Posted in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), Autism, Down syndrome, Speech and Occupational Therapy

Blog #116~A New Talker for Nick

 

Blog #116~ A New Talker for Nick

Nick has a new talker!  The SETT meeting team looked at Nick’s needs as a student along with his environment, tasks he does and what tools would be needed to help him effectively communicate. Nick is using an iPad with the Touch Chat program.  This Augmentative and Alternative Communication device (AAC), is bigger and the buttons are much easier to push.  It has more keys on the home page making it easier for him to navigate.  Each team member went through a training orientation on the device to learn how to sift through the keyboard and customize it to suit Nick’s particular needs.  Nick is 21 years old and has Down syndrome and autism.

Nick’s new AAC Device….

ipad touch chat

Nick’s speech therapist introduced the device at school.  He was very excited along with his peers during group.  The first thing they did was to take a “selfie” of Nick (and he pressed the button) to add his photo to the personal page.  This page also includes his age, the town he lives in and that he has a cat named Kibbie and assisted in getting Nick to “buy in”.

Kibbie 🙂

Kibbie

At home, Nick navigated through the keyboard very well.  Here are some of the requests and comments he made:

*Nick pushed pulled out juice box and requested juice on talker

*Nick pushed “baseball” and walked to cabinet where they were pointing (wanting his can of tennis balls)

*Nick pushed “tired” before laid down for a nap

*Nick pushed “salami and cheese”, after nap and then pushed “soda”

*Nick pushed “salad” “mashed potatoes” as he unloaded dishwasher

*Nick pushed “phone” after his dad got off the phone to his parents and pushed Grandpa/Grandma

*Nick pushed “bathroom, shave, shower” while waiting for dinner

*Nick pushed “dessert”-Cake after dinner

We are off to a good start with Nick using the AAC device.  The iAdapter case is pretty rugged, Nick’s already thrown it a few times (shocker right).  However the stand that props it up has broken after taking a few hits. When he is in a throwing mood, I tuck the device out of sight so it won’t be damaged further. One thing I noticed right away was how territorial he was with it. He also found his way through the keyboard better than I thought he would.  At one point he pushed the category called “Groups”.  Then, he hit “Jobs” and found the “Firefighter” button which he hit a dozen times.  You can view a video of this on the Facebook page: Down Syndrome with a Slice of Autism.  By the way, why is there a “Pirate” is a button in the “jobs” category?  🙂

Nick fell asleep with it on the couch the first night….

Nick touch chat

Stay tuned for more about Nick’s communication device.  That’s what is in my noggin this week. 🙂

~Teresa

 

Posted in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), Autism, Down syndrome, Education and Special Needs

Blog #115~SETT to Talk

Blog #115~SETT to Talk  

For the past few weeks, I’ve been writing about the SETT meeting process.  Recently, we did a SETT meeting at Nick’s school to re-evaluate the device he uses to communicate. This is called an Augmentative and Alternative Communication device (AAC). Nick is 21 years old and has Down syndrome and autism.

SETT is an acronym for Student, Environment, Task and Tools. The team gathered to ask key questions and get information that will help to pinpoint what technologies would best suit the student.

S= Student (abilities, learning styles, concerns)

E= Environment (What places will the talker be used and how)

T=Tasks (What type of work and learning will the student be doing?)

T=Tools (What tools are needed on the device to make it a success for Nick?)

photo (120)

In Blog #114, I covered Nick’s abilities, learning style, needs and concerns.  The last three areas we brainstormed on were the Nick’s environment, tasks that we wanted Nick to be able to do on the talker and what tools would be needed to make this a success. Take a look at what the team came up with in these areas: 

Environment: 

* Uses a “change” visual

* PECS book at home – items to request, pictures of people, task strips

* Private SLP services – 1:1 for speech and occupational therapy

* Video modeling strategy successful

* Attends ESY (Extended School Year-summer school)

* Bowling, mall, library, out to lunch

* Church

* Job: delivery run to CEC for STEPS

* Shopping at Meijer and Wal-Mart

* Goes to movies, lunch/breakfast, and the park

*Has a respite worker at home

* Production class: shredding, sorting, bagging, cleaning

*Visits to family – grandparents, aunt and uncle

*Older brother, Hank, attends NIU

*Cooking

* Functional reading and math

* Yoga

* Dance party Fridays

* Uses classroom leisure choice board independently

* Small group or 1:1 instruction, especially for unfamiliar tasks

* Adult supervision for safety

* Visual supports

* Cues to stay on task for jobs he knows

* Needs to know expectations, both visually and auditorally- what to do, how many to   do, how many are left

* Does visual schedule for the day

* Benefits from hand‐over‐hand and modeling for fine motor tasks

* Looks for peer models

* Task strip for hygiene routines, with point  prompts, at home

* Visual learner

* Flexible with symbol sets – familiar with PCS, SymbolStix, Proloquo2Go

* 15 buttons on current AAC home page

* Uses visual support to order at restaurants instead of his AAC device

Picture14

Tasks: 

*“That’s gross”

* “I like that”, “I don’t like that”

* “That’s crazy”

* Flirting

* Gain attention

*Need help

* “Stop”

* “I need a break”

* Emotions

* Preferred items and activities

* Requesting

* Sharing his humor

* Order at restaurants

* Communicate what’s bothering him

* Sensory vocabulary – “hot”, “loud”, “crowded”

* “Where is the fire alarm?”

* “I’m tired”

* “I’m mad”

* Ask questions

* Share personal information

*Basic needs – bathroom, drink/thirsty, hungry

* Greetings

* Age‐appropriate vocabulary

* Comments

* Weather and calendar vocabulary

* Names – People past and present

The team looked at what tools would be needed on the device that would work for Nick.  Each member could choose the top three most important aspects to focus on in particular (these have 3 *** by them):

IMG_4318

Tools:

* Portable

* Shoulder or waist strap

* Durable

* Waterproof

* Loud enough for all environments

* Ability to add vocabulary

* Combination of single words and phrases***

* Import photographs

* Easy to program

* Ability to program on the fly

* 7‐8” screen size

* Sturdy case (“bounceproof”)****

* Quick and consistent response from AAC device***

* Category‐based******

* 2‐3 hits to communicate message**

* Online tech support

*Cloud or USB backup

* Warranty

* Cost

*Dedicated communication device

* Ability to hide buttons

* 8‐12 buttons per page

* Keyboard‐sized buttons or larger

*Long battery life

* 1 charger for whole system

* No replacing batteries

The SETT process was enlightening.  The team covered a lot of ground in looking at many aspects of communication for Nick.   As you can see, there are so many things to consider when looking into a voice output device.  Nick just got his new AAC device last Thursday.  I can’t wait to share with you how he is navigating it!  That’s what is in my noggin this week!

~Teresa 🙂

 

Posted in Down syndrome, Government/Legal Matters Related to Special Needs, Uncategorized

World Down Syndrome Day

WORLD DOWN SYNDROME DAY!!!

This Saturday, March 21st is World Down Syndrome Day!

World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) is a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. Each year the voice of people with Down syndrome, and those who live and work with them, grows louder (www.worlddownsyndromeday.org)  

Big Guy Nick 🙂

IMG01

Help me spread the word on social media.  Click on my blog to find out more about WDSD @https://nickspecialneeds.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/blog-89-world-…n-syndrome-day/

Thank you for reading and sharing this information about World Down Syndrome Day.  That’s what is in my noggin this week.

~Teresa 🙂

 

Posted in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), Autism, Down syndrome

Blog #114~SETT in Motion

Blog #114~SETT in Motion

Last week, I wrote about the process of a SETT meeting.  Recently, we did a SETT meeting at Nick’s school to re-evaluate the device he uses to communicate with. This is called an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Device. Nick is 21 years old and has Down syndrome and autism.  The SETT meeting allows for team members to provide their unique perspectives of Nick.  The members included:

*Support teacher/Case Manager

*Speech and Occupational therapists

*Teaching assistant

*Parent

*Private speech therapist

*School District AT Specialist/Facilitator

These team members did a brain storming session about Nick, including his abilities, needs and concerns.  Here is a re-cap of the meeting notes and will put a lens on what Nick is like:

Student: Nick U.

*Comedian

photo (40)

*Likes to get reactions from people

*Wants to communicate

*Uses many modalities to communicate

*Has been talking more

*Holidays were stressful

*Old behaviors have resurfaced, but starting to

decrease again

*Thrives on routine

*Good at following directions

*Good worker

*Knows how to follow sequence of steps at jobs

Nick packaging door knobs_Habitat_4 (2)

*Wants to please

*Teases

*Visual schedule helps decrease his anxiety

*Gets frustrated when told “no”, if he’s not doing

something right, or if his AAC device is not

working

*Gets frustrated if he has difficulty manipulating

items

*Frustrated if he feels he isn’t being heard

*Changes in routine can be difficult

*Needs to understand why things are happening

*Goals at school include: requesting a break,

paying routine, cooking, grooming, commenting,

protesting

*Working on commenting about food and videos

with private SLP

*Loves cooking

IMG_8180

*Fake coughs on people and replicates sneezes to

get a reaction

*Trying to shape his sense of humor into more

appropriate behaviors

*Swipes things off the desk

*Prefers adult interactions

*Has some preferred peers

*Babies crying is a trigger for a meltdown – he

picks up on the emotion

*He’s a flirt – elbow bump

*Strong receptive language

*Likes to dance

020

*Great at sorting

*Does chores at home – dishwasher

*Has an older brother

022

* Loves community trips

*Taco Bell and movies with the respite worker

*Gets right out of bed on community days

*Very aware of his environments, especially fire

alarms

*Always scanning and scoping out the

environment

*Impulsive

*Likes loud buzzing noises (ex: lift buses,

microwave)

*Seeks sensory input – auditory input, likes to

watch things get poured

*Uses items to tap on his chin

*Loves music – big motivator

*Knows vocabulary on his talker when he’s

motivated

touch chat pic

*Used AAC device to order his meal, Sprite

This should give you a sense of Nick’s attributes.  Exploring a student’s abilities, needs and concerns is the first step in getting things in motion when looking at a communication device.

Next week, I will share the rest of the meeting notes which looks at his environment, tasks we want him to communicate, and what tools will be needed in a device that will be successful for Nick to use.  That’s what is in my noggin this week. 🙂 

~Teresa

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Blog #113~Ready, SETT, Go!

Blog #113~Ready, SETT, Go!

Recently, we did a SETT meeting at Nick’s school to re-evaluate the device he uses to communicate with. This is called an Augmentative and Alternative Communication device (AAC). Nick is 21 years old and has Down syndrome and autism.

Nick with his private speech therapist…..

Brian and Nick

SETT is an acronym for Student, Environment, Task and Tools. The team gathers to ask key questions and get information that will help to pinpoint what technologies would best suit the student. Here are the areas the team looks at in a SETT meeting:

STUDENT

*What are the student’s current abilities?

*What are the student’s special needs?

*What are the functional areas of concern?

*What are the other students doing that this student needs to be able to do?

*What does the student need to be able to do that is difficult or impossible to accomplish independently at this time?

ENVIRONMENTS

*What activities take place in the environment?

*Where will the student participate—classroom, home, community, therapy?

*What is the physical arrangement?

*What activities do other students do that this student cannot currently participate in?

*What assistive technology does the student have access to or currently use?

TASKS

*What specific tasks occur in the environment?

*What activities are the student expected to do?

*What does success look like?

TOOLS

*Are the tools being considered on a continuum from no/low to high-tech?

*Are the tools student centered and task oriented and reflect the student’s current needs?

*Are tools being considered because of their features that are needed rather than brand names?

*What is the cognitive load required by the student to use the tool?

*What are the training requirements for the student, family and staff?

Ready set go

The SETT meeting allows for team members to provide their unique perspectives of Nick.  The members included:

*Support teacher/Case Manager

*Speech and Occupational therapists

*Teaching assistant

*Parent

*Private speech therapist

*School District AT Specialist/Facilitator

The brainstorming session is recorded on butcher paper. At the end of the meeting each team member puts a star on the three most important aspects of the communication device for Nick:

IMG_4318

The AT Specialist gathers up all the butcher paper and compiles the notes to share with the team. These notes enable the AT Specialist to hone in on what devices and speech programs would best suit Nick’s needs. The SETT meeting catches all the ideas of the team and guides them to make informed decisions regarding technologies for the student. Next week, I will share the compiled notes so you get a sense of Nick’s learning style, what motivates and what works best for him. That’s what is in my noggin this week. 🙂

~Teresa