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