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!