Today was the Pre-Conference day with three full-day workshops run. Jane Farrall, Janelle Sampson and Kelly Moore had the pleasure of my company in their iPad lab entitled ‘Apps for AAC: Adding iPads to your AAC Toolkit’. The presentations can be downloaded here.
It was a really enjoyable day! The first session seemed to go by in a flash with Janelle expertly setting the scene with a bit of a review of the evidence base in AAC, the key frameworks to consider and the challenges involved with AAC. A couple of key takeaway messages for me in the early part:
Be person-centred! Look at what the individual needs and then find the most appropriate solution to help them.
Model. Role play. Practise. Repeat.
AAC is multi modal. Find out what the user can do and what they want to do
Need to address participation needs and pragmatic functions
After the break we got to play with and evaluate a number of apps on the Apple-sponsored iPad minis. A couple of them I was aware of but there were a few fun ones such as Fat Cat Outback Chat that fit a niche market.
Something I found quite interesting was Mayer-Johnson will not allow anyone to use their PCS images. This creates an issue as users that are familiar with Boardmaker and the PCS imagery may not transition easily to any other app with different images. Turns out there are 3 different symbol systems – from this laymans perspective it seems to be counter-productive and sounds a lot like the old Beta v VHS battle (or Blu-ray v HD-DVD).
Was a great day, full of information and a number of new learnings to take back to the office. Looking through Twitter it sounds like the other 2 workshops were equally as informative and enjoyable. Just as enjoyable was catching up with various people from last years Spectronics ILT conference and the new people I have connected with since on Twitter and Facebook – arguably this networking was more important that the actual workshop, am prepared to continue both over the next few days to see!
Tomorrow the conference starts in earnest, still haven’t decided what concurrent sessions to attend but I am pretty confident it will be HUGE!