Posted in Augumentative Alternative Communication (AAC), ICT

CALL Scotland’s Eye Gaze Software Curve

CALL Scotland today launched a very helpful document; Eye Gaze Software Curve.

Supporting AAC users to communicate and learn wth eye gaze technology, it looks at the software available to perform various activities, with links from the electronic PDF to information from suppliers.
It can be downloaded free from http://www.callscotland.org.uk/downloads/posters-and-leaflets/

Posted in Augumentative Alternative Communication (AAC), ICT, iPad, Training and events

ICT ASL CPD for next session

Hello everyone!

Nearly… there…..

The summer holidays are almost upon us!

If you can bear to think about next session before we’ve even made it to the summer holidays, please could I draw your attention to some of the CPD courses I’ll be running?  In every case, you must book on through MyHR to be able to attend (and please also cancel through MyHR if you can no longer make it).

14th August – Clicker 6 for PSAs
7th September – Clicker 6 for Beginners
14th September – Clicker 6 Advanced
7th October – Clicker Apps for iPad
20th October – An introduction to the iPad and its Accessibility Features (PSA only)
23rd Oct, 6th Nov and 20th Nov (3 session course) – Using the iPad with Learners with Additional Support Needs
2nd and 9th Nov (2 session course) – Read and Write Gold
I am also involved with the following courses at Keycomm – contact me if you are interested:

24th September – Boardmaker 6
8th October – Introduction to AAC
24th November – Using the iPad for Communication
25th November – The CODES Framework

Hope to see some of you at these courses – get in touch if you have any queries.  Most of the courses will run again after Christmas, along with a few other topics.  Have a wonderful, restful summer holiday when it comes!

Posted in Augumentative Alternative Communication (AAC), ICT

Signalong Signs via SMS

Hope everyone is having a lovely Easter break!

I know many of you use Signalong with your pupils, so I thought you might be interested in this service that I recently found out about.  You text 07446462146 with SIGN and then a word to look up.  They then send you a description of the sign right back.

You can do this up to 8 times a month for no additional charge – each use will still cost your normal network rate for a text.  After that, if you want to, you can upgrade to get unlimited signs a month for £30 a year.

I absolutely love this service and the best thing is I now have the descriptions of lots of signs to hand in my phone.

Hope you find it useful, too!

Posted in Augumentative Alternative Communication (AAC), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), ICT, Training and events

Kidz Scotland Event 11th September 2014

Hello everyone!

City of Edinburgh schools are now back after the summer holiday, so I will be posting on the blog once more.  I hope you have all had a lovely summer, whatever you got up to.

To start things off, I’d like to tell you about an event that’s happening at the Royal Highland Centre in Ingliston on Thursday 11th September 9.30am-4.30pm – Kidz Scotland.

Kidz Scotland

Kidz Scotland is an event all about children and young people who have special needs and there will be plenty there to interest professionals – information, seminars and an exhibition featuring many services and suppliers.

It’s free to go, you just need to get a ticket – I have some, which I will happily send to you through the internal mail if you contact me, or you can download your own ticket at www.kidzscotland.co.uk, where you can also find out more information.

Hopefully some of you can make it – if you do, please do let me know how you get on!

Posted in Augumentative Alternative Communication (AAC), ICT, iPad

Proloquo2Go inappropriate language warning

Proloquo2GoProloquo2Go is a fantastic, flexible app for iPad that is being widely used by children and young people in Edinburgh with communication impairments.

My purpose with this post, however, is not to profile the app or tell you how wonderful it is (and it is very useful!) but rather to highlight a feature that some of you that use it may not be aware of, and may not want.

The latest version of Proloquo2Go includes “expressions”, which allow certain phrases to be said with the appropriate intonation, for example “Go away!” or “Muuuuuuum!”, rather than using the synthetic speech engine.  However, with some voices, expressions such as “F*** off!” are also included.  Indeed, the list of expletives is colourful and extensive.

The “rude” expressions are not included with every voice, but they are there for “Harry”, the British English child’s voice, “Josh” and “Ella”, the American English children’s voices and “Liam” and “Olivia” the Australian English children’s voices.  For some reason, “Rosie”, the British English female child’s voice is not affected.

I have spoken with AssistiveWare, the developer, about the propriety of these expressions being attached to a very young-sounding voice, particularly when “Rosie”, Harry’s female counterpart, does not have these expressions.  Their official line is that:

“we should make it possible for Proloquo2Go users to say things that are considered inappropriate in many situations (and get in trouble just like other kids). However, we would leave it to parents/teachers to decide whether or not they want to expose this kind of vocabulary by creating buttons for it.”

Whilst I tend to agree with their point of view, such language is clearly not appropriate for very young children to use in any context, and I’m sure we all know some older children that would have a field day if they located this vocabulary.  Therefore I wanted to highlight its existence to you so you can make an informed choice about whether or not to allow its use.

It should be noted that these “expressions” are somewhat hidden away and do not appear as standard anywhere.  You have to know where to find them and add them manually.

So, basically, if this is a concern for you, there are 3 options:

  • Do not allow the child or young person to edit/add buttons by turning off “edit mode” under “restrictions” in the settings.
  • Choose another voice.
  • Discuss the existence of these expressions with the child or young person, and explain that were they to use them in a classroom context, the repercussions would the same as for anyone else who swore.

Please do highlight this post to other professionals who may find this of interest, and do not hesitate to contact me if you wish to discuss this further.