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Nova Chat 5 Withstands Tornado in South Carolina

Posted on 2017-10-25 12:40:58 by Admin under News

A couple of weeks ago, a group of tornadoes touched down in Upstate South Carolina. One very powerful tornado with winds over 132 miles decided to visit upon an area about 1/2 mile from our house in the Central-Norris, SC area. My family was blessed with nothing but the nuisance of a loss of power. However, a dear young patient and friend of mine along with his Mom, younger brother and grandfather lost all of their possessions and home. In a manner of less than 20 minutes, they all nearly lost their lives. The walls of their home, furniture and belongings swirled around them with the hand of the Lord saving them.

My young friend is Bradley. For years, I along with colleagues tried to interest him in a speech device - none met his approval until the Nova Chat 5. The first day he held it in his hand he wanted it. His Mom is a great woman of 120% dedication to her children. During the summer of 2016 she along with Bradley drove to see me so we could complete his required speech device evaluation in order for him to have this device. On at least two visits the air conditioner was not working in their car-but did they cancel -nope came right on in the heat of July in SC. 

Bradley uses his Nova Chat 5 daily in his life to include school -carries it in a camo tools phone case from Lowes! So when his Mom called me Monday morning at 6AM with the news about what had happened to them and that his device was lost I was of course shocked and upset. I connected with them personally by 9AM and was greeted with Bradley crying saying " no Box". I assured him we would get him another. By 5:30 Monday afternoon they finally let his Mom into the area as it was previously closed off due to safety issues. She called me about 6PM crying saying she had found his Nova Chat under his book bag--it was in the case, wet but it works!  This device withstood 132 mile per hour winds, pounding rain, flying debris. It's  nothing less than a miracle!

So, I send a huge appreciation, along with a reminder that the impact of all the time you folks endure my phone calls, questions, emails, etc., your graciousness extends throughout the lives of folks in SC --keeping their thread of life alive!

Again I thank each of you with all my heart--for all you do and have done.

With love and gratefulness today and always--Sharon Steed

2017 National Down Syndrome Society Leadership Summit

Posted on 2017-10-24 09:52:42 by Admin under News

The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome, held their 2017 NDSS Leadership Summit October 1-3 in Washington, DC.   Jamie Dolan, with his Nova Chat in hand, joined over 200 advocates from across the country on Capitol Hill, advocating to break down barriers for individuals with Down syndrome and other disabilities.  A series of out-of-date laws unjustly prevents this population from living the American Dream – forcing a choice between a job and independence or risk losing their critical Medicaid benefits. (Down syndrome doesn’t stop people with Down syndrome – it’s “Law Syndrome” that holds them back.)

During the Leadership Summit, Jamie was invited to speak on a self-advocacy panel, and he spent a full day on Capitol Hill visiting the offices of his US Senate and Congress representatives. As the only person using speech augmentation, he clearly expressed his points, made possible by using his Nova Chat device. 

Jamie explained that he works part time at NDSS as Assistant Information & Referral Specialist, preparing information kits about the needs and abilities of people with Down syndrome. He also volunteers at his neighborhood library, delivers lunches to homebound seniors, and is preparing for more paid employment opportunities.

Jamie talked about the importance of his work to the community and his challenges. He explained, “My dream is to work in the entertainment and food service business. My biggest challenge is when people underestimate what I can do because of my disability.  With a job coach I can learn many tasks. I need support services to become more independent, but Medicaid funds are very tight.  Block grants to states will threaten my supports even more.” He worries, “Without supports I will get stuck doing less than I am capable of.”

In the coming weeks, congressional leaders will announce and begin meeting on a new bipartisan effort to help the disability community tackle archaic, outdated laws that continue to prevent individuals with disabilities from seeking out meaningful, competitive employment opportunities while maintaining and improving access to high quality benefits like Medicaid. “Law Syndrome" is the clarion call to congressional leaders, urging them to join the fight to reform these complex laws.  Jamie was proud to have a voice on this important issue!


-- Written by JoAnn Dolan

2.10.0 software released

Posted on 2017-10-17 14:07:30 by Admin under News

2.10.0 Chat software has been released with a new vocabulary WordPower60 Español Básico.

This is a new addition to the WordPower Español vocabularies, and it is comparable in terms of content and design to the English WordPower60 Basic vocabulary. It was designed with early language learners in mind, providing ample picture support and novel structures to facilitate expressive language development. Core vocabulary is embedded within the category and activity pages, allowing easy generation of language from the main core page as well as within tropic-based pages. Core words remain consistent in terms of placement and access, providing a natural bridge between core and fringe words. Early literacy is enhanced through the use of pages designed around several popular children’s books. A low-tech communication board is included within the vocabulary file that can be printed as an alternative communication support.

We have also added -ly grammar options to WordPower vocabularies and texting pages to the following vocabs:

- WordPower 48 Español Basico
- WordPower 48 Español
- MultiChat15 Spanish
- MultiChat 15 Bilingual
- MultiChat 15 French
- Spelling
- Teclado
- Epeler

To download the Chat 2.10.0 Software Update, go to Menu > Help > Check for Updates on your device to initiate an automatic update or go to Downloads from this website, choose your language and download the appropriate Chat Software Update to manually copy to your device. 

Closing the Gap Presentations

Posted on 2017-10-11 12:30:56 by Admin under News

Don't miss these presentations at Closing the Gap!

Let’s “Chat” About Literacy in the Classroom

Using AAC devices, Chat Editor and a smart board, we successfully implemented literacy in the elementary school classroom to teach students who are nonverbal and who have learning disabilities. Using 20 selected targeted words (core words and high frequency Dolch sight words), the entire team collaborated to improve both reading and communication skills. Using best practices of modeling and focused literacy intervention, students made measurable growth. By immersing the students in predictable text and building a personal library of books, they gained ownership of their learning. Books were also sent home to help families learn the AAC device, as well as to provide a concrete opportunity for generalization.

Date and Time:

  • October 19, 2017
  • 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm


  • Maureen Castillo
  • Sarah Fischer 


Bilingual WordPower: WP60 Basic and WP60 Espanol Basic

This presentation will provide an in-depth overview of the new WordPower60 Espanol Basico vocabulary for the TouchChat app, and the corresponding NOVA chat/Chat Fusion devices. WP60 Espanol Basico was developed to correlate with the English WP60 Basic vocabulary. Device Profiles allow one to navigate easily between the two systems for bilingual AAC users. Manual communication board supports are included, as well as pages to support children’s books to enhance development of literacy and use of core language.

Date and Time:

  • October 18, 2017
  • 11:00 am – 12:00 pm


  • Nancy Inman
  • Pamela Corley



First Annual AAC Town Hall (For Adults Who Use AAC)





Do You Use AAC? You’re Invited to Join Us!

At the First Annual AAC Town Hall Meeting at Closing the Gap 2017, we will discuss What Brings Us Together? Everybody is welcome to attend, but only those who use AAC can speak. If you communicate using AAC, come share your thoughts!

Please RSVP to by September 22nd!*
There is no cost for people who use AAC and one assistant to attend the Town Hall meeting


Facilitators will ask one question at a time and everybody will have a turn to answer. These are the questions that the facilitators will ask. Please prepare your answers in advance so you are ready to share and make connections with other participants:

1. What is your name?      2. Where are you from?      3. How are we the same?

4. How are we different?      5. What makes you strong?      6. If you could do anything, what would you do?

Facilitators, Tom Reed and Eh Nay Moo pictured above.


*Email Deanna to RSVP if you plan to attend/participate in the Town Hall. Also let her know  if you will have an assistant, which parts of the conference you wish to attend and if you have any equipment or technology needs related to your AAC system.

Closing the Gap is offering participants in this presentation (individuals who use AAC and one assistant), free admission Wednesday, October 18. Those interested in full conference participation, may attend the full 3-day conference (Oct. 18-20), for the reduced rate of $200 (one assistant receives a guest pass). 
AAC users interested in participation, must contact Deanna on or before September 22. Closing The Gap will follow up directly with participants after September 22 with conference specifics and registration options.


Date and Time:

  • October 18, 2017
  • 12:30 pm – 3:00 pm


  • Deanna Morrow
  • Jolene Hyppa Martin