…the President of The Pennsylvania State University, Graham Spanier, that is.
Seriously, being a PhD student at The Pennsylvania State University is one of the most fantastic experiences of my life. The individuals I am surrounded by are simply phenomenal. From four AAC faculty to experts in Special Education, Psychology, and Computer Science, to the amazing students in the programs I am connected to, it is simply terrific to be here. Reading Dr. Graham Spanier’s remarks about the work I am doing and my place in the Penn State community made me smile even wider.
I know how lucky I am in all of this. I will take these opportunities being presented to me and work as hard, smart, and long as I can to serve individuals with special needs, as well as their families and the people who support them.
Here Ryan is simply being a Cub Scout. Simple, but awesome is all I have to say! Go Ryan!
Lately, in such a good way, I feel pulled in so many directions, keeping family first, new friends, p2g, and last but not least, the PhD. With so much data coming at you, it can be hard to keep the ax sharp. Yet, there are times when someone tells you something and it pulls things right back into focus. When Kara, one of the first Proloquo2Go users messaged me tonight, it reminded me that I became a teacher because I care and because I like being part of a community. This was Kara’s response to my message commenting on how cool it is that both her and her son use and benefit from Proloquo2Go, on the iPhone and iPod touch respectively. Much thanks to Kara for letting me tell the story here. To me, things like this are my motivation for being a teacher.
….yeah, it’s something he and I can do together.
I am so glad you addressed the incendiary issue put forth around speech and communication because it is a conversation worth having. I believe that as a field in general we have been overlooking a key missing link, how they connect.
Today has been a day where I have seen dreams move forward. Today a boy was able to walk into his elementary school and say that he was in the newspaper. Today I have seen simple miracles of life.
Out of the shadows of fear of missed opportunity of speech, comes a potential alternate scenario. Out of a debated, confused topic comes a concept of focusing on communication, which can mean many things to many people.
For some, communication is writing, while for some it is selecting pictures and placing them on a velcro strip. For others it is using a PODD book. For yet others it is switch scanning. Now people use their eyes. Back then, people used their eyes. For some it is art. For some it is using a computer.
To me, when I try to think about what communication means, I always hear about three or four of some of the people I look up to most. I hear Janice Light saying communication is the essence of life. I think about that intro to the Buekelmand and Mirenda text about driving up to stop light and you don’t realize how many symbols we all use. I hear Robin from the Respite saying it is all about love. I hear Patty Cassidy saying “model, model, model”, bringing me back to my role as a teacher and mentor. I also think about Michael Phillips and his blog.
Yet today, I was considering the evidence of how augmentative communication use effects speech. There is a mounting body of evidence that suggests that speech is improved in individuals using AAC (Binger et al. 2008, Schlosser & Wendt, 2008, Milar, Light & Schlosser 2006). In practice, I have definitely seen this be the case and I believe it is because of the active engagement around communication is improved while using AAC, the individual has the opportunity to see the power of communication, and the individual often has a more full immersion experience with both receptive and expressive communication. So while we see this evidence in the studies cited, the key question that came up in a coffee with a professor yesterday was how to you link them? How do we best encourage speech while using AAC? I am glad that Dr. Leaf responded to Robert Rummel-Hudson’s post and I like how he spoke about individuals with autism being able to learn how to use their natural voices. It seems that we now have a conversation going and to me the focus should quickly shift to how can we better teach communication. We can use everything available to us. Truly, unaided natural voices are always with us and I remember Dr. Cress says, “no kid in the world is going to give up on speech” What a great common sense interpretation of the research! So as we take up our iPhones and iPods, Vantages, Vanguards, Tangos, Dynavoxs, and Mercurys, we will consider how it all fits together into a total communication system that is fully individualized for the particular individual it serves. We can remember what Gayle Porter says is the goal, “The goal is for people to be able to meet their own daily language needs as efficiently, specifically, intelligibly, independently, and socially valued as possible. In closing, I would like to invite Dr. Leaf and any other experts in the study of behavior and teaching to engage in this important question, “How best do we help individuals communicate by using everything we have available?”. I went to a lecture in LA at CSUN this past March led by Dr. Bruce Baker and Dr. Bill Helsel, titled Linguistics and Behavior Analysis Find Common Theoretical Ground in AAC and I see great opportunity for collaboration as they laid out how slps, teachers, and behaviorists can each play a part in answering the question we are all interested in better answering.
Thanks for what you do Rob and for how much you care.
- Binger, C., Berens, J., Kent-Walsh, J., & Taylor, S. (2008). The effects of aided AAC interventions on AAC use, speech, and symbolic gestures. Seminars in Speech and Language, 29(2), 101-11. doi: 10.1055/s-2008-1079124.
- Schlosser, R. W., & Wendt, O. (2008). Effects of Augmentative and Alternative Communication Intervention on Speech Production in Children With Autism: A Systematic Review. Am J Speech Lang Pathol, 17(3), 212-230. doi: 10.1044/1058-0360(2008/021).
- Millar, D. C., Light, J. C., & Schlosser, R. W. (2006). The Impact of Augmentative and Alternative Communication Intervention on the Speech Production of Individuals With Developmental Disabilities: A Research Review. J Speech Lang Hear Res, 49(2), 248-264. doi: 10.1044/1092-4388(2006/021).
- Beukelman, D. R., & Mirenda, P. (2005). Augmentative and alternative communication: Supporting children and adults with complex communication needs (3rd ed.). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing.
Proloquo2Go is featured in USA TODAY, in the online-edition on 27 May 2009 and in the print-edition on 28 May 2009. See “iPhone applications can help the autistic” By Greg Toppo
This is a step for AAC in general and it makes me smile for all the children, their families, and their teachers of all sorts.
It is hard to believe that Proloquo2Go has only been available for four days. The outpouring of support, excitement, and messages from families and practitioners has been very encouraging. One of the early reviews of Proloquo2Go makes me very happy and clarifies the primary aim of its existence.
“Great app – so easy and versatile.” by Mom to Michael T April 25, 2009
“This is an amazing app! I bought an iTouch and Proloquo2go yesterday to try it out on my 7 year old son who has a mitochondrial disorder, autism, is non-verbal and has pretty significant fine motor control problems too. I was skeptical as to whether he could maneuver the iTouch but was thrilled to see that he is able to play many of the free games on the iTouch and is picking up quickly on the Proloquo2go. I am so excited to have something I can put in my purse and have with us all the time – its nice that I can put videos on the iTouch too.
We also got the iMainGo case and its great. VERY sturdy (my son is very rough on things – he has broken 2 Springboards and they are in titanium cases) but I am confident this case with protect the iTouch and the sound is very clear (speakers are built into the case).
We are using the ‘large’ button setting so there are 9 choices without having to scroll. The normal setting has 16 to a screen and it was a little too small for him as he isn’t that accurate. We have been using a Springboard and were in the queue to get a Dynavox but I think this will quickly become the preferred mode of communication due to its size and ease of use. Great job on this. You have changed our lives in just 1 day!”
You can read all of the reviews of Proloquo2Go at this website.
Proloquo2Go is available on the iPhone App Store.
Late last night, we recieved the acceptance email. We all have been waiting patiently. The emails have been pouring in from families and practitioners of all kinds. The time has finally arrived.
To find out about obtaining Proloquo2Go and about how our partners are making Proloquo2go available for schools and centers to use purchase orders you can visit our webpage.
Proloquo2go: AAC on the iPhone and iPod touch
We are so thankful to present Proloquo2Go version 1.0 to the world. The dream of being able to offer an extremely powerful communication solution that is both available commercially and affordable has been moved forward.
As we launch, there is an image that keeps sticking in my head and makes me smile. It is of a 15 year old walking into high school and using Proloquo2Go an iPod touch to talk. True, it is super cool for kids as well. Yes, we know how adults are wild about the iPhone and iPod touch too. Proloquo2Go will be “cool” for many people, whether it is as an addition to their tabletop device or myabe it is their first dynamic system. Yet, there really seems to be something to it for the teenagers!
Plus at an introductory price of $149 and our partners generously offering bundles at resonable prices, we feel that Proloquo2Go is a terrific value.
We just received this very well done video shown on the channel 4 news: Reno student with autism uses technology to communicate.
Proloquo2Go is featured prominently.