This morning I had a powerful epiphany regarding the importance of people who believe in you. Much more on this over time, as I want to be able to fully articulate the idea with appropriate citations.
Yet I can share that the gist of it comes from some recent experiences combined with realizing there are two major parts to the Hart and Risley (1995) seminal data set about parent-child interaction. One part is regarding the levels of input the child experiences. I have been writing about and presenting on this concept heavily for the last three years or so. Yet, the second major part of the data set, the one about the ratio between positive and negative communication utterances is what I am referring to in this blog post.
Some of this idea about the importance of people who believe in you started with a recent conversation with an Ed Psych professor here at Penn State, regarding some of the affective effects, if you will, about my current line of research. I also am reminded of Karen Erickson and David Koppenhaver’s saying ALL MEANS ALL at the UF Literacy and AAC week long intensive from about six years ago. I also am thinking about how CAST has explored various avenues around the concept of “affective networks”.
I recognize this is a bit of a cryptic blog post, but I wanted to open up the conversation a bit as I start to dig in to this. So, let’s talk!
I recently received a comment on this blog asking about AAC trainings in New Hampshire. In case you don’t know about the excellent Institute on Disability or the IOD in New Hampshire, it is one of the University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs). You can see the short conversation below.
I am a special education teacher and I work with Autistic students. One of my students uses your device, he only uses it for commands. Do you offer workshops or could you come to my school and give an inservice. The school is in xxxxxxx, NH.
I replied with this response:
Hi, I saw your comment on alltogetherwecan.com and wanted to direct you to the IOD, iod.unh.edu, specifically their upcoming trainings. www.iod.unh.edu/Services/professional-development.aspx
I hope you find this simple post useful. Here is the Commom Core’s description. I also found the tip of using the “Authors” statement for avoiding redundancy with listing the publisher at the IRA Guide to Style. As a side note, Purdue’s OWL site is a solid overall APA guide. For our MLA friends or other citation format friends, feel free to list those citations in the comments.
National Governors Association Center for Best Practices & Council of Chief State School Officers. (2010). Common Core State Standards. Washington, DC: Authors.
National Governors Association Center for Best Practices & Council of Chief State School Officers. (2010). Common Core State Standards for English language arts and literacy in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects. Washington, DC: Authors.
National Governors Association Center for Best Practices & Council of Chief State School Officers. (2010). Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. Washington, DC: Authors.
In my research, I work to serve individuals who have complex communication needs that impact their ability to speak to meet their daily communication needs. It is amazing work where you get to see children, teenagers, and adults find their voice, developing ways to communicate and acquire language using tools such as communication software on the iPad, sign language, gestures, and paper communication books. Yet, individuals like this man featured on 60 Minutes, who use the iPad to communicate as an alternative to speech, seemingly cannot access one of its core features, Siri, because you cannot type to interact with Siri. Or can they?
Apple has been a terrific champion of accessibility. As an organization they have been leaders in developing accessibility solutions and in pushing the envelope with regards to accessibility of mobile devices. As I searched around, it did not seem like many people were speaking about this issue of using Siri without your voice. Then I felt a bit silly, as I realized I had not tried tapping on the input box in Siri. Sure enough, you can enter text after tapping. Here is a brief walk through:
1. Hold home button to enable Siri:
2. Vocalize something. In this case I said “testing” and the input was processed and accepted.
3. Tap the text area. The box turns white, ready to accept typed input. Enter what you like.
4. Siri then reprocesses the new text input.
5. Siri then returns results based on the new input.
The catch is that you have to start with some sort of sound that Siri recognizes, for if there is no text box to tap, you seemingly can’t enter text through typing. I was able to vocalize a few consonant vowel combinations like ba, ma, and ga, which was enough to activate Siri. A workaround idea for someone not able to do this would be to have some sort of recorded message to use, for instance with a step sequencer.
So the answer is ultimately yes you can type to interact with Siri, or at least sort of. I look forward to watching how Apple enhances Siri to better function for individuals who have complex communication needs.
If you know of other ways to work with Siri with text, please do share in the comments!
What will you create today? Yes you can. Maybe give it a try!
Will it be a simple experience like reading a book with a child? Will it be something intricate like a work of art or a picture? Will it be a seemingly simple part of a spreadsheet or a few lines in a function? Will it be…
On some days I feel like I can create so much and the ideas are percolating at a rapid rate. Yet on others the well seems dry. Recently, I was reading about moving beyond just showing up, but sometimes that is what counts.
Sometimes our creations are lauded and seem to be everywhere. Sometimes they seemingly go unnoticed. One of my mentors Madalaine Pugliese, my graduate advisor during my assistive technology masters degree at Simmons, said something to the effect of, “we are authors, we move on and keep creating.” This morning I was browsing some AAC intervention resources and I saw that the resource cited a presentation on AAC modeling I gave with the awesome Linda Burkhart, Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite, and Joanne Cafiero. It hit me that by creating that presentation and putting it out there we made a simple difference. This is just the motivation I needed to get the meta-analysis version of that project out to the publication I am submitting to. It is nice when we get these simple affirmations that ping pong into motivation to create more. Yet, even if we don’t see the fruits of the creations, it does not mean they are not there.
So will you create an app today? Will you create a book? Will you make a great cup of coffee? Will you write the section of your dissertation that is waiting for you? Will you just show up and see what happens?
I would love to hear about what you all are creating? Even if it is very simple, I’d like to hear!
I remember vividly a short trip I took to visit Dr. Karen Erickson and Dr. Gretchen Hanser at the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies. Sitting down with Dr. Erickson, I recall asking something to the effect of, “So I would like to visit a classroom program that is really excellent, could you please help me generate a list?” Her answer surprised me.
She said that there are some pockets of great teachers, but could not easily share a list of excellent programs. Looking back, I must have seemed incredibly naive, charging down to the center seeking out these luminaries, asking where I can find some models for the program I was leading. Yet, the question is very important and one that has stayed with me.
A few years later, when I was leading a classroom program housed in a University, I met with an excellent entrepreneurship and business specialist with the University. When I shared my vision for the program, he pulled me aside from the meeting and said something to the effect of, “We have not really focused on building centers of excellence here.” I remember how that statement was both very deflating and a terrific challenge.
For some of the research faculty positions I am seeking, a statement of research is required as part of the application process. As I have been crafting this statement, a question has popped up, “What do you want to build?”
About a week ago, a close friend and roommate from college called me during his lunch hour and shared that there was friend of a friend who had acquired Proloquo2Go, but the school needed help integrating AAC. As an equation this may be written out as “have the tool” + “don’t have the training/ knowledge to integrate it”. My dissertation work is geared towards taking a meaningful chunk out of the latter. The arduous process of intervention research and the dissertation are inspiring me to step further into my goal of making a difference, pushing me to work to build the change I want to see.
Ironic enough, a friend and mentor helped introduce me to UCEDDs or University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service. I did not realize that I was familiar with these in the form of UNH’s Insitute on Disability or the IOD. Over the past year or so I have been impressed with the mission these centers are charged with as I learn more about their scope and potential influence.
Yet, I feel like I am still searching. What a hopeful and challenging place to be.
In the comments, I would like to hear about programs and places you feel are centers of excellence.
There has been a blogging hiatus going on here for quite some time and may continue intermittently till later this year due to the dissertation nearing completion and the new baby in our family. I look forward to sharing more with you all soon!
Disclosure: Author Samuel Sennott co-created the original Proloquo2Go and has sold ownership of the project to Assistiveware. Samuel or companies he owns or invests in do not currently collaborate with AssistiveWare. 6/19/12
An updated version of Proloquo2Go has been released today.
This new version’s main features are the addition of pre-made core vocabulary sets, “page” and “item” level customizations, new ability to arrange “items on “pages”, new editing features, and a behind the scenes database overhaul that allows multiple users vocabularies be used. The core vocabulary sets look very similar to other core sets such as Dynavox Gateway and Nancy Inman’s WordPower. The page and item level customizations allow for more powerful control of the look and feel, from color, to button visibility on the page, to text arrangement. The new arrangement features should give more control to the overall ability for customizing vocabulary. For instance, Prentke Romich’s software has long had the popular feature of being able to “hide” vocabulary items, and Proloquo2Go adding this should be a welcome feature addition.
The new editing interface should be interesting to explore. One such addition, a feature found on Tobii’s Sono Flex app, that symbols are selected based on the text you enter is an example of a great logical progression. This eliminates the redundancy of re-typing the same text to search for a symbol. Overall, there are many new features to explore and it will be interesting to see what Proloquo2Go users most appreciate.
A few concerns
One concern with the new editing features is the gulf between user’s current vocabularies and using new vocabulary content available with this new release, as some users will want to incorporate the “old” with the “new”.
An even more pressing concern is that is appears that backups stored inside Proloquo2Go are no longer available once you update. For instance, I maintain a number of backups for the research project I am currently running. When I updated to Proloquo2Go 2.0 and imported my “pre 2.0″ vocabulary, only the current vocabulary I was running at the time of the App update was available. As many users, parents, teachers, and therapists I know do the same thing, it will be interesting to see how this issue is resolved.
As there are a number of new and updated features to explore in this Proloquo2Go 2.0 update, a good way to get an overview of the new features is to reference the manual.
It will be interesting to hear what users think of the updates.
Do you remember when you first heard of Bookshare?
Can you believe it is ten years old?
Bookshare is an incredible resource, which provides accessible digital texts for individuals with qualifying disabilitites.
I remember the excitement I felt when I realized that I would not have to scan all of my student’s texts and that by working together, so many more books could be in accessible formats. It was truly a gift seeing my first student’s enthusiasm for getting access to books they needed for classes or summer reading.
What seems like eons ago, as editor of the USSAAC magazine SpeakUP, I organized a special issue on accessible electronic books. At that time, they were closing in on 40K books. It is wild to hear they have added an additional 100K, equaling a total of 140K books! In that issue I was able to interview Jim Fruchterman. I developed an appreciation for his leadership of Benetech and for what the whole Benetech team does for making text accessible through Bookshare.
It is hard to believe Bookshare has been around for ten years. Much congratulations to them. They shared with me that Senator Tom Harkin had a nice celebration of the anniversary.
“In March, special education teachers, students, disability advocates and guests from the U.S. Department of Education gathered at the U.S. Capitol to hear Senator Tom Harkin (IA- D), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pension Appropriations Committee, recognize Bookshare on its 10th anniversary.
Bookshare is an online digital accessible ebook library with more than 140,000 accessible books, textbooks, novels, children’s literature, best sellers, dictionaries, encyclopedias and periodicals to benefit U.S. students with qualified print disabilities. The library is free for U.S. students who qualify under the Chafee copyright law and funded by U.S. tax dollars through the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs.
Here are links to more information regarding the educational digital accessible library and quality reading technologies to increase equal access for U.S. K-12 and postsecondary students.