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From Kara in New Zealand
Q. I have some questions from a parent about the Pixon pictures. In Pixon pictures, such as long-shortand empty-full, what does the arrow mean? If you have the empty-full Pixon on a child's Pixon board, how do you show the difference to the child? When the child points at the empty-full Pixon, how do you know which word the child is saying? Is it based simply on context? But, how will the child distinguish the difference between the words when opposite words like “happy” and “sad” are in separate locations on a Pixon board? Basically, can you give us some suggestions for teaching Pixons?A.
Thank you for sharing this question from a parent about the Pixon pictures. In the answer to your question, I will example to you about the arrows in the Pixon pictures and then cover some ideas for teaching Pixons that have arrows, as well as an overall teaching routine that can be implemented by the family. I hope my answer will help the parent see how much fun it can be to teach Pixons. Download and read the entire answer to this question.
From Marie in Colorado
Q. I work with several students on my caseload who are using Minspeak devices. Each of them is also able to spell and they seem to spend more time spelling what they want to say rather than using the Minspeak codes. I know Minspeak is much more efficient than spelling, but how do I help them shift to using Minspeak codes instead of spelling?A.
Spelling is an important skill to have when you have complex communication needs, but as you pointed out, spelling is an inefficient way to communicate compared to Minspeak codes. Minspeak is the most efficient way to communicate core vocabulary words, while spelling and use of word prediction is a useful way to communicate infrequently used fringe (extended) vocabulary. To support your students, you need to do these 5 things: Complete a LAM Analysis, Teach and Model Critical Core Words, Emphasize Efficiency, Promote Self-Teaching, and Utilize Device Features. Download and read the entire answer to this question.
From Sarah in Singapore
Q. I have a few users that are on the Springboard. They have quite severe cognitive impairments and I don't think they can go to icon sequencing. However, I still find the Springboard useful as it gives access to core vocabulary. They currently need more than just the 32 core vocabulary on the Springboard, and so I am a bit stuck on where to proceed next. Please advise. Thank you.A.
You raise a very important issue with your query. Can individuals with severe cognitive impairments do icon sequencing? How can you “grow” an AAC system to provide more core vocabulary for individuals with severe cognitive impairments? The choices are simple. If you want to have access to more than 32 core words, you either have to (1) have a device with more than 32 keys so you can keep selecting 1 key to get 1 word or (2) you need to introduce simple icon sequencing to maximize the value of each of the keys on your front screen. Download and read the entire answer to this question.
From Kay in Wisconsin
Q. How do I assess someone for a Minspeak system?A.
Assessment is an established step in the selection and implementation of any AAC system – including a Minspeak system. When the assessment process singles out “assessment for a Minspeak system,” this thinking often leads an evaluation team to focus on ease of use at first encounter (IF the person can use Minspeak) instead of parameters for learning (HOW the person would use Minspeak). Download and read the entire answer to this question.