3105 Creekside Village Dr. Suite 603/604
Kennesaw, GA 30144
Phone: 770-974-2424 Fax: 1-866-384-6451
SGD/AAC Evaluation Protocols: This is a set of protocols aligned to AAC-RERC's Medicare requirements for a Speech-Generating Device evaluation (AAC Evaluation). These are the result of a project I completed with Dynavox during the development of their Funding Toolkit. These protocols are useful for any type of communication device being recommended although some of the documentation favors Dynavox products. Protocols are aligned with Dynavox Funding Manager software and can be used in conjunction for report writing.
Dynavox Funding Manager: Dynavox is offering this free software to assist professionals in managing the multiphase AAC funding process. The software provides the therapist with a format for tracking the funding process for multiple patients in one place. I have tracked as many as 18 patients at once on this software and found it invaluable. There is a quick glance main page that lets you see at once the stage each individual is in of the funding process. Within each patient's file is a checklist of all components necessary for funding a device. A report writer assistant is also included that helps the therapist include all necessary information in the AAC Evaluation. Available from Dynavox - call (800) 344-1778, you can go through Customer Support or press 0 and ask the operator to send you a copy of the Funding Manager CD.
EvaluWare (Assistive Technology Inc.): EvaluWare is extremely affordable software ($125/user) that helps therapists and AT professionals assess a consumer/students computer access and AAC skills needed for device use. I've just started playing around with this software but so far am impressed by its potential to ease the workload of the AAC/AT evaluator. The software lets you look at a patient's motor access, symbol comprehension (size, type, number on a page etc.), preferences for feedback and voice, use of on-screen keyboad and word prediction skills. There is a report feature that will generate a report on the patient's performance. Very handy piece of software- In one of our counties, we're looking at this as a potential means for paraprofessionals, teachers and on-site SLPs to begin the process of looking at AAC/AT prior to the AAC/AT specialist coming out to the school.
Dynavox Exploratory Pages (Series 4 & Series 5): This is a page set that comes standard on all Series 4 Dynavox devices (DV4 & MT4). This page set allows the evaluator to look at
We continue coordinating our themes each month with the Unique Learning System Curriculum available at www.uniquelearningsystem.com. Unique is a comprehensive standards-based curriculum format to support literacy and content learning for students with significant needs. A truly monumental achievement, this curriculum for special needs students is a powerful tool to help special educators meet national standards in their classroom. Go take a look!
For people with reading and writing difficulties, having speak aloud function for word processing and web browsing is extremely valuable. With some help from Ron Steinberg, of Dynavox, we have compiled a list of several free speak-aloud options for our friends with literacy difficulties.
WordTalk "is a free text-to-speech plugin developed for use with all versions of Microsoft Word (from Word 97 upwards). It will speak the text of the document and will highlight it as it goes. It contains a talking dictionary to help decide which word spelling is most appropriate.
Sitting neatly in your toolbar it is highly configurable, allowing you to: adjust the highlight colours, change the voice and the speed of the speech, convert text to speech and save as a .wav or .mp3 file so that it can be played back on an iPod or mp3 player."
PowerTalk 1.2.10: Automatic speech for PowerPoint presentations. "PowerTalk is a free program that automatically speaks any presentation or slide show running in Microsoft PowerPoint for Windows. You just download and install PowerTalk and while you open and run the presentation as usual it speaks the text on your slides. The advantage over other generic 'Text To Speech' programs is that PowerTalk is able to speak text as it appears and can also speak hidden text attached to images."
Free Natural Reader 7: Easy to use text-to-speech software (One-Click technology)
No hassle of copying and pasting text like other text-to-speech software, all you have to do is select any text and press one hot key.
Open Source Assistive Technology Software: This is an amazing resource I just stumbled upon on the web today. OATSoft is a site offering open source (freeware) for assistive technology. I haven't dug completely into this but it looks extremely promising. Let me know what you think!
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