“One of the consequences of only providing support at the point of substantial or critical risk is that by the time people reach that stage their needs are usually urgent, complex and costly.” Says Maggie Winchcombe, writer for The Guardian UK.

She makes an excellent point, and it’s one that deserves some discussion.

What are we, as a society of care providers – formal and informal – doing to ensure that care is both realistic and timely, preventative and appropriate? At Mozzaz, we’re seeking to engage with clinicians and healthcare organizations looking to up their standard of care by leveraging today’s mobile technology solutions.

Out of 500 people surveyed aged 50-70, the majority was unaware that there are solutions that already exist that could serve their complex care needs in a way that improves their standard of living. Furthermore, these technologies, such as our Mozzaz Care solution, can keep them independent in their preferred place of residence.

The Key to Independence is Proper Advice

The issue is not whether or not we can help; the technologies we have access to in today’s medicinal landscape can meet more complex needs than ever before. The issue is that most people lack the proper advice when choosing what solution works best for them.

Without proper advice, a new healthcare tool ends up tucked away in a closet like a piece of old exercise equipment.

That’s why we are consistently training new healthcare providers and organizations to ensure they are capable and competent enough to guide their care clientele towards a solution that fits their lifestyle and care needs.

The Key to Independence is Proper Advice 2

Ultimately, people need to be given the information and then decide for themselves. But if healthcare providers are not open to new ideas, then their care clientele is being censored from potentially life changing solutions.

We are always striving to empower the patient; if that means using our solution then that’s great – but the important piece for us is that the care recipient has been given the information they deserve and learned that there currently are ways to improve their life in a costly, efficient manner.

No Ones at Fault and Were All to Blame 1

No one’s at fault and we’re all to blame – my initial reaction to a story about a 9-year-old boy with autism being handcuffed and removed from his Ottawa, Canada school following a temper tantrum.

The parents are currently filing complaints with the school board and the police, and are also considering taking their son, Daniel, to a different school.

What Should Have Happened?

The school staff are trained in Non-Violent Crisis Intervention (NVCI), a method of identifying and dealing with escalating behaviours typically seen in children and adults with special needs. This child was clearly at the last stage, which dictates you isolate and do not engage because the individual is over-stimulated and not in a position to be reasoned with logically.

As a care provider for people with special needs for over eight years, I can attest that these behaviours are not abnormal. At some homes I’ve worked in you could see this type of behavioural outburst 2-3 times before breakfast is served.

No Ones at Fault and Were All to Blame 2

A Divided Readership

If you read the comments below the multitude of articles covering this story, you’ll see some people on the (rightfully so) side of the angry parents, and others defending the police officer for using handcuffs. The thing is, both sides are completely right, but that’s not the point.

You see, if the boy had been left alone to cool off, which individuals almost always do, the situation would’ve resolved itself. However, when the police officer entered the fray, she inadvertently over-stimulated an already overly-stimulated person. Inevitably, she had to use the tools at her disposal (handcuffs) to respond to a potential threat – that is typical police stuff and she should not be crucified for doing her job… It’s just that she didn’t need to be doing her job in this instance.

Nobody Wins Unless Everybody Wins

Now, we’re left with a police force facing negative publicity (because that doesn’t happen enough), parents who are angry about the treatment of their child, and, most importantly, a child who is emotionally scarred and will likely never trust anyone in uniform again.

No Ones at Fault and Were All to Blame 3

So who’s to blame?

Well, we are, or at least, Canadian society is. We are massively lacking in the tools and resources to adequately understand and support individuals with special needs and it is causing situations like these on a frequent basis.

We’re putting ordinary people in extraordinary situations and expecting them to react perfectly each and every time – it’s not going to happen.

No one’s at fault and we’re all to blame.

We do a lot of monitoring of and writing in the healthcare and patient empowerment space here on the Mozzaz blog; so, when we came across an article detailing how customer service in 2015 is going to be the best year for consumers, ever, we couldn’t ignore it.

The article, which details five ways customer service is set to ‘explode’ in 2015, talks about how customers are no longer going to wait on brands to give them the information they need. Rather, people are looking for ways to rapidly acquire the information they want from their favourite brands by using channels of communication available through their smartphone.

2015 The Year of the Consumer 1

What does this mean for healthcare? Well, it’s not a stretch to imagine that people with chronic conditions are still doing everyday things like shopping – so it’s also safe to assume that these people are using their devices to seek empowerment.

If brands are ramping up to give customers the tools they need to make informed decisions then healthcare better take notice; people know what they deserve and they’re willing to go to your competitors to get it.

2015 The Year of the Consumer 2

I’ve had the privilege of having Dr. Reg Reynolds on my son’s autism care team over the last several years. Although now officially retired, he still has passion in the autism treatment research and for the autism community. In fact he has wrote a great book “Teaching Children with Autism: An ABA Primer”. This book is a “must share” book with anyone connected to autism. It is written in plain English and systematically walks the reader through a number of concepts and applications that any parent could easily grasp. It’s packed with great sources of information on specific topics.


Teaching children with autism


ABA, short for Applied Behavior Analysis, has the most research support in the treatment for autism. As Dr. Reynolds says, “It’s not perfect and there are many myths and misconceptions but it is a proven technique when implemented properly.”

ABA is not a technique that should only be used in a school or therapy setting. Dr. Reynolds strongly urges parents to learn the teaching strategies and apply them in all their interactions with their child for a few reasons:

“First, experience has shown that a child’s progress in ABA is directly related to the extent to which his or her parents are involved in his or her teaching/training. Second, there are many opportunities for teaching/learning outside of any formal instruction program which may be set up for the child, and most of that teaching has to be done by the parents. Third, because ABA for children with autism is most often provided within the context of intensive behavioral intervention (IBI), and because this is expensive and outside funding is usually limited, parents should learn how to provide the instruction that their child is likely to need on an ongoing basis for many years to come.”

I look forward to my continued conversations with Dr. Reynolds and I’ll be sure to share additional insights on this blogposts.

Teaching Children with Autism, An ABA Primer (2013) by Dr. Reg Reynolds is published by Lulu Enterprises (ISBN 978-1-300-74618-8) and is available on their website,

In observance of Disability Employment Awareness Month, WalletHub ranked the nation’s best and worst cities for people with disabilities to live. And the winner… Overland Park, Kansas! The factors were based on three key areas — economic environment, quality of life and health care — to assess each locale and determine what the site called “the most suitable conditions for individuals with disabilities.”

You can check out the full report here with all the details and the methodology behind the study.


2014 Best


Top 10 list:


2014 Best 2

Glenda Anderson has a great blog resource on everything “assistive technology” with great tips, ideas and resources to help people with disabilities lead more independent lives. I came across this post on writing goals for AAC users that can be included in an IEP as we are currently working with a number of school boards.


Goals to Support

Here are a few points from her blog (of which there is more) so I would encourage you to check it out:

Remembering that goals must be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely, when it comes to AAC, we must also consider that who, what, when, where and how.

  • Who does our student need to communicate with?
  • What do they need to be able to communicate for?
  • When do they communicate?
  • Where do they go in their lives?
  • How are they going to communicate?

There are 4 primary functions of AAC. This should be the heart of your IEP goals:

1. Expression of wants and needs

2. Exchange of information

3. Social closeness

4. Social etiquette

Take into consideration where your client is in the communication process. What is important to him/her. Know the purpose (see Janice Light's questionnaire about picking the right vocabulary. This will help you to choose your goals. The purpose of the communication.)

Resources for writing AAC goals:

  • Gail M. Van Tatenhove, MS, CCC-SLP has provided a powerpoint entitled, “AAC in the IEP”.
  • The AAC Institute has provided: Writing IEP Goals? Start by Asking Questions by Robin Wisner, not specifically for AAC but more about asking ourselves questions that will help us to avoid those repetitive, testing type activities being used in conjunction with our kids’ IEP goals. 
  • Documenting Assistive Technology in the IEP Developed by the Georgia Project for Assistive Technology walks you through each step of the IEP process, including writing goals. 
  • Dynamic AAC Goals Grid provides a wonderful planning guide/checklist to help you walk through the process of seeing where the gaps are.
  • DynaVox "Writing Goals" Tips providing the SMART approach: Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Time Limited
  • PrAACtical Suggestions: Writing Goals for People Learning AAC discusses AAC as a means to an end. A focus on language and communication means that we have to consider all of the various ways that the person communicates. PrAACtical AAC Goals Sample goals can serve as inspiration to develop specific, measurable, individualized AAC goals. They also have a nice, short article entitled: “I Made a Communication Board. Now What?” that can be very helpful in guiding your teaching approach.
  • How I Do It: Writing IEP Goals for Students Who Use AAC with Lauren Enders providing a very valuable perspective on writing IEP goals for students who use or need AAC and some wonderful resources.
  • Linda Burkhart has a guide, entitled: Writing IEP Goals and Objectives for Authentic Communication for Children with Complex Communication Needs
  • SpeakingofSpeech offers an actual goal bank for supporting AAC use.
  • USHAonline provides Sample AAC Goals:The goal is the measurable educational literacy goal. How to set goals for assistive technology in an IEP.

Great work Glenda and thank you for your contribution!

Seems like April is many things: Autism Awareness, Parkinson’s Awareness, even Distracted Driving Awareness Month. It’s also Stress Awareness Month. We can all relate to stress and its effects on us. Stress can effect in our bodies in a multitude of ways – from headaches, to blood pressure, to digestion issues – it’s not a fun ride for anyone. We know it can physically take a toll, but what about mentally? Depression, eating disorders, alcohol and drug abuse, anxiety, lack of focus – these are but a few.

There are many simple ways to destress during the day (throwing your chair out of the window may seem like a stress relieving action, but believe us when we say it only brings about more…!)

Infographic Source:
  • Turn off your computer screen, close your eyes, and take 5 deep breaths. Try to remove the distractions around you and focus on your breathing.
  • Go to and browse for about 5 minutes. Cute animals are always a great distraction and make you smile.
  • Create a to-do list (although this in itself can be stressful!) and be sure to include even the simple tasks like checking your email, printing out a document, and setting a reminder call. As you complete each task during the day, strike them off. Seeing your progress will help to make you feel positive and less stressed.
  • Download The Mindfulness App from iTunes. For just $2 it’s built to help you with mediation and be mindful of your inner-self and the world around you.
  • Have a dance party! Put on your favorite song and dance around. Do it alone or with someone else, a dance around the room will up your energy and make you smile.

If you are struggling with stress levels, consulting your family doctor is a good idea.



As part of a back-to-school series, the Microsoft in Education team highlighted several Windows education apps for students, parents and teachers. Mozzaz TalkingTiles was highlighted as popular app to support students with special needs.


Mozzaz Microsoft

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Mozzaz in action at the Mississippi Adolescent Center

Watch the video here.

The versatility in the content that can be created with Mozzaz and now with the data collection and observation tracking features available in the solution further extends the power both teachers and parents can utilize to support our kids.