Communication is a human right.

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Voice Control command page in TouchChat AAC

iOS 13, Voice Control, and AAC

By Kathryn Helland | August 9, 2019
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…
iPad screen with TouchChat AAC and message: What do I do now?

TechOWL Videos: Getting Started with TouchChat

By Kathryn Helland | July 23, 2019
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…
"Assume intention to teach intention." quote from Kate Ahern

AAC and Teaching Intentional Communication

By Kathryn Helland | July 9, 2019
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?  …
Image of AAC, saying Change can be...

Transitioning to a New AAC Device or App

By Kathryn Helland | May 15, 2019
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.…
Colorful image of instructions for making an eye gaze board.

Light Tech Eye Gaze: A Place to Start

By Kathryn Helland | April 11, 2019
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…
Image of Jabberwocky app icon over a keyboard.

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

By Kathryn Helland | February 14, 2019
Updated February 14th, 2020 At long last, apps are available that take advantage of Apple’s True Depth camera to provide Head Tracking on the latest iPhones or iPad Pro.  These devices actually have two cameras; your usual selfie camera and…
A JPEG image of the don;t demand communication poster.

Communicating is About Relating

By Kathryn Helland | January 25, 2019
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…
A dappled image of a fan of core boards for AAC

Light Tech Core Boards For High Tech Apps

By Kathryn Helland | January 16, 2019
Update: 03/26/2020 Covid-19 has cause school closures around the country. Anecdotally, we are hearing that many students have had to leave their devices at school because they are district property. What can we do to meet students’ communication needs at…
Image of language arts core board

Communication Boards

By Kathryn Helland | November 5, 2018
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…
Image of a hand touching an AAC app, seen through a prism.

AAC Assessment

By Kathryn Helland | November 2, 2018
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…

Consider Communication