Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Vocabulary Selection for AAC devices

This is Bob, I just thought I'd pop in here real quick and share something our AAC specialist shared with me.

When programming AAC devices one of the things that has always left me stumped was the selection of vocabulary. What do I put on the buttons? I try to be as functional as possible, put in a "more", "help", and "all done". Maybe throw in some nouns in the classroom, but it has always been pulling teeth for me to think of what to add.

So, Gail Van Tatenhove has done some research in the area, and she has a handout that is available on PDF entitled: Normal Language Development, Generative Language & AAC. This hand out briefly reviews normal early language development, then applies it to what we should do with AAC word selection. At the end of the hand out she gives lists of words that you can use when selecting words for your AAC devices that coincide with the first words that children learn in normal language development. I love it! I just thought I'd share that with you guys real quick.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Advice for SLPs going to ASHA! or "What I wish I'd known before I went to ASHA..."

Hi, it's Kristin. I’m so jealous of all of you who are going to ASHA!!!  Deeply jealous.

Well, just for fun, I made a list last year of all the things I learned and wanted to do in future years.  Let me know if you have anything to add!!

  • Carry business cards.  There are so many situations where you want to give them out.  You meet new friends and connections.  AND so many booths have contests where you can either fill out their form OR drop a card in the jar!  Duh- why didn’t I bring mine?  Bring a TON. I also saw many people bring a sheet of labels or a stack of small papers with all their info to drop in context and info boxes, etc.    (Include name, workplace, address, and email.)  Smart! 
  • Meet people for lunch each day (It’s a great time to catch up and review what you learned.  It’s so easy not to make plans and then just eat on your own otherwise.  Lame.
  • Pick classes early (beforehand) and bring the “My planner” printouts and the ASHA leader insert.  Write your schedule out including back-up classes with room numbers so you don’t have to look things up throughout the day.
  • Print out your handouts early (via or at least as many as you can.
  • Plan on bringing home extra stuff!  Like freebies, SLP garb you buy in the booths and stores, papers papers papers...

  •            Carry snacks, gum, sunglasses!
  •       Go to the presentations by the “famous” presenters.  It makes a difference.
  •       Do the “Short Courses.”  They tend to be excellent. 
  •        Do the ASHA boxed lunches (on your registration sheet).
  •       Keep a list of attended courses as you attend for easy CEU entry afterward.
  •       Schedule time for exhibit hall browsing. 
  •       AND save time for poster sessions.  Did you know you can get CEUs for time in poster sessions?
  •       However, you don’t have to go to poster sessions while the presentation is actually being given.
  •       Grab a “Daily Update” each morning from the info booths to learn about fun events and cancelled sessions. 
  •             Bring your iPad or smart phone for contests, etc.  There are sessions ABOUT therapeutic apps.  You’ll want to have your device there to practice IN-session. 
  •             Wear shoes AND socks.  Seriously, there is a LOT of walking.  I got blisters.
  •       Dress nice.  Jeans are ok, but wear a nice shirt.  I think about these things…  
  •       The classrooms were chilly.  Wear a jacket and long sleeves.

  •       Stay somewhere nice (I tried to save a buck and stay in a really cheap place.  Bad idea in more ways than one),
  •       Stay near the Convention Center
  •       Need to be frugal?  Get a room then post on the roommate forum so others can join you and split the cost.
  •       Watch out for flaky people on the roommate forum!  I got ditched by someone at the last minute (it was she who had the hotel room) and that’s why nothing was left and I had to go to that crappy motel.
  •       Consider getting a group together and renting a condo (search “rental by owner.”)  My friends did this – genius!!
  •       You can also stay with a local person (roommate forum)?  I had fun doing this for part of my stay, and I made a new friend.
  •       Bring workout clothes and go running in an awesome place in the city!

 Do you have suggestions of your own, ASHA-savvy folks?  Post your comments.  Have fun at ASHA.  Tell me what you learn!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Guided Access Feature for iPads

One of the greatest features about the new operating system for iPads (and ipodtouchs/iphones) is the new Guided Access feature. Basically Apple has finally listened to educators everywhere who have been screaming for restricted access. We can finally lock a child into the app that we want them to use. 

Gone are the days where you can't leave a student with your iPad for more than 2 minutes before they have changed your background, rearranged all of your app folders and changed your password. It seems like this would happen especially when I was using the device for AAC. Why would the kid bother if they knew that somewhere on this device there was Angry Birds?

You do have to have one of the newest devices to be able to have access to this feature along with all of the other iOS 6 features. The oldest iPad that you can update is the iPad 2 (sorry all of you iPad 1 users, time for an upgrade?), the iPodtouch 4, and iPhone 3GS. Sad, because some of our old devices could have really used this feature.

So, here is how the Guided Access Feature works.

How to set it up (assuming you already have put iOS 6 on, if not go here).

Open settings -> General -> Accessibility

At this point you'll see some options, basically you can then turn on Guided Access as well as set a password. I would strongly suggest that you do set the password.

And that's it, you are all set up. Now when you want to turn on Guided Access you triple click on your home button and it will open up to give you several options (see picture below).

You can turn off "touch" and/or "motion" or you can just leave them on. I can see this being useful if you have some kind of video you are having your students watch and you don't want them to easily interrupt it. I'm not so sure about the motion feature, but I know many apps have motion functions. 

If you want to get back out, triple click again and then you can enter your password to exit Guided Access mode.

And there you have it. You can now lock down your iPad so that a student cannot go messing around with everything else on your iPad. 

If your iPad is stuck in Guided Access mode.

There is a bug out there where sometimes you are unable to triple click your home button and you are seemingly stuck in guided access forever! 

Or.... you have forgotten your password and there is no apparent way to get out, there is no "forgot my password" button.

This is what you have to do. 

Hard Reset (hold down both buttons down for about 5 seconds). You have a few seconds after the iPad comes back online before the Guided Access turns back on (which is will). You can then go to your settings and turn off the feature.

This is pretty important to know. I've already had to do this twice, good times.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Preposition App Review

Bob here, its been awhile, but here you go.

More and more SLPs are getting their hands on iPads. We are using them more and more, rightfully so, that are soooo neat! Many SLPs have turned to me wondering what apps to buy. Its easy to grab the free apps, you can always delete them, but when you are putting down money its a little different. In order to help all you people out there I intend to get back to writing iPad app reviews. I'll focus mostly on speech therapy apps, but I'll sometimes feature utility apps, or games that could be good for reinforcement.

This week I want to focus on prepositions. As an educational speech therapist we are continuously looking for improved ways to do language therapy and how to take data effectively while doing so. One thing I find myself doing a lot is working on prepositions. You know, those fun concepts that our kids seem to struggle so much on. I wanted to review a couple of iPad apps that hope to help us in the process.

Preposition Builder
App category: Language Therapy
Publisher: Mobile Education Store
Age range: Elementary Students

The app makers that brought you Questions Builder and Sentence Builder have a new app for preposition concepts entitled Preposition Builder. This is an app "designed to help elementary aged children learn the correct use of prepositions and how prepositions can change the meaning of a sentence".

Basically you have an incomplete sentence an image and several preposition choices. The student drags the appropriate preposition to the sentence. If they pick the wrong one, it will demonstrate to the student the right ways, giving a verbal model as well as an image, which is better than just the typical noise many apps give when an option is incorrect, as if just telling a kid "wrong" over and over really help much of anything. 

You can select specific prepositions modules to work on, you can have different profiles for different students. An interesting feature they have is that the student can record their self saying the sentence, helping the student practice producing the preposition correctly, which we all want.

When the student gets all the sentences correct in a preposition module then they are able to unlock an animation, which is suppose to be part of some larger story.

The art is much better than some of the previous Builder apps that I have tried. It seems they have contracted a commercial artist instead of just relying on cheap clip art ( not that it mattered for my kids in Question Builder or Sentence Builder - I'm just funny about the art work). It looks much more professional in my opinion.

If you primarily work with really young kids, students who can't read, then this probably isn't the app for you, which you might find annoying because we frequently work on these concepts with preschoolers and kindergartners. This doesn't mean you can't use it, but you would have to help them along the way. Could be a good way to introduce them to some important sight words anyway.

Should you buy it?

If you find yourself doing a lot of work on prepositions (like I do) and you were thinking of getting therapy materials for it, then yes. If you work only with preschool kids, then... maybe.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Check it out!!  We got featured on this site as one of the Top 100 Speech-Language Pathology sites!  We're so proud.  This is a nice comprehensive list, by the way.  I bookmarked it for later.  :) 


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hi friends!
I had one of you email me asking for advice about starting your own blog.  Here is a little advice.
  • Know your topic and style beforehand.
  • Blog regularly or you'll lose readers
  • Keep your posts short enough that busy people will read them
  • Throw in a little personal touch and connection- not just strictly business and SLP stuff - a little personal flavor keeps people connected to the blog.
  • Look at and comment on others' blogs and they will do the same for you.
  • Keep your posts relevant and helpful/functional.
  • Label your posts at the bottom so people will find your blog when Google searching.
  • Get followers- through give-aways that require following, and networking with other blogs, and of course having a following button somewhere on the blog
  • Tweet posts or put them on facebook to get more traffic.
  • Encourage comments.
  • Keep the blog looking clean and attractive.
Also, my blog buddy Kim posted a FABULOUS post about this same topic- I highly recommend it for any of you who are interested:  click here


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Back from the sabbatical!

Hi blog reading friends!  It's Kristin here.  I have taken a long break and really thought I had posted my very last post.  I thought Bob was done to (we really haven't seen eachother or talked for a long time.  You know how new babies can turn someone's life upside-down and all.)  But some of you have been so encouraging lately, and you made me want to get back into it a bit.  I think Bob might even start blogging a little mroe here and there as well (hint hint, Bob!).  :)

Let me know if you're still reading this blog!  My plan is to try to post twice a week, so check in with me here and there and know of course that we LOVE comments.  Questions, post requests and ideas, feelings, stories- anything!

Here are some of my up-coming posts to give you something to look forward to:

  • BRS-S - Should you look into getting Board Recognition as a Swallowing Specialist?
  • My Most frequently-used apps for cognitive therapy.
  • Tips for starting your own blog.
  • Working on cognition for patients with dementia (by request from one of our fabulous readers).

See you soon!


Friday, April 13, 2012

My bad

I'm sitting in a training about resources for SLPs on the web and I see my blog as one of the "home grown" resources. Instantly I feel a ping of guilt for having neglected my blog for so long. This year has been fun and very busy, but I want to get back into sharing therapy ideas, reviewing apps, and so forth.

So, please... don't go any where

Of course I might be hanging out on pinterest or twitter.

have a good one