136 episodes

How do people with complex communication needs learn to use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC)? Join speech-language pathologists (SLPs) Rachel and Chris as they answer your questions, discuss relevant research and give you updates on the latest and greatest developments in the field of AAC! Interviews with industry thought-leaders, clinicians, parents, researchers, users, and app developers help you stay up-to-date on the latest devices and apps, best practices for device selection and implementation, ideas for working with communication partners, and more!

Talking With Tech AAC Podcast Rachel Madel and Chris Bugaj

    • Education
    • 4.9, 149 Ratings

How do people with complex communication needs learn to use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC)? Join speech-language pathologists (SLPs) Rachel and Chris as they answer your questions, discuss relevant research and give you updates on the latest and greatest developments in the field of AAC! Interviews with industry thought-leaders, clinicians, parents, researchers, users, and app developers help you stay up-to-date on the latest devices and apps, best practices for device selection and implementation, ideas for working with communication partners, and more!

    Erik Raj: Apps That Make Learning Language Fun

    Erik Raj: Apps That Make Learning Language Fun

    This week, Rachel interviews Erik Raj, a Speech-Language Pathologist and app developer. about using apps to make language development more motivating and fun! Rachel and Erik discuss picture-manipulation apps to get students laughing, telling stories with the my story app, making passive screen time more active, teaching students to comment and not just request, integrating parents into therapy with the superherofx app, and more! Learn more about Erik at Erikxraj.com and on Instagram @erikxraj
     
    For extra apps and hacks from Erik Raj and to enter to win Erik’s Your Face Learning apps, become a TWT Patron at patreon.com/talkingwithtech!
     
    Before the interview, Rachel and Chris discuss their presentations on AAC in the Cloud: Chris’s presentation on robots and coding for core language, and Rachel’s presentation with Lauren Enders on attention-grabbing tools. They also share about some of the other interesting presentations from this year's AAC in the Cloud conference.
     
    Visit talkingwithtech.org to access previous episodes, resources, and CEU credits that you can earn for listening to TWT episodes!

    • 58 min
    Chris Ellis: Improving Hearing With the Audio Cardio App

    Chris Ellis: Improving Hearing With the Audio Cardio App

    This week, Rachel interviews Chris Ellis of Audio Cardio, an app designed to help strengthen hearing. They discuss how the app uses threshold sound conditioning (TSC) and barely audible sound to stimulate the cells in the ear, and the results of research studies suggesting TSC can improve hearing thresholds.  
     
    TWT listeners can get a free 30 day trial of Audio Cardio by going to audiocardio.com and using the code AAC3XS
     
    Before the interview, Chris and Rachel talk about intersection of hearing and AAC. Rachel shares about an AAC user who had recently received cochlear implants. This AAC user benefited from the visuals on the device and he rapidly improved his functional communication by using the device. Then, Chris shares about some of the issues regarding speaker volume he has solved with solutions like bluetooth speakers. Finally, Chris and Rachel discuss teaching AAC users how to change volume on their devices so they can be heard above the background noise.
     
    Check out Picseepal, a low tech communication tool that is mobile, durable, and splash-proof, at picseepal.com and on Facebook at facebook.com/picseepal 
     
    Visit talkingwithtech.org to access previous episodes, resources, and CEU credits that you can earn for listening to TWT episodes!

    • 41 min
    Gemma White: Fostering a Growth Mindset With Core Words

    Gemma White: Fostering a Growth Mindset With Core Words

    This week, Rachel interviews Gemma White, an SLP who owns a private practice specializing in AAC and feeding support. Gemma and Rachel discuss a “growth mindset” and why mindset is important for everyone, including people with complex communication needs.
     
    Before the interview, Rachel and Chris play a game where Rachel decides on which words she would use to communicate with fictional “veggie” creatures! Then, Rachel and Chris discuss resources for learning about state license reciprocity and how Chris teaches growth mindset to his kids.
     
    Key ideas this week: 
     
    🔑 The idea behind a “growth mindset” is that a person’s personality, intelligence and abilities are not fixed. People grow, change, and develop when they make mistakes and decide on a path forward.
     
    🔑 Promoting a growth mindset isn’t just being a cheerleader- it’s also about fostering an environment where people are brave enough to make mistakes, receive feedback on what was done correctly and incorrectly,  and choose a path forward
     
    🔑 We can promote growth mindset while also teaching core language and modeling. We can model things like “you tried, it’s hard, you can do it” to support the idea that learning is a process, they made an error, and we are going to move forward.
     
    🔑 When giving corrective feedback, try to say “not yet” instead of “no”.
     
    You can find out more about Gemma at gemmawhiteslp.com and on Instagram (@a.spoonful) 
     
    Check out Picseepal, a low tech communication tool that is mobile, durable, and splash-proof, at picseepal.com and on Facebook at facebook.com/picseepal 
     
    Research
     
    Dweck, C. S. (2008). Mindset: The new psychology of success. Random House Digital, Inc..
     
    Dweck, C. S. (2000). Self-theories: Their role in motivation, personality, and development. Psychology press.
     
    Rhew, E., Piro, J. S., Goolkasian, P., & Cosentino, P. (2018). The effects of a growth mindset on self-efficacy and motivation. Cogent Education, 5(1), 1492337.

    • 45 min
    Cara Walton: Action Planning for Anti-Racism and AAC

    Cara Walton: Action Planning for Anti-Racism and AAC

    This week, Rachel and Chris interview Cara Walton (@thebuckeyeslp), the author of a recent change.org petition “Demands for ASHA to Increase Cultural Sensitivity.” Cara shares about her experience as a Black woman becoming a speech-language pathologist, what ASHA can do right now to increase cultural sensitivity, and ways that AAC can better support people of color.
     
    Before the interview, Rachel and Chris talk about their previous attempt to discuss anti-racism and AAC on the podcast, how they responded to mistakes they made, and how that response has led to a better understanding of their own cultural “blindspots” and the importance of learning from our mistakes.
     
    Key ideas this week: 
     
    🔑 There is a need for more diversity in the field of speech-language pathology - only 8% of SLPs self-identify as people of color, and only 3% identify as Black. We need to recruit more people of color to become SLPs and audiologists, and push graduate schools to have requirements to enroll a more diverse class.
     
    🔑 Most AAC symbol sets typically default to white male icons being showcased in vocabulary templates and it requires a high level of customization to select and program racially diverse icons. Considering whether the symbols will represent the user can be an important factor when choosing a system for an AAC user. If software developers know racial diversity in symbol sets is a consideration when feature matching, we may see more diverse symbol options in AAC software. 
     
    🔑 There should be a mandatory diversity CEU requirement that is similar to the mandatory ethics CEU requirement, and there should be more CEUs on diversity and multicultural issues available on the ASHA Learning Pass.
     
    We invite you to write your own goals for improving racial equity and share them with us at https://bit.ly/twtequityform. 
     
    Click here to sign the ASHA petition Cara started. 
     
    Resources:
    Donation Spreadsheet
    Speech-Specific Organizations:National Black Association of Speech Language Hearing NBASLH
    Sistas in Speech Therapy and Audiology S.I.S.T.A.S.
    SLPs of Color 
    Education-Related OrganizationsBlack Girls Code
    The Conscious Kid
    Social Media Accounts@equityslps
    @slpsofcolor 
    @the_juvenileforensic_slp 
    @speechologistsf  
    @theslpway  
    @jrc_theslp  
    @ei_incolor  
    @thebuckeyslp  
    @coffee.communication  
    Black Speech-Language Pathologists
    SLP Private Practice in Color (Townhall Meeting)
    Helpful PodcastsThe Mindful SLP Episode: Anti-Racist Mindfulness
    Brene Brown: How to Be an Anti-Racist
    Helpful VideosA Kindergarten Teachers Talking about Racism to her Students
    Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man 
    Helpful ArticlesThe New Yorker: White Fragility
    Comprehensive Anti-Racism Resource Guide

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Brittyn Coleman: How Nutrition Can Affect People with Autism

    Brittyn Coleman: How Nutrition Can Affect People with Autism

    This week, Rachel interviews Brittyn Coleman (https://www.autismdietitian.com), a pediatric dietitian who specializes in supporting children with autism and ADHD. She talks with Rachel about the difference between the different types of food reactions, when biomedical testing may be used to evaluate food sensitivity, the different reasons why some foods may be avoided by picky eaters, and more!
     
    Before the interview, Chris and Rachel finish their game of AAC Bingo! Topics that they rate themselves on this week include if they “inspire not require”, if they are CEU “junkies”, if they use password managers, and how much they enjoy laminating!
     
    Key ideas this week:
     
    🔑 There are up to 30 different steps that may be necessary before we ask a picky eater to eat a new food (e.g., seeing, smelling, touching, tasting). Going straight to eating a new food may elicit a “fight or flight” response that reduces appetite even further.
     
    🔑 There are different types of food reactions that can occur. Food allergies often involve anaphylactic reactions and typically can bee seen on the outside. Food sensitivities can take longer to show up and may only occur internally and manifest as cognitive and/or behavioral issues. Food intolerance is when there is a digestive enzyme that is missing and the body can’t break down a particular food.
     
    🔑 Every person on the autism spectrum is unique and there is no one diet that works for everyone. Even if someone doesn’t benefit from one diet (e.g., gluten-free diet), it doesn’t mean they won’t benefit from a different approach.
     
    Listeners can get $500 off Brittyn’s services by using the promo code talkingwithtech !

    • 58 min
    Brittani Rollen: Author of “Lucas the Lion Loves the Tiny Talker”

    Brittani Rollen: Author of “Lucas the Lion Loves the Tiny Talker”

    Brittani’s son Lucas is a 7 year old AAC user who has Joubert’s syndrome. Brittani shares about her journey with teaching Lucas to communicate and how it led to writing her book “Lucas the Lion Loves the Tiny Talker,” a social story about a lion who uses AAC. It teaches kids about AAC and even comes with its own light-tech AAC device, the Tiny Talker! 
     
    Before the interview, Chris plays the “Opposite Challenge” with Rachel, a game with a surprise ending! Next, Chris remembers the late, great Bruce Baker and talks about the impact Bruce made on his life. Rachel discusses starting new online therapy groups for kids that combine direct therapy activities and integrated parent training - learn more at rachelmadel.com/vitual. Chris and Rachel also talk about the need for a “telepractice” license that allows you to practice in multiple states at the same time. 
     
    Key ideas this week:
     
    🔑 Joubert’ syndrome is a genetic condition causing the vermis of the cerebellum to be underformed, which causes global developmental delays in eye movement, speech, coordination, and balance.
     
    🔑 Considering the size of a device is important when doing an AAC assessment. A very heavy device may not be a good fit for a small child to take around at home and school.
     
    🔑 Talking with Tech has a new website! Visit talkingwithtech.org for access to all of our episodes and more! 
     
    Help us develop new content and keep the podcast going strong! Support our podcast at patreon.com/talkingwithtech!

    • 49 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
149 Ratings

149 Ratings

tikilights ,

Relevant and helpful for real world AAC therapy

Rachel and Chris provide practical information and strategies to AAC assessment, training and use. Useful for novices and more seasoned SLPs alike.

tiggerkw6 ,

Seriously, the best AAC podcast!!

Keep up the great work! You both are wonderful to listen to! I just started listening a month ago. I love all the content. When I start a show, I always think, “I wonder what I will learn to today?!” I always have some kind of “take away” in a show. It’s a helped me to not feel like I am on this AAC journey alone! It has me with professional development, AAC implementation, and feeling like a member of the AAC community.

You are making a difference, even in my rural town!

If you are a SLP or special educator working with students who have or could benefit from AAC, this is the Podcast for you!

Mummy.the.girl ,

AAC teacher / parents/ therapists this is a must

Super podcast with fabulous guest speakers helps make the world of assistive technology more accessible with many, many usable resources and ideas bundled e with common sense.

Top Podcasts In Education

Listeners Also Subscribed To