Monday, August 23, 2021

Learning Events: August 23-27

Hey Tek-ninjas! I want to alert you to another week of terrific Live in-services being offered by the Tobii Dynavox Learning Team! There is something here for you whether you work with kids, or adults, and they are free of charge!


Aug 24th: 1pm -2pm  The Magic of Modeling

Aug 24th 4pm – 5 pm Can’t Touch This: Using Alternative Access Methods with Boardmaker

Aug 25th 10am – 10:45 Low-Tech Tools for Symbol-Supported Communicators

Aug 26th 4pm – 5pm Create Activities with Boardmaker

Aug 27th 11am – 11:45am Support Expression with the TD Snap Aphasia Page Set

If none of these are germane to your practice be sure to check back here as the team is constantly updating content!

Happy learning!

Friday, August 6, 2021

Writing as easy as Snap!

Hey Tek-ninjas! This post goes out specifically to my school-based occupational therapy friends. Are you familiar with the work of Dr. Gretchen Hanser, specifically regarding alternative pencils? If you’re not, be sure to familiarize yourself. But in a nutshell, Dr. Hanser says that an alternative pencil is defined as anything that provides a student with access to all 26 letters of the alphabet, specifically if they are unable to hold a traditional pencil.

Did you know that the AAC software Snap, from Tobii-Dynavox makes a terrific alternative pencil, and excels with a wide variety of access modalities including direct touch, scanning, head mouse, and even eye-gaze.

It’s very easy to customize the keyboard and take advantage of the robust word prediction engine. See the video below to see how to set this up for direct interaction.
At $49.99 for iOS this software is a deal as most competitive word production software retails for significantly more.

Happy therapy!

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Get some learning here!

Hey Tek-ninjas! As many of you begin your summer, maybe you are restless for something to do.... I mean, just how long CAN you spend at the pool or lake (ok, maybe all day long....) I want to remind you of free training available to you through the Learning Hub from Tobii Dynavox. Take a look at just a few of next week's offerings!

Preserve Your Voice: Get Started with Message Banking: June 22, 1-1:30

The Tobii Dynavox Message Bank is a joint project between Boston Children’s Hospital Department of Otolaryngology and Tobii Dynavox with a goal of providing a free and open message bank site. We define Message Banking as: Digitally recording and storing words, phrases, sentences, personally meaningful sounds using one’s natural voice, inflection, and intonation. This webinar will review why message banking is important for individuals who are at risk for losing their voice and how it can be accomplished through mymessagebanking.com.

Simple Implementation Tips: Positive Communication Environment: June 23, 1-1:45

Are you new to AAC and wondering how to get started? In this course you will learn specific and simple tips to create a positive and successful AAC environment.

Core First Learning: June 24: 10:30-11:15

This session will walk through this program designed to support communication and literacy skills by focusing on how to find, use and read core words. There will be an outline of activities included as well as how to assign and use them with any learner regardless of their access method.

The Magic of Modeling: June 25: 1-1:30

Wondering how you can introduce vocabulary and help promote use of AAC for people with complex communication needs? Join us as we explore the evidence-based approach of modeling, including specific ideas for implementing modeling in a variety of settings.

Happy summer, and happy learning!

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Delivering Voices in SC and western VA

 Hey Tek-ninjas! More shaking up in my Tobii Dynavox world!

First, let me say that I'm so excited to announce that South Carolina has a new Solutions Consultant. She's going to work with Courtney Grant, whom many of you may know as having been the consultant there for years. Courtney is taking on other responsibilities in the company, but she's going to help with the training of our new hire, Emilie Peel. 

Emilie has been in the field of speech pathology and AAC for the past 11 years. She wrote to me that she is passionate about AAC and the many ways it fosters communication. We are excited to have her on board and think we will all benefit from her knowledge.

Additionally, today Tobii Dynavox posted a position for what I refer to as the western portion of Virginia. If you are interested in applying or learning more about the position follow this link

From the link: "The Solutions Consultant is responsible for contributing to the sales growth in an assigned territory by increasing awareness, developing networks, providing information on Tobii Dynavox products to potential customers and clients and assisting them in the selection and sale of speech generating devices that best meet their needs. This is a remote position, the solutions consultant must live in the sales territory. Territory area includes Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, Staunton, Lexington, Lynchburg, Roanoke, and Blacksburg."

On a side note, those towns are in the middle of world class mountain biking, trail running, and flyfishing.... just say'n. 

Also, Tobii Dynavox is a wonderful company to work for!

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Quick Learning Opportunities!

Hey Tek-ninjas! I wanted to take a moment and highlight some terrific education opportunities for you to build your AAC skills. 

These courses, offered through Tobii Dynavox are excellent, typically 1 to 1.5 hours long, and price just right: FREE. These times are all Eastern Time. 


May 27: Keep Doing What Matters: Technology Supports for ALS: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm 

May 27: Stay True to You: Personalized Communication for People with Aphasia: 5:30 pm - 6:00 pm 

May 28: Tips, Tricks, and Resources for Snap! 11:00 am - 12:00 pm 

June 1: Support All Learners with Boardmaker. 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm 

June 2: Access Your Computer with Your Eyes. 11:00 am - 11:30

June 2: The Magic of Modeling. 12 pm - 12:30 pm

This is a just the surface of what is available. Peruse the catalogue here.  The events are constantly being updated. Miss one you want to see? Likely it will pop up again. What something specific? Reach out to your local Solution Consultant, and they can bring your idea to our Learning Team! 

Happy Learning!

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Jo gets to deliver voices!

 Hey Tek-ninjas! I have so loved being a Tobii Dynavox Solutions Consultant for 3.5 years. The job has been such a good fit for me, and I am so proud to be a part of this organization. If you are a long time reader, you've read me gush about my job. You know that I am constantly impressed by my colleagues. They are such a smart and dedicated group of professionals. We get to deliver voices!! It has felt like so much more than "just a job". 

My IG Story: 2019
As of April 1st, I've moved into a new role, and I am now a Regional Market Director, which means I am managing close to a dozen Solution Consultants in SC, NC, VA, DC, MD, PA, and a small corner of WVA and OH, and helping them to deliver voices. 

With this shift, one of my biggest concerns has been finding a replacement who would 1. love this work as much as I have, and 2. recognize it's profound importance. Fortunately, we had several amazing applicants to choose from, and ultimately there were some hard decisions to make. 

I'm confident we got it right, and I am so pleased to share with folks that Jo Taylor, SLP extraordinaire will be taking over my territory, the "right side" of NC, and Tidewater, VA! Jo begins May 24th.

Jo was a guest blogger here on Tek-ninja awhile back, where she showcased how she was leveraging infrared and Snap Core First to engage her clients. She has a ton of AAC experience, and has helped grow AAC awareness where ever she goes. Jo is very much an AAC dork like myself! One of her self-professed joys is to try to give an answer on Facebook BEFORE Jeremy Tobii-Dynavox Nelson can do so! 

So, if you are in Eastern NC, or Tidewater VA, please be on the lookout for her and reach-out to her for AAC needs. She will be reachable at jo.taylor@tobiidynavox.com. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Grant Money for AAC Equipment

HEY ALL, I FIXED THE BROKEN LINK FOR THE APPLICATION!

Hey Tek-ninjas! This one goes out to school-based SLPs, OTs, and anyone on an Assistive Technology team in the US. 

Are you aware of the CARES Act? The CARES Act is a Federal program providing $390 million in
Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act of 2020. Funds are allocated to each state's K-12 schools in the form of grants to mitigate the financial stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nearly $39 million in federal coronavirus relief money has been released by the State Board of Education. This money can be used to support exceptional children’s programs and to purchase online curricula to support blended learning. 

Additionally, it can be used to purchase educational technology (including hardware, software, and connectivity) for students served by the LEA – which can also include assistive technology for disabled students.

In a nutshell: there is funding available for your AT Team which could be used to procure AAC equipment!  Here in North Carolina you can learn specifics here, and apply for your district here.  

If you are in a different state, you can probably find application information by googling "cares act funding for (your STATE) school districts. 

Money left untapped goes back to DC. Good luck!!