Bridges News — AAC

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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"]

New iAdapter™ 4 Available Now, iAdapter Mini Coming Soon 0

The all new iAdapter™ 4 accepts the iPad® 2 and the iPad® with Retina display (versions 3 & 4).

Features of the  iAdapter™ 4 •    NEW reinforced interior •    NEW high fidelity sound system •    NEW speaker enclosure for enhanced sound and better speaker hold down •    NEW built-in removable stand •    High impact ABS housing •    Amplifier bypass for continuous sound output even when the iAdapter’s battery runs low •    Low battery indicator light (Charging LED Blinks when battery is low) •    New housing design to accept keyguards •    Increased viewing angle on rear camera port [gallery ids="874,872,873,870,871,875"]   The price for the iAdapter 4 is $265, same as the iAdapter 3. The iAdapter Mini is expected in the coming months.

Sine Keyboard -- Another AT Tool Adopted by the Mainstream 0

Image I recently stumbled across the Siine keyboard app for speeding up messaging on a mobile device.  Siine is an on-screen keyboard for Android that uses symbols and icons to represent stock phrases, words, sentences, names that you'll use over and over again.  For example, hit the bow-tie icon that says greetings and you spit out a sentence like "Hey, how's it going."  Set up whatever phrases and greetings you like. Sound familiar? Anyone working in AAC for the past 20 years will recognized the same principal that drives a whole slew of communication software and apps -- hit a button once to communicate a lot. Too bad they didn't use some decent symbols like Widgit's. Just add Siine to the list of dozens of other examples of AT designed to address a necessity -- word prediction/completion, voice output, voice recognition, PDA's etc. etc. -- that eventually enters the mainstream as a convenience. Bogdan Pospielovsky

Bedside Messages and Other New Symbolized Communication Tools 0

Bedside Messages is a message card of 26 key phrases for patients supported by Widgit symbols. This is now available as a free pdf download  in 20 different languages including Russian, Arabic, Bengali, and Twi. These were developed in the UK through a partnership of the Patient Provider Network and Central Coast Children’s Foundation and Dr. Bronwyn Hemsley. [slideshow] Print all the languages, put them in a single binder and keep them at every nurse’s station to ease communication in stressful acute situations. The Bedside Messages is just one of several health care symbolized resources Widgit has developed.  Some are free, others can be purchased printed on never-tear paper.  You can see them all at http://www.widgit-health.com/index.htm   "Being able to reassure and calm someone in an emergency situation is key to my role as a Community First Responder. To be able to do this, I need to communicate well and with confidence. Therefore, I welcome the Widgit Medical Communication Aids, as they make me more confident that I can bring calm and reassurance in the widest range of situations." A Community First Responder