Bridges News — AAC


ICE Card and Dementia Induced Wandering 0

[caption id="attachment_1039" align="alignleft" width="290"]Widgit's ICE Card from Bridges picture Widgit's ICE Card folds up to easily fit in a wallet's credit card slot.[/caption] The Alzheimer's Society of Ontario (ALSO)  is launching a new awareness campaign addressing the problem of individuals with dementia wandering from home, (see the story on CTV News here).  According to the Society "3 out of five people with dementia become lost at some point, often without warning." (See ALSO's Finding Your Way site) The Society, on their Finding Your Way pages, has great strategies for reducing the chance of someone wandering off. The Society also provide suggestions for ways to mitigate the crisis of losing a loved one such as using a Medic-Alert Bracelet and/or electronic locating solutions.  The In Case of Emergency or (ICE) Card (which Bridges is bringing to Canada from the UK in the next few weeks) is another simple, but low cost option that delivers immediate support in a crisis. [caption id="attachment_1035" align="alignleft" width="320"]Widgit ICE card unfolded Widgit ICE Card from Bridges unfolded.[/caption] The ICE Card has all the essential information an individual should share in order to be reunited with love ones and to communicate vital medical information on the spot -- such as a heart condition, diabetes, blood pressure etc.  Aphasia is a common condition of those with forms of dementia.  In addition if someone is dehydrated, suffering from exposure/hypothermia or disoriented, (stroke, insulin shock etc.) the ICE Card offers a quick and simple way to communicate immediate medical needs clearly and effectively. EMS, ER staff, police and other First Responders are trained to look in a wallet for vital information. The  ICE Card is small enough to slip into the credit card slot inside your wallet. This is assuming of course, that the individual takes their wallet with them.  Many caregivers and loved ones of individuals with dementia (myself included) will tell you that the physical habit of taking a wallet or a purse can be very deeply ingrained. In the case of my dad, he sometimes has trouble recognizing me but he still reaches for his wallet on the dresser in the front hall, each time he goes to step-out the door. Caregivers often report that their loved one might forget to put on a coat on a winter's day but they won't leave without their wallet or purse. Of course since it only costs a few dollars, another option is to keep an ICE Card into the pockets of coats, jackets or other common pieces of clothing, just in case. The ICE Card has been available in the UK for almost 2 years, but we've just localized it for Canada and hope to be getting our first few copies in a matter of weeks. [caption id="attachment_1036" align="alignleft" width="320"]ICE Card Communication side The reverse side of the unfolded ICE Card, with quick communication tool.[/caption] Created by Widgit, a company that has been crafting a 40,000 word symbol vocabulary to aid written and spoken communication for over 20 years, the ICE Card offers more than a hand written note in the wallet. It also has a symbol supported communication board to aid in communication even if the individual is non-verbal or needs visuals to help understand what is being communicated to them; whether due to a cognitive challenge, hearing problem, or because they're a non-English speaker. The ICE Card is just one of many research-based symbol supported Widgit Health communication products published in Canada by Bridges. Other's include the Patient Communication sheet for hospital bedsides, the First Response Communication Book for professional emergency service providers and the First Aid Communication Booklet. For more information on the ICE Card contact Bridges. -- Bogdan Pospielovsky,

Zinguis Get New Operating System 0

All new Zingui devices will be running version of Mind Express as their operating system. This version of Mind Express is now almost identical (including add-ons such as Agenda) to the version running on the Mind Express 4 for PC used in the Tellus 4.   The few minor differences are listed below. The Zingui is a popular small tablet communication aid, that is fully bilingual (English and French).  Durable, purpose built, with long battery life and powerful sound, the Zingui has proven particularly popular with children in schools. You can now use a regular Mind Express 4 to import/export communication boards onto the Zingui (see File > Import from Zingui and File > Export to Zingui). A full version Mind Express 4 will now be delivered  with each Zingui. As well as a  Mind Express 4 user manual, users will also receive an updated Zingui user manual (with specific Zingui related information). A few differences between Mind Express 4 for PC and for Zingui:
  • There is no media library on the Zingui. All images and sounds are transferred using the PC version.
  • No support for multiple users.
  • No Windows control functions (as the Zingui is a dedicated Mind Express device).
  • No video support (MP3 is supported though).
  • No Camera support.
  • No E-mail support (this may be added in a future version).
  • The Agenda editor is a little different.

Peeked Interest about PikoSystems – PikoButton Switches Now Available in Canada 0

Peeked Interest about PikoSystems – PikoButton Switches Now Available in Canada PikoSystems’ new switches-on-the-block PikoButtons packed a punch at this year’s ATIA conference: water resistant switches, a 2-side by side switch and even a 5 switches-in-one (see details below). Diminutive, high quality, European-made, they are tough switches to crack. We saw their basic switch stomped on and it wouldn't break even in freezing water temperatures (they are from Finland after-all). You can even get a water resistant version of their PikoButtons 30 (2.9 cm in diameter) and 50 (4.9 cm in diameter), ideal for bathrooms, showers or going out in the rain.  We saw these work while completely immersed in water. PikoButtons take as little as 75g of activation force with some adjustable to 125 or 250g settings. [gallery type="slideshow" ids="949,950,952,955"] Piko SW5R- PB 5-action switch This 5-action switch has 5 sensors just 1 cm in diameter in a single housing that fits in the palm of your hand.  It’s ideal for minimal movement with maximum control eg. finger tip access.
  • Each button just 10mm in diameter.
  • Dimensions: 17 X 49 mm Activation force: 75 / 125g
  • Can be used for mouse control with a USB Mouse Mover.
  • Auditory feedback.
  • Tactile feedback.
  • 0.8mm activation travel.
  • Supplied with D9 connector.
  • 1.5m cable
  • Available in Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, White, Black
Regular and Water Resistant PikoButton 30/50 PikoButton 30 and 50 are the core of their line of switches and are shock and cold resistant while an immersable water resistant versions are also available. Key Features of PikoButtons and PikoButtons Water Resistant:
  • Sensitive response with just 0.8mm activation travel.
  • Auditory and tactile feedback.
  • Supplied with a standard 3.5mm jack and 1.5m cable.
  • Choose from red, green, blue, yellow, orange, white, black, gold and silver.
  • Sizes: 13mm x 29mm (30”) or 17 X 49 mm (50”)
Check out this amazing video to see how the switches work after being in water for 1 hour! PikoDual 30/50 An extremely durable and sensitive dual switch with 2 switches mounted side by side. Just under 3 cm in diameter while the two buttons are about 3 mm apart. Key Features:
  • Extremely durable dual button switch.
  • Sensitive response with 0.8mm activation travel.
  • Auditory feedback.
  • Tactile feedback.
  • Supplied with 3.5mm stereo jack.
  • 1.5m cable.
  • Size: 17 x 49 x 99 mm, Force: 125g, Weight: 110g (30’) or  Size: 17 x 49 x 99 mm, Force: 125g, Weight: 110g (50”).
Has the PikoButton peeked yout interest, send us an email to learn more or arrange purchase options:

MEville to WEville Success Stories from Alberta 0

As part of an ongoing literacy initiative, Literacy for All -- A Community of Practice, Alberta teachers are sharing their experiences with MEville to WEville on a publicly readable Wiki. [caption id="attachment_900" align="aligncenter" width="546"]Complete Meville to Weville with (from L to R) core books for young students, extension book for older students and the Literacy Starters titles with computer versions. Complete MEville to WEville with (from L to R) core books for young students, extension book for older students and the Literacy Starters titles with computer versions for mid-high school students.[/caption] "We learned that ALL students can learn literacy skills through comprehensive literacy instruction in inclusive classrooms when we use the right supports and modifications," wrote one teacher. "The kids are really responding well and the lessons are so well laid out," writes another Individual Support Program Teacher.  "I am feeling very optimistic and I think this resource will prove to be a great addition to my classroom." Two years ago Alberta began their  the Literacy for All project, whose goal was to:
"enhance teacher capacity to meet the literacy and communication needs of Grade 1-6 students with significant disabilities."
The deployment of MEville to WEville -- a research based literacy and communication curriculum for students with moderate to severe disabilities -- was a big part of the initiative.   Designed to build a classroom community that promotes a sense of belonging, each of the three units -- Me, My Family, My School -- offers students literacy and face-to-face communication teaching about themselves, their home life, and their school community. For older learners at an emerging literacy level, there is a version of MEville to WEville incorporating the Literacy Starters supported books for older readers  as core texts. Over 20 schools across the province are participating and Edmonton Regional Learning Consortium (ERLC) is coordinating and supporting the project.
Writing Stories
"OK guy, you have 15 minutes of free time.  Chose your activity." "Will you help me write a story?" Are you serious?  Could I be more proud? Students who couldn't identify what they saw in a picture a few months ago, can now gather information, share and organize it and turn it into a coherent story.  With characters.  And action.  And a title!" --Alberta teacher in Literacy for All project using MEville to WEville.
With stories like these, it is not surprising Alberta Education is extending and expanding the Literacy for All project this year. Alberta also implemented a project that addressed mathematics teaching for students with mild to severe disabilities using the Equals curriculum also from Ablenet.  Stay tune for a Wiki sharing their learnings from this project. Along with the great blogs out of BC about their SOLO project, the Literacy for All Wiki suggests that the trend to share strategies that work on-line is no fad. The Literacy for All Wiki has implementation ideas, success stories, adaptations of the Four Block literacy model (that MEville to WEville is based on), assessment strategies and more. To take a look at MEville to WEville for early grades or the version with Literacy Starters for middle to high school aged students, contact a Bridges consultant to arrange for a demonstration or loan. Here are some of the comments by educators from the presentations archived on the Wiki, specifically about using the MEville to WEville curriculum.
All of the boys (gr. 4-5) participating in the program had great difficulty expressing emotion at the onset.  Thanks to the (MEville to WEville) unit on how we feel, they are all now able to give words to their emotions and have found strategies to deal with them! MEville to WEville helped my students:
  • Build confidence,
  • Bridge the gap between literacy in the home and literacy at school.
  • Recognize, read and utilize high frequency sight words
  • Progress in language acquisition skills
  • Grow emotionally and socially.
By using the pictures as their writing utensil, the students were able to independently put down their thoughts.  They were writing.  And once they realized this, they had instant confidence.  Soon they could work in pairs and prompt each other.  Could we BE more excited?!!! Due to the success of the program we intend to expand it next year to include 3 more students with high needs...  It has been a great success here and I would recommend it to all. [gallery ids="905,904,903"]