Has anyone set up an AAC device for their child on their own?

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michael.c.singleton76

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Apr 20, 2014, 8:24:49 PM4/20/14
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I thought I asked this before but could not find it so if I did I apologize.  The school has not done a great job setting up my daughters iPad with touch chat.  We had no assessment and they just did what they thought.  The layout currently is similar to the beginning generic layout we started with.  I took the self-study courses from the AAC institute all I have learned is we did not do it right.   I am not sure who is qualified to do it and how we seek those individuals out.  And I am trying to figure how to convince the school they are not qualified and need to seek out others to help.  Any help is greatly appreciated. 

Heidi S.

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Apr 21, 2014, 9:46:00 AM4/21/14
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I have set up my son's iPad with Speakforyourself. His SLP recommended an Accent 700 from Prentke-Rommich, but there was too much red tape from my insurance. I researched different iPad apps and considered Speakforyourself best for my son, suggested it to his SLP and she agreed. I bought the iPad and the app and set it up myself with help of their website and Youtube tutorials. We once had a meeting at school with the AAC coordinator, teacher, school SLP and school OP so they could tell me what they needed from this app. I went to school several times to take pictures of his classmates and teachers, and objects in his classroom for the new icons and words. His clinical OP and SLP sometimes give suggestions to add icons and words. I took pictures and added words of most of the items he can choose from in the therapy room of his clinical OP.

Heidi
 

On Monday, April 21, 2014 6:17 AM, michael.c.singleton76 <michael.c....@gmail.com> wrote:
I thought I asked this before but could not find it so if I did I apologize.  The school has not done a great job setting up my daughters iPad with touch chat.  We had no assessment and they just did what they thought.  The layout currently is similar to the beginning generic layout we started with.  I took the self-study courses from the AAC institute all I have learned is we did not do it right.   I am not sure who is qualified to do it and how we seek those individuals out.  And I am trying to figure how to convince the school they are not qualified and need to seek out others to help.  Any help is greatly appreciated. 
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Krista Cox

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Apr 21, 2014, 12:12:05 PM4/21/14
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We went rogue and did Speakforyourself on our own as well.  We had the AAC assessment with the school but they only recommend a device if your child is completely nonverbal.  My son is verbal but needs additional support- they were not willing to recommend AAC. Sfy is extremely user friendly and easy to program.  A few short YouTube videos and I was off and running and have not looked back.  I am confident I can handle the programming of the device myself with or without school support. 

That said going rogue does have its drawbacks.  The school Slp claims to be supportive of us using the device but rarely touches it during therapy.  His teachers at his private preschool are still totally intimidated by it and don't use it often.  I am certain that the lack of professional support hinders his progress but we are still light years ahead of where we would be if we followed the school's lead instead of blazing our own trail.

Can you learn the programing for the device?  I would hate to rely on someone else for something so vital.  Even if you find a support person right now there is no guarantee they will be around again the next time you need them and it sounds like the school is not very quick to respond to your requests.  I hate that you might have to wait six months each time something needs modified.  My advice would be learn this device or if it us truly not working for your daughter without extreme modification look for something else that will be a better fit and allow you to have control.

Good luck to you and your daughter.

Sent from my iPhone

Dawn Caldwell

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Apr 21, 2014, 12:20:52 PM4/21/14
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This was a post I made on our CO P2P list serve.  I am very biased so I hope I do not offend anyone. 
 

Hi X,


You may not like my response.  :)  This is both about the 2 apps and AAC in general.  So, more info than you asked for but thought I would spew for a moment or two.

 

I ABSOLUTELY LOATHE TOUCH CHAT AND PROLOQUO2.  Now, with that said, a lot depends on where your kiddo is at and where you want you kiddo to go on AAC.

 

When looking at AAC:

1.  Hardware:

1a.  Is it appropriate for my child's needs?  If my child uses a wheelchair, is it wheelchair mountable?  If my child is mobile, is it portable?

1b.  Does it have a warranty?

1c.  Does it have other functions that are needed now or will be needed - such as connectivity to a computer for schoolwork, making phone calls, etc..

1d.  Does it have the type of access my child needs - direct select, eye gaze, auditory scan.  Does it have touch gradation for direct select where fine motor isn't 100%?

1e.  Does it meet my child's needs if my child has vision issues?

1f.  Is it durable?  The school has gone through 4 iPads with Mason.  We are on our second.  This is with Otterbox protective coverings.

 

2.  Software

This is the most important component and too often overlooked but is THE most critical.  Most children cannot bounce between systems.  Thus, if you start on one system and then outgrow it's abilities, you have to start all over with another that meets your new needs, essentially throwing out all of your previous work and/or stunting your child at the level the device stops.

2a.  Does the system have a training path, i.e., a level to start on that is easier while you are learning and then advances?

2b.  Does it have a symbol set (if non-literate) that is usable by the child, i.e., if the child has low vision, are the icons clear and concise?  If using symbols, does the symbol also contain the word for literacy building?

2c.  Does the company provide good learning materials that can be used at home/school?

2d.  Does the layout of the system make sense?  Most times, the easiest systems to learn are those that are the most limiting once learned.

2e.  Does it have an appropriate amount of language so that the child can say what she wants to say?  It's not okay to be limited to just nouns or just the pronoun "I".

2f.  How much do I have to program into the system vs. is already in the system?  I don't want to spend my days programming page after page.  I want a program that has enough that my son can say what he wants to say, when he wants to say it and as fast as he can say it - regardless of what level he is now or in the future - and without my adding content.  What I program may not be what he wants to say. 

2g.  Are icons and actions consistent across screens - i.e., are they in the same location from screen to screen?  do they do the same action in each screen?

2h.  For iPad users, you will really need to be careful if you have touch issues.  Some apps are built that swipe like the iPad swipe which does not always register a user's touch.  (Mason had this issue with the new Dynavox Compass app.  Even if I wanted to use that app, it was not functional as he could touch the internal icons all he wanted and it would never register that he touched it.)

2i.  Be leary of systems that only offer phrase based language.

2j.  Can you trial it for little or no money before purchasing to make sure that it really fits your child and your family life?

 

 

One thing that I always do when looking at new apps is have a list of phrases that I try to find.  If I can't find the phrases, I try to figure out why.  If I can find them, I try to analyze how logical it was and whether it works long term.

a.  "I love you mom"  (present tense, common phrase, I pronoun, family member - These are basic icons.)

b.  "She ate my popcorn yesterday." (conjugation of to eat which is still a core word, pronoun variation, fringe word for popcorn and core word for time orientation.)

c.  "Do you want to go to the xx"  (ability to ask/request, infinitive use of go, core word "want", etc...)

d.  "Would you like to eat a green apple after dinner?" 

And so on ~ about 10 statements that represent present, past, future tense, ask/refuse/direct/share. 

Any system should have the basics - greetings, about me (name, age), food/drink, eat, want, hurt, help, days, time, color.  BUT, a good system will have core words that allow the child to express themselves in all situations - greeting a doctor, talking about their dreams, etc...

 

 

SO, Touchchat.

With Touch Chat, the early levels are pre-literate (up to 20 icon selection I think).  The levels are laid out poorly.  Examples:  It takes 4 hits to get the word "water".  Pronouns are split onto two pages.  You have to push an extra button to conjugate a verb.  Some conjugations show up misspelled in the text display bar.  There is no icon tutor to find the location of words.  Then, when your child has mastered 20, if your child is still not literate, you're hosed as the higher levels require the user to be literate.  What I find really frustrating about TC is the inconsistency.  If you are using the preset path, the icon actions are the same.  If you want to go outside the few core paths, they have access to other content but the icon actions are not the same.  (The core path always returns you to the main screen after selection.  The non-core path the user has to manually return to the main screen.)  Icons are not consistently located.

 

Proloquo2:

I have not looked at this in a very long time.  What I remember not liking is that it was not functional.  My son could say he wanted a cheeseburger but he couldn't say that he wanted 2 cheeseburgers or that he didn't want mustard on them.  Again, I'm sure it's improved in the last few years but I remember thinking that it was way too restrictive, way to focused on just want/need and "I".  Think about all of the things we talk about that are beyond want/need/I and make sure that it can do that. 

 

SO, with all of that said, I will tell you that I am a huge proponent of PRC.  PRC was the culmination of a PHD linguist designing the language and an IT company building the hardware/software to support it.  They are the oldest AAC company on the market and are really focused on long term independence for folks who need AAC at whatever level.  It requires no programming by the communication partner but can be programmed if you wish.  The system allows for individual word selections, phrase based selections and/or visual scene usage (hot spots on a picture that talk).  The child can start at a very low level and work up to the adult level.  They have an iPad version of their software (but it is adult level).  (You can block out icons until you build up to that level.)  It is difficult for users with fine motor or vision challenges as there are a lot of icons in a small screen.  It is logical, consistent, portable. 

 

PRC also has the Android platform Accent.  It's not cheap - you do have to purchase it as a full AAC device.  However, it has all the beauty of PRC software in a portable, Android based platform (for internet browsing, computer adaptation).  They have low vision options built in as well and the rectangular shape means that direct select users have less OT demands (for icons up high).  The case is super durable. 

 

 

Shannon

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Apr 21, 2014, 1:32:36 PM4/21/14
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Michael,

Have you thought about having your child evaluated by the ICAN Talk clinic which a division of the AAC Institute.  If you would like more information please visit our visit @ www.icantalkclinic.com. I also would be happy to have you speak with one of our clinicians who would be able to help. If you would like to call 412-402-0900.
Best,
Shannon


On Sunday, April 20, 2014 8:24:49 PM UTC-4, michael.c.singleton76 wrote:

michael.c.singleton76

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Apr 21, 2014, 4:40:27 PM4/21/14
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I know I asked the question twice can we reply to the other post so I don't get confused?  https://groups.google.com/d/msg/aacparents/JFeFwgg8GFE/969zvwsF7f4J


On Sunday, April 20, 2014 8:24:49 PM UTC-4, michael.c.singleton76 wrote:
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