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Dr. Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Paper-Based AAC FlipBooks: When, How, Why do they matter?
Proposal for
Closing the Gap 35th Annual conference - October 18-20, 2017
Deanna K. Wagner, MS/CCC-SLP
Caroline Musselwhite, PhD
Gretchen Hanser, PhD

Learning outcomes:  As a result of this session, participants will be able to:
1.     Identify ways in which AAC devices, well-organized paper-based symbol systems, and thoughtful implementation techniques can work together to improve communication skills.
2.     Discuss successful strategies and materials for design of functional paper-based support systems.
3.     Describe specific examples of when/where paper-based symbol flip books are superior to high tech options.
4.     Discuss issues regarding vocabulary development, language acquisition, and/or literacy as they relate to multi-modal symbol supports.

SUMMARY (100 Words):
In our efforts to offer access to robust dynamic screen vocabularies, sometimes we forget to slow down and offer explicit feedback for page-changing.  Parallel use of a printed FlipBook shows what item to select BEFORE the page changes.  Talk about what the symbols mean and predict what items are linked to a symbol on his/her high tech system.  Use paper displays with multiple partners, in the pool, with a flashlight.  Simulating Hide/Show, VocabularyBuilder, and Progressive Language, paper-based examples will be shown for focused instruction of specific target vocabulary.   We will share resources for downloading pre-made displays and making them indestructible. 

ABSTRACT (300-500 Words):

This session will share our strategies and stories about using paper-based displays in parallel with high tech systems.  We are definitely not proposing that this would be a pre-cursor to high tech systems, but a strategy to supplement learning.

Paper-Based AAC FlipBooks – What are they? Why do they matter?
There are a number of resources for printed displays that are available for purchase or download.  Page-turning options that flip up or down are often a part of these systems.  We will share a number of examples that use various symbol sets.  We have found that using paper-based displays helps slow down the process of selecting a message and provides the communication partner with additional time to talk about what the symbol may represent and clarify the intent of the message.

When to use them?
Use paper-based displays at the pool, in brightly lit rooms, and in darker rooms with a flashlight.  Use them when the high tech device is low on battery, or when the user doesn’t want to share his/her high tech device for aided language input.  Use with overlays and cut-outs for target with complete access to the full vocabulary when needed – faster than using hide/show in TouchChat and much like turning on/off Vocabulary Builder, Exploring vocabulary in Proloquo2Go when Progressive Language is turned on, and Babbling with SpeakForYourself.

How to find them and make them indestructible.
We will include resources for paper-based displays that use Mayer-Johnson PCS, SymbolStix and Pixon images.  We will share sources for paper that is waterproof and tear-proof.


Enders, Lauren.  Moving beyond a Common roadblock to Successful AAC Implementation. June/July, 2016 edition of Closing The Gap Solutions
Mirenda, P. (2008). "A back door approach to autism and AAC." Augmentative and Alternative Communication. 24, 219-233.

Ahern, Kate. http://www.slideshare.net/teechkidz/bringing-aac-home-fcsn
·       This PowerPoint slideshow, aimed at parents and caregivers, explains why and how aided language works in the home.
Farrel, Jane.  http://www.janefarrall.com
·       Why We Do Aided Language Stimulation - And You Should Too! - This guest blog, written by Mary-Louise Bertram, clearly explains why modeling is so important for those beginning to use AAC.  

Zangari, Carol http://praacticalaac.org
·       PrAACtical Resources: Video Examples of Aided Language Input - A collection of videos including therapists, educators, and families using Aided Language Input
·       PrAACtical AAC: Why We Love Aided Language Input - This article links to 4 research articles demonstrating the benefits of Aided Language Input.
Odom, Jane   https://aaclanguagelab.com/resources/free

https://saltillo.com/chatcorner/content/29 (Low-Tech Communication Board Options)

Pixon Project Kit

·       AAC-Communication-Flip-Book-and-Boards-2431089 by Super Power Speech
·       Motivate, Model, Move Out of the Way: How to implement AAC by Kate Ahern
·       AAC Picture Communication Book with Core and Fringe Vocabulary by Susan Berkowitz
·       AAC Flip Communication Book BUNDLE by RosieBeeSLP
·       AAC Communication Book by Speech Me Maybe
·       Core Vocabulary Binder Ring - Core Board Binder Ring AAC by Mrs Ds Corner
·       Low-Tech, Core Vocabulary Based, AAC Flip Boards by Speechy Musings


Please let us know where you look for other resources on aided language input and communication displays (for download or purchase).

Thursday, May 4, 2017

No Literacy Without Language: A Core Word Solution FREE Webinar

No Literacy Without Language:  A Core Word Solution FREE Webinar

WHEN:  Tuesday, May 9, 2017, 3:30 - 4:30 EDT

WHAT:  FREE Webinar sponsored by Boardmaker Educational Specialists. 

.1 ASHA CEU Offered

Join Dr. Caroline Musselwhite as she demonstrates best practices in language and literacy instruction with a core word approach.  Dr. Mussellwhite, a veteran SLP, author, and curriculum developer, will discuss barriers faced by students with special needs and strategies you can use to help every student grow as a communicator, reader, and writer using Core First Learning, an instructional  solution included in your Boardmaker Online subscription.       

WHERE:   Register Here




Monday, April 24, 2017

Workshop in Little Rock, Arkansas, May 11, 2017

Emergent Balanced Literacy For Elementary Students with Disabilities:  Apps Included!

The prospect of teaching students with significant disabilities to begin to read with comprehension and begin to write generatively can seem overwhelming.  This presentation will cover:  assessment for students who are difficult to assess, shared reading (developing a love of reading, and supporting language through reading), emergent writing (beginning to write with symbols, words, and the alphabet), self-selected story listening (listening to and interacting with a range of engaging books across a range of genre), alphabet interaction and phonological awareness (understanding spoken language at the word, syllable, and letter level).  Throughout the day, you will see student samples, videos, and creative use of apps.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

When the 3rd Dimension Calls – Tactile Enhancements for Communication & Literacy

When the 3rd Dimension Calls – Tactile Enhancements for Communication & Literacy

Using a picture or an object to represent a preferred item is one way of supporting students in making requests.  It is important that we remember, however, that making a request only assists that person in communicating one specific intent/purpose.  All people communicate for a variety of purposes.  Sometimes their behavior is non-symbolic and non-traditional (such as using idiosyncratic gestures or body language). 

Commercial Symbol Sets:
TalkingMyWay or Tangible Object Cards (TOC) www.adaptivation.com  or Logantech.com      
Tactile Talk for GoTalk NOW iPad app www.attainmentcompany.com
District 75 "Give me 20" AAC Vocabulary + Letters/Numbers for ProxTalker

Customize Your Symbols:
Use high visual contrast, limit visual complexity, limit glare (contact paper, not laminate)
Use durable materials that have distinctions in color, shape & texture
Adhere with cable ties or clear silicone; add Braille labels or puff paint
Use categories – www.tsbvi.edu/tactile-symbols or shop.APH.org Tactile Connections Kit
Make a book – use pages from LoganTech binder, PECS books or Binder Rings
Take good photos - Make a talking photo book for iPad 

In order to support development of symbolic communication, we need to model a variety of communication forms/intents and then show these students how to access that system.

Our Goal (inspired by Linda Burkhart):  Within natural contexts throughout the day, the student will learn to use an increasing number of communicative functions or intents expressively with his communication system.  Examples of communicative functions and intents:

·       Request objects
·       Request action
·       Request activity
·       Request a turn
·       Reject, protest, complain
·       Respond/acknowledge
·       Inform, share, or show (draw attention to something, like a photo)
·       Clarify or specify - for example in the case of something is wrong
·       Comment on action/object
·       Express an opinion
·       Ask a question

Use the Communication Matrix to systematically explore how your student is currently communicating. It is free and available in both English and Spanish. www.communicationmatrix.org

Post from Karen Erickson in the Communication Matrix Community Collections
       At the Center for Literacy & Disability Studies, we have just finished the first year of a communication intervention study focused on building early symbolic communication skills among students with complex needs including sensory loss. Our year 1 results are exciting. A group of 72 children (ages 3-21) made statistically significant improvements in both complexity and range of communication. One of the biggest challenges we encountered was the commonly held (mis)belief that we have to start with concrete referents. This collection focuses on conceptual versus concrete vocabulary for students with complex needs.

       We are focusing on the words GO, LIKE, and NOT in our work with students with the most complex needs, and we're finding those three words can be used to communicate for many different purposes across many contexts.

Core Words:
In order to support development of more traditional/conventional symbolic communication, we need to model a variety of communication forms/intents and then show these students how to access that same system.  In our efforts to teach students at Foundation for Blind Children, we also use “MORE” and “FINISHED” in addition to the symbols mentioned by Karen.  Some concrete symbols are also used for transitioning purposes.


Using Object Symbols (for Schedules and Choice-Making)
·       www.talkingmyway.com and www.adaptivation.com (TOC)
·       Visual strategies (first/then) -  http://usevisualstrategies.com

Beyond Choice-Making

Make Your Symbols
·       Categorize with shape & texture - http://www.tsbvi.edu/tactile-symbols
·       Categorize with color & shape - https://shop.aph.org Tactile Connections Kit

Practical AAC ideas 

Literacy & Communication 
·       Remnant books and personal experience stories https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXdjxj2IQJY
·       Tactuals and Start-to-Finish Literacy Starters stories https://www.med.unc.edu/ahs/clds/resources/deaf-blind-model-classroom-resources/tactual-book-kit-directions

·       www.enablingdevices.com Tactile Symbol Communicator (6 pre-made tactile symbols)
·       www.logantech.com ProxTalker (works well with APH Tactile Connections)
·       www.logantech.com ProxPad (works well with Tangible Object Cards)

·       www.attainmentcompany.com  GoTalk NOW app (also with Tactile Talk)