Conference poster

April 9, 2010

The types of play model didn’t quite make the cut in the paper I’m submitting. This poster, however, is essentially Table 1 of that paper and an outline of the structure of it.I’m uploading it here— “submitted for your approval” as Rod Serling would say.


2010 PSHA poster & Bowker (manuscript in preparation)

(Edited 11 April: converted to 150dpi PNG, now less than 8MB file size!)

References coming soon.


Metaplay 3

July 17, 2009

Turns out, I’m not quite ready to do the play vocab list yet. I haven’t introduced the whole framework. I should explain the framework before I fill it in. There’s a bunch of categories I need to outline and define.

The whole thing makes something of a matrix when it is done. This is a rough draft: you are seeing it pretty much at the same time as I am so wish me luck.

Here we go.


We can improve on this.

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Parallel Play

June 28, 2009

Parallel play

Parallel play

Parallel play is when two children are playing the same play frame, but not collaborating with one another or influencing one another’s play directly.

Rather than through negotiation, the two children’s play frames are synchronized and coordinated by imitation. You often see one child repeating the same action that another child does. (Classic Vygotsky: the play frame is in their ZPD and they are learning how to act in it from one another).

This poses problems for kids with disabilities: #1: their motor and linguistic capacity to imitate.

Can our kid actually perform the physical actions of driving the car up the ramp or putting a dress on Barbie? This is a problem (but is a little out of my universe as an SLP. I’ll let the OT and Rec Therapists work on this one).

Can a child using AAC imitate something that another child says that sounds interesting?


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My former coworker just posted a great quote that her daughter said:

“Shark boy and Lava girl are incompatible.”

Clearly, she was referring to this

“Incompatible” is a pretty big word for a five year old. She has access to this sort of language so she can try it out. I wonder how much of her saying this was testing the word to explore what it means. (It’s in her Zone of Proximal Development)*

Compare this sentence to the average utterance in an AAC system. When was the last time you programmed something this interesting and complex into an AAC system? (I know I never have.)
The point of all of this is that kids won’t learn this sort of language unless they have access to it. Don’t wait until they are “ready” and then give it to them. Throw the kids into the deep end of the linguistic pool and let them construct their way out.

*(This little girl’s mother is a behavior analyst and probably doesn’t hold to the theory of ZPD or language construction, but that’s beside the point).

I loved this scene from season 5 of Malcolm in the Middle.


Malcolm and Stevie

Stevie has stopped talking in this episode and is using an AAC device.

Would an AAC device in real life survive that sprinkler?

Would an AAC device in real life survive that sprinkler?

Stevie: (with computer) Thanks, Malcolm, that is what I really needed to hear.
Malcolm: Oh, good.
Stevie: (with computer) This thing sucks at sarcasm.

It’s funny because it’s true!

AAC in the news

March 30, 2009

Click me

Click me

Watch this video from the Today Show.

Augie’s system that he was using before the eye-gaze system is Dasher. He can continue to use Dasher with the new Dynavox eye-gaze system. If the current system is working for him, I hope he does.

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Mintpad (proto-Siftable?)

March 25, 2009

Wow! Right after I repost the Siftable video, this thing is announced for release in the U.S.

Mintpad tablet device

Mintpad tablet device

I could see this thing replacing the BigMack or Step-by-Step devices. They’re about the same price and a million times more adaptable and capable.

Get the price down to $50 and use their networking capabilities to make an ad-hoc network with one another and you’ve almost got Siftables.

I think this is one of those technologies that the manufacturer is going to be astonished at what the end-user ends up doing with their product. The applications they are planning for this are all wrong. This thing is destined to be an interactive toy or an accessory to a more powerful central device. If I ran an AAC company, I’d be pushing to get the price down to $50 each and I’d sell them in packs of 6 or 9.

Engadget writes about Mintpad

Official website.


March 24, 2009

Let’s repost this with the video.

Does an AAC device have to be a single device? What about an array of devices?

I look at this and think of blocks that are also an AAC device. Embedding communication into the play context is the key to authentic interaction. Dividing attention between the play context and a separate communication device is a barrier.

“That’s not fair”

March 15, 2009

I don’t know how to embed TED talks in WordPress, so click on this link and watch the video. Then come back here.

The key to using technology to overcome disabilities is to not try to duplicate the functioning of a “normal” person, but to give people capacities that they wouldn’t ordinarily have had.

AAC devices are not, and will never be, a “prosthetic voice” no matter how hard we work on designing them. We’re artificially limiting ourselves by trying. We can do better. We can make AAC a more powerful communication method.

Update: YouTube saves the day

Here is my issue with the Author’s Guild— synthesized speech is a “derivative work” to them. As in, an interpretation of an author’s words and not the author’s words themselves.

Amazon's Kindle 2 e-book

Amazon's Kindle 2 e-book

So what are the implications of such an idea on AAC users? We’ve been holding to the philosophy that the AAC user is the originator and that the AAC output is that person’s “voice.”

So, if Kindle’s output isn’t the authors’ words, what is AAC output? Is it really the person’s words or some derivative of it?

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