Category Archives: Special Education Resources

Communication app giveaway

Passing on the information for those who need and could use the TalkTablet.

Don’t Miss Your Chance.

Communication app giveaway
It is Christmas time and we want to do our part to help families that truly need TalkTablet but simply cannot afford it. So we are gifting 50 (Fifty) copies of TalkTabletUS in time for Christmas. So spread the word as fast as possible.

We will accept nominations at until Dec 13th. Thereafter, we will email the TalkTabletUS Redeem codes to the 50 winners. Please include a brief description of the person that needs TalkTablet and how it would benefit them.

Each of the 50 Redeem Codes will expire on January 3rd, 2013. Therefore, if you win a Redeem Code, you have until January 3rd to download/install TalkTablet onto your iPod, iPhone, or iPad.

If you win a Redeem Code but don’t have, or can’t obtain an iPod or iPad before January 3rd, 2013, simply redeem the code through your iTunes account before January 3rd, 2013 and you will be able to install it an iPod/iPad at a later date when you have an iPod/iPad. No worries.

As 2012 draws to a close, let me once again say ‘thank you’ to all of you for supporting TalkTablet and the people that bring it to you. It is an absolute privilege to create great software for people that rely on it for their day to day communication.

Have a VERY Merry Christmas!! YOU deserve it!!

Gordon Harris, President
Gus Communication Devices Inc.

Girl with Cerebral Palsy reading.

Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)

Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) was created in 1985 for young children with Autism. Over the years it is now being introduced to most children who are non verbal.

This is quite interesting how it is taught.

Phase I teaches the physical exchange of a picture; no discrimination is required.

Phase II teaches distance and persistence.

Phase III: Picture discrimination skills are introduced: first through pairings of preferred and non-preferred pictures.

Phase IV: Sentence structure is introduced: the simple request will now consist of the sentence starter “I want” + a picture of the desired item/activity placed on a Sentence Strip.

In Phase V, the PECS user is taught to expand on basic skills with the addition of attributes.

In Phase VI, individuals learn to make comments on interesting stimuli in the environment.

Here are a few videos of how PECS is used. Andy has completed all 6 phrases.

Andys PECS video part 1

Andy’s PECS video part 2

For more information regarding PECS…

Andy, Born Feb 4 2000 (Agpar Score 0,0,0,4 at 15 min, heartbeat @ 17 mins) 12 years old. HIE (Came home with G-Tube, Removed @ 14 mos.) Hypotonic, later dx’ed Mixed CP. Hydrocephalus has VP Shunt (revised 2000 & 2012) GMFM II almost Level I. Walks Independently but not well enough to play sports. Non-verbal. Uses ASL.

photo credit: thejbird via photopin cc

Andy signing Dad.

Kids with Cerebral Palsy can learn how to use ASL

One would not think to teach a baby to learn how to use American Sign Language when one was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. However, as parents to my son who is non-verbal and has Cerebral Palsy…my husband and I did just that. When our son, Andy was about 14 months old the physical therapist was working with him on a peanut ball. He absolutely loved it. She started to sign to him “yes”. At first he would wait, then she would sign to him, he would smile, then she would give him more of what they were doing. Afterwards, she would repeat everything again. After awhile, we noticed one of his arms moving, so she took that as a sign for “yes”.  They were having so much fun, it continued on. After she left, we continued to work on it. We realized over time, he would sign “yes” when we asked him questions. He wasn’t able to shake his head up & down, it was too hard for him. So the sign was really nice to have.

By the time he was 2 years old. He had learned a number of ASL signs. “Mom”, “Dad”, “Home”, “Shoe”, “More”, “All Done” long with some others. I think the most maddening thing about him signing was only one person that was working with him knew ASL/sign language and that was his music therapist. I really think that Speech Therapist should have ASL included in their schooling. Man, if Andy was able to learn ASL at every speech session, his expressive language would have been so much higher.

With every sign he learned, he would not be able to sign it correctly at all. He had a lot of fine motor issues so it was as best as he could. We realized over time though his signing would get better. The signs he couldn’t do, he would make up his own. As long as we asked him to sign a word and he did, we learned his sign.

Over the years we have had our struggle getting the school district to provide him American Sign Language. They were under the impression that because he had Cerebral Palsy no one would understand his signs. Which is not true at all. We had always hired nannies who knew ASL, they understood him.

As of today, Andy is 12 years old and knows over 200 signs. We finally have him in a classroom where the teacher and the staff know ASL…they will also be teaching him new signs through out the school year.

Come to find out, a lot of children with Cerebral Palsy are now learning to sign. This is so exciting to us.

Here are a few videos of Andy through the years. The first video is him at 5 or 6 years old. The second video is when he was about 10 years old.

Andy signing at age 5 or 6 years old

Andy signing at age 10 years old

So if you have a child who can sign simply basic signs, continue practicing with them with each sign. Over the years hopefully the fine motor will improve or you can just accept the modified sign and that is still great!

Andy, Born Feb 4 2000 (Agpar Score 0,0,0,4 at 15 min, heartbeat @ 17 mins) 12 years old. HIE (Came home with G-Tube, Removed @ 14 mos.) Hypotonic, later dx’ed Mixed CP. Hydrocephalus has VP Shunt (revised 2000 & 2012) GMFM II almost Level I. Walks Independently but not well enough to play sports. Non-verbal. Uses ASL.

Boy with cerebral palsy talking.

Cerebral Palsy Communication

One of the important things to do is to learn a way to communicate with your child. Starting as young as you can. Look into their eyes when you talk to them. Their eyes will talk back to you.

While working with your baby give them options and wait for them to respond to you. Watch for any movement. Watch their hands, their fingers, their leg, their feet…most important their eyes. Any movement they can do, use that as an answer.

For instance, using both your hands as answer options. Your left hand is “yes” and your right hand is “no”.

If their answer is yes…But the baby can not use their fingers to point to your hand that has the option…instead they can move their leg, then any movement from the left leg is the actual answer.

Get them all excited that they answered you. Do the “happy” dance.

Also look at their eyes while they are answering you. If their eyes also go to the left hand. Wow, they just communicated to you two different ways.

By Kristi McConnell
photo credit: Bindaas Madhavi via photopin cc