November 1, 2012

The Power of a Point….or a ‘PowerPoint’…..

Posted in Assistive Technology, Autism, IEPs at 9:15 PM by kellyvansingel

November 1, 2012

When Gillian was in preschool, she was a solid user of a low-tech AAC (Augmentative Alternative Communication) system called PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System).  She had over 200 words that she identify receptively in a verbal behavior program. I felt she was ready to begin exploring some type of high-tech AAC system–one that would give her an even stronger communicative presence by giving her voice output.

It was not thought by all members of the IEP team at the time that Gilly was ready to use a high-tech voice output speech generating device (SGD), but ‘the mama’ did. When I encounter times of disagreement with my IEP team, it often makes me want to make a PowerPoint to um…..well….make a point. (Gilly is not a series of goals and present levels on paper. She is a person who deserves a voice.  She is my kid.  I often find that slideshows help to make this point in IEP team meetings. Even just bringing a photo of your child to an IEP meeting can be an effective way for everyone to ‘not forget’ who the meeting is about.)

This is the slideshow I created to explain Gilly’s story to the IEP team and how more robust assistive technology could benefit her.

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I included images from her babyhood and toddlerhood.  I included pictures of her sister.  I included pictures showing her interest in dynamic display, cause & effect, and a presentation from CSUN 2009 about PECS Methodology in High Tech AAC Devices.  Gilly could continue to use PECS while adding another layer, a second AAC system–one giving more perception to communicative intent and a more noticable impact to those around her by providing voice output.

The CSUN presentation demonstrated that PECS is an excellent low-tech device to use previously AND concurrently with high-tech AAC.  Within a few months, the IEP team was on board and in agreement. The High-Tech AAC train was now leaving the Gilly station.


“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11.

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