August's Spotlight Star- Caroline!

Posted on 2015-08-25 13:23:01 by Admin under Success Stories

Hello my name is Caroline Tutera. I'm 63 yrs. old, I have been disabled since 1976, due to a car accident. I suffered a severe brain injury,  which affected my motor functions, like walking, and talking, etc... Physically, I'm a mess, a broken body...but mentally, I'm all here baby, as normal as you...BUT in 1976 (I was 24), our society couldn't handle people with disabilities. You didn't see many wheelchairs back then, so I regressed, became a recluse, a shut in.  I lived in Florida with my parents until they died.  Then in 1998 I moved here to St. Louis with my sister, and she introduced me to a computer, and I went to town!!!!.... exploring new things, emailing old friends, etc...  

AND NOW, DUE TO A FAMILY TRAGEDY, I have come to live in a Nursing Home. The therapists here recommended the NOVA Chat device, and I was so intrigued,....hoping my qualification would be approved, and it was...WOW, I'm in heaven!!! It's truly an amazing device, especially coming from a person whose been speechless for 40 years I can now express myself fully,  communicate with friends. I use it daily...I'm so lost without it.  Losing the ability to speak is a major, major loss, but now that the NOVA Chat has come into my life, it has opened up a whole new aspect.  

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS DEVICE, in hopes that it helps others the way it has helped me.

Thank you,  Caroline


Profile of an AAC Achiever: JJ Adkins Inspires Others, Builds a Family and a Career

Posted on 2015-08-25 09:05:28 by Admin under Success Stories

Justin Joseph “JJ” Adkins recently earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from California State University-Fullerton, graduating on the Dean’s List with a 3.2 GPA. He’s also the proud recipient of two Honor Society awards and the Sociology Department’s “Most Inspirational Student” recognition. Now, he’s investigating internships and applying to graduate schools to pursue a Master’s in Rehabilitation Counseling.

JJ’s drive and academic accomplishments are impressive, but all the more so considering he must  contend with physical and communication disabilities resulting from a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) suffered when he was the victim of an assault at age 16.

Now 32, JJ uses a speech-generating NOVA chat 5 to communicate. The portable augmented and alternative communication (AAC) device from Saltillo enables him to converse with friends, family, caregivers, and others. “This device is almost like a mini-personal computer. It also has built-in apps that I find very useful,” he states.

JJ lives on his own with caregivers assisting daily with basic living needs. But among his greatest challenges, he says, is “the ignorance that a vast majority of the population still has for individuals with disabilities and the lack of patience. To deal with it, I keep telling myself that I have nothing to prove, and I remember my worth.”

“JJ is able to overcome the challenges of his disability with a ‘mind over matter’ attitude,” adds his fiancé Brandy George. “He has never let his limitations hinder him.”

Overcoming Obstacles to Attain a College Degree

Earning a college degree ranks among his most important accomplishments to date, and he does not  believe it would have been possible without his AAC device.

One of JJ’s professors at Cypress College, where he earned an associate of arts degree, concurs. “It was important that JJ be able to communicate with me and others effectively in order for us to understand how we could best help him succeed and   achieve his goals,” says Chrissy Sepulveda, who taught JJ’s Biological Anthropology class. Though she had not previously worked with a student using an AAC device, Sepulveda says “we figured things out as we went along and got to know each other. JJ is very patient with me and he has a wonderful sense of humor. We made each other laugh a lot.

“JJ is one of the most amazing people I have ever met,” she continues. “He is strong and tenacious and determined to be as independent as possible. He refuses to acquiesce to impasses that he may encounter, but rather finds way to transcend boundaries. What I admire most about him is his love and appreciation for life. He has a quiet and humble way of dealing with the negatives and directs his energy toward celebrating the positive aspects of life.”

JJ was the first student to use an AAC device in Cypress College English professor Joan Daniels’  classroom. “He is very patient and helped me get used to the device,” she says. Daniels was impressed with JJ’s “remarkable determination and positive attitude.” One semester, when JJ was hospitalized for an emergency surgery, she recalls, “I suggested he take an Incomplete in the class so he would have enough recovery time without worrying about his assignments for the class. But he didn’t miss even one assignment and completed the class with an A grade.” Calling him “an exceptionally bright young man,” Daniels adds that JJ “is one of the most positive people I’ve ever known or met. He’s really our Stephen Hawking.”

Volunteering and Family-Building

These days, the NOVA chat 5 accompanies JJ on various volunteer ventures. “I have been doing a little volunteer work for the Orange County Child Abuse Prevention Center (OCCAPC), mostly assisting with fundraiser events. And I’m still going through the application process for Boy’s Town, but I’m highly anticipating service with them because I’ll be able to help troubled families directly.”

Describing himself as “a true Philomath,” JJ says he loves to learn new things, “and it kills me to sit idle.  But my main focus and interest is my family. I am an only child so my parents are very dear to me. My  father works in construction and my mother is a housewife. Growing up, my father would take me to work with him and teach me various skill sets, everything from working on cars to building a house from the  ground up. My mother was my buddy. Sometimes she’d keep me home from school and we’d go to lunch,  bowling, or to the park to throw the ball around. I believe this shaped me into the man I am today, because family is everything to me.”

Now he is looking forward to starting his own family. “I’m engaged to a wonderful woman and she has two amazing children from a previous relationship whom I adore. We’re trying to expand our family with one of our own.”

Brandy calls JJ’s AAC device “a blessing” because “it has given JJ a voice of his own. We are so thankful! I most admire JJ’s unimaginable strength, intelligence, perseverance, and the way he always wears his beautiful smile, no matter what the scenario. He truly is my best friend.”

Advice to Others: “Don’t Give Up”

JJ is excited about what the future may hold: “Earning my Master’s degree, starting a career I’ll love, and marrying Brandy.” He advises others with disabilities to “stay true to yourself, don’t let others define you, and always try to smile. Happiness is contagious and understood in all languages.” For those getting started in AAC, he adds, “don’t give up and don’t let others dictate which device is best for you.”

 

 

 

 

 

 


2.1.0 NOVA Chat Software Update

Posted on 2015-08-21 12:39:56 by Admin under News

In case you didn't hear, NOVA Chat 2.1.0 was released earlier this week.  It now includes data logging, which also gives you the option to upload the file to Realize Language for analysis.  Please see below for other exciting enhancements!

New Features:

  • Data Logging - includes option to upload file to Realize Language for analysis
  • Pause Between Words – a 0 to 3 second pause can be added between words
  • ChatEditor 2.1 is now speechless on new install until a NOVA chat device is connected.  Updating Chat Editor will not impact the speech.

WordPower files have been updated.  Changes include:

   WordPower Español –

  • Add “pretender” verb on A-Z page
  • Magnifico!
  • Moved “aquel” words to the “ése…” page
  • ¿ - automatically included when you open the page

    WordPower English

  • Add “appointment” to all vocab TIME pages
  • Add “away” as a logical next word after “go” and “come”
  • 42 Basic – make “was” “will” etc. follow the word “that”
    • Fix “I feel > felt” – it was covering up “blue”
    • Fix the Position Words page – “with” should be consistent
    • Make it so that “that” and “this” lead to more helping verbs
    • Fix the problem where “go” was covered up by a logical next word.

 NOVA Chat 2.1.0 Update addresses:

  • Screen is now refreshed after a Save Text to Button
  • ChatEditor has German ABC files in default library
  • Change menu item name for “SDB Height” to “Number of Lines”

 To download the NOVA Chat 2.1.0 Software Update, go to Downloads, choose your language and download the appropriate NOVA Chat Software Update or go to Menu>Help>Check for Updates to initiate an automatic update.


Fun at Authentic Voices of America Camp

Posted on 2015-08-18 11:08:25 by Admin under News

First, I would like to thank Saltillo for allowing me the chance to attend and experience the Authentic Voices of America (AVA) Camp at Whitewater College in Wisconsin this summer. Their help in paying for the camp allowed me to connect and communicate with others that use a variety of communication devices while being a representative for Saltillo. My NovaChat was easy to use at camp and provided me with what I needed to communicate with others. It allowed me to reconnect with old friends and easily make new ones by sharing information about myself and family. Also, with the help of some fellow camp participants I was able to work with others in the creation of a new type of game we like to call "AVA Hockey".  We created rules, a chant and had to explain how to play the game to others. My device helped me make the best of my camp experience. The only things I would change about my device would be the volume of the speakers and to allow the Facebook app to work; but overall I love my Novachat! Thank you, Saltillo!

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H Fulton