Posted on June 20, 2014
With the release of NOVA Chat version 1.12.0, ChatPower60 was added to the availale ChatPower options. Click here to read more about ChatPower60, the additional voices added and other important update information. Please note that these changes DO NOT affect or update your custom vocabulary files.
Other general ChatPower changes that were made to the software include:
- Updates and corrections in all files
- Updates and changes to SOCIAL pages based on feedback given
- “what + color” – logical next word
- “clear” added to Story Templates
- “appointment” added to 60 and 80 location vocabs
- take + “a picture” added to logical next words
-ChatPower24 with Phrases:
- the word “that” added to vocabs, so now you can say “I like that,” “I want that,” “Do you like that?” etc.
- when Gestures are enabled on the NOVA chat, “swipe down” gesture now clears the display on ChatPower vocabs
- 42 and 48 location vocabs – keyguard keyboards now properly setup to align with Saltillo Keyguards
- added “octagon” to SHAPES category
- added the “Find a Word” tool to ChatPower spelling pages
- Fixed a problem with “does” and “has” following the “he” and “she” pronouns. You can now say,
“What does he have?” or “What does he do?”
-changed the PEOPLE icon on the PCS versions of the ChatPower vocabulary
-added “hurts” to the BODY pages so that when you go to the BODY pages, you can now say, i.e. “My leg hurts.”
-added “may” to the QUESTIONS category so that you can now go to QUESTIONS and say, “May I …?”
-added “USB” to categories CONTAINERS and TECHNOLOGY
Posted on June 10, 2014
"The lights are on in there," the doctor would say at every visit. And they always have been for our sweet Parker, who is 6, and although still undiagnosed, struggles with severe mitochondrial dysfunction, hypotonia and cyclic vomiting among other things.
Parker is non-verbal, but has always been an excellent communicator - it was easy to figure out what he needed. But still, he needed and deserved a "real" voice. We knew he had things to say, things we wanted to know about him - and mostly when he was sick (Parker has been in the hospital 119 times) we wanted to understand what was wrong so we could help him feel better.
Before Parker was matched with the Nova Chat we had tried it all. We had Big Mac Buttons, communication cards, charts and binders. We did PECS. We tried sign language. We moved on to the iPad and tried many different apps. We tried the GoTalk. They all worked with minimum success, and they were exhausting. The reality was, I was often times taking care of a very sick child, and I really didn't want to carry around a (fill in the blank...binder, necklace, chart, large device).
On our journey, we have been so very blessed to have worked with two of the best speech therapist. Our first super-therapist, after working with Parker for four years, looked up at me one day and said "it's time, you need to see Pat."
And it was. Now we had found our amazing second super-therapist. She, after months of working with Parker and trying all different devices, matched him with the Nova Chat. Pat, Parker and the Nova Chat are a match made in heaven. Finally a device that could house all his vocab in one spot. Finally a device that was portable. Finally a device, that with Parker's low tone, was easy for him to use. Finally he had a voice.
There have been many magical moments in the year since Parker received his Nova Chat. The first time he requested to eat (eating was something he did not learn to do until he was 5). Pat got him a snack - and he ate it! He really did, want to eat. His love of music was also confirmed through using the device, Parker told Pat he wanted to play music, and would pick out individual instruments to play. I've been in awe watching him grow more proficient and stronger (in the beginning he needed 100 percent assistance to find the right word and push it) at using the device. But mostly, I have also had the opportunity to get to know my son. Yes, he really did want blueberries for a snack every day. No - he really did not want to watch "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" anymore. He told us he needed a hug, a break, a drink -a juice box to be specific, and so much more.
And then one day, my real dream came true. We knew Parker was having a so-so day, but all of a sudden, in the middle of his session with Pat, he used the Nova Chat to tell Pat his head hurt and he needed medicine. There was a moment of silence and disbelief - and then cheers (and I really wanted to cry).
I feel lucky that we were able to match Parker with the right device (and therapist) so early in his life. I know this is only the beginning of what he will learn and be able to tell us, and I can't wait to find out what he has to say!
Posted on May 23, 2014
We have decided to phase out the 20 Location communication board, which will directly affect AAC Users who have a ChatPC Silk and Chat PC 4. The 20 Location communication board will continue to be available through the end of the summer, at which time they will be removed.
Posted on April 2, 2014
There is a saying, “Not being able to speak doesn’t mean you don’t have anything to say”. Communication is essential to everyone. I should know, because I have a disability that keeps me from speaking and, even though I can’t say words, I do have something to say.
To make a long story short, I have Cerebral Palsy. In my lifetime, I have had thousands of AAC devices. I may be exaggerating a little, but I was there before they were known as AAC devices. I was there when electric typewriters were the wonders of the day. I was there before computers. I was there before push button phones. I was there when people actually wrote letters. I have seen the development of AAC devices over the past forty plus years and it has been amazing.
I started communicating as a “regular “child by crying and smiling. My first AAC system was to answer yes/no questions by raising my hand for yes. My first AAC device was a board with pictures. Magically, the pictures turned into words, the words became more numerous and the board got larger and larger and larger until it was the size of a piece of large tag board that fit on a chart stand that went where ever I went at school. I had a similar board at home on the refrigerator and by the table. It eventually became the size of a 12” x 16” art canvas, which I could have with me all the time.
My first electric device was an electric typewriter. For the younger generation that is an ipad before steroids. It was just a keyboard with a print out.
Since that time many devices have passed over my chair. Like people, they each had their own personality, all of them quirky and extremely frustrating.
One of my devices was so was so frustrating, that I wanted to take a hammer to it. My father gave me a hammer and said, “Go for it.” At that point in time, I said I would never, ever have another electronic device.
Well, a couple of years ago, I kicked myself in my bootie and said, “Ok, let’s try it again”. I was associated with CTEC, the Communication Technology Education Center in Sacramento. They did an assessment and after trying numerous devices, I decided the NOVA chat 10 would be the best for me. I was right. It has been a life changer. I can hold conversations without someone standing next to me; I can carry on conversations with people in a room close by; it doesn’t take a person with special skills to be with me and read my board; it’s dependable; the size is great for me; and on the occasions I have had to use tech support, because it is after all a computer, they have been very knowledgeable, helpful and patient.
My NOVA chat 10 is my Knight in Purple Amour!
Posted on March 24, 2014
The Strengthening Your Core workshop in Peoria, IL has been rescheduled for April 29. Click here for more details!
Posted on March 11, 2014
CANCELLED – The Strengthening Your Core Workshop scheduled in Peoria, IL, for 3/12/14 has been CANCELLED due to weather. If you are already registered, you will receive an email with the rescheduled training information as soon as the new date has been set. If you have any questions, please contact the seminar coordinators at 800-848-8008.
Posted on February 27, 2014
Meet Jeremy, an active and fun-loving 12-year-old boy with a diagnosis of shaken baby syndrome. As a child it was thought that he would never speak, read, or write; let alone be an effective communicator. At first, Jeremy communicated through a means of pushing/pulling, grunting, screaming, verbalizing 4-6 words, and using barely recognizable signs. His constant inquisitiveness showed an enthusiasm for learning and communicating, which his SLP recognized immediately. She was certain that there was more that met the eye when it came to Jeremy. He was a smart boy; she just had to prove it to everyone else and to Jeremy himself.
At 6 ½ years old, Jeremy started using his first communication device, a Dynavox V. There is nothing like seeing a child’s face the very first time he activates a button saying, “My name is Jeremy.” Jeremy grew like a weed in the use of his device. Of course, he loved to “play” on it, so he had to be locked out of the settings, but he really used it to communicate. He proved that he was and is a very bright boy.
Eventually Jeremy grew tired of carrying his big device around and took to hiding it. He refused to use it and also began throwing it; needless to say it was out for repair frequently. Finally, after 5 ½ years he qualified for an upgrade. We knew Jeremy needed something that was more portable and looked cooler, which is when we found the Nova Chat.
In September 2013 his new Nova Chat 7 arrived. Despite all of our worries about how he would transition to the new device, Jeremy took to his Nova Chat like a duck to water. He needed extra guidance for only a few short weeks and then he had it down. He loved that it “looked like an iPad” and he felt cool carrying it around; he didn’t feel so different anymore.
Jeremy uses the Chatpower 42 vocabulary file on his Nova chat 7 successfully in the classroom to answer teacher guided questions, do his math work, practice his writing, learn his Edmark reading words, read books, and to interject a novel remark here and there. It goes with him to every class, including field trips.
He loves to explore his Nova Chat and “work” on it every chance he gets. Jeremy is an excellent speller; nothing makes him happier than to go into the typing page and type out short messages, people’s names, or simply words that come to his mind - pretty amazing for a child who was not expected to read or write. Jeremy recognizes kindergarten and first grade site words and one of his favorite things to do is take a note book and pencil and write or copy words from books or his device. Not only did the device help to increase his literacy skills, but he has also increased his verbal vocabulary to over sixty words. He is still very hard to understand but will always go to his Nova Chat and try to find what he is trying to tell you.
He prefers to speak in two or three word phrases using his device, but can usually get his point across. His ability to communicate with others has increased even more with the use of his new Nova Chat 7.
Although he continues to hide his device on occasion, and must still be locked out of the programming mode, he enjoys using it in class and most of the time at home with his mom. It has really helped him to continue to grow as a person, and we cannot wait to see where he is in another 5 ½ years.
Posted on February 21, 2014
If your clients are covered by Medicare
If you provide services to clients covered by Medicare, we want to be sure you are aware of upcoming changes to how speech generating devices (SGD) will be administered by Medicare.
Effective April 1 of this year, Medicare will reimburse a SGD under a ‘capped rental’ category. This includes all six of the E-codes related to speech devices. Capped rental is one of a number of reimbursement categories within Medicare and is typically used for products such as hospital beds.
In the capped rental category, a SGD is rented from the supplier (PRC, Saltillo, etc.) for a period of up to 13 months. After 13 consecutive months of the rental, ownership of the SGD will be transferred to the client. Prior to this change, speech devices were considered ‘routinely purchased’, the device immediately became the property of the client and the supplier was paid after the device was delivered. The capped rental category also allows for the re-use of speech devices that are rented, so it is very possible that future clients will not receive a new device under Medicare.
We are concerned that this change may cause problems for those clients who are admitted to a hospital, long term care facility, skilled nursing facility (SNF) or a hospice during the 13 month rental period, referred to as an “interruption in service”. Clients and their families are required to notify PRC and Saltillo about changes in their medical or residential status affecting eligibility thus resulting in an interruption of service. During an interruption in service, if a speech device is not arranged and paid for by the SNF, hospital or hospice, the client could be without any means of communication during these changes in settings because the equipment will need to be returned to the supplier. As you know, speech devices for these clients are often highly customized in terms of optimum access, vocabulary programs, client-specific content, etc. so even if ‘generic’ speech devices are available, they will not meet the needs of many clients.
If the interruption in service is long enough, the client may need a new evaluation in order to re-acquire a speech device.
We all appreciate your clinical services to these clients and want you to know that both PRC and Saltillo are committed to providing the best possible solutions within the Medicare regulations, now and following April 1. We believe the need to communicate is a constant, regardless of setting or location. Your skilled evaluations and therapy services are essential to enabling these clients to communicate to the full extent of their abilities.
We are working actively with other suppliers, patient advocacy groups, professional and trade associations and others to educate the decision-makers at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services about complications and the potential harm when this ruling goes into effect. We believe Medicare is unaware of the diverse population of clients, the complexity of the needs within this population and the extent to which these devices are customized to meet those needs. We will keep you informed on our progress in this education effort. We will also be ready to comply with these new regulations on April 1.
You can review the final regulation at:
Posted on January 31, 2014
UPDATE: The contest is now over and the winner is.... Margaret Ann! Congratulations!
We are so close to 1000 likes on Facebook. When we surpass this goal, we will give away a brand new Nova Chat device!
How to Enter:
1. You MUST like the Saltillo Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/saltillocorporation).
2. Get your friends/family to like our page and post on our page that you sent them. The person with the most referrals (posts from others mentioning their name) will win.
3. The contest will end once we get 1000 Likes.
Rules & Regulations: Winner will be announced via Facebook when the page reaches 1000 Likes. By liking and posting on our page, you release Facebook from any type of liability pertaining to this promotion. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You are providing your information to Saltillo Corporation and not to Facebook. The information you provide may be used for this contest and future Saltillo marketing.
Posted on January 28, 2014
Want to learn more about Core Vocabulary? Then you'll definitely want to attend the Strengthening Your Core: Building Vocabulary Muscles for Stability and Independence workshop. Click here
or see below for more information.
This workshop will provide an overview of core vocabulary and how it is represented across two AAC platforms. Core vocabulary is comprised of the words we use for communication regardless of context. About 80% of the words we use will be core, and teaching these words to individuals using AAC is particularly important. In this workshop, participants will develop an understanding of what core vocabulary is and how it can be represented across AAC devices and vocabulary systems. Participants will explore use of core vocabulary in social and academic environments, and get hands-on time to practice with AAC devices. Finally, specific strategies for teaching core vocabulary throughout lessons, activities and classroom routines will be discussed.
This presentation will focus exclusively on Nova Chat 5, Nova Chat 7, Nova Chat 10, ALT-Chat, Chat-PC, Vantage, Vantage Lite, ECO, Accent 1000, Accent 700, Accent 1200 and SpringBoard Lite and will not include information regarding other similar or related applications.
You do not need to bring an AAC device to this training.
Registration is from 8:00 - 8:30 a.m. and the seminar begins at 8:30 a.m.
- Cost: $75.00
- Date: Mar 12, 2014 8:30 am - 3:00 pm
- Facility: Easter Seals - Peoria
- Location: Peoria, IL
- ASHA CEUs: 0.5
- Instructor: Lisa Timm & Sarah Wilds
To register, please click here.