Blog Posts

iOS 13, Voice Control, and AAC

By Kathryn Helland | August 9, 2019 | 0 Comments
The next iOS update is now in beta testing. iOS 13 promises some big changes that will have an impact on people with disabilities. Right off the bat, Accessibility is no longer hidden under the General folder in Settings.  Just…

TechOWL Videos: Getting Started with TouchChat

By Kathryn Helland | July 23, 2019 | 0 Comments
At our state AT lending library, one of the biggest questions we get is, “Now what?” Borrowers open the big shipping box and may not be sure of their next steps. Here at TechOWL, we are working on creating a…

AAC and Teaching Intentional Communication

By Kathryn Helland | July 9, 2019 | 2 Comments
In the past two weeks, I have been mulling over something that Kate Ahern said during her presentation at AAC in the Cloud. “Assume intention to teach intention.” How do we acquire vocabulary, and intentional use of language through AAC?  …

Transitioning to a New AAC Device or App

By Kathryn Helland | May 15, 2019 | 0 Comments
I work with several adults who are in the midst of transitioning to new devices. Their old devices are no longer supported by the manufacturers. The new devices look and feel different, even though they come from the same company.…

Light Tech Eye Gaze: A Place to Start

By Kathryn Helland | April 11, 2019 | 0 Comments
When we consider eye gaze AAC, we often think of really expensive devices with built in “magic” cameras (actually infrared cameras, but they seem like magic to me).  We don’t have to go straight to super high tech to enable…

Face Tracking and Eye Gaze for the iPhone and iPad: Access and AAC

By Kathryn Helland | February 14, 2019 | 8 Comments
At long last, apps are beginning to appear that take advantage of Apple’s True Depth camera to provide eye gaze control on the latest iPhone or iPad Pro.  There are actually two cameras; your usual selfie camera and an infrared…

Communicating is About Relating

By Kathryn Helland | January 25, 2019 | 0 Comments
When we demand communication from an AAC user, we risk making communication feel like work.  We want it to be about relationships.  Forcing someone to use their device can build task demand-related anxiety.  Let’s remember to use least to most…

Low Tech Core Boards For High Tech Apps

By Kathryn Helland | January 16, 2019 | 4 Comments
Core boards are a great way to introduce vocabulary and begin to build language. They contain everyday, high frequency words. These words comprise 80% of what the ‘typical’ speaker says by the age of two. A core board can be…

Communication Boards

By Kathryn Helland | November 5, 2018 | 0 Comments
Communication Boards and Picture Resources  Edited 12/06/18: Core boards for math and language arts added. Center-based Core for Symbol-Supported Learning in the Classroom This post has always contained core boards for use at the library, or in cooking.  I thought…

AAC Assessment

By Kathryn Helland | November 2, 2018 | 0 Comments
What is an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Evaluation? An evaluation means reviewing all the ways a person currently communicates, and providing ideas for enhancing communication. AAC evaluations must be done by a licensed, certified speech-language pathologist. Depending on the…