"Experience has shown that a child’s progress in ABA directly related to the extent to which his or her parents are involved in his or her teaching/training."
Psychologist Dr. R Reynolds has been working with autistic children for the past 15 years. His career first led him to working with adults, but his interest in children with special needs - particularly autism - stemmed from his daughter’s work with autistic children. With his interest sparked, he began researching extensively and reaching out to colleagues with further inquiry. Towards the end of his lifelong career, he found a niche of working with autistic children, and now in his semi-retired state, he continues to provide services and has even written a book to help parents and other professionals gain a better understanding to introducing and integrating Applied Behaviour Analysis in a child’s care and routine.
Dr. Reynolds’ book, Teaching Children with Autism: An ABA Primer, is written in a simple and direct manner. His intended audience is both parents and therapists, with the stress that parents need to be actively engaged in carrying through the ABA therapy at home.
A key message that Dr. Reynolds hopes readers walk away with is that people need to be aware that a diagnostic label is simply just a label. If a child is diagnosed with autism, there is no answer to why or how; doctors are not able to yet distinguish what causes autism. Remembering that the person is an individual with their own unique strengths and weaknesses is a key factor to their development. Therapy and treatment plans must be developed according to the individuals needs.
Currently, his book can be purchased through his publisher, Lulu, on Amazon, and Parentbooks in Toronto, Ontario. In the future, his book may be available through Chapters. You can also read his personal blog, RMReynoldsBlog.
The Widgit Symbol Set has been developed over the past 30 years and contains more than 12,000 symbols, which cover an English vocabulary of over 40,000 words.
Widgit Symbols are used all over the world, supporting 17 languages, and we’re proud to have them as part of the TalkingTILES library of symbols.
The symbol set is organized in a schematic structure with ‘rules’ for the way in which they are formed. Widgit offers a great user’s guide on how to effectively use this set for learning and communicating. Below is an overview of how the symbols are organized:
|The Widgit Symbol Set is organized into clear and simple categories and sub categories, for ease of reference and location. The symbols conform to a clear schematic structure to help learners develop their vocabulary independently.|
Refer to Widgit’s Guide to Symbols – a great resource for learning and utilizing this symbol set.
|The vocabulary illustrated by Widgit Symbols covers an extensive range of topics, including a wide range of curriculum areas such as Science and Math.|
Learn more about the “Level of Symbols” and “Qualifier” symbols being used by Widgit.
|Try out Widgit Symbols from TalkingTILES and share with us your stories!|
All the best – Team Mozzaz!
|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: http://dailyinfographic.com/stress-on-the-body-infographic|
- 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 http://cuteoverload.com/ 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.
Mozzaz CEO to speak at HIMMS 2014 Panel ‘Beyond BYOx – The Internet of Things in Healthcare’
Our CEO, Sammy Wahab, will be participating in a panel discussion at the HIMMS 2014 Conference later this month in Orlando, Florida. The panel, moderated by Dell Healthcare & Life Science’s Alex Castillo, looks at the trend of patients bringing their own mobile devices to healthcare settings for the purpose of treatment and connecting with their care team.
The expert panel will discuss how BYOx has affected healthcare, and strategies organizations are adapting to manage this trend. Further to that, they will explore how today’s implementation of a scalable BYOx strategy can prepare healthcare organizations for the future of connected devices. Sammy will provide his insight and experiences as the man behind TalkingTiles, and how our collaborative approach to consumer driven healthcare is putting the access to care in the hands of the patient, allowing them to access therapy and treatment when they need it.
Catch Sammy with the rest of the panel speakers on Wednesday, February 26 at 7:30am. Click here to Register
Expert panelists include:
- Milton Chen , CEO, VSee
- Trey McMillian, VP of Information Systems, Vidant Health
- Sammy Wahab, CEO, Mozzaz Corporation
- Ben Wilson, MBA, MPH, Director, Mobile Health, Intel Corporation
- Bridget Winders, Executive Director, Dell Healthcare & Life Sciences
Alex Castillo, Solutions Marketing Strategist, Dell Healthcare and Life Sciences
Successful implementation of using assistive technology with students requires more than just handing over the device. It can be a complex process that takes several years before it is fully adopted. The process is not dependent on the tool alone, but on the process and people who are involved. Successful implementation is collaborative, systematic, recursive, flexible, and based on the student’s learning goals and needs. It is a team effort from the educator, therapist, parent, caregiver, and student. All of those involved must understand the tool and the needs of the student.
In order to be effective, the care team must spend time evaluating and training with the selected tool. Following this, planning how the tool will be used in regards to the students learning and therapy plan prior to having the student use the tool will help the student more readily adopt it. Support from other teachers, educators, school administration and staff, therapists, family members and caregivers is vital – each individual or group is vital in the process. School administration and staff approve the use and training of the tool, educators and therapists must all freely exchange information and provide updates, and the families and caregivers must understand how to use the tool to continue its use at home and outside of the school setting.
The student’s individual preferences and learning needs contribute to the success of the assistive technology intervention. Students should be given the opportunity to evaluate AT tools to determine which is the best fit for them – studies show that students who have not participated in an evaluation process are more likely to abandon technology that does not meet their requirements. Once students begin using their selected tool, it is important to monitor their development and learning environment. Doing so will help their care team make any needed adjustments to the learning and therapy plan that is associated with the tool being used.
What exactly is involved in an effective assistive technology implantation plan?
- Gathering information: collect and gather relevant information that will be used to identify specific IEP goals that will be supported by technology
- Establish IEP goals: look at the IEP goals and the strategies for outcome evaluation
- Conduct AT trial: explore different options to determine the correct tool
- Identify AT solution: based on the information gathered through assessments and trials, establish IEP goals, select the most appropriate tool
- Develop the implementation plan: work collaboratively with the team to create a plan that includes set up and configuration, team and student training, integration of the technology into the student’s daily program, and assessment tools that will be used to determine effectiveness
- Adapt lessons for AT integration: daily lesson plans are to be adapted to work with the tool to meet learning goals
- Follow up and plan transition: conduct frequent reviews to ensure effectiveness, make plans for further adaptions if needed, and create a transition plan to allow the student to take the tool with them without interruption from one class to another
What have you found to be effective strategies in implementing assistive technology tools with your students and clients?
We communicate with each other because we want to ask for what we want, reject what we don’t want, comment on what we see, tell stories, complain, ask and answer questions, and more. However, students who are in need of communication supports are often provided with insufficient vocabularies. To help your students gain a meaningful core vocabulary, there are multiple ways that you can implement strategies into the classroom setting using an AAC device.
- Request/choice making
- Visual schedules
- Information transformer
Request or choice making gives the student the opportunity to express what they want or need, and to help them creatively find ways to say things differently. Begin by using objects that are of interest to the student to help increase meaningful communication and be sure to identify your target language with core words. Examples would be playing card games like Go Fish or Uno – how many ways can you think of using beyond “I, you, it, give, have, not”? Another idea is to create/discuss errands. If someone is delivering the mail, they would use “I” and “give” – have your student think of other ways to effectively deliver the mail with their core vocabulary.
Creating visual schedules can aid students in understanding the structure and parameters of the day, can assist with directions for activities, and supports teaching multiple concepts.
You can lay out your visual schedules in a variety of ways. A vertical layout is good for lists and schedules, horizontal is good for directions, while a ring is a different way to show one activity at a time. Assistive Care apps like TalkingTiles allows you to customize the layout of each page, giving you the opportunity to create different kinds of visual schedules for different purposes.
When using visual schedules, you can review the items as you go using time order words or phrases to indicate the activity has passed. For example “First math, next spelling, last break time” or “Math is finished, now spelling, next break time.”
Early communicators often talk about people, objects, and events as a way to transfer information. Events can include human interactions, can be talked about using a variety of words, and can allow the AAC user to reflect internally. When the events are meaningful and related to the person, it helps to increase interaction and language use.
Core words helps the communication exchange by allowing them to be used to describe events with a communication partner helping to produce novel, generative language.
An example of how to use information transfer is by creating Experience Pages on TalkingTiles. You can use symbol images from the symbol libraries, or you can use real photos – such as a photo of a movie stub or restaurant napkin, or even a picture of a person who was there – to help show what was involved in the experience. This helps to engage the student into a conversation as you can ask about each item shown, prompting them to reply. When using this strategy, be sure to follow along at the student’s level of understanding.
As your student’s ability with Core Vocabulary increases, you will find more ways to directly your student in expressing and using language. What ways have you found to be effective?
Reference: Material for this blog post was extracted from Understanding, Implementing, and Communicating with Core Vocabulary by D. Anderson and K. Bittner, August 2013.
I had the privilege of attending and presenting at ISTE2013 this year in San Antonio. Thanks to Dell and Microsoft for inviting us and giving us the opportunity to showcase TalkingTiles as part of the Special Education Technology track.
Firstly, this conference was HUGE! Unofficial numbers were over 20,000 educators, IT in education pros, and education technology vendors.
One of the areas where I had some great conversations was around Universal Design for Learning (‘UDL’) and learning and teaching special education. In fact, Mozzaz is now a member of ISTE’s Special Education Technology group.
UDL is an interesting concept that is really part of an overall movement toward design in general that involves engineering for flexibility, for alternative access, options and adaptations to meet the challenge of diversity. With TalkingTiles, our mission is to create an Accessible, Adaptable & Affordable solution for everyone who may require an assistive care app or learning through a mobile device utilizing a lot of the concepts and ideas in UDL.
At its simplest, the scope of UDL is based entirely on three principles:
In real-life practice with our education clients, we actively encourage TalkingTiles to be an integrated component of the individual’s learning program, particularly for a special needs student. TalkingTiles can be used for presenting information through visual symbols and words, to express themselves with personalized pictures and content and to stimulate interest through interactive tiles. This, when used with real objects, games, and their surroundings can make for a real engaging and inclusive learning experience.
We’re proud to be apart of this initiative and look forward to contributing to the content and concepts in driving UDL forward with TalkingTiles.
To learn more about UDL and technology check out:
The travelling Mozzaz team - Sammy and Linda - headed south again to Florida this past week for the CoCENTRIX Compass User’s Conference in Sarasota.
It wasn’t all hard work though! Things got a little fishy 25 miles out on the Gulf of Mexico. With the ocean breeze in their hair and fishing rods in their hands, our travelling duo had a deep sea adventure with our CoCENTRIX friends and a few others.
Linda, by no means a landlubber, caught herself a beauty of king marlin, while Sammy reeled in two! As easy as hook, line, and sinker!
Talking about reeling them in, our presence at the Compass Conference was a great success. We were able to connect with some wonderful people, including the VP of the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare - Michael Lardiere.
It was no surprise that Mr. Lardiere showed interest in Mozzaz and our mission to promote collaborative consumer driven healthcare through mobile apps and solutions. Lardiere’s has been working in the healthcare field for over 30 years and has extensive experience in implementing electronic health records and other health IT solutions. We gave him a demo and he took the bait!
We’ll be seeing more of Lardiere at the 43rd Annual National Council Conference in Las Vegas April 8-10 where we will be showcasing a brand new app, CareTILES, with our CoCENTRIX partner. In a double booth, attendees can learn about CoCENTRIX’s flagship product, CoCENTRIX Coordinated Care Platform (CoCENTRIXccp) and CareTILES, an app geared to helping those with a wide variety of behavioral or mental health disorders.
Overall, it was a great trip... looks like that Compass is taking us all over the map!