Not everyone has the ability to use spoken words to communicate with the world around them, which means it is important to find a way for them to communicate. Dillian is an example of just that. Dillan’s Voice and Dillan’s Path, share a glimpse of the journey a young man with autism takes to finding his words and voice to communicate with others.
When we think about Apps often the first thing that comes to mind is related to what games a person might have on their tablet or phone. Apps however can be so much more than game based for individuals with disabilities. How often do you create a list before going to run an errand or write a to do list to insure you accomplish everything you need to get done in a day? For individuals with disabilities apps can provide access to technology to create supports to help them move towards being more independent. Plan it, do it, check it off is one such App.
Plan it, do it, check itoff is an iPhone and iPad app that allows the user to build step-by-step photo and audio picture prompt sequences.
The individual using this app is provided with real photos to create a customized “To do”. The app contains a 26 page picture bank, with real picture images, that illustrate events but also allows the user to import their own photos and customize the text. As the individual completes an activity or task they tap the picture to place a check mark on the picture or play a prerecorded message to prompt them. Another feature is the ability to create self-talk videos that can provide needed directions without having to be prompted by others. Plan it, do it, check it off is available for $4.99 in the iTunes App store.
These two adorable twins, Ollie and Cameron, have a lot to share with each other. Their mom has shared their journey beginning when Ollie and Cameron were just two weeks old. It is their parents hope to help people realize that children born with Down Syndrome have the potential to live happy, fulfilled lives just like anyone else.
Creating and organizing the many visual supports used with students can at times be a daunting task. Tabi Jones-Wohleber however has created an All-in-one-Visual-Support Tool that helps to organize a variety of visuals compactly into a small 5”x8.5” binder. This nifty tool includes a First/Then board, a Personal Picture Schedule, and a Task Analysis Checklist, with a Finished Pocket on the front cover. Each of these is easily available by flipping or opening the folded board, which is adhered to the Finished Pocket. A Token Reward board is on the back cover. The picture symbols and tokens for all these tools are housed inside the binder on plastic tabbed dividers. The directions, complete with visual step by step directions for the All-in-One-Visual-Support-Tool can be found on the PrAACtical AAC website under the PrAACtical Thinking tab.
Thanksgiving is the official start of the holiday season which brings many changes to our schedules. Even the most organized adult needs their lists, calendars and visual reminders to help navigate all the special happenings between Thanksgiving and New Years. What do you have in your toolbox to help your students or children navigate the changes in their schedules? Indiana University Bloomington’s Resource Center for Autism has social stories, calendars, schedule icons and choice boards featuring Boardmaker symbols that are ready to click and print, a great resource to any educator or parent’s toolbox.
Have you ever used Siri to ask directions, silly questions, facts on a specific topic or the meaning of life? One 13 year old boy with autism has found a friend in the Apple Personal Assistant known lovingly as Siri. He has found answers to questions pertaining to his special interests, love, marriage and friendship while conversing with Siri. This New York Times piece is a heartwarming story of technology and humanity coming together to create a relationship that fosters communication in our 21st century world.
Joy (Occupational Therapist), Cara (Speech Therapist), Jeannie (Special Education Teacher) and Danni (Special Education Teacher) all work at a center based school serving students who have significant intellectual disabilities. They look for ways to provide multi-sensory learning experiences to enable their students with special needs to improve their literacy, fine motor and communication skills. In addition, Nancy (Physical Therapist) provides technical and creative support.
This team uses their expertise to create monthly themes incorporating activities to meet the needs of their students with significant intellectual disabilities. Check out what they have done with comic books, elephants, the World Cup and the seasons to name a few of their themes.
Following up on yesterday’s post by a fellow team member. Such an ingenious idea and very low tech! Expand on that and add wiki sticks to the plastic cover and create a raised surface to help those students locate buttons or create a grid for a communication app, the options are endless and cheap!!
The CALL Center in Scotland has launched a new website for learning about AAC. Even though the website is from Scotland communication is universal! The website has AAC videos, resources and online modules. Check it out: http://www.aacscotland.org.uk/Home/
There’s an awesome resource for communication games. The activities are fun and creative and help students learn to use and practice using their AAC. It’s a free download under the resource tab!
Whether you are new to the field of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) or have been in the field for a while, here’s another great blog focusing on AAC. Featured are practical strategies, tips of the month, videos, personal stories and more. Check it out! PrAACtical AAC