. It may not be perfect but it’s working for her. She is my PODD rock star. Every week I end my session by telling her to “PODD on” (rock on with PODD).

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I’m sharing links to things that were helpful during this PODD adventure and a few lessons learned….
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What does PODD stand for? Pragmatic Organization Dynamic Display
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How to get started? Ideally go to a PODD training….. but the reality is they may not be offered anywhere near you and they tend to be very expensive. This was my reality so I learned as much as I could online through blog posts, workshop handouts, videos, Facebook groups, etc….

One of the biggest mind shifts for me was to let go of the need to plan contrived communication opportunities in therapy sessions and instead model initiating saying “I have something to say” through facial expression, raising my hand and vocalizing and then using PODD to share my own thoughts or ideas. I had to get comfortable with doing lots of modeling without any pressure on the child to do anything. And comfortable with writing measurable goals in a whole different way.

Examples of some of the goals that I have written for her during this process:

“__________ will show increasing interest and attention to someone using pages from the PODD aided communication system to talk to her in natural contexts throughout the day. This will be measured by an increase in: looking towards the communication symbols or the communication partner, calming during this process, looking away to the side but with a stillness as if listening, or responding the partner’s message. Will increase from ______ to at least _______ times documented during the auth period.”

“Within natural contexts throughout the day, _________ will initiate use of PODD AAC by raising her hand and/or vocalizing to indicate “I have something to say”. Will increase from _______ to at least ________ times documented during the auth period.”

“After signaling “I have something to say”, __________will express an increasing range of communicative functions such as requests, comments, and directing actions using direct selection and/or partner assisted scanning with pages from the PODD communication book and yes/no responses. Will increase from_______ to at least ________ times documented during the auth period.”

Update 7/27/20: The Angelman Syndrome Foundation has lots of nice examples of goals in the AAC section on their website (not specific to PODD but relevant): https://www.angelman.org/resources-education/iep-bank/
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Reading these 1 page PODD tip sheets helped break the concept into manageable chunks: http://interactivespeech.com.au/podd-communication-focus-handouts.php

Update 7/24/20: Those handouts are all no longer available. The website indicates they are being updated. Fortunately I had copies saved in the iBooks app on my iPad. I merged them into one PDF and uploaded that to my blog.

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This weekend I found these handouts and videos on Linda Burkhart’s website about PODD:

“Aided Language Stimulation and a Robust Language System: Autism a Case Example” – Presented by Linda J. Burkhart and Aura Baker at Closing the Gap Conference, October, 2016

 

Click to access Jax_story_CTGap_presentation_10_16_post.pdf

http://lindaburkhart.com/index.php/handout_jax_autism

“Aided Language Stimulation: Giving Kids the Gift of Language”
– presented by Linda Burkhart and Karen Owens (We Speak PODD) at AITA January 2017

 

Click to access Gift-of-Language_ATIA_Jan_17.pdf

https://bit.ly/39voWJd

 

Partner-Assisted Communication Strategies for Children Who Face Multiple Challenges Handout by Linda J. Burkhart and Gayle Porter ((Pre-conference Instructional course – ISAAC 2006): https://bit.ly/3f4DlNu

 

Partner-Assisted Communication Strategies for Children Who Face Multiple Challenges: PODD Communication Books – Gayle Porter Handout by Linda J. Burkhart and Gayle Porter (Pre-conference Instructional course – ISAAC 2006):  https://bit.ly/2BvPI7y

http://lindaburkhart.com/index.php/handouts/

Older handouts with great info:

https://bit.ly/3hHmdzb

http://lindaburkhart.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Light_Com_part_1_-5_12_handout.pdf
http://lindaburkhart.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Light_Com_part_2_PODD_50_min_5_12_handout_rev.pdf
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Update 7/26/20:

Jodi Melendez: Making Modeling Fun at Home – AAC in the Cloud 2018 (webinar by a parent who uses PODD with her daughter): https://youtu.be/J6YfJuz1ktA

Getting Started with PODD with Mary Louise Bertram webinar: https://youtu.be/s_mc6AWQOM0 (it’s part of a great series of trainings from the Angelman Syndrome Foundation: https://www.angelman.org/resources-education/communication-training-series/)

Parents as Partners Working Together to Support PODD Users handouts (March 2017): http://ncaca.info/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/NCACA-2017-PODD-Karen-Lynn-handout.pdf

Recorded presentations from the FAST educational summit 2015 (Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics):
Gayle Porter (this presentation was not specifically about PODD… but a little bit about PODD starts at 43:13): https://youtu.be/LoD32hBtyaU
Linda Burkhart (not solely about PODD but a lot about it): https://youtu.be/QZJRK0MB2ug
Handouts from their presentation: http://lburkhart.com/handout%20Which%20Way%20to%20Autonomous%20Communication%20AS%20Porter%20Burkhart.pdf

Talking with Tech podcast with guest Kelly Fonner who is a certified PODD trainer on 2/19/19 (her part starts at 20:33, Why would someone consider using PODD? starts at 29:20, Pitfalls to avoid starts at 40:33) : https://talkingwithtech.podbean.com/e/kelly-fonner-all-about-podd-pragmatic-organization-dynamic-display/

Updated PODD Overview: https://novitatech.com.au/equipment/podd-communication-books/

Lots of PODD info has been added to the PODD USA website…. I wish all of this had been there back when I was on my quest to learn about PODD: http://www.poddusa.com/links.html .

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Options for purchasing premade PODD books (you have to sign a confirmation that you own both the Boardmaker and PODD software). A big shout out to Rachael Langley & Kelly Fonner for helping me find the first two options! The third one was seen in a Facebook group:

* http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1970606/PODD-Book-Order-Form-3 (several sizes and styles to choose from. This is where we ordered this patient’s book from. The spiral binding is not very large so we had to use a wooden dowel rod to hang it on the PVC stand.)

* http://www.esc4.net/Assets/podd-books-order-formv2.pdf

* https://terraslatepaper.com/products/podd-communication-book (you have to send them PDF to print)

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How to convert PODD to PDF in Boardmaker 6

So I’ve been frustrated that I’m always fumbling through this patient’s PODD book in sessions. I wish there was a “word finder” for PODD (one of the downsides of a no tech system). I’m pretty “at home” with most AAC devices and apps since I have had lots of time to look through them and use them.  I wanted to have this same level of ease in using PODD so I decided that I needed a copy of the same style of PODD book that she is using.

Unfortunately I can’t use the Tobii Dynavox PODD pageset in the Compass app to model since it doesn’t look anything like my patient’s PODD book. Since I am only 14 weeks away from retirement it did not make sense to spend about $80 to order a premade PODD book for me.  I had seen comments online of folks saving a PODD book as a PDF so that’s what I decided to do. I saved the PDF in iBooks on my iPad. Now I have a way to look through it to get a feel for what vocabulary is in it and the pragmatic branching.

Be forewarned ….. it’s a VERY tedious & time consuming process to save a PODD book into one PDF if you are using Boardmaker 6 on a CD. It took me about 3 hours for a 123 pages of PODD. It’s not hard but time consuming.

  • Open the first page of your PODD book in Boardmaker.
  • Go to File – Print Set Up – Print Set Up – selected “Microsoft Print to PDF” – OK – Remember Board Settings for New Boards – OK
  • Go to File – Print (make sure it says “Microsoft Print to PDF” as the printer) – OK

You have to repeat the process for every single page that you want to include in the PDF of your PODD book. (I don’t have access to Boardmaker Online so I don’t know what the steps are there).

After you have all your pages saved as PDFs, then go to the Small PDF website (https://smallpdf.com/merge-pdf). This website lets you upload an unlimited number of PDFs. I uploaded all 123 of the PDF documents that I wanted included in this PODD book. After they are all uploaded then you hit “merge”. I was surprised how quickly this website handled merging 123 separate PDFs into one 123 page PDF document. I then uploaded the merged PDF from my computer into the media storage on my blog (a secured area that only I have access to). From there I was able to e-mail the link to the iPad that I use for AAC and opened the PDF in iBooks to save it on the device.

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Find a PODD Training:

http://www.poddusa.com/index.html

https://sites.google.com/site/testbkeller20/
http://lindaburkhart.com/
More info: http://lindaburkhart.com/index.php/podd-information/
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We Speak PODD:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfvD20l2wn-fS2Ar4bdTXZg
https://www.facebook.com/wespeakpodd/
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Info about the types of PODD books:
https://www.novita.org.au/equipment/podd-communication-books/

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Comparisons of PODD one page opening types of books: PODD-Comparison-for-one-page-opening-communication-books

Language: Pragmatic Functions and semantic meaning comparisons of PODD one page opening types of books: PODD-Language-Comparison-for-one-page-opening-communication-books

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More PODD tips:
http://praacticalaac.org/?s=PODD
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Mary-Louise Bertram demonstrates how to make a portable stand for a PODD book, that could also work well for other kinds of communication books.

 

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How We Speak PODD makes their carrying rods:

 

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Here are some examples of PODD book stands made out of PVC. The amazing PT tech at our facility made some of the first style ones for us:  PODD PVC stand examples
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Update 7/28/20: More stand options

Therese Willkomm (a “MacGyver of AT”) making a stand out of corrugated plastic: https://youtu.be/1EeX7bIKiEU
More details (the dimensions are for an iPad stand but could easily be adapted for a PODD book): https://www.atprogramnews.com/2012/08/make-an-ipad-stand-in-under-3-minutes.html . Also found a PDF on this website: https://iod.unh.edu/node/73.
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I’ve also seen this stand recommended: BestBookStand Actto BST-09:

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And this one: Fellowes Booklift Copyholder, Platinum (21100)

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PODD Facebook groups:
* PODD and Alternative Access: https://www.facebook.com/groups/245472458977470
* PODD Trained Discussion Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/146028998941754
* PODD Europe: https://www.facebook.com/groups/304605199684150
* PODD & Angelman Sydrome: https://www.facebook.com/groups/AngelmanPODD/

* PODD with Alternative Access and Alternative Presentation: https://www.facebook.com/groups/245472458977470/

* PODD Interest Group Australia: https://www.facebook.com/groups/poddaus/

More Facebook groups that are not specific to PODD but folks frequently post about it there:

* AAC for the SLP: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1539830846285663/

* AAC Through Motivate, Model, Move Out Of The Way: https://www.facebook.com/groups/421704261346486/

* Angelman, Literacy, and Education (including Alphabet Therapy): https://www.facebook.com/groups/265187670266772/

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Gayle Porter has reportedly been working on an “alternative access” version of PODD for quite awhile but as of the time of this post it is still not available here in the USA. So I made these very simple eye gaze boards inspired by PODD to use with a couple of other older patients.

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I may add more PODD resources to this post in the future. Just so it’s clear…. I’m definitely not an expert on PODD. I’m just a speechie who was willing to jump out of my comfort zone to find a means of communication for this patient and thought it would be helpful to share resources that took countless hours to find.  If you have questions about this form of AAC I suggest going to one of the Facebook groups listed above. It’s where all the PODD gurus are 😉

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Update 7/22/20:

 

I recently discovered this unique free AAC app in the App Store. pasco by Ace Centre
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/pasco/id1317265884. pasco (Phrase Auditory Scanning COmmunicator). It works on the iPad and iPhone. The auditory scanning options are very similar to those in PODD. There are no symbols. It’s totally auditory. The in app guide is in the “?” area. More info: http://acecentre.org.uk/project/pasco/

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Update 7/26/20:

Digital PODD books are available on the iPad in three ways: simPODD, Grid for iPad and PODD with Compass. This post is based on my personal experiences in trying all three options.

Prices, availability & device/iOS compatibility were all checked in the USA App Store and website links were all working at the time this post was written (11:00am CST on 7/26/20). Prices may vary outside the USA based on the exchange rate. Screenshots and descriptions are based on features available at the time of this post. AAC apps change frequently as updates are released.

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simPODD

 

1. simPODD app by AssistiveWare, https://apps.apple.com/us/app/simpodd/id1464489596, iPad only, iOS 12.1 or later. Most recent update: 6/30/20. The app is free & has a 1-month free trial (digital only, cannot print). Then you would need to subscribe ($13.99 per month for digital only, $139.99 per year for digital + printing capabilities). There is currently not an option to purchase it in full up front but they have recently added the option to purchase a multi-year license (3-year: $419.99 & 5-year: $699.99) that will be helpful to those wanting to pursue funding options that won’t or can’t purchase a subscription (ex: insurance, school districts, state run facilities, etc.). Those must be purchased directly from AssistiveWare: https://assistiveware.onfastspring.com. More info: https://www.assistiveware.com/products/simpodd, overview: https://www.assistiveware.com/support/simpodd/overview, great tips about printing PODD books: https://www.assistiveware.com/blog/tips-to-print-and-make-podd-book

Key features:
* SymbolStix symbols
* Lots of high quality voices with the ability to adjust the pitch and speech rate
* Easy to access “Controls” page where you can expand the sentence bar and then use “cursor controls” to be able to delete specific items in the sentence bar. The options vary based on the version of PODD being used. This is also where you can “share” and “copy” messages and adjust the volume to whisper, talk or shout.
* Option to share messages via e-mail, iMessaging, share messages to social media (Twitter and Facebook… must have those apps installed and be logged in), copy them to the clipboard to use in other apps, add to the Notes app, or save to Files (only the text is shared not the symbols)
* Ability to edit multiple buttons at a time
* Unfortunately there is no “Search” option like they have in Proloquo2Go. It would be very helpful for those wanting to find specific items to model on PODD.
* The PODD 15 and 15+ page sets all have the option to show symbols + text in the sentence bar plus the ability to adjust the type of font and color of font.

* Unfortunately there is not an option to show symbols + text in the sentence bar in the PODD 60 page sets. Just text but you can adjust the type of font and color of font.
* In-app “Help” area with links to help articles, AssistiveWare’s user groups on Facebook and e-mail for support (available 7 days a week).
* iCloud backup is done automatically and can also be done manually

* Update 8/2/20: The simPODD app was updated to add the option to adjust skin tones

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Includes 6 PODD book options:
PODD 15 Preschool
PODD 15+ Preschool
PODD 15 School
PODD 15+ School
PODD 60 Expanded Key Word
PODD 60 Complex Syntax

If you have a yearly subscription, it includes the ability to export and print PODD books. Different versions of PODD are available to edit and print than are available digitally. Samples can be viewed within the app:

9 Early Functions
9 Expanded Functions
12 Early Functions
12 Expanded Functions
16 Expanded Functions
20 Expanded Functions
36 Key Words
40 Key Words
48 Expanded Key Words
70 Expanded Key Words
90+ Complex Syntax
100+ Complex Syntax
Group Early Functions VEST
Group Expanded Functions
Group Expanded Functions VEST

AssistiveWare simPODD Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/AssistiveWaresimPODD

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Grid for iPad

2. Grid for iPad app by Smartbox Assistive Technology, iPad only, iOS 11.0 or later. Most recent update: 7/6/20 (this is when they added the option to purchase PODD as an in-app purchase).

Key features:
* PCS / Boardmaker symbols with 6 options for symbol skin tones. Some of the symbols look a little odd when adjusting the skin tone but it’s at least a step towards diversity. Can also edit buttons to use other symbols: PCS High Contrast, SymbolStix, Widgit & Grid 3. You can use a mix of different types of symbols on a grid.
* Several languages and lots of high quality voice options
* Can add recorded speech Message Banking
* Can alter pronunciation of words
* Settings for writing (editing the dictionary for word prediction, chat history, capitalization, auto replace, toggle on/off adult symbols, edit the small words list, abbreviations)
* Has the option to include symbols + text in the sentence bar for all of the PODD grid sets
* Volume controls that are easily accessible in all grid sets. The cursor controls and lots of other controls are included in both PODD 60 grid sets.
* Has a “Search” feature that will show the path to specific items. FYI… the search must match the exact wording on the button in order to find it. Having a Search feature is especially helpful for SLPs and teachers who may be using lots of different types of AAC with students / patients and want to model PODD.
* Has the option to include symbols + text in the sentence bar for all PODD grid sets (this is not an option in the PODD 60 page sets in simPODD)
* Several formatting options for the chat writing area (sentence bar)
* Has the option to have buttons highlighted when activated (options: color cell background, color cell border or no visual highlight & lots of options for the specific color of highlighting). Used with Touch Accommodations in Accessibility Settings.
* Can easily edit the style of a grid set (theme: modern, bubble or blocky font; cell layout: label above or below the symbol; empty cells: toggle between visible/hidden; cell spacing: extra small, small, medium, large, extra large, jumbo)
* Lots of color options for the grid background
* Ability to add rows and columns to grids
* Remote editing capabilities via their free Grid 3 software for Windows computers. This is especially helpful in the midst of the COVID-19 / Coronavirus pandemic where lots of services are being provided via teletherapy or distance learning.
* DropBox backup

Has the following PODD Grid options:
PODD 15 Preschool
PODD 15+ Preschool
PODD 15 School
PODD 15+ School
PODD 60 Expanded Key Word
PODD 60 Complex Syntax

There are two versions of the app that both include PODD 15 Preview & PODD 60 Preview grid sets. There is not access to full PODD grid sets within the apps without purchasing the $79.99 in app purchase:

* Grid for iPad – AAC, https://apps.apple.com/us/app/grid-for-ipad-aac/id1064332378 (free and has 30 day free trial but the full PODD grid sets are not included, then requires a subscription for $9.99 per month but in order to have access to PODD you would need to purchase the in-app purchase $79.99 that includes all of the PODD grid sets)

* Grid for iPad – VPP, https://apps.apple.com/us/app/grid-for-ipad-vpp/id1339153708, $349.99 (up front purchase of the app, no subscription needed) + $79.99 for PODD for Grid (purchased via IAP, includes all the PODD grid sets) = $429.98

You can try out the full PODD grid sets as part of the free trial of Grid 3 on a computer running Windows 10. I initially got an error message when attempting to open them on my laptop but when I restarted my computer they all worked fine: https://thinksmartbox.com/news/new-podd-grid-sets/. (update 7/27/20: I received this helpful info from Smartbox: https://thinksmartbox.com/answer/unable-access-phonics-free-trial/)

I wish they had included the full PODD grids in the free trial in the app so we could actually trial them on the device that would be used for that patient/student. But viewing them on my laptop at least let me see what was in each grid set and in the controls area on each one. And I was able to install different voices to try.

Helpful videos on their YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/SmartboxAssistiveTechnology

The PODD Manual for Grid 3 contains info explaining the differences between paper PODDs vs. high tech PODDs and lots of other helpful info: https://thinksmartbox.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/PODD-manual-v2-April-2020.pdf. Since the developer of PODD won’t allow the digital versions to be identical to paper PODD books, I found it especially helpful to have info about which digital PODD grid sets correspond best to a particular type of paper PODD book. It’s very helpful that the Grid for iPad app includes these details when looking through the grid sets as well as having it in their manual. Read the manual for in depth details about each grid set. Here’s a brief summary:

* PODD 15 Preschool & PODD 15 Preschool grid sets have a similar vocabulary and organization to the one-page opening 12
per page expanded function PODD paper communication books.

* PODD 15+ Preschool & PODD 15+ School grid sets have a similar vocabulary organization to the one-page opening 20 per
page expanded function PODD paper communication books.

* PODD 60 Expanded Key Word grid set has a similar language complexity and vocabulary organization to the two- grid opening 70 and two-grid opening with a side panel 48 expanded key word PODD paper communication books.

* PODD 60 Complex Syntax grid set has a similar language complexity and vocabulary organisation to the two- grid opening 90+ and the two-grid opening with a side panel 100+ complex syntax PODD communication books.

Their PODD – Getting Started guide is also helpful: https://thinksmartbox.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/PODD-getting-started-June-2020.pdf

Smartbox Community Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/smartboxcommunity

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3. PODD with Compass by Tobii Dynavox LLC, https://apps.apple.com/us/app/podd-with-compass/id907333758, iPad only, iOS 8.0 or later, $299.99. Last update: 12/3/18. FYI… I’m VERY hesitant to recommend this app since Tobii Dynavox has made it clear that they are focusing future development and support on their newer Snap Core First AAC app plus the Compass app without PODD has already disappeared from the App Store and they no longer have this app listed with the other apps on their website. I have even seen several posts this year from well respected SLPs, special education teachers and consultants who specialize in AAC indicating that they have had AAC users and families tell them that Tobii Dynavox sales consultants were pushing them to go with Snap Core First instead of PODD with Compass. Hopefully that issue has been dealt with since those apps are designed with very different purposes and users in mind. I saw a comment one post back in June 2019 that they were working on adding PODD as an option within Snap Core First. If that’s true that would be even more reason to not waste your money purchasing this older app. I know the lower price is tempting but the old saying “You get what you pay for” comes to mind. The only exception I can think of are those who have an older iPad that cannot be updated to the iOS needed for simPODD or Grid for iPad but then you have to consider how much longer that old of an iPad will continue to function. Here’s the PODD with Compass manual for anyone who may need it: https://www.mytobiidynavox.com/Support/Documentation. The Tobii Dynavox Community Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/tobiidynavoxcommunity/.

Introduction to PODD for DynaVox Compass, by Gayle Porter http://www.dynavoxtech.com/training/online/recorded-web-classes/details/?id=4269 or http://uk.dynavoxtech.com/training/online/recorded- web-classes/details/?id=4269 (unfortunately it appears that recorded webinar was removed from both websites). But this different presentation about PODD with Compass by another PODD trainer is out on YouTube: https://youtu.be/rw0lNEjGbh8

Update 7/27/20: A Tobii Dynavox employee indicated in a comment in their Facebook group that PODD within Snap Core First should be released in September 2020. No other details on exactly how it will be done or the costs. I’ll update this post when I know more info.

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Which is the best digital PODD option? It depends on what features you need the most. There are features that I love in both simPODD and in Grid for iPad. I wish I could take the best features out of each of them and combine them into one app….. but since that’s not possible here are a few thoughts.

Features that would lead me to choose simPODD… if I needed:
* a simple way to customize and print PODD books all from the convenience of an iPad (this is a huge plus…. especially since Mayer Johnson has indicated that they are still not going to have iPad compatibility when they launch Boardmaker 7)
* intuitive editing and use of grammar pop-ups (especially nice for those familiar with their Proloquo2Go app)
* cursor controls that are easily accessible in all page sets
* an “expand message” feature where you can expand the sentence bar and then use “cursor controls” to be able to delete specific items in the sentence bar.
* options to share messages via e-mail & iMessaging, share messages to social media (Twitter and Facebook… must have those apps installed and be logged in), copy messages to the clipboard to use in other apps, add to the Notes app, or save to Files (only the text is shared not the symbols)
* fast and automatic backup to iCloud

Features that would lead me to choose Grid for iPad with PODD added as an IAP… if I needed:
* a variety of symbol options (PCS is the default but other symbols can be used when editing: PCS High Contrast, SymbolStix, Widgit, Grid 3)
* several language options
* a “Search” feature that will show the path to specific items (FYI… The search must match the exact wording on the button in order to find it). This is especially helpful for SLPs and teachers who may be using lots of different types of AAC with students / patients and want to model PODD.
* the option to add recorded speech Message Banking
* to alter pronunciation of words
* settings for writing (editing the dictionary for word prediction, chat history, capitalization, auto replace, toggle on/off adult symbols, edit the small words list, abbreviations)
* the option to include symbols + text in the sentence bar for all PODD grid sets (this is not an option in the PODD 60 page sets in simPODD)
* the option to have buttons highlighted when activated (options: color cell background, color cell border or no visual highlight & lots of options for the specific color of highlighting). Used with Touch Accommodations in Accessibility Settings.
* free remote editing capabilities. This is especially helpful in the midst of the COVID-19 / Coronavirus pandemic where lots of services are being provided via teletherapy or distance learning.
* DropBox backup

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Comparison of the total costs over time:

1 year period:
simPODD yearly subscription: $139.99
Grid for iPad – subscription: $9.99 x 12 months = $119.88 + $79.99 for PODD IAP = $199.87
Grid for iPad – up front purchase: $349.99 + $79.99 for PODD IAP = $429.98

2 year period:
simPODD: $139.99 yearly subscription x 2 years = $279.98
Grid for iPad – subscription: $9.99 x 24 months = $239.76 + $79.99 for PODD IAP = $319.75
Grid for iPad – up front purchase: $349.99 + $79.99 for PODD IAP = $429.98

3 year period:
simPODD: $139.99 yearly subscription x 3 years = $419.97
simPODD 3-year license: $419.99 (purchased at : https://assistiveware.onfastspring.com)
Grid for iPad – subscription: $9.99 x 36 months = $359.64 + $79.99 for PODD IAP = $439.63
Grid for iPad – up front purchase: $349.99 + $79.99 for PODD IAP = $429.98

4 year period:
simPODD: $139.99 yearly subscription x 4 years = $559.96
Grid for iPad – subscription: $9.99 x 48 months = $479.52 + $79.99 for PODD IAP = $559.51
Grid for iPad – up front purchase: $349.99 + $79.99 for PODD IAP = $429.98

5 year period:
simPODD: $139.99 yearly subscription x 5 years = $699.95
simPODD 5-year license: $699.99 (purchased at : https://assistiveware.onfastspring.com)
Grid for iPad – subscription: $9.99 x 60 months = $599.40 + $79.99 for PODD IAP = $679.39
Grid for iPad – up front purchase: $349.99 + $79.99 for PODD IAP = $429.98

The prices of simPODD vs. Grid for iPad with PODD added are similar especially when you consider most individuals who use PODD for AAC have complex communication needs and would be using it for a long period of time.

Just wanting the ability to make printed paper PODD books? The current price of purchasing a Boardmaker version 6 CD ($399.00) & the PODD CD ($300.95) from Mayer Johnson totals $699.95 in order to be able to just make printed PODD books and you’ll have to do that on a computer. If you subscribe to Boardmaker Online you still have to purchase the PODD CD. It would take 5 years of using simPODD to equal that cost and simPODD can be used on the fly on an iPad plus can be used as a digital PODD in the event that you decide to do that.

So those wanting to look for a more affordable and portable way to make and edit PODD books to be printed should really consider simPODD vs. Boardmaker. I find most kids do equally as well with SymbolStix symbols as they do with PCS symbols. And if you want a very affordable way to create other materials with SymbolStix symbols, take a look at the iESLp app (https://apps.apple.com/us/app/ieslp/id912953895iESLP, iPad only) a bargain for a one time purchase of $19.99 (no subscription needed) and it includes a large library of SymbolStix and lots of templates. A similar app that can be used to create items with PCS symbols is the Tools2Talk+ app (https://apps.apple.com/us/app/tools2talk-create-your-own-communication-aids-and-chat/id1074982035, iPad only) for a one time purchase of $47.99.

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Want to suggest PODD resources or info to be added to this list? The best way to reach me is via Facebook messaging over on my OMazing Kids page. If you are an app developer and would like to have me review a new digital PODD app for the iPad or PODD that was added to an existing app via IAP, please send the link from the USA App Store so I can look at the info before you send a promo code. I want to make sure that one of my iPads is compatible in order to try it out.

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Update 7/26/20: I’m retired but am still actively posting about AAC and apps and using AAC in volunteer work.

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Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP, Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC
Facebook: https://bit.ly/2Si6k7Y
AppPeeps Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/OMazingKidsAppPeeps/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amoorad1/
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/amoorad
Blog: http://omazingkidsllc.com

{50+ Fun Food Apps} Expanding AAC opportunities with kids cooking & food themed apps

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{50+ Fun Food Apps} Expanding AAC opportunities with kids cooking & food themed apps

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One of the first motivators for many beginning AAC users is to request food. But then sometimes kids get stuck there. One way to move on is to tap into that high interest area by using food and cooking themed apps on a second iPad. Many of these apps are filled with opportunities to target verbs, adjectives, emotions and core vocabulary on their AAC device all centered around a food theme. I went through my app collection and compiled this list with a wide range of ages in mind:

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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: https://www.facebook.com/messages/174264525957894
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 over 27 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.

 

{App Review} Communication Adventure – An app for communication training for caregivers of children with complex communication needs by Avaz, Inc.

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{App Review} Communication Adventure – An app for communication training for caregivers of children with complex communication needs by Avaz, Inc.

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This app from Avaz provides several scenarios to practice opportunities for encouraging and expanding communication. The tips are pretty universal and could apply to any robust AAC system or even general language development. There were a couple of items that I might have coached a parent a little differently in but overall the app has good info and would be a fun and very affordable way to train parents, teachers, aides or other caregivers on ways to encourage & expand communication. After you complete all the modules you then have access to an area with additional tips / ideas.
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[FYI… if you have the  Avaz Pro – AAC App (https://appsto.re/us/19nrH.i) then you have similar scenarios in the “dashboard” area but they take longer to unlock there since that is contingent upon practicing sentences]
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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

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 over 27 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. 

 

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{FREE Apps} Turn your iPad, iPhone or iTouch into a single message VOCA

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Two great FREE apps that will turn your iPad, iTouch or iPhone into a single message VOCA (voice output communication aide). I’ve had a couple of patient’s parents ask about a way for their child to say “Trick or Treat”. Sharing these two apps again in case your child doesn’t have an AAC system, doesn’t have a way to say it in that system, etc… You may also want to consider adding a portable external Bluetooth speaker like the ION Clipster so your child can say it loudly enough among the crowds of other kids. Links to the apps & my post about this fabulous speaker are in the comments on this Facebook post:

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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: https://www.facebook.com/messages/17426452595789
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsYoga
AppPeeps Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/OMazingKidsAppPeeps/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/amoorad
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 over 27 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.

{Appy AAC Awareness Month}: Favorite Apps for Teaching AAC Core Vocabulary

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{Appy AAC Awareness Month}: Favorite Apps for Teaching AAC Core Vocabulary

I’m always looking for fun and motivating ways to target core vocabulary for my patients that are AAC users. I use a variety of toys, books, sensory activities & apps to provide lots of opportunities for practice in the short amount of time I have with them in OMazing Kids speech therapy each week. My iPad loaded with fabulous apps is one of the best tools in my SLP therapy toolbox!


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Here are some of my favorite iOS apps for targeting core vocabulary (listed in alphabetical order, prices were verified and all were available in the USA App Store at the time of this post. I have no way to know if these apps are available in other countries or what the prices would be if they are):

* BakingFun for Kids, $1.99, https://appsto.re/us/HZYAQ.i (free printable core vocab mini book to go with the app: https://omazingkidsllc.com/2014/08/25/core-vocabulary-app-of-the-week-free-printable-booklet-baking-fun-by-kujifun/)
* Bamba apps (my faves are: Ice-Cream, FREE, https://appsto.re/us/gkz-F.i & Wonderland, FREE, https://appsto.re/us/Frwzcb.i)
* Build A Truck – Duck Duck Moose, FREE, https://appsto.re/us/tSBYR.i
* Choo Choo Park, $.99 -> currently FREE, https://appsto.re/us/V2G_9.i (definitely worth grabbing all 6 of their apps while they are free. I rotate them on/off my iPad seasonally or based on themes)
* Dr. Panda apps (tons of great apps… some of my faves: Bus Driver, $2.99. -> currently on sale for $.99, https://appsto.re/us/JhJlS.i; Carnival, $2.99, https://appsto.re/us/KvVQ7.i; Bath Time,
$2.99, https://appsto.re/us/iek0bb.i; Daycare, $2.99, https://appsto.re/us/fuJuI.i & Swimming Pool, $1.99, https://appsto.re/us/xKWM2.i)
* Frosby Picnic Camp, $1.99, https://appsto.re/us/1H16O.i
* Fuzzy House, $2.99, https://appsto.re/us/jPZBbb.i
* Let’s Make Friends – Play Toy, $2.99, https://appsto.re/us/Rvk-Q.i
* My PlayHome, $3.99, https://appsto.re/us/5fdnA.i (they also have Stores (https://appsto.re/us/slcXO.i), School (https://appsto.re/us/zL392.i) & Hospital (https://appsto.re/us/FAksbb.i) apps that are $2.99 each and the cool thing is the apps all link to each other so you can easily explore the town)
* Pepi Garage, FREE, https://appsto.re/us/a0Me9.i
* Pogg, $.99, https://appsto.re/us/L4HUt.i
* Sago Mini apps (lots of great apps…. some of my faves: Friends, FREE, https://appsto.re/us/61Qh0.i; Road Trip, $2.99, https://appsto.re/us/M1E7Z.i
* Science Museum Splash!, $.99, https://appsto.re/us/sfoDQ.i (very excited to see this app reappear in the App Store)
* Sharing with Duckie Deck, $2.99, https://appsto.re/us/la7qI.i
* Toca Boca apps (several great apps… some of my faves: Pet Doctor, $2.99, https://appsto.re/us/HnSkW.i, Tea Party, $2.99, https://appsto.re/us/Kogsz.i & Train, $2.99, https://appsto.re/us/JM5fF.i)
* Wheels on the Bus HD by Duck Duck Moose, FREE, https://appsto.re/us/kg7kw.i

For older kids & teens, I also use a variety of sports-themed and game apps (ex: Streetball Game, $2.99, https://appsto.re/us/Vv80bb.i; Galaxy Bowling, $3.99,
https://appsto.re/us/FwitA.i; Air Hockey by Acceleroto, $.99, https://appsto.re/us/LrAdr.i, Sprinkle Junior, $1.99, https://appsto.re/us/KB7sC.i, Thinkrolls Logic Puzzles Bundle – 2 apps, $5.99, https://appsto.re/us/sr_0db.i)
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Tips: Apps come and go frequently in the App Store. New apps are released. Sometimes older apps disappear while they are being updated. Sometimes they never reappear. So it’s always wise to periodically back up your iPad by plugging it into a computer logged into your iTunes account. This insures you won’t lose any apps that may disappear from the App Store. I originally got most of these apps by grabbing them quickly when they were free for a day or two. Watch my OMazing Kids Facebook page and AppPeeps Facebook group where I share these as “free app alerts”. Others I got on sale or via doing app reviews.

The main thing I look for when searching for apps to use for targeting core vocabulary for AAC users in therapy sessions are open-ended play apps that are intuitive, have large engaging graphics, are ad-free, have the option to toggle off any background music or it is very subtle (not over stimulating) while still leaving on any sound effects or voiceovers and any outside links are well hidden behind a parental gate.
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Of course these apps must be on a separate iPad from their “talker” so you can “talk” while playing


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I use these apps to target the same core vocabulary that I would with a “real” toy or activity. Think of it as the “virtual” version of that. I lock the “play” iPad into the app that I have selected by enabling Guided Access. If the child is using an iPad as their “talker”, then it is also locked into their AAC app via Guided Access.


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Need ideas for how to target core vocabulary? I’m LOVING the Core Word 5-Minute Fillers on the NEW AssistiveWare Core Word Classroom website. Here’s a screenshot of the one for Mr. Potato Head.

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You could use these ideas with a “real” Mr. Potato Head or the app version (Mr. Potato Head – Create & Play: School Edition by Originator Inc., $4.99, https://appsto.re/us/Y6JCI.i)

http://coreword.assistiveware.com – It’s only free for a short time while the website is in “beta” development so I’d suggest that you save any PDFs that you love.
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I also love this free resource from Saltillo (maker of NovaChat and ChatFusion SGDs & the TouchChat AAC app): https://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsYoga/photos/a.433610663356611.117461.174264525957894/1192093340841669/?type=3
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Other helpful resources:

Balanced AAC approach: http://praacticalaac.org/praactical/the-baby-the-bathwater-and-core-vocabulary/

Tons of great info: http://praacticalaac.org/?s=Core

Quick handout: http://www.handyhandouts.com/pdf/405_CoreVocabulary.pdf

Need help getting FREE access to AAC apps to trial with patients? Check out this post:

#SLPeeps #AAC #AidedLanguageStimulation #augcomm
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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
Home E-Mail: amoorad1@juno.com
Facebook Messaging for OMazing Kids: https://www.facebook.com/messages/17426452595789
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
Angela Moorad is the founder of OMazing Kids, LLC and is an ASHA certified & licensed pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Kids Yoga Teacher with over 26 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.