Thursday, December 17, 2020

Holiday Cheer from Boardmaker Online

Hey Tek-ninjas! Today I wanted to take a moment and share with you some free resources that 

might help you if you are working with kids as we move into the holidays. I've blogged about Boardmaker Online before, and that's where we are headed again. 

Specifically, I want to share with you the more than 400 "Holiday" themed activities which you can access for free. Many of them overtly state what Standards are being met, which can be useful, especially if you are working in schools. Looking on the list, you may note icon's circled in red in the image below... those icons denote a single activity page, pagesets, and interactive activities. Hover your cursor over the icon if you aren't sure which is which.

These activities can be shared in your library to populate into Snap Core First, they can be downloaded and printed, or used on a smart board - really any way you can imagine. 

You will need either a subscription account OR a free account. If you already have a mytobiidynavox account or a Tobii Dynavox eFunding Portal log in, you can use those same credentials. Pretty cool. 

Happy therapy!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Snap Core First goes lo-tech!

Hey Tek-ninjas! So this is a pretty cool thing.... you know sometimes you want/need to try a lo-tech AAC intervention for a variety of reasons. Well, Tobii Dynavox has a FREE lo-tech option for you to consider

You can now download and print PDF books of the core word pages from the Snap Core First app. Such lo-tech communication books can serve as a great introduction to language for symbol-supported communicators before they get their device. Or keep them on hand as a simple solution to be used in the car, at the playground, near the pool, or anywhere else it might be inconvenient to use a device. 

Core First Communication Books are also available to download via Pathways for Core First.

Then you can consider "print on regular paper", or "print on tear-proof paper".... I'm looking forward to seeing the creative ways folks utilize this resource!

Happy therapy!

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

AAC and Literacy: How to Get Started

 Hey Tek-ninjas! I am excited about this webinar, and I believe many of you will be too. My friend and colleague, Patrick Brune will be presenting AAC and Literacy: How to Get Started. If you've not experienced a Patrick webinar, let me tell you, he is a phenomenal, smart, funny, and  experience SLP. I always learn when I hear him present. 

This course will be held online, December 11th, from 1-3:45, and there are .25 ASHA CEUs attached. Cost? Nothing. 

You can learn more, and register here. Be aware that you will need to pre-register to receive the virtual link to the actual course. 

While you are there... meander over to this link, and you can see ALL the other courses currently planned. 

Here's the official course description: 

Research has proven that communication, language, and literacy skills develop in concert with one another. However, when it comes to individuals who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) it is often thought that they need to develop a certain level of skill in communication with their AAC system before they can benefit from literacy instruction. This workshop will outline why that statement is false, and review steps to getting started in providing literacy instruction for your AAC user. 

Learning Outcomes: Upon successful completion, participants will be able to:

· Describe the literacy and language connection

· Discuss how core words support powerful communication

· Describe the role symbols play in literacy

· List two emergent literacy strategies that support individuals who use AAC

And a bit about Patrick Brune, M.S., CCC-SLP. Patrick is a Speech Language Pathologist and has provided assessment, therapy, and consultation services for children and adults with severe speech and language disabilities for over 30 years. He worked as a clinical supervisor for Queens College, in New York, and as a related service provider for the NYC Department of Education. Patrick is a member of the Tobii Dynavox Learning Services team, providing implementation support and workshops.

I will be attending, and I hope you will be too. Don't hesitate to reach out if you have questions. 

Friday, November 6, 2020

Did I mention the 36 FREE Core Lesson Plans?

Hey Tek-ninjas! In the past I blogged about the 36 Core Lesson Plans with the accompanying 108 Core Books from Tobii Dynavox. I'm bring them up again for a few reasons.

  • They are an amazing resource
  • They are still free
  • When the Tobii Dynavox website got a face lift, they were relocated.
  • They are available to ANYONE!
So first, the Core Books and Lesson plans live in the Tobii Dynavox Learning Hub. It's free to make an account and access these resources and more. The lesson link is here

In this blog post I discuss how to open and download the books into iBooks on your iPad, allowing you to always have the books regardless of whether you have access to wifi or no. Similarly, if you don't have an iPad, say maybe you are on a Chromebook, you can save them as pdf's, or as some school districts have done, print them, and bind them. 

A reminder, these are made by Tobii Dynavox - designed to teach Core Language. So, the lesson structure really supports Snap Core First, BUT... you can utilize these lessons (adjusting for location type info) with ANY AAC intervention, and have really robust, research based lesson plans. The lessons are written by SLPs, for the lay-person...with literal scripts to follow.  Meaning, they are ideal to send home as homework for families, or send to schools to collaborate with school-based SLPs, teachers, and TAs. 

For my teachers I just want to note what you are likely already thinking... Core words and Sight Words have a lot of overlap.... and this can provide you with an amazing opportunity to have a really powerful inclusion model where you are instructing/reinforcing Sight Words and Core Words simultaneously. AND, bonus - if you are a teacher in NC at least, my guess is you have a Professional Development goal which you are responsible to your administrator of "Integrating Technology into your Instruction"... project a Core Book onto your Smart Board, and offer group instruction, invite your SLP to collaborate with you...Gosh, I'm giddy thinking about the possibilities of this opportunity!

Happy therapy!

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Eye-gaze Games

Hey Tek-ninjas! Recently, a SLP reached out to me asking for recommendations for eye-gaze games for one of her client's that is new to eye-gaze, and very motorically involved. What she and you understand is the inherent value in "games" for skill building. They are NOT just a distraction or entertainment, but crucial for developing cause & effect understanding, accuracy, precision, and ultimately - stamina for our eye-gaze users. 

In years past the Tobii Dynavox i12 and i15 came with a 30-day trial of Sensory Guru games, but once expired, they were not inexpensive to purchase. Now, the i13 and the i16 come with pre-loaded games called Magic Eye FX, still made by Sensory Guru. Purchased devices have 8 licensed games that do not expire. Magic Eye FX creator, Lee Blevins has indicated that he hopes to integrate a "store" into the software, where owners of a device will be able to pick and choose further games to buy out of pocket. In general, these games are really excellent, though for some users, may not hold interest indefinitely. Nonetheless, I really appreciate their scaffolded therapeutic value. 
Another great source for "eye-gaze games" is the newly integrated Boardmaker Player into Snap Core First. There are some Access games built into there too. And if you have a Boardmaker online account you can sync any activities into the player on the client’s device.

On the Tobii Dynavox web-page they’ve done a pretty nice job of collecting several eye gaze games – many, but not all are free. These should be playable by any eye-gaze device that can navigate the web. 

Finally, I’ve yet to really dig into this resource yet, but Steam is an online platform that has lots of video games available, with a decent free library, and many with eye gaze…. Not sure how many require other input sources, but many will need multiple switches, so not appropriate for a lot of our clients. If I find more viable here, I’ll blog about it. These should also be playable by any eye-gaze device that can navigate the web. 

I'm sure other vendors offer eye-gaze games with therapuetic value, but I'm not aware of them at this point in my career. If anyone knows of some, please add them to the comment section, and add if they are usable by any eye-gaze user, or device specific if you can. 

Happy therapy!

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Let's talk about creepy bugs...

 Hey Tek-ninjas, today I want to share a quick video made by speech therapist extraordinaire Jo Taylor. 

Jo is from my home town and she is doing really amazing things with Snap Core and infrared toys to elicit communication. Check it out. 

Jo purchased a few infrared toys from her local drug store. Jo says: "Buy 2, get one free at Walgreens! Get you some fun creatures for your eye gaze kids! They have spiders too". 

With the exception of the SC Tablet, every Tobii Dynavox device from the Indi-7 to the i16 eye gaze computer has infrared built into it. I'm sure you all will agree, this is high level ninjtsu! 

Happy therapy!

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Live Q/A on the Aphasia Page Set in Snap Core First

Hey Tek-ninjas! I'm very excited to share with you an upcoming Q/A Live Webinar on the Snap Aphasia Page Set with the incomparable Patrick Brune from Tobii Dynavox. If you've had the pleasure of attending a webinar or inservice with Patrick, you know that he not only has a vast amount of clinical knowledge and experience, but that he's an engaging presenter. 

If you follow my blog, you know that the Snap Core First Aphasia Page Set is a suite of simple-to-use, customizable tools supports people with aphasia and their families, caregivers and therapists with a return towards natural speech and improved participation in daily life. 

If you don't read my blog (oh the humanity), but are familiar with Snap Core First, you may be interested to know that the same SCF software you have ALSO offers the Aphasia pageset, at no additional cost. I first blogged about the newer pageset here, and then later about Aphasia learning opportunities here

This webinar will be a unique opportunity to learn more about AAC and Supporting Persons with Aphasia with a live Question and Answer session with the content developers of the recently released Snap Aphasia Page set.

Patrick Brune, M.S., CCC-SLP has over 30 years of clinical experience in the area of AAC. His focus has been on developing tools and supports that create successful communication opportunities for all our customers. Patrick is a member of the Learning Services Team for Tobii Dynavox, and I'll say it again: EVERY TIME I ATTEND A PRESENTATION WITH PATRICK I LEARN STUFF!

This event will occur on November 12th from 2-3 pm. There is no cost for you to attend, you simply need to be able to access Zoom on your computer or mobile device! You can learn more and register here

This should be good, and I'm already registered. It will fill up quickly, so be sure to register ASAP. 

While we are discussing Aphasia and learning, I'd be remiss if I don't mention these opportunities:

These events, where CEU's are mentioned are ASHA approved. However, I want to add that as an Occupational Therapist, I logged and reported these courses with AOTA last year, and received full credit for them.

I hope to see you there getting yer learn'n on! 

Saturday, October 24, 2020

OCR in your Pocket!

Hey Tek-ninjas! Just the other day I shared a post from SLP extraordinaire Ryanne Zavacky. I've got another great idea from her today, and this one should really speak to my Occupational Therapist and Educator friends.

In this blog post, Ryanne writes about Google Keep

Use free Google Keep to take pictures of your teacher’s notes on the whiteboard, sticky notes, worksheets, book passages, etc.

It will even read cursive. Watch out for white board glare which can interfere with the OCR.

Just open up a new Keep, add a photo, tap on the photo and give it a few seconds before touching the vertical ellipsis to reveal the “grab image text” option. If you don’t see the option, hit the back arrow and try again.

Took about 8 seconds to read the candy wrapper. You can highlight the text and read aloud or zoom

in with your built-in accessibility features. Of course, nothing is perfect….

I love this idea from Ryanne. It is such a great tool for students who struggle with organization and never copy down the homework or notes correctly. Using their personal phones (of course with teacher/parent permission) teaches them how to leverage universal technology to support themselves. Personally, without my phone and calendar this ADD adult would be lost. 

In the past, I've blogged about similar options, but the OCR functionality of Google Keep is at a "whole 'nother level" (sorry, completely unrelated but couldn't resist), making this a really viable tool. Google Keep is free, and available on both Android and iOS.

Thanks Ryanne, and happy therapy all!

Friday, October 23, 2020

Snap Core First out of the Windows Store UPDATE

 Hey Tek-ninjas, here's a quick update to this post about the eminent move of Snap Core First out of the Windows Store. I blogged about it here a few days ago. Initially this was to happen October 23rd, but it has since been pushed to mid-November. 

Tobii Dynavox says it will send out another email when the date is nailed down. Then the automated migration process will be available for you to initiate. Once you start the process, they will back up your user(s), download the new version of Snap Core First, and set up your user(s) and Page Set(s). Any purchases you’ve made will be carried over to the new version as well. 

While the company says it will be entirely safe, I recommend backing all your pertinent profiles up, before running the process just to be extra safe.

If you decide that you do not want to migrate your app, you can continue using it as is. However, you will not receive software updates after that date. As a reminder, this change only affects the Windows version of the app.

iOS versions will continue to update and run as usual.

You will be able to initiate the migration on the day of the release or later – you can decide when to begin the migration. If you decide that you do not want to migrate your app, you can continue using it as is. However, you will not continue to receive Snap Core First updates. 

If you haven’t already, watch this short step-by-step video above the company created to help walk you through the process or read this short Quick Guide. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact support directly.

I hope that helps!

Getting your Jam on Remotely!

 Hey Tek-ninjas! As a Solution Consultant, I get to meet and work with a lot of really dynamic and creative SLPs. Some of the implementation ideas that y'all have been coming up with lately are really great, especially as you leverage existing universal design technologies to better serve your clients remotely. 

Sometimes, I hear such great ideas, and ask the clinician to consider being a guest blogger.

One such clinician is Ryanne Zavacky, MS, CCC-SLP. Ryanne is an AT Specialist for Brunswick County Schools here in NC, and owner of Little Chatterboxes, PLLC Speech-Language-AAC

In this blog post, Ryanne shares how she leverages Jamboard to enhance her Remote services:

Are you serving your students over remote therapy services? When your video platform won’t permit remote control access on your student’s Chromebook, you can use a Jamboard  to play Pictionary to draw items using target sounds. 

 Just share the new Jamboard with your student and have them open it during your video session to see in real time. 

Tic tac toe, Guess Who? (put some pictures in your Jamboard and cover them with an opaque square), etc.

Jamboard  is free, and can be added as an extension to your Chrome browser, regardless of whether you are on a Chrombook, Macbook, or PC. 

Happy therapy!

Thursday, October 22, 2020

The Fannypack Therapist(s)

Hey Tek-ninjas! Awhile back, I blogged about some of my favorite AAC oriented Instagram accounts. Most of them are still running, and are still really terrific. Today, I have one more I want to share with you, simply because I love how creative, and informative this account is. 

thefannypacktherapist is brought to us by Annabeth & Mara, and they are truly a dynamic duo of an Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy. 

Their bio says that they are "getting back to the basics of AAC and AT, while serving up some 90's and 2000's nostalgia"I'd submit that while they present the information in a way that is easily digestible - almost basic, a lot of the content is not "basic", but really pretty heady stuff that would greatly facilitate efficacy for any clinician or caregiver working with AAC users. There in lies a lot of the appeal: sophisticated clinical ideas presented in an easily digestible style. 

When I worked in the public school environment, one of my favorite aspects of the work, was being allowed to collaborate with other specialists such as Speech Therapists, Physical Therapists, VI Teachers, Special Ed Teachers, and Gen Ed Teachers. I felt like all of our practices were better when we collaborated. Annabeth & Mara definitely showcase this idea!

For the month of October they have been generating remarkable amazing content to raise awareness about AAC, showcasing the ABCs of AAC! 

Each day in October they share a nugget of AAC wisdom in areas of research, best practice, intervention, technology, and interdisciplinary care. They include really great graphics, and solid information. 

Join in their conversation by using #ABCsofAAC !!

Go follow them. You will be glad you did!

If you have a favorite IG account that is relevant to AT and/or AAC, please drop a link in the comment section!

Happy Therapy!

Monday, October 19, 2020

What is Boardmaker 7?

Hey Tek-ninjas! I want to share one more learning opportunity here. Likely you've heard Boardmaker 7 is being released soon. On November 17th, from 12-1 Tobii Dynavox will be answering what is Boardmaker 7? You can participate in this free in-service by preregistering here

If you don't know, Boardmaker is a complete special education platform that supports education, communication, access and social/emotional needs. People can use Boardmaker to create accessible activities, find pre-made curricula and activities, collect data, and deliver instruction. It is, imo the gold standard to which all other picture symbols systems are compared to. 

This session is designed to overview the primary components of Boardmaker 7 and how these components can be used together to maximize learning in the classroom, therapy room, clinic, or home.

If you have questions about the in-service, contact Tobii Dynavox at: 

The in-service will be presented by Ashlyn Hudson. Ashlyn holds a Master’s in Education with focus on special education and assessment from Texas Woman’s University and a Master’s of Occupational Therapy from University of Texas Medical Branch. Yay Occupational Therapists! She has served many roles in her career, including special education teacher, lead evaluator, transition specialist, special education coordinator, and more recently pediatric occupational therapist in both school and home health settings. Throughout her career, Ashlyn has maintained a passion for promoting independence, access, and participation in all settings of life while working with individuals with a wide variety of diagnoses from birth to adulthood. She's a really great presenter!

I am looking forward to this session, and I hope to see y'all there!

Saturday, October 17, 2020

More Learning for October 19 - ->

 Hey Tek-ninjas, I wanted to direct you to next weeks Tobii Dynavox trainings.

10.19.20       10:30 - 11:00 ET                  C5 Accessible Apps overview

10.20.20       12:00 - 1:00 ET                   Pathways for Core First Overview

10.20.20       2:00-3:00 ET                      Tobii Dynavox Resources

10.21.20        11:00-12:00 ET                  Telepractice Basics in SCF

10.23.20        11:00-12:00 ET       Introduction to Implementing AAC for Emergent Communicators

10.26.20        2:00-3:00 ET                    Tobii Dynavox Resources

10.28.20        10:00-11:00 ET                Funding and Assessment Tips

Happy learning!

Friday, October 16, 2020


Hey Tek-ninjas! If you are using Snap Core First for yourself or your clients AND doing so on a
Windows Computer, this is really important. 

This morning, I received an email from Tobii Dynavox informing me about a change that will happen on October 23rd to all Snap Core First licenses for Windows.

Snap Core First is moving out of the Windows Store. And in order for you to continue receiving software updates, you must migrate to the new version of Snap Core First, which will be available through the app.

Tobii Dynavox expects this process to be seamless and easy... that being said, I will encourage folks to back up their profile to myTobiidynavox before they run the migration. Better safe than sorry.

Starting on October 23rd, the automated migration process will be available for you to initiate. Once you start the process, they will back up your user(s), download the new version of Snap Core First, and set up your user(s) and Page Set(s). Any purchases you’ve made will be carried over to the new version as well. The video below does a great job of explaining the whole thing.

According to the email, if you decide that you do not want to migrate your app, you can continue using it as is. However, you will not receive software updates after October 23rd. 

As a reminder, this change only affects the Windows version of the app. iOS versions will continue to update and run as usual.

Silver lining? Once you've run Windows Update once, the Snap Core First updates we be automatically included. No more need to run Microsoft Store Updates. Also, 1. folks can expect a better user experience when downloading the Windows version for purchase, TD for Professional, Trial version and redeeming a code. 2. Many schools and facilities that block the Windows Store and have not been able to implement the Windows version of SCF within their organizations.

Happy therapy!

Monday, October 12, 2020

This week's trainings!

Hey Tek-ninjas! Happy Monday! 

Here is a look at the upcoming Tobii Dynavox trainings for this week. 

Reserve your seat early and register now >

Happy therapy!

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Hope for the best, plan for the worst

 Hey Tek-ninjas! today's blog is not exactly uplifting, but I think it's important. Here in NC our governor has moved the state from Phase 2, to Phase 3. Folks are super excited about it. I do like our governor, and I don't want to discuss politics here, but I do want to say I believe this is not a wise course.  I would direct you to the John's Hopkins site where they show trends for Covid across the US. Find your state. I'll wait. 

I would understand moving to a more relaxed phase if we were showing level or decreased numbers. We aren't. Nor are most states. 

I'm sharing this site, and blogging about it today because I want to encourage folks to continue striving to hone your remote therapy/education delivery skills. The cliche my old martial arts instructor was fond of was "hope for the best, plan for the worst". 

I've watched and participated in a huge transformation across NC and VA as well as the rest of the country. Therapists from all disciplines, as well as educators, have learned how (and continue to evolve) to provide remote services to their clients who are in need. Professionals have leveraged tools like Zoom or Facetime to provide treatment, and shared success and failure stories with one another to improve their craft. We all recognized that the continuation of services is crucially important. We are aware of the importance of front-loading services when possible, as well as laying educational foundations. 

Some therapists and families have reported to me that they prefer remote therapy. SLPs have told me they get more parental involvement... mom and dad are no longer sitting in a waiting room, or dashing out to run an errand - but rather are facilitators. Therapist's have also reported less "no-shows". Parents have told me it's been such a relief to NOT have to bundle their other children into a car, drive however far - and maintain decorum in a waiting room while their child gets treated - which may well be a part of why there are less no-shows. 

My worry is that as services open back up, we may lose some of this hard won traction. I am generally not a pessimistic individual, but I believe that across the country most if not all states will be back in Phase 2 or even Phase 1 come spring time, especially if we do not get a vaccine. I hope I'm wrong. Nothing would make me happier. 

My call out to you all is to maintain remote services when and where appropriate. Continue to hone this part of your craft. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. 

Happy remote therapy! 

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Hey Google!

 Hey Tek-ninjas! This is really cool. Today's Snap Core First update is a game changer. We've all seen or heard of folks talking to their home speakers, asking questions, or giving commands. With Snap Core First, users can do so any where in their home because this interaction happens instantaneously over the network from the AAC device to Google Assistant, and is not dependent on the microphone. This is especially important if say you are jamming Pavarotti, Tyler Childers, or Sound Garden and you worry that the Google Assistant might not hear your next command as the volume would have to compete with the music. 

In case you are wondering let me lay it out for you....Google Assistant will allow you to:

Control your devices and your smart home
Access information from your calendars and other personal information
Find information online, from restaurant bookings to directions, weather and news
Control your music
Play content on your Chromecast or other compatible devices
Run timers and reminders
Make appointments and send messages
Open apps on your phone
Read your notifications to you
Real-time spoken translations
Play games

Learn more from your local Tobii Dynavox rep

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Upcoming Aphasia Trainings

Hey Tek-ninjas! I'm excited to share some great training opportunities coming up next week.

On Wednesday, October 7th, 2020 from 12:00 - 1:00pm ET Tobii Dynavox will be hosting the Aphasia Expert Series with Dr. Aimee Dietz, Ph.D. CCC-SLP.  Dr. Dietz will share her aphasia research and experience.  There is no charge for admission. I for one, I'm super excited for this event! If you are interested, you can learn more and register at this link

On Friday, October 9th, 2020, from 3 to 3:30 Tobii Dynavox will be offering an overview of the new Aphasia Pagesets in Snap Core First. During this session you will learn more about the Aphasia pages, as well as resources and tools. You can learn more and register at this link

A while back I blogged about the new Snap Aphasia Pageset. This suite of simple-to-use, customizable tools supports people with aphasia and their families, caregivers and therapists with a return towards natural speech and improved participation in daily life. It has the familiar layout and ease of editing as Snap Core First.

Want to know how to get a dedicated device with the Aphasia pageset into the hands of your client? Contact your local Solutions Consultant, they can help.

Happy therapy!

Friday, September 25, 2020

Why are you still using 80 year old technology?

Hey Tek-ninjas! So, I love technology. No surprise. I love old technology too. But mostly just as an idea - relevant in it's era, not to use today if possible. I often marvel to find that we are still sending faxes and are then surprised to find the recipient didn't receive the documents or only got parts. Sometimes we don't find out they didn't receive the documents long after we sent them. This can be a real issue.

I get it, sometimes we don't have a choice - after all not everyone has a scanner.... or maybe we just don't know that we have a choice. Maybe you do have a scanner. In your pocket. 

If you have a smart phone - you have a scanner. And once you scan your documents, you can email them right off of your phone.

Did you know that the native app called Notes on your iPhone or your iPad has built in scan technology? See the video below for a quick demonstration. This is super slick and easy to use.

If you are using an Android based phone or tablet you are not out of luck. But to my knowledge, the simplest free solution is to have a gmail account, and install the Drive application. Then follow these steps:
  • Open the Google Drive app .
  • In the bottom right, tap Add .
  • Tap Scan .
  • Take a photo of the document you'd like to scan. Adjust scan area: Tap Crop . Take photo again: Tap Re-scan current page . Scan another page: Tap Add .
  • To save the finished document, tap Done .
  • Then, within Drive you can email a link to the document. Make sure you have the share permissions set correctly. 
Either solution will allow you to bypass technology that was invented in 1843 and appears to have made little improvement since then (that is admittedly an uneducated position as I don't know what improvements have actually been made since then). For example if you are working with Tobii Dynavox you can send in Trial Forms or Purchase forms for a client's AAC equipment. You can email them directly to, and not worry that they never made it over the fax line.

Happy therapy!

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Urgent Action for Boardmaker Online Subscribers!!

Hey Tek-ninjas, in light of the blog I posted yesterday regarding the integration of Boardmaker Online into Snap Core First, I thought I should take a moment to share this email I received - and many of you likely did as well.

Immediate Action Required for Current Boardmaker Online Subscribers

The Boardmaker Online editor and player will cease to function at the release of Boardmaker 7. These components of your Boardmaker subscription will need to be replaced with installed applications. If you do not have the ability to install software on your computer yourself, you must contact your IT department to download and install these applications no later than October 19, 2020. This update is required to maintain the editing and playing functions of your Boardmaker subscription.

Follow these three steps to make this update: 

1) Access the downloads for Windows, Mac and Chromebook below.

Boardmaker 7 Editor for Windows
Boardmaker 7 Student Center for Windows

Boardmaker 7 Editor for Mac
Boardmaker 7 Student Center for Mac

Boardmaker 7 Editor for Chromebook
Boardmaker 7 Student Center for Chromebook

2) Install and run the software. A message will be displayed indicating that the installation was successful. You will not be able to use the new software until Boardmaker 7 is released.

3) This software will update automatically when Boardmaker 7 is released. Until that time, continue to use the Boardmaker Online Editor or Boardmaker Studio.

For additional information, visit the Boardmaker 7 Organization page in North America or the IT Resources page for all other countries.

If you or your IT team have any questions please contact theTechnical Support teams.

North America

Good luck with this folks, I'm excited to see the new changes coming with Boardmaker 7! Remember, if you don't have Boardmaker Online you can get a FREE Boardmaker Online account and access 60,000 FREE print and interactive activities, or if you'd like to see what the full offering is - check out the FREE 60-day trial.

Happy Therapy!

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Sharing BMO Activities with your AAC user!

Hey Tek-ninjas! Today I want to take another look at a specific new feature within Snap Core First and Boardmaker Online (BMO). Awhile back I blogged about how the Boardmaker Player is now integrated into Snap Core First

I feel like this tool has the potential to be so helpful for folks, especially for clinicians and educators who are serving students or clients remotely. Using Snap Core First, your user can engage in BMO activities, and talk about those activities - without leaving the software!

Lets address two details: 

  • You can get a FREE Boardmaker Online account and access 60,000 FREE print and interactive activities. 
  • BMO is more than "just" picture symbols. The content is so good, and can really augment the work you are already doing. But don't take my word for it... If you'd like to see what the full offering is - check out the FREE 60-day trial

The question I was wrestling with though was - "if I have a BMO account, and my client has their own mytobiidynavox account, which their Snap Core First is connected to... how do I get my activities to their device?" I reached out to Courtney Moss, from the Boardmaker Education team and she dropped some major knowledge on me! 

In the video below I show you how to do this, assuming 1. you have a BMO account. If you don't have one, get one. 2. your client has a BMO account. If they don't have one... ask them to get one (even the free one). 3. HOWEVER, if you already have a mytobiidynavox account you basically have the makings for a BMO account (see picture to left). 4. your client's SGD is unlocked and can access the internet. If it is not, encourage them to consider calling the Tobii-Dynavox technical support number and paying the one-time $25 fee to get it unlocked. That number is 1-800-344-1778.

You might want to share this video with your client caregiver.

If you need further help with this, or any AAC needs reach out to your local Solution Consultant

Happy Therapy!

Monday, September 21, 2020

Social Media IS Communication!

 Hey Tek-ninjas! A while back I blogged about the new D-bur Join-In apps for Tobii Dynavox Communicator 5. Well, they just got even better and include a few new offerings! 

To recap, these apps were developed by D-bur and they allow users of the latest Communicator 5 and iSeries to be able to access services for social media, content streaming and internet messaging services. The way I see it, Social Media IS communication for many of us. These D-bur offerings will not only bring highly requested social media, streaming and internet services to users but it may also improve the quality of life for many by providing them with a familiar way to connect and stay entertained.

The new and improved Page Sets will be made available via Update Notifier for shipped I-13 and I-16 devices only.

Accessible apps in this release include: 
New version of Facebook
Google translate
Updates to Instagram
Updates to YouTube 

If you want to learn more about these applications reach out to your Tobii Dynavox Solution Consultant

Happy therapy!

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Sharing Audio from 3rd Party Apps

Hey Tek-ninjas! Today I have two specific "solutions" for a problem AND a call for help. I have had a number of folks (primarily school-based SLPs/OTs/Educators) reach out to me asking how to get their AAC user's voices to come over video conference for remote tx/ed. 

I should preface this by saying this assumes you are hosting the video conference on your AAC user’s device. That also assumes it is unlocked and accessing the Internet. there are a lot of salient reasons to host the session right on the users device including the ability to model on the device, as well as using the built-in camera to assess level of engagement and positioning.

On the Zoom platform it's super easy. When you start a video make sure you check "automatically join audio" and then when you go to "share" screen be sure to check the box that says "Share computer sound". This will port over audio from ANY 3rd party application on your device ie: AAC software. 

For Microsoft Teams, this process is the same, but instead of a check box, you have a radio button in the top right of the "share" screen. 

This video shows both. 

Many of our colleagues are using Google Meet, simply because their school district has a Google account, and that's the digital eco-sphere they live in. Currently, Google Meet does not have this function. Or does it? That's the "call for help". Has anyone found a solution yet? 

As early as March, educators were asking for this function in the Google Meet help desk. A "Google Product Expert" replied: "The only method provided by google to broadcast audio from a presentation is via presenting from a Chrome Tab". 

So, if you've worked out how to do this, please post in the comments, or email me! Hopefully Google will fix this. I've seen a few technical solutions offered, but they were so complicated and frankly not realistic for families to implement. 

For now, I have chatted with a few SLPs who are hosting a student's meeting on a different device, and putting a microphone near the speakers of the AAC device - or using the "free" version of Zoom with the intention of apologizing if they get called out for it by their district.... needless to say, I'm not endorsing that option.

I will update if/when I hear more. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

SCF: Supporting writing and pre-writing skills

 Hey Tek-ninjas! I've got something cool to share with you today... though to be honest, I'm a little annoyed that it was not my idea. This idea has been attributed to my colleague, Casey Lacefield, Tobii Dynavox Solution Consultant for Middle and East Tennessee.  He's not even an Occupational Therapist, and this is SOOO OT-ish.... Anyways... it's a good idea. 

In Snap Core First you can add a White Board for your user. It necessitates that the user access the device with direct touch (finger, stylus, etc). once the White Board page is installed, they can use it in any capacity, and it quite simply makes for a really nice addition to a communication tablet. 

Communication. Literacy. Writing. Such a nice integration. 

Happy therapy!

Ever wonder who your Tobii Dynavox Solution Consultant is? Find out here

Friday, September 4, 2020


 Hey Tek-ninjas! I hope you all will indulge me in a moment of self promotion. 

Over a year ago I made myself a pair of custom shoes to wear for trade-shows and conferences that celebrated PECS and AAC. I received a lot of positive feedback, and people inquired where they could buy them. 

I now have those shoes and a few T-shirts available for your acquisition here, or above in the menu Tek-merch. 

Thanks and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Back to school, again but different

Hey Tek-ninjas! So, most of you have been back at school for a few weeks already. And from all reports, it's a very different school year! I wanted to take some time to pass along a few resources that have helped me get through tele-support that I think may help you too with tele-therapy. This specific collection were collated by the incomparable Tobii Dynavox Solution Consultant Mark Sauka who serves Central and Western PA... one day he's going to invite me up to fish trout.  If you are unsure who your Solution Consultant is, you can find them here

I've said it before, but I'll say it again, while I am an employee of Tobii Dynavox, many if not most of these tips are good for any AAC intervention, so I hope you will all take a look at them!

Quick Assist: this free software on a Windows based device has been a lifesaver! It allows you to take over the screen of your student’s device so that you can provide remote support and model. It does require that you are working on a Windows computer, and that your student's device operates a Windows as well. I have blogged about it before, and you can see how to operate Quick Assist and share a video with caregivers which will show them how to do their part to get connected here

Telepractice Resource Page

AAC and Zoom
I am sure many of you have become very familiar with Zoom (or something similar) during this time. Here are a couple videos that may be helpful as you navigate remote therapy sessions.

Zoom and Snap Core First

Setting up a Virtual AAC Session with Zoom

Telepractice Basics for Implementing Snap Core First

Using Core First Learning During Teletherapy

AAC Tips for Home

Sync, Save, Share!
During tele-therapy it is crucial to be able to share pages with students. This allows you to create lesson plans/pages from your free account (through Tobii Dynavox for Professionals) and share them with your students. 

How to Save/Sync/Share

Learning Hub
Due to restrictions involving meeting in large groups, in-services will likely look much different this school year. The Tobii Dynavox Learning Team has created some awesome recorded webinars to help you continue learning and earn CEUs. Courses are continuously added to reflect new content, software updates, etc. Please feel free to send this out to intervention specialists, caregivers, support staff, etc.. 

Learning Hub

Happy Therapy!

Saturday, August 29, 2020

AAC Disaster Relief

 Hey Tek-ninjas! We are already in hurricane season here on the East coast, and on the West coast they are well into fire season. With that in mind, I wanted to make sure folks are aware that the The United States Society for AAC provides free disaster relief for lost/damaged AAC devices.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Core Skater Shoes©

Hey Tek-ninjas! Here's a reminder that the Core Skater Shoes© are available! Check them out!

Thursday, August 20, 2020

 Hey Tek-ninjas! As an artist... and a Tobii Dynavox representative I have to say that I love everything about this!

Carry on being you. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Learning Hub UPGRADE!

Hey Tek-ninjas! If you have been reading my blog, you know that I'm a big fan of the Tobii Dynavox Learning Hub. Well... it has gotten even better! Today the Tobii Dynavox Learning Team announced that the new and improved Learning Hub experience is now live. I've said it before... even if you use other AAC interventions - this resource is a gold mine, and you owe it to yourself and your clients to familiarize yourself with it.... much of the content generalizes beautifully. And if you find yourself coming back to the Tobii Dynavox eco-sphere repeatedly... .well, welcome!

The Learning Team has rolled out a ton of new content including recorded webinars, interviews with experts, quick guides, short video clips, and eLearning courses that provide ASHA CEUs on the new Learning Hub. 

I've worked with several school teams and clinics who use these courses like a book club, watching the content together or separately, ad then discussing together. This might be a good option for your respective team. I also often direct caregivers or family members to content when they are eager to learn more. 

I can tell you as an Occupational Therapist, AOTA accepted all of the CEU's for my national license as well. The Learning Team indicates that they are continually adding new content, including two new courses that provide ASHA CEUs coming next week.

Log into using your same account and the same process. If you run into a jam for any reason contact the Learning Team.   

What a tremendous resource! Happy therapy!

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Continuing Education for all you Life-Long-Learners out there!

 Hey Tek-ninjas, come get your learning on with Tobii Dynavox


Time Frame (EST)


Campaign Link


12-1:00 pm

Positive Behavior Supports in Snap Core First


10:00 - 11:00 AM

Set Up your Classroom with Print Activities in Boardmaker 7


10:30 - 11:00 am

All About Me


1:00 - 1:30 PM

All About Me


4:00 - 5:00 PM

Set Up your Classroom with Print Activities in Boardmaker 7


12:30 - 3:45 pm 

Access to Standards with Boardmaker Templates



Telepractice Basics for Implementing Snap Core First


9:00 - 2:30

Communicating Beyond Requesting


10:00 - 11:00 AM

Set Up Your Classroom with Interactive Activities in Boardmaker 7


10:30 - 11:00 AM (ET)

My Important Words


10:00-11:00 AM (ET)

Distance Learning Tools for Education and Communication Success


4:00 - 5:00 PM

Set Up Your Classroom with Interactive Activities in Boardmaker 7


2:00 - 2:30 PM (ET)

My Important Words



Learning Lounge Express


2:00-3:00 PM

Positive Behavior Supports in Snap Core First


10:00 - 10:30 AM (ET)

Show and Tell


10:00 - 11:00 AM

Using and Editing Boardmaker Activities-to-Go


1:30 - 2:00 PM (ET)

Show and Tell


4:00 - 5:00 PM

Using and Editing Boardmaker Activities-to-Go


12-1:00 PM

Telepractice Basics for Implementing Snap Core First


10:00 - 10:30 AM (ET)

Creating a Schedule


10:00 - 11:00 AM

Share, Assign, and Collect Data in Boardmaker 7


1:30 -2:30 PM (ET)

Distance Learning Tools for Education and Communication Success


4:00 - 5:00 PM

Share, Assign, and Collect Data in Boardmaker 7


2:00 - 2:30 PM (ET)

Creating a Schedule



Learning Lounge Express