Thursday, March 20, 2014

Assistive Tech Activtiy

I have 2 students who were assessed to get Assistive Technology Communication Devices this year.  In my school district, if the assessors are not sure of the best device for a kid, they do a month long trial.  We create goals for the kids, take data, and monitor their progress.  If they are successful, they then get access to the device.  If they are not successful, they re-evaluate and try a different device.  Earlier this year, we did a month long trial with the Nova-Chat with one kiddo which was super successful, and this month we are doing a trial of the Accent.  

The student using this device is extremely rigid…so at first, he wanted nothing to do with the device.  After one day of using it in morning group, his rigidity starting paying off because now, he will not complete morning group without it!

He is able to greet a peer, find the month, day, weather, etc. on the device!  Most of these are 1-word utterances currently.  So, to start expanding the length of his utterances, I wanted to find a repetitive activity with lots of opportunities to practice.  While looking through my materials, I found these fun spinners from target.  The kid chooses a color and a shape, and draws it on his paper.  

To utilize the device, I wanted him to come up with a complete sentence to request the colored marker he needed to complete the activity.  So, after spinning, he would request "I want color__." I would hand him the marker, he would draw, we would clear the communication device and do it all over again.

At the beginning, I was pointing to each button for him to push, but by the end of our 15 minutes together, he could make the request independently!  I'm super excited he is learning all this so fast!  Can't wait for him to be able to express himself more and more!  Do you have any devices in your classroom?  Any good activity ideas for teaching students to use the device?


  1. I watched the demo video on the Accent website and one of the features that jumped out at me is that there are front and rear facing cameras. Two thoughts. One, perhaps you could use the front facing camera to take selfies of someone familiar being happy, sad, and angry and use them to practice social skills. Two, perhaps you could take pictures of preferred and non-preferred objects (food, toys, activities) and use them to ask and answer questions using the device: I like cars, I don't like carrots, I want the purple giraffe.

    Glenn Laniewski
    Related Post:
    Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Apps for iPad and Android

  2. Such a different process in my district. Ours is just a meeting, including parents, and we discuss the communication needs and student's current capabilities in academics, and then we try out a device. I have 3 students who currently have iPads, one normal size and 2 minis. They have proloquo2 on there. Right now, they are all the only used for communication. One student has been very successful, especially with asking to use the bathroom, which was huge. Another student just uses it to play, even with nu games. He spells words, or writes numbers, or goes through the alphabet, etc, when he has it in his hands. We have been doing similar activities with him to try to get him to use it appropriately. As for what we have put on these devices: we've taken pictures of fellow students and staff and specific greetings, requests for lunch item menus, specific language for certain games we play, such as Uno or Bingo. And because these devices are super simple to program, it only takes a minute to program them for something new, such as when we did the basketball brackets yesterday.

  3. I have a student who has a device but all he does is stimi on it. It has a lot of core vocabulary on it and he will use it when I request him to. However when doing independent work or teacher time, he will randomly push inappropriate items. Any advice on how to work on this?

  4. I guess it depends on why he is doing this. Is he doing this to get out of having to complete work? Is he doing it to get a reaction from the teacher or the rest of the class? Or is it a repetitive stim behavior because he's anxious? Or is it meeting a sensory need?

    I think ABA strategies would be worth considering if it's avoidance or attention seeking behaviors. If it is stimming behavior, and it is disruptive to the student's or others learning, it may be helpful to identify another stim used by the student to re-direct the student to. Here's a couple resources that may be of help:

    Article on re-directing stimming behaviors
    ASD Stim Inventory Questionnaire