Author archives: Eric Sailers

  • To complement a praacticalaac.org blog post series called 'Resources for a Year of Core Words', I created monthly core word boards using Symbolstix. I completed them for the entire school year, and shared the files with staff in my school district. I also wanted to share the monthly core words one month at a time here on my blog. So, here’s the board for January: PDF Download Link Here are some ideas on how you can use the monthly core words: Print 1 copy, then laminate it (or put it in a sheet protector) and use it for aided language stimulation during various activities at school (circle time, small group rotations, transitions, lunch, taking a walk, etc.) Print 1 copy, then laminate it (or put it in a sheet protector) and provide it to parents for aided language stimulat[...]

  • Each month I write a blog post for a grid of monthly core words that I created with Symbolstix symbols. The grid is for 1 month of core words to complement a praacticalaac.org series of monthly blog posts. I have noticed that my blog post for monthly core words is always one of the most popular among our posts. Wouldn’t it be nice to get all 12 months of the monthly core words in a single document? Well, now you can! During the month of December, if you subscribe to our email newsletter, you will receive an email with a document for the entire year of core words. Just click here to subscribe, or you can alternatively subscribe via our blog sidebar under the section 'Subscribe To Newsletter'.

  • This school year, I have spent a fair amount of intervention time with students who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). I have also spent a good amount of time with the communication partners (teachers, parents, paraprofessionals) of those students. Throughout this time, I focused my energy on modeling for the students to learn how to use their AAC system, but also for the communication partners to implement modeling. Now that we're months into the school year, I have noticed the communication partners doing some modeling, but it could be done more frequently and more effectively. My first thought on how to solve this problem was to provide the communication partners with a self-assessment form, which I think is a fairly nonintrusive way for people to make a change. So[...]

  • Computer Science Education Week - an initiative to encourage K-12 students to learn about computer science - is December 7-13, 2015. As a speech-language pathologist who learned how to code iOS apps, I fully support the initiative. I think there are very fun and rewarding opportunities in the world of computer programming. And even if students have no desire to become computer programmers, they can still learn lifelong skills including creativity, logic, and problem solving through coding. For the past two years, my students (middle school and high school ages) and I participated in the hour of code as part of CSED Week. We did the Angry Birds puzzles (ages 4+) that involve dragging-and-dropping "blocks of code" via a visual programming language in order for the red bird to capture the [...]

  • To complement a praacticalaac.org blog post series called 'Resources for a Year of Core Words', I created monthly core word boards using Symbolstix. I completed them for the entire school year, and shared the files with staff in my school district. I also wanted to share the monthly core words one month at a time here on my blog. So, here’s the board for December: PDF Download Link Here are some ideas on how you can use the monthly core words: Print 1 copy, then laminate it (or put it in a sheet protector) and use it for aided language stimulation during various activities at school (circle time, small group rotations, transitions, lunch, taking a walk, etc.) Print 1 copy, then laminate it (or put it in a sheet protector) and provide it to parents for aided language stimula[...]

  • Throughout my 10 years as a speech-language pathologist (SLP), I have provided services via private practices, schools, and home visits. One of my favorite things about working in private practices and conducting home visits is the amount of direct parent contact (particularly for teaching how to implement augmentative and alternative communication [AAC]), which is typically 1 to 4 times per month. The parents are available at the end of the sessions for parent education that is built into the service time. Direct contact with parents in the schools, on the other hand, is typically limited to 1 to 4 times per year for the annual individualized education program (IEP) meeting and any observation time(s) parents specifically request. The reason for reduced parent contact could be due to scho[...]

  • The 2015 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) convention is now officially a wrap. The convention was held November 12 - 14 at the Colorado Convention Center and the Hyatt hotel in Denver, Colorado. Over 14,000 people attended various events throughout the convention. I attended memorable sessions and social events, and my wife and I exhibited apps for my company, Expressive Solutions, in the exhibit hall. Sessions Since I was interested in learning more about how to serve my students with augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) needs, I attended several AAC sessions. I learned so much valuable information by listening to the presenters (Karen Erickson, Gloria Soto, Tracy Kavich, and others) and having discussions with attendees including Carole Zangari, Vicki[...]

  • We're pleased to announce that Raffleway 1.2 is now available, and it is FREE for new and existing users. Here’s a list of what’s new: Barcode scanning that scans QR Code, PDF417, and Aztec barcode types commonly used in convention badges. Includes an unlimited number of FREE test scans for barcode scanning. 1 month or 1 year In-App Purchase (IAP) subscription for barcode scanning that saves the information scanned. Barcode scanning IAP saves first name, last name, and email address for a giveaway, but it also saves all of the information from a convention badge for exporting to CSV. The information may include, but is not limited to first name, last name, email address, badge number, registration type (e.g., exhibitor, participant), phone number, street address, city, state, zip c[...]

  • For some time I have been thinking about how questions are asked to young children who are talking very little or not at all, as well as individuals with augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) needs. My thoughts have come from observing teachers, instructional aides, parents, and even SLPs who ask a lot, I mean a lot of questions to these populations. It seems like the individuals are continually being tested, whether the adult has that intention or not. I have also recently seen blog posts from David Niemeijer, Maureen Nevers, Carole Zangari and others whose posts inspired me to write about my thoughts. The authors discussed the difference between questions that are closed-ended and open-ended. In this case, closed-ended questions refer to questions in which the answer is alr[...]

  • To complement a praacticalaac.org blog post series called 'Resources for a Year of Core Words', I created monthly core word boards using Symbolstix. I completed them for the entire school year, and shared the files with staff in my school district. I also wanted to share the monthly core words one month at a time here on my blog. So, here’s the board for November: PDF Download Link Here are some ideas on how you can use the monthly core words: Print 1 copy, then laminate it (or put it in a sheet protector) and use it for aided language stimulation during various activities at school (circle time, small group rotations, transitions, lunch, taking a walk, etc.) Print 1 copy, then laminate it (or put it in a sheet protector) and provide it to parents for aided language stimula[...]

  • Percentally Pro version 2.0.1 is now available. Here’s a list of what's new: • Enhanced the alert, undo and stopwatch features • Scrolling added to long notes • UI enhancements • Bug fixes • iOS 9 ready If you like the new features, please leave a comment on the iOS App Store listing for Percentally Pro 2. If you have feedback, please email support@expressive-solutions.com.

  • This morning I listened to an Emily Blunt interview on the Howard Stern show, and it was interesting to hear her discuss her stuttering. Emily said she started stuttering at age 7, and she couldn't get a handle on it until she began acting at age 12. Many people know that rhythm and melody improve fluency, but she talked about the psychological side in regard to becoming a character. She described acting as a "removal of self from yourself," and how that idea helped her stuttering. To me it sounded like Emily gained confidence by acting like someone else, and was thus more comfortable being someone else than being herself. Emily went on to say that people on the street have influenced how she played a role. For example, when Emily was doing 'The Devil Wears Prada', she said the following l[...]