Updated: Nov 7, 2022
The International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC) celebrates AAC Awareness Month every year in October. This year's theme for the month is "Show your voice."
Learn about ISSAC and AAC Awareness month at this link: ISSAC
Meet Jake! He is a 19 year old living in Missouri who uses the WinSlate device from Forbes AAC. He has had his device for about a year and uses it for many communicative functions!
Here's what Jake had to say:
"I have a WinSlate device that I love using! I’m working on another communication grid which I am extremely interested in. It has eye gaze to make it easier, but I always like to use direct select to use it with my fingers, it has a keyguard. I absolutely love my device. I find it helpful to look stuff up, watch YouTube, text or email, and get on Facebook."
Jake has a diagnosis of cerebral palsy making it difficult for him to use his voice to effectively communicate. That doesn't mean he doesn't have a lot to say!
"I love being on Facebook and Pinterest. I am part of multiple Facebook groups that I absolutely love and I like to educate people on a variety of medical topics such as cerebral palsy and orthopedics. My goal is for increasing advocacy and education for individuals."
Whitley Bieser, a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) and Assistive Technology Specialist (ATS) for Forbes AAC, had the opportunity to assist Jake in identifying a speech generating device (SGD) to fit his communication needs. Here is what Whitley had to say:
"Jake was introduced to me through the Missouri Assistive Technology Program (MO-AT), to trial new augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) equipment. At the time, he was 17 years old and had an older device that was broken and had been discontinued for years. He was ready to explore updated options that could meet his needs, provide him with additional independence, and increase his communication efficiency."
Because of his diagnosis of cerebral palsy, Jake presents with spasticity, which can make it difficult for him to quickly and efficiently keep up in conversation using direct selection. Because of that, an alternate access method was trialed.
"Jake's preferred method of selection is direct select, but an alternate means could help him in certain communication scenarios. We explored eye tracking on a WinSlate device with the combination of a keyguard for direct selection. Jake was a very successful eye tracker and could quickly transition between the two access methods with ease depending on his communication needs. He uses the text-to-speech app, AlphaCore, that also allows him to customize and organize quick messages on his topics page."
Through his positive attitude and supportive family, Jake continues to find many benefits in the use of his WinSlate.
"Jake’s determination and willingness to try out a new system that fits his needs was inspiring! He will go so far in all his life goals. I cannot wait to see where he will go and what he can achieve!"
Thank you for sharing with us Jake!
International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (n.d.). AAC Awareness. https://isaac-online.org/english/aac-awareness/
Whitley Bieser, M.A., CCC-SLP is an Assistive Technology Specialist and Regional Director at Forbes AAC. She has focused experience in the areas of AT and AAC assessment and treatment across the lifespan. Her passion is in empowering and supporting clinicians to provide individualized and dynamic care in the field AT and AAC.