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NovaChat® 2.38 Update Now Available

Posted on 2022-08-19 11:19:50 by Admin under News

Whiteboard has now been added to the newest 2.38 software version. Take some time today to update and get ready to have fun drawing, collaborating and sharing!

Work on Literacy and Emerging Writing with Whiteboard

Since scribbling and giving meaning to those scribbles is an important first step in developing written language, the whiteboard feature is an invaluable tool when working on literacy and emerging writing skills with your AAC learner. Providing your AAC learner with opportunities to draw using an alternative pencil in whiteboard puts them on a path to developing written language and literacy skills.

A Handy Communication Aid

In addition to being a great tool for literacy and emerging writing, whiteboard can also be used to create drawings and other visual prompts that can help aid communication, making it a very versatile tool!

Ways to Get Creative with Whiteboard:

FUN WITH COLOR

Great for drawing, practicing writing skills, and more, whiteboard comes equipped with black, red, green, blue, and yellow colors for plenty of colorful inspiration!

DRAW LINES YOUR WAY

You have the freedom to choose thin, normal, or thick line widths (thicknesses) to give your writing and drawing activities just the right look and accommodate a variety of vision challenges.

SAVE YOUR WORK

Love your drawing and want to keep it for later? Whiteboard lets you save your work, giving you the ability to load it again later so your artwork or writing is always at-the-ready!

YOUR DRAWING, YOUR WAY

Clear, Undo, and Erase functions enable you to delete or fine-tune your creations quickly and easily.

  • Clear – Removes the entire drawing
  • Undo – Removes the most recent addition or change
  • Erase – Removes a portion of your drawing

Update your NovaChat to 2.38 today and get ready to express yourself with the new whiteboard feature!


Group Coaching for the Back-to-School Win!

Posted on 2022-08-16 11:20:38 by Admin under News

Exclusively Designed for Parents and Family Members of AAC Learners 

You’ll knock your communication partner skills out of the park with invaluable support and guidance from our AAC Group Coaching Program. Developed specifically for parents, guardians, family members, and other caregivers of communicators using AAC, this informal, interactive program now includes four self-paced, eLearning courses combined with four live, online meetings. You’ll be learning along with a small group of other communication partners who are also supporting family members using PRC-Saltillo speech-generating devices and apps.

All-Star Results Start with Elite Coaching

Whether your AAC learner has just received a new speech-generating device or has had one for a while, you can benefit from the group coaching experience. There’s so much to learn and your group coach will become your go-to resource for effective communication strategies and more! Many parents and caregivers just like you have participated in our AAC Group Coaching Program and are continuing to score big results with their AAC learners. Listen to what a few past participants have to say!

Start the Clock on Skills You’ll Benefit from Immediately

Your AAC coach, a certified speech-language pathologist, will lead you and up to five other participants through a series of four, hour-long, online sessions that are designed to provide you with the tools you need to confidently work with your AAC communicator and become their biggest champion. Before each online meeting, you’ll have access to a new, self-paced, eLearning course that introduces you to upcoming topics. You’ll learn techniques and strategies to provide more communication opportunities and encourage increased interactions throughout this four-week coaching program that costs under $200 — that’s just $25 each for eight combined online and eLearning sessions jam-packed with invaluable resources from an SLP with expertise in AAC and vocabulary systems!

Huddle Up with Other Families

These fun, interactive meetings provide lots of opportunities for discussion with others who understand your family’s challenges. From sharing your communication celebrations to expressing a particular challenge you’ve encountered, this group format helps you develop your skills while interacting with others who may have similar experiences and input to share.  

Achieving Goals with AAC

Week by week, you’ll be building upon your communication partner skills, making you better equipped to assist your family member who uses AAC in becoming a better communicator. By learning to provide more opportunities for communication, you can see growth in:

  • Increased independence
  • Enhanced vocabulary use and word combinations
  • Greater ability to express wants, needs, thoughts, feelings, questions, and medical concerns

Back-to-School with Effective Communication Tools

Here are just a few of the topics you’ll cover in this program:

  • The importance of making your child’s communication system available across all environments
  • Where to get a lite-tech back-up version of the AAC device
  • Techniques for inviting individuals who use AAC to communicate with their speech-generating devices while not telling them what to say
  • How to determine which vocabulary words to focus on
  • And much more!

Space is limited for these popular group coaching opportunities so take a few moments to reserve your spot in an upcoming class today! You’ll learn so much, you’ll be inspired to say “put me in coach! I’m ready to play an important role in my child’s AAC journey!”

 


Become an AAC Learning Journey All-Star!

Posted on 2022-08-16 10:47:08 by Admin under News

Your Back-to-School Resource for Communication Success 

Start the school year off right by training and flexing your AAC muscles with PRC-Saltillo’s AAC Learning Journey, one streamlined platform featuring a winning array of resources including e-learning classes and instructor-led trainings. You’ll score big with 24/7 access to invaluable educational resources that will equip you and your team with the knowledge you need to empower AAC communicators and help them achieve their full potential.

 

All-Star Learning Lineup

Whether you’re a parent searching for strategies to help your child who uses AAC or a clinician, educator, or other professional committed to expanding your knowledge, AAC Learning Journey has an array of resources tailored to your interests and time constraints.

  • Live or eLearning options
  • Expansive selection of free resources
  • Select courses qualify for ASHA CEUs, including many eLearning resources
  • Class durations that fit your busy schedule
  • Beginner to advanced AAC topics
  • Learning plans with courses curated to build your knowledge

 

Don’t Fumble, Get Started Today!

  1. If you haven’t already, visit www.aaclearningjourney.com and check out an overview of the resources available. With product trainings, implementation strategies and much more, you’ll find a variety of content ranging in length to accommodate your schedule.
  2. Upon selecting a course, you will be prompted to Enroll and either Sign In with your existing PRC-Saltillo account or Create an Account to complete course registration as well as to explore the entire course catalog from PRC-Saltillo.

 

Upcoming Live Trainings

When you’re signed in, be sure to check out the calendar on the lower right-hand corner of AAC Learning Journey’s homepage for live training opportunities on dates denoted with a purple dot. Stay in-the-know on our latest virtual and on-location trainings led by experts dedicated to a wide variety of AAC topics. These live trainings are an excellent way to immerse yourself in a subject you’re eager to learn more about while giving you opportunities to interact with the instructor and fellow participants.

  • Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP) – Upcoming dates: 9/9, 9/26, 10/18
  • LAMP at Home: A Webinar for Parents – Upcoming dates: 8/30, 10/11
  • Customizing Your Chat Device: Part 1 – 8/17
  • Customizing Your Chat Device: Part 2 – 8/18
  • Customizing TouchChat: Part 1 – 8/24
  • Customizing TouchChat: Part 2 – 8/25
  • Getting Beyond Basic Requesting – Upcoming dates: 9/12, 11/7
  • Effectively Teaching AAC: Beyond the Therapy Session – Upcoming dates: 8/29, 11/7

 

Set Your Own Pace this Back-to-School Season

The coming weeks are busy with all the hustle and bustle that a new school year brings. AAC Learning Journey allows the flexibility to learn at your own pace while gaining knowledge you can put into practice immediately.

Where are you going with AAC? Join today to kick off this Back-to-School season and lead your team to victory!


In Loving Memory Of Jane Odom

Posted on 2022-07-22 14:20:37 by Admin under News

Forever in Our Hearts as a Friend, Colleague, and Champion for the AAC Community

Passionate. Joyful. Artistic. Fun. Caring. These are just some of the words that are consistently top of mind for Jane’s closest friends and colleagues as they reflect on her life and legacy. Words somehow don’t seem sufficient to describe this amazing woman who embodied an enthusiastic zest for life that was truly contagious, impacting everyone who knew her and challenging us all to make the world a better place.

“Jane’s energy and passion for AAC radiated in everything she did,” says Dave Hershberger, PRC-Saltillo’s CEO. “Her excitement around our ambassadors and our teams who support AAC communicators was unmatched in the field.”

Stemming back to her days attending Temple University in the early 1990s, Jane was a strong advocate for AAC users, volunteering her time as an AAC Mentor with the Augmentative Communication and Empowerment Supports (ACES) Summer Program through the Institute on Disabilities. This is where she met Kirk Behnke who was a fellow student and the coordinator for the ACES program at the time.

Today, Kirk is PRC-Saltillo’s Training & Implementation Services Manager and shares, “She was a pure energy force with whomever she came in contact — Especially at ACES. Her heart, passion, and drive gave individuals who could not communicate in traditional ways their empowerment. This program gave her a venue to be her honest and true self, as a teacher, mentor, leader, confidant, and friend.”

As a strong champion for AAC, her career led her to serve as an AAC Consultant first with Assistive Technology Works (ATW) beginning in the late 1990s and then with PRC from 2002 until 2010. She brought that same level of enthusiasm and passion to her role as the AAC Language Lab’s Training & Implementation Specialist starting in 2010 until her recent passing.

Sarah Wilds, VP, Product & Service Development at PRC-Saltillo remembers, “Jane envisioned the AAC Language Lab as a place where you didn’t need a master’s degree in speech-language pathology to get great AAC implementation ideas. She was committed to showing support teams how to be creative and have fun with AAC.”

 

Both nationally and in her home state of Arizona, Jane made immense contributions that will undoubtedly have a positive impact in the AAC field for decades to come. From participating in community-based AAC groups to developing and curating support materials for the AAC Language Lab, Jane gave countless presentations on implementation, serving as a leader in her field and a dependable go-to resource within the AAC community.

“She practiced what she preached and loved helping teachers, therapists, family members, and end users teach and use AAC,” shares Kara Bidstrup, Certified Product Owner and Stakeholder Manager for PRC-Saltillo. “She loved working with our ambassadors and bringing out the best in them. Jane made AAC friends and colleagues everywhere she went and her contributions will not be forgotten.”

One of Jane’s greatest loves was working with PRC-Saltillo’s ambassadors and other adult AAC users. She founded PRC-Saltillo’s Toastmasters Club on May 1 of this year, empowering members to connect virtually using technology to improve communication, presentation, and leadership skills. She remarked in Prescott, Arizona’s The Daily Courier, “Everybody deserves a voice. With Toastmasters they can become better speakers while building confidence and leadership skills.”

“I was excited when Jane asked me to join our Toastmasters chapter,” says Anthony Arnold. “This is a wonderful opportunity for ambassadors to improve their writing and public speaking skills. The Ambassador Program has a brighter tomorrow thanks to this investment.”

Ambassador and Toastmaster member Carson Covey adds, “I worked with a lot of speech therapists and speech therapist assistants in my life. Not even one of them had as much passion about AAC as Jane had.” Fellow ambassador and Toastmaster Mackenzie Sanders remarks, “She helped me get involved in being an ambassador and she was always so positive about my blogs! She got me involved in Toastmasters and I love it!”

As exuberant of a powerhouse as Jane was in AAC, she was just as passionate and engaging in her personal interactions, making fast friends with everyone she met. “Jane had a gift of making everyone she met feel like they were loved, important, valuable, and her best friend forever,” shares Jennifer Edge-Savage, AAC Consultant, Eastern Massachusetts for PRC-Saltillo. “She lived life fully and loudly and kindly and thoughtfully with that mischievous grin and enormous laugh.”

Sarah adds, “She could find common ground based on a piece of jewelry someone was wearing, a mention of a city where she knew someone, or a common interest (and she had LOTS). Because of this networking, she could connect people in completely different countries and from completely different industries.”

 

Jane embraced every day and every experience to the fullest and inspired others to do the same. One year during ATIA, Jane spearheaded a trip to the Ice Bar in Orlando, Florida where patrons are encouraged to wear fur coats and hug furry penguins, all while sipping drinks from glasses made of ice. Kara Bidstrup says, “of course she rented the fur coat to wear! On a different trip, I went with her to the gospel brunch at the Hard Rock Café. These were things I wouldn’t most likely do on my own, but they were so fun. She did this type of stuff all of the time and squeezed the most out of life.” Russell Cross, Language Systems Product Manager at PRC-Saltillo adds, “It was never simply a ‘day out’ with Jane — it was an adventure. And what adventures she has had!”

Carson reminisces about spending time with Jane at an ATIA conference. “I heard Jane say ‘Carson, come see me.’ This time I am thinking ‘what did I do wrong?’ So I followed Jane to a different room. Most of the ambassadors called her mom, so I said, ‘did I do something wrong mom?’ She said no and I looked down and saw five different standing robots. Jane said, ‘Carson, say walk on your device.’ None of the five robots worked. Jane promptly kicked every robot across the room with colorful language. I said that is partly why they did not work!”

Jane was also a highly creative soul and loved spending time creating ceramics and completing the firing process in her very own kiln. Jennifer recalls, “My favorite memory may be listening to her having a wonderfully animated conversation with my 3-year-old, aspiring artist daughter at ATIA about clay techniques, resulting in my daughter commissioning a very specific piece of art from Jane and her newly-acquired kiln. In true Jane fashion, a ceramic orange fish with one fin smaller than the other, who was NOT Nemo, arrived soon after!”

Jane was a true friend. She will be remembered forever for the smiles she shared so freely and for the way she, in Sarah’s words, “modeled a world where every single person had something to say — and who helped make that possible via the work she did with the AAC Language Lab and AAC ambassadors.”

While reflecting on Jane’s life and legacy, Kirk remarks, “Jane would want to be remembered as someone who took charge of her own life and made a difference. She would want to be remembered as a fellow colleague who supported the mission that Everyone Deserves a Voice.”

When asked how she thinks Jane would want to be remembered, Mackenzie replied, “Jane would probably want to be remembered for her passion for AAC and for the people who use it and the amazing way she made them feel! She was the most positive person I have known in life!”

Some people come into our lives and leave an indelible mark that will last a lifetime. “I can’t remember exactly when I first met Jane because it feels as if I’ve always known her,” Russell shares. “Some friends are like that. It’s as if they’ve always been there, even when the calendar tells you differently. I suppose that’s because the power of a friendship isn’t measured by the clock but by the heart. It’s timeless.”

Rest in peace, Jane. Thank you for teaching us all to live each moment to the fullest while looking to the future with hope, optimism, joy, and a touch of your trademark playfulness! #SeeJaneSmile