Monday, October 15, 2018

Snap+ Core First and Chinese

Hey Tek-Ninjas! I know I've written about some of the languages that come with the Snap+ Core
First updates. But the most recent update has blown me away. 

Anyone working with Chinese speakers? Well, now we can help with their AAC needs. 

Remember, if you are a clinician you can work with folks who speak a variety of different languages on one device while you engage with them for therapy. 

With this in mind, this is a friendly reminder to keep running your updates, Tobii Dynavox is always providing free enhancements for their software!

Happy therapy!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

AAC Awareness Month


Hey Tek-Ninjas! As you all may know, October 1st marks the beginning of AAC Awareness Month. Many ACC companies  have already announced a 50% discount on their software for some duration (typically a week or two).

Tobii Dynavox also wants to recognize AAC Awareness Month and so from Oct. 5 through Oct. 31, Snap + Core First on iOS and Windows will be available at $49.99. 



This is a 72% savings, which represents a substantial value to the consumer.

This price is for direct purchases through iTunes, the Microsoft store, and myTobiiDynavox where relevant and need not be applied to funded solutions.

Happy therapy!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Back to School Sale

Hey Tek-Ninjas! Tobii-Dynavox is having a back-to-school sale on the Speech Case, the Indi and the Indi-7. Using a Speech Case, you can make an iPad a dedicated, functional dedicated AAC device. The Speech Case is for iPad 9.7" (6th and 5th generation only) and Speech Case Pro for iPad Pro 12.9" (2nd generation only).
From now until October 31st, receive a FREE durable case with your Indi/Indi 7 purchase or take 15% off Speech Case/Speech Case Pro.

Shop Indi - http://fal.cn/VosO

Shop Speech Case - http://fal.cn/VosR

Happy therapy!


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

AAC Disaster Relief

Hey Tek-Ninjas! Especially those of you in the Carolinas!

USSAAC's Disaster Relief Committee is poised to assist individuals who use AAC (or who should be using AAC) affected by Hurricane Florence and associated flooding, if they have lost or damaged AAC. Please encourage people to communicate their needs by registering at aacdisasterrelief@recovers.org. If you are a practitioner and are able to assist with recovery needs, please sign up at aacdisasterrelief@recovers.org as well! You will also find resources and current information regarding people with disabilities affected by disaster at the site. For example: CMD has issued the following waiver:

Allows the authority to suppliers of Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) where DMEPOS is lost, destroyed, irreparably damaged, or otherwise rendered unusable. Under this waiver, the face-to-face requirement, a new physician's order, and new medical necessity documentation are not required for replacement. Suppliers must still include a narrative description on the claim explaining the reason why the equipment must be replaced and are reminded to maintain documentation indicating that the DMEPOS was lost, destroyed, irreparably damaged or otherwise rendered unusable as a result of the disaster or emergency.

If you need or working with someone who needs access to AAC consider information above!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Grid 3 Trial

Hey Tek-Ninjas!

As you may have heard, Tobii Dynavox and Smartbox will be one on October 1st. Smartbox's
flagship software is called Grid 3, and I have to say it is super user friendly! Currently its available for a free fully functioning 60 day trial. You can download it here.

Grid 3 offers communication options for Emergent, Symbol-based, and Literate communicators. Grid 3 supports multiple access modalities including touch, scanning, and eye-gaze.

Grid 3 is available for Windows and some iterations on iOS.

I'm sure I'll be blogging about Grid 3 more, as Tobii Dynavox irons out more of the details.

Happy Therapy!


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Durham, NC In-service: Integrating Positive Behavior Supports with AAC

Hey Tek-Ninjas! We still have some open seats at this in-service, and I would love to see you there!

Tobii Dynavox is offering an in-service in Durham, NC on September 26th. It's free, but will certainly be top-notch! The title is "Integrating Positive Behavior Supports with AAC".

If you are in the area, consider attending!

Course Description:
Behavior is Communication. This workshop will discuss the relationship between challenging behaviors such as running away or hitting, and the communication needs of the individual using AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication). We will explore strategies to target positive behaviors using both visual and vocabulary supports integrated in the Snap + Core First software. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn how to customize, create and share supports within the software to help implement these strategies successfully in a variety of settings.

Learning Objectives:

Upon completion, participants will be able to:

• Name one functional behavioral assessment tool.
• Name two vocabulary strategies that provide replacement to a challenging behavior
• List three behavior supports that can be integrated into a high tech AAC device.


This course will be offered for 0.25 ASHA CEUs (Introductory level, Professional Area)

Location Durham Public Schools Department of Assistive Technology 808 Bacon Street Durham, NC 27703

Date and Time

September 26, 2018 8:30 am – 11:15 am

Follow this link to register. 

Presenter: Leigh Cooley

Lee joined Tobii Dynavox after spending eight years specializing in the implementation of AAC within a school setting. She has prior experience as an educator assistant in elementary and intermediate special education. While at Tobii Dynavox, Leigh spent two years as a regional Sales consultant, working with clients ranging in age from infant to geriatric. Currently, Leigh is a Learning Consultant on the Learning Services team at Tobii Dynavox.

Disclosures:
Financial Disclosure: Leigh is a full-time employee of Tobii-Dynavox. Non-financial Disclosure: Leigh has no relevant non-financial relationships. Content Disclosure: Because of the unique characteristics of our product, this presentation will focus exclusively on the Tobii Dynavox product line and will not include information about other communication or educational products.





Friday, August 31, 2018

Welcome back!

Hey Tek-Ninjas! In the state of North Carolina school has been in session for at least a week . I'm
thinking about all of my colleagues who have returned to work after what was hopefully a restful summer vacation.

In my 18 years working for school districts, the first week or 2 back was generally chaotic, but not too painful. However, I found that the month of September felt as though it was unending! 

So this post is simply a shout out to our school based colleagues! Consider this encouragement to hang in there. You'll get through the month of September, October will run its normal course, and then the next 2 months will fly by like a rocket!

Thank you all for the work you do with our little ones! 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Times They Are A Changing...

Hey Tek-Ninjas! On Monday morning many of us at learned some exciting news (In the AAC world
at least):Tobii Dynavox and Smartbox of the UK announced that they will be joining forces. As of October 1, 2018, Smartbox will join the Tobii Dynavox family and will soon operate under the Tobii Dynavox brand.

By coming together, the companies will be better positioned to help more people with disabilities around the world, to communicate and realize their full potential.

Customers will immediately benefit from the combined portfolio of Tobii Dynavox and Smartbox products, which will include Snap + Core First, Grid software, and devices from both companies. This will be a powerful pairing.

Software changes will include the following: 

Grid & Snap + Core First
There will be a focus on building new features and functionalities on Grid and Snap + Core First. The goal is to create transition software from Communicator 5, Compass and Series 5 to Grid. 



Communicator 5, Windows Control 2 and Classic Tobii Gaze Interaction Software (TGIS)
Still for sale: Communicator 5, Windows Control 2 and TGIS. Tobii Dynavox states they will support all users to the commitments made for at least the coming five years. They will however not develop any new features and functionalities on these titles. The message to me: start thinking about porting over to a newer more modern AAC software title like Snap + Core First or Grid 3.

Compass
You will no longer be able to purchase Compass. Tobii Dynavox states that they will
continue to support all users to the commitments made for at least the coming five years. For those of you who have been dedicated to Compass because of the PODD offering, I want to direct you to the Grid 3 PODD offering which is very robust. It should meet all of your needs. 

It should be exciting to see the opportunities that come from this significant merger. 

Happy therapy!


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

ECU Greenville In-service: Solutions for Adults with Complex Communication Needs

Hey Tek-Ninjas! The trifecta of in-services! Yes, Tobii Dynavox is offering a third training in September. The title of the training is "Solutions for Adults with Complex Communication Needs".

We are of course offering training on September 25th in Greensboro, and September 26th in Durham also.

Course Description:
Using lecture and case studies, participants will learn about augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) solutions for adults with complex communication needs. The workshop will also focus on access and independence solutions and strategies. Following the workshop, Tobii Dynavox Solutions Consultants will be available for guided exploration with devices and software.

Learning Objective: Upon completion, participants will be able to:
Describe the unique communication challenges of adults with complex communication needs.
• List three communication tools that provide support for adults with complex communication needs.
• Identify various access methods that support communication solutions across a diverse group of adult communicators.

This course will be offered for 2.25 Certification Maintenance Hours (CMH)

Attention: Attendees are responsible for reaching out to their professional associations and organizations to determine whether CMH contact hours from this event will be accepted toward licensure or certification maintenance requirements.

Location: East Carolina University Health Sciences Campus, Room HSC 202 600 Moye Blvd Greenville, NC 27834

Date: September 27th, 2018 Time: 8:30 am – 11:00 am

Questions? Contact Jim Tignor. Email: jim.tignor@tobiidynavox.com

Presenter: Leigh Cooley joined Tobii Dynavox after spending eight years specializing in the implementation of AAC within a school setting. She has prior experience as an educator assistant in elementary and intermediate special education. While at Tobii Dynavox, Leigh spent two years as a regional Sales consultant, working with clients ranging in age from infant to geriatric. Currently, Leigh is a Learning Consultant on the Learning Services team at Tobii Dynavox.

Follow this link to Pre-register.

I hope to see you at one or more of these in-services! Come say hi to me if you make it!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Greensboro, NC In-service: Communicating Beyond Requesting

 Hey Tek-Ninjas  I regret to inform you that this in-service is full up. There are no more seats. However, visiting the Bull City, a.k.a. Durham is always a good time! Think about attending the Durham in service offered on September 25. You can find it in the blog below this one.

Hey Tek-Ninjas! Tobii Dynavox is actually offering a few free in-services in North Carolina in September. We will be in Greensboro, NC on September 25th. The in-service is free, but will certainly be top-notch! The title of our Greensboro presentation is "Communicating Beyond Requesting".

If you are in the area, consider attending! If you are closer to the RDU area consider this in-service.

These are "first-come-first-serve" so if you are interested, register quickly!

Communicating Beyond Requesting

Course Description:

Where do you typically start when introducing augmentative and alternative communication (AAC)? If you are like most people, you probably start with activities where an individual can request a motivating object or action. But, what happens next? In this session, we will help you develop strategies that go beyond requesting; into the world of asking questions, making comments, protesting and expressing opinions. We will use lecture, discussion, video examples, and small-group activities to explore the power communicative functions, vocabulary selection and teaching strategies to facilitate communication beyond requesting.

Learning Objectives:

Upon completion, participants will be able to:
• Identify two different communication tools that support interactions beyond requesting.
• List two partner communication strategies that will facilitate communication beyond requesting.
• Name two communicative functions beyond requesting and describe why they are powerful.

This course will be offered for 0.5 ASHA CEUs (Introductory level, Professional Area)

Location Division of Vocational Rehab Services 3401 West Wendover Ave. - Suite A Greensboro, NC 27407

Date: September 25, 2018 Time: 8:30 am – 3:00 pm

To comply with ASHA requirements, anyone attending this event must pre-register online.

Tobii Dynavox must observe strict guidelines to offer ASHA CEUs.

Follow this link to pre-register. 

Questions? Contact Jim Tignor Email: jim.tignor@tobiidynavox.com.

Presenter: Leigh Cooley
Lee joined Tobii Dynavox after spending eight years specializing in the implementation of AAC within a school setting. She has prior experience as an educator assistant in elementary and intermediate special education. While at Tobii Dynavox, Leigh spent two years as a regional Sales consultant, working with clients ranging in age from infant to geriatric. Currently, Leigh is a Learning Consultant on the Learning Services team at Tobii Dynavox.

Disclosures: Financial Disclosure: Leigh is a full-time employee of Tobii-Dynavox. Non-financial Disclosure: Leigh has no relevant non-financial relationships. Content Disclosure: Because of the unique characteristics of our product, this presentation will focus exclusively on the Tobii Dynavox product line and will not include information about other communication or educational products.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

BEAST MODE Aug Comm – Tobii Dynavox I-110

Hey Tek-Ninjas! If you are a long time reader, than you know that I have over the years been a big fan of the iPad. Still am.

But, sometimes a person needs something built like a tank. That is not going to be an iPad. Even if it's in a protective bubble...

When I want a tank, something extra durable, for a rough and tumble user, who might even be mucking about in or near water, I think i-110. Take a look at the video.

Note the kids playing by a sprinkler. There are few other devices where I'd want to try that. 
The i-110 is built with Gorilla Glass, which is exceedingly durable. It has an IP54 classification which means it is "protected against dust ingress" and "protected against splash water in any direction".  With a 10.1 inch diagonal screen and weighing in at 2.4 lbs, the i-110 is very portable. Self contained speakers, front and back cameras, USB ports, and switch ready. There are no extra cables or parts hanging off the device.

Choose from the various communication software offerings including Communicator 5, Snap+ Core First, Snap Scene, or Compass.

The i-110 is always in Beast-mode, and ready for real life and real communication.

Hajime!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Why I'm Such a SCF Fanboy!


Hey Tek-Ninjas! So, what I think of as the finest piece of Augmentative Communication continues to get better. For free. Tobii Dynavox runs updates in Snap + Core First (SCF) almost monthly, making the best better. I've included details about the newest free updates below. I blogged about SCF awhile back, and you can read that here

New features in Snap include:
  • Swedish with a Core First page set, morphology, prediction, and Swedish Acapela voices
  • Dutch with a Core First page set, prediction and Dutch Acapela voices  

 The new feature Edit Mode Language allows the user to change the language in which Settings are displayed 

The Passcode feature now has options to password protect specific features (Edit Mode, Sync, Vocabulary Search Mode) individually, as well as in combination 

The new User Preference Clear after Speech automatically clears the message window when text is inserted after the Message Window has been spoken

Delay after Page Change is a new feature for Gaze Interaction that allows the user to view newly
opened pages without making eye gaze selections for up to 10 seconds

New styles for buttons that link to other pages include options to display these “link buttons” with Navigation Icons (as in previous versions of Snap) or in a Folder shape. 

Customers also have the option to display these “link buttons” in exactly the same way as other buttons on the page, i.e., without Navigation Icons or a Folder shape.

The new feature Grid Margin Factor controls the amount of space between buttons

Chat Mode with options for a Chat button, that toggles Chat Mode on and off, on the Message Bar, Page, and/or Toolbar

The new Pause Access Method button type that can be used to pause Eye Gaze or Mouse Dwell Access Methods

This continuous push to improve is part of what makes me such a SCF Fanboy!

Hajime!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Mighty AAC/Tiny Package

Hey Tek-Ninjas! Yesterday, I posted about the Speech Case. I wrote that I was super excited about some the new products coming from Tobii Dynavox. Well, there's another great device available now. The Indi 7 is a mighty AAC device in a tiny package. It's "related to the Indi, which I wrote about a few months ago.

Indi 7 comes complete with integrated, extra loud speakers, your choice of communication software, a whole ecosystem of support, and a 30-day money back guarantee for peace of mind.

With a 7 inch screen, super loud and clear speakers, and Windows 10 OS, the Indi 7 fits nicely in your hand. Multiple access methods such as switch-scanning, head-mouse, and touch with keyguards, are all compatible with Indi 7.

You can order Indi 7 directly from Tobii Dynavox and get it within days, all for an incredible price (with Communicator 5 AND Snap + Core First it is $1,699, and with JUST Snap + Core First, it is $999). 

And, unlike other off-the-shelf tablets, since Indi 7 is your all-in-one communication solution, you don’t have to worry about setting up different components or going to multiple sites for assistance – it’s all right there for you!

Hajama!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

AAC meets the iPad #ferreal

Hey Tek-Ninjas! Tobii Dynavox has some new "Stuff" and I'm way stoked about it.

You need an AAC solution? You prefer iOS? Or you already have an iPad? But you need it to be a dedicated speech device? Check out the
Speech Case.
The Speech Case with iPad, is an iOS-based speech tablet designed for AAC with extra loud speakers, switch access, and the Snap + Core First communication app. This is a true AAC communication solution!


With the specially designed case, built-in handle, and kickstand, mounting is also possible with pre-drilled screw holes for an external mount plate. The Speech Case offers unmatched sound from the integrated, outward-facing speakers means quality and clarity optimized for speech while also providing the loudest sound on the market. The Speech Case also offers multiple Access Methods like switch-scanning, touch, and touch with keyguards.

Youtube Thumbnail Speech Case.PNG What if you already have an iPad? Well, the Speech Case and Speech Case Pro can be purchased alone, or bundled with Snap + Core First. Speech Case is only compatible with 9.7" 5th and 6th generation iPad and the Speech Case Pro is only compatible with 12.9” 2nd generation iPad Pro. Pricing can be found on the website, but varies dependent on your configuration needs. 

BUT, if you are buying JUST the Speech Case, the 9.7 size retails for $399, and the 12.9 retails for $599. 

Hajima! 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

#lifegoals

In the world of Special Education you know you have arrived when Boardmaker makes you an avatar!


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Microsoft and Tobii Dynavox Working Together

Greetings Tek-Ninjas! Here is something kind of exciting: Today, Tobii Dynavox announced a new partnership with Microsoft, supporting the next evolution of
their Picture Communication Symbols (PCS) as part of Microsoft Learning Tools.

A student will now have the ability to click on a word, see a PCS image, and hear the word read aloud simultaneously to aid with reading and comprehension.  This feature is built directly into the Immersive Reader feature within Word Online, OneNote Online, OneNote for Windows 10, OneNote iPad, Outlook on the Web, and Outlook.com.

For over 20 years, PCS have been the most widely adapted symbol set used by millions of students and adults around the world to communicate, learn, and experience. 

Follow the conversation online and share the news by following the Tobii Dynavox Facebook page!

Hajima!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Snap+ Core First Gets Even Better!

Hey Tek-Ninjas! It's been a minute. I've been deeply immersed in the Tobii Dynavox world. Learning every day and seeing users that simply blow me away. If you have followed my blog for long, you understand that I've spent my career working with young people. In my new position as an AAC Consultant, I have had the distinct honor of working with many amazing adults who are seeking their voices. I have met people whose proficiency with our eye-gaze system has left me feeling amazed and delighted. The future is bright I tell you.

But today's blog article is a bit about our AAC software, Snap+ Core First. In my opinion one of the most robust pieces of AAC software ever, and phenomenally easy to manage for caregivers and therapists alike. That ease in my mind is the difference between a device sitting on the shelf unused, or a device being customized for the given user and opening a new world.

If you own the software, or even have the free (voiceless) version, be sure to run your updates from the App or Windows store. About a month ago, for no additional cost, we pushed out the English/Spanish version. No cost I say.

And yesterday we pushed out the English/German version. Because the German iteration requires a different symbol set there is an in-app cost of $54.99.

Accessing these different languages is as simple as logging out of your user, and creating a new profile. Be sure to use the pull down menu to see the different language options.

Additions in Snap 1.3 update include:

-Localization for the German market including a Core First DE page set, morphology, prediction, and German Acapela voices

-German Metacom symbols available as an in-app purchase

-A subscription option for Snap is now available on a monthly or annual basis

If you are unfamiliar with the software you can download the voiceless version for free which make a great tool to familiarize yourself, and as an Editor version to work on client's pages without taking their devices from them. Windows 10 version is here.  For your ipad, go here.

Happy therapy! And Hajima!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Upcoming Trainings

Hey Tek-ninjas! If you are in the area, and interested in a tremendous learning opportunity oriented to
Tobii Dynavox eye gaze systems, there are a few free inservices coming up soon.

In these session participants will learn simple and functional eye gaze settings, software settings, and software selection for Tobii Dynavox Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) language and access systems. You will explore various programming and editing features to
increase gaze interaction functionality. Hardware, software, and strategic resources will be reviewed.

If you are in the western half of NC:

Check out February 14th in the morning,

or

Check out February 14th in the afternoon,

or

If you are in the eastern half of NC


Check out February 16th in the morning.

You do not need to be a North Carolina resident to participate.

I will be at the Raleigh inservices, and my colleague Jodi Schilian will be at the Charlotte inservices.
Both Jodi and I will be at the NCACA February 22nd and 23rd. 

Hope to see you there!