The Intersections of therapy, technology with an emphasis on AAC, education and other random stuff..
Wednesday, March 8, 2023
Mandatory Boardmaker Updates!
Friday, February 24, 2023
OTs, SLPs, and AAC
I got to co-present with my colleague Jo Taylor. Jo is a speech therapist, and a Solution Consultant for Tobii Dynavox, and she serves Eastern NC and Tidewater VA. We vibe really well - OT/SLP team powers and all that!
Our topic was broad, looking at the Occupational Therapist's role in AAC, how they can best support SLPs and AAC users. We discussed what the role of the Solution Consultant is. Finally, we also looked at two case studies and facilitated a conversation about which access modalities might be best for respective clients.
I love presenting to Occupational Therapists on AAC. Here in the US, our medical model sets SLPs as the procurers of SGD, and this is appropriate especially for emergent communicators and other's with language disorders. But.... as Occupational Therapists we have a huge role and opportunity to help support AAC users and the SLPs who serve them.
Back in April of 2022 I wrote an article about how Occupational Therapists may not realize they have the requisite training to support AAC users and our SLP friends who serve them, when in fact we do. In the post I note how the HAAT (The Human Activity Assistive Technology Model) dovetails so nicely with most all of our Occupational Performance Models, I also want to encourage you to remember your training in Activity Analysis. It will carry you through the technology.
So again, I'm challenging my Occupational Therapy colleagues to be open to continued learning, and to find a willing SLP and partner with them to deliver even more robust therapy with attention to AAC.
One of the silver linings of my visit to Methodist University was that I connected in person for the first time with long-time "Instagram friend" (yes, that's a thing) Annabeth from the dynamic-duo from thefannypacktherapist. If you aren't familiar with their work, check it out. They consistently model what a great OT/SLP team can look like, and they share a lot of ideas around 'best-practices'.
Do you partner with another discipline to support AAC? I'd love to hear how. In my work on school based AT teams I was privileged to partner with VI teachers, PTs, SLPs, SPeDs, and of course parents. I learned so much from all of them.
Thursday, February 9, 2023
Making Art for Eye-gaze Users: Revisited
Hey Tek-ninjas! Back in April of 2020 I shared some insights from a Tobii Dynavox Tech Support colleague around making artwork with eye gaze devices. This article has been share and reshared quite a bit, but since then Tobii Dynavox released the newer iSeries which includes Computer Control. Over the last 2 years, Computer Control has been evolving rapidly with so many tool options. Now Computer Control has a really nice drawing mode, however it takes some education and practice. Remember, Computer Control is available only on the iSeries and the PCEye.If you have someone interested in drawing with eye gaze, regardless of the art software, you will want to check out the Learning Hub video and guide course "Using Functions in TD Control".
Additionally, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- first time is a bit tough, but after a minute or two of practice you should get better control
- there's almost a delayed magnetic field to the drawing tool's direction, which serves to allow you a delay in control that is quite beneficial once you get familiar with it
- The Control circle is called "The donut shape"; the inner circle is where you draw, the out circle is the direction. If you go out of the outer circle, it stops. within the donut is speed - closer to the center the slower your drawing - further from the center (but still in the donut) the faster your drawing.
Hey Tek-ninjas! Recently my colleague, Orry Deason shared a post with our co-workers. I'm essentially sharing it word for word - there's not much I could add to improve it. I will add, if the end-user's device is still "locked" as a dedicated device, and they are accessing one of the online platforms noted below, they will need to contact the device vendor to pay the unlock fee. For Tobii Dynavox that fee is $25. Enjoy.
"This comes up every so often so I figured I'd share; art programs that have worked previously with our devices.
There's no art program with built-in/native eye gaze, but third party programs can be used via Windows Control or Gaze Point, which are included on (Tobii Dynavox) devices. Here are some we have seen work, though the software you should use depends on the age and ability of the user and the complexity desired.
Paint.net (https://www.getpaint.net/ - (Free) is comparable to Microsoft Paint with some additional features. Again, some options may be too small for some users to hit.
Orry adds that "this list isn't exhaustive, but hopefully it will point you in the right direction!" If you readers have other suggestions please don't hesitate to post in the comments section, and include links!
Tuesday, January 17, 2023
Supporting GLP with TD Snap and Caroline
Recently I posted about the upcoming NCACA Conference and how great those presenters are. This offering is presented by one of them, Caroline Gaddy, who is both a friend and a colleague. Caroline is uniquely qualified to teach this course because she is Autistic, the mother of neurodivergent children, a Speech Therapist, and a Tobii Dynavox Solutions Consultant. This presentation received so much positive feedback from SLPs and Caregivers, imo it's not to be missed.
You will of course need a free account for the Tobii Dynavox Learning Hub if you don't have one. As I've posted before, if you already have a log in for www.mytobiidynavox.com or the https://efunding.tobiidynavox.com, those are Single Sign-ins, and you can log in with that username and password.
Friday, January 13, 2023
TD Snap Motor Plan in the US!
Hey Tek-ninjas! A number of you are already aware that Tobii Dynavox is releasing a new Motor Plan page set in the US. It was released a month or so back in the UK, and the feedback so far has been pretty terrific.
If this is news to you, here's what Tobii Dynavox has to say about the page set: "TD Snap Motor Plan is an efficient way for learners with complex access needs to develop language. This page set focuses on core words and word-by-word sentence construction. Each word appears only once with a distinct path, or motor plan, to find it. Over time, the communicator will automatically locate words, allowing them to focus more on what they want to say.
The page set comes in 30 and 66 position layouts and are optimised to find words faster, customise vocabulary and grow language with the brand new vocabulary filter. Join us to learn all about how these exciting new page sets can support early language learners and advanced communicators alike."
One of the many aspects I'm excited about here is that if you are already familiar with TD Snap, you already know how to edit and customize the page set because the Motor Plan is run by the same engine.
Tobii Dynavox has posted on their website that they anticipate the page sets will be released at the end of January. If you'd like to learn more they ask you to fill out and submit this form.
There are live trainings planned on the following dates via Zoom. Each session has 300 seats, but I'd wager, they will fill up quickly!
Wednesday, January 25th 8-8:45 ET
Thursday, January 26th 3-3:45 ET
Friday, January 27th 12-12:45 ET
These trainings are free of charge. While you are there, check out all of the other great live trainings.
Thursday, January 12, 2023
NCACA 40th ANNUAL CONFERENCE VIRTUAL
Conference. It will be Friday, February 24, 2023, 8:00 AM – 3:30 PM EST. The folks at NCACA always put on a great conference, and this year will be no exception.
If you were at ASHA this year, you may have heard Caroline Gaddy present. If you missed it, well, good news, she is presenting here. Caroline's topic title is: "Applying a Neurodiversity Framework to Supporting Autistic AAC Users". Caroline is an Autistic & multiply neurodivergent SLP and AAC Tobii Dynavox Consultant based in Virginia. I get to brag to people that we work together!
Also presenting is Emily Diaz, Emily is a school-based SLP with a robust Instagram following. I'm a big fan of her IG account, and encourage you to check it out if you have not. Emily's presentation is titled: "Unlocking Their Potential: Coaching Habits That Increase Stakeholder Buy-In for AAC".
The final presenter is Lauren (Enders) Gonzales. Lauren is an SLP and AAC/AT consultant working for the Bucks County Intermediate Unit in Eastern Pennsylvania. Lauren's presentation is titled: "AAC for Me! Considerations for AAC System Personalization".
All three of these presenters have been presenting on the national level and each one of them alone would make a conference great. Having the three of them guarantees a stellar day of learning. Don't miss it! When I registered, there were only 98 slots open.