Friday, May 1, 2015

A Free SLP Material Every Day for #BHSM!

Every May is Better Hearing and Speech Month (#BHSM) where speech professionals around the world (coordinated by ASHA) work to promote awareness of communication disorders and share resources and ideas about how to improve speech, hearing and communication in general.

This year's theme is "Early Intervention Counts" - highlighting the fact that early diagnosis and treatment of communication issues is critical and encouraging SLPs, parents and teachers to take action early for best results.

To help celebrate #BHSM, we are showcasing one outstanding communication material from our sharing center every day and making them available for free to everyone (not just members) for the month of May!
This is a great opportunity to give our users some well-deserved attention for the great materials they've created as well as sharing some great ideas for use in the classroom, therapy and even home settings - regardless of what tools you use to make your materials!

Help us choose the best of the best! Got a material you use all the time in your practice that you'd love to show off? Have you found something in the Sharing Center that you'd love to try out? Here's how you can get involved:

  1. Visit the Sharing Center and find the material you'd like to see shared. Make sure it's got a great write-up so we can all understand how it's used.
  2. Post a link to your material in any of these places:
    • (please include @LessonPix and #BHSM)
    • Share your link on our Facebook Page or in the LessonPix User's Facebook Group
    • Or tell us about the material in the comments below
  3. Check out the great ideas below and use them (for Free) in your practice - and tell us how they work!

Today's Free Material
For the last few days we thought we'd share some of our favorite "Booth Demos" - ideas that we use to show how LessonPix can be used in the classroom in a therapy setting or even in the home.

May 29: Fire Drill Social Narrative by Andy. Our good friend Andy Renner may be the last person you'd expect to be making demos for us - after all, he's a fire fighter not an educator or SLP (however, he is the husband of one of our favorite OTs!). But when he was helping us setup and man the booth at ATIA 2014 and we were explaining how to use stories and narratives to help with transitions, we put him to work! And it turned out great! It's one of our most popular materials and we love sharing it!

May 30: S/SH Minimal Pairs Toss-Across by Bill. Speaking of under-qualified material-makers, here's one that Bill (a professional computer-geek) made before a training session in Hillsborough County. It takes advantage of the Minimal Pairs tool and created an activity that could be played from across the room!

May 31: Voice Level Scale by Lori. And finally, to bring our #BHSM to a close (and in honor of her Birthday this Sunday) our final material is a Voice Level Scale by our founder, Lori Binko. Scales, Rating and Rankings are huge right now - whether used as part of a self-assessment system (like Marzano) or a social skills tool like the Incredible 5-Point Scale or even just as a way to visualize things in order. When we added "Scales and Ratings" earlier this year, this was one of our favorite demos and we're glad to share it for Better Hearing and Speech Month.

(See All Materials After the Calendar)

May Is Better Hearing and Speech Month!

26272829301/sh/ Game Board/SH/ Game Board
By slp_echo
2/sh/ Game BoardInitial /S/ Treasure Hunt
By mtmarySLP
3Fluency Mod StrategyFluency Mod Strategies
By kirsten
4Dolch/Fry BingoDolch/Fry Bingo
By Tanya
5Position Pete CardsPosition Pete Cards
By Mona
6Breakfast for Mommy!Breakfast for Mommy!
By Tali & Renee
7Twenty Questions Semantic Maps20 Questions Semantic Maps
By Tara
8Calm Down TreeClimb the Calm Down Tree
By Amy
9Calm Down StrategiesCalm Down Strategies
By Christina
10Calm Down TimeCalm Down Time
By Claudia
11GoTalk Go FishGoTalk™ Go Fish
By Bill
12Old Lady Who Swallowed a Frog Cariboo GameSwallowed a Frog Cariboo®
By Mary Cooper
13Irish/UK Puzzle CardsIrish/UK Puzzles
By Karie
14Flower Part Sorting MatsSorting Plant Parts
By Lori
15Medial S Tally CardsMedial S Tally Cards
By Barb
16Idium Playing CardsLiteral Idioms
By Kitsie
17Idiom Board GameIdiom Board Game
By Bridget
18Idioms StoryIdioms Story
By Joanne
19/P B M/ Vowel Screener/P B M/ Screener
By Kim
20S BlendsS Blend Cards
By Cynthia
21Semantic Map for QuestionsSemantic Map for Questions
By Hanna
22Memorial Day StoryMemorial Day Story
By LessonPix
23Memorial Day Coloring BookMemorial Day Coloring Book
By LessonPix
24SL3 Category GameSL3 Category Game
By Jennifer
25High Constrast Discussion CardsHigh Contrast Discussion Cards
By Kerensa
26CVCC CardsCVCC Cards
By Kerensa
27Summer VocabularySummer Story
By Jillian
28Summer BingoSummer Bingo
By Kaura
29Fire Drill Social NarrativeFire Drill Story
By Andy
30S/SH Minimal PairsS/SH Minimal Pairs Toss-Across
By Bill
31Voice Level ScalesVoice Level Scale
By Lori
All Free #BHSM Materials
May 1: /SH/ Game Board by Katie (@SLP_Echo). Our first great material is shared by Katie Millican, and she explains how she uses this great game in her classroom on the material page.

May 2: Initial /S/ Treasure Hunt Cards, Compatible with Cariboo™ by Mary Huston (@mtmarySLP). Got a Cariboo™ gamee? Here's a great set of replacement cards to work on Initial /S/! No Cariboo™? Don't fret - we've got a blog (and video) for that!

May 3: Fluency Modification Strategy Dice by Kirsten (@kirsten_lana). Here's a set of Dice that help folks with fluency and stuttering issues. Read how Kirsten uses them in the description

May 4: Fry/Dolch Early Sight Word Bingo by Tanya (@SLPTanya). Tanya's made these great Bingo games using the words in our Dolch Words category (which has a large overlap w/Fry word lists). Check them out!

May 5: Position Pete Picture Cards by Mona(@MonaChiles). Mona's use our Position Pete™ images to make a great game! Thanks for the detailed write-up!

May 6: A "2-Fer" for Mother's Day from Tali & Renee. Today's freebie shows how you can adjust a material to fit your needs! Renee Ingram shared her companion material for the book We're Making Breakfast for Mother and then Tali Kellerstein (@SpeakBoutique) adjusted it to be a Medial F/V practice game! How cool! We decided to make them both free :-)

May 7: Twenty Questions Semantic Map by Tara. Tara Roehl (@SpeechyKeenSLP) has shared dozens of materials on the Sharing Center. When I asked her what her favorites were, she pointed to these great Semantic Maps. So I made this great one today's Freebie!

May 8: Climb the Calm Down Tree by Amy. Amy Leahy posts a great use of our "Monkey Climbing Tree" Visual Schedule. This is a hidden gem you'll find under "Picture Schedules"

May 9: Calm Down Strategies by Christina. Christina Richards shares a great "Large and Small Pictures" material with physical exercises kids can use to calm themselves. This would be a great material to "remix" into other formats like Dice or Spinners!

May 10: Calm Down Time by Claudia. If all else fails and your kiddo needs to take some "calm down time", Claudia Coron gives us a great visual schedule for things to do to help chill out.

May 11: GoTalk™ Go Fish by Bill. This one's a favorite at our booth. It shows how to take a basic Go Fish game (which we've also made free) and adapt it for use with a child who is (at least temporarily) non-verbal using a GoTalk™ 9+ from Attainment.

May 12: There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Frog Treasure Cards by Mary Cooper. Here's a great set of cards that fit in the Cranium Cariboo® game by Hasbro®. Mary uses these to follow up after reading Lucille Collandro's popular book!

May 13: Association Puzzle Cards using Irish/UK Vocab by Karie. Karie Murray (@Scarie) is our unofficial ambassador to Ireland, and it was great meeting her at the IASLT Conference! Today's freebie shows how she re-worded our symbols to match the Irish/UK vocabulary she needed!

May 14: Flower Parts Sorting Mats by Lori. Our fabulous founder, Lori, points out that sometimes even simple visuals can make a project successful. Her "Flower Parts Sorting Mats" did that in her Pre-K Varying Exceptionalities class this year and Lori was good enough to write up their experience! We've made it our May 14th #BHSM Freebie!

May 15: Medial S Tally Cards by Barb. Barb Koch shares these great Medial /S/ Tally Cards for today's freebie. Tally cards are great for tracking sounds, behaviors, etc. and you can change how many check marks per card and still crank them out in seconds!

May 16: Literal Idiom Playing Cards by Kitsie. LessonPix has a great set of "Literal Idiom" symbols and Kitsie Kennard has made a huge set of playing cards that would be great for Go Fish, Memory or games with color/symbol matching games similar to like Uno®. These are also a big hit with ESL classes!

May 17: Idiom Game Board by Bridget. Continuing on our Idiom theme, Bridget De Yager created a board game using the idiom symbols and our penguin theme!

May 18: Idiom Story by Joanne. Finally, Lori found this cute original Idiom story that tells the take of two "peas in a pod" and their adventures! What a great way to use our Books and Stories template!

May 19: /P B M/ Vowel Screener Cards by Kim. Kim Bennett uses these picture cards "to look at context in which child can produce bilabial sounds.". With over 30 cards, this is a great freebie!

May 20: /S/ Blend Cards by Cynthia. Cynthia Bond used the SoundFinder to pull together a whole mess of "Initial S Blends" cards. In fact, there's 56 of them! Use these as they are for Memory, Go-Fish, etc. or load them into the wizard to re-mix them into Bingo, etc. with a membership!

May 21: Semantic Map for Questioning by Hanna. Hanna Bogen made this great Semantic Map to help kids learn how to ask questions and learn more about a subject: that's just awesome!

May 22: Memorial Day Story by LessonPix. We put together a Memorial Day book (and matching coloring sheets) to explain what we honor on Memorial Day. Read more here.

May 23: Memorial Day Coloring Sheets by LessonPix. Here's the Coloring Book to go with the Memorial Day story. Read more here.

May 24: SL3 Category Game by Jennifer. Today we're sharing a great Dominoes game by Jennifer Preschem from the Speech Language Literacy Lab in Linz, Austria! Their blog is part of a #BHSM Blog Hop today, so make sure you to take a look!

May 25: High Contrast Discussion Cards by Keresna. Keresna Lalmi shared this simple set of four cards that ask the question "What do you like"? It's a great conversation starter, and it shows how to set the backgrounds on our cards to be high-contrast: a great idea for low-vision populations.

May 26: CVCC Cards by Keresna. Keresna also created these CVCC Cards for phonological awareness activities. LessonPix now has two ways to get CVCC words: first is our original Pattern Finder which does basic CVC-style searches. The second is our new Syllable/CVC Filter which works on all of our language tools like the SoundFinder and Minimal Pairs tool. Just enter a pattern on the left to filter your results!.

May 27: A Summer Story by Jillian. Jillian Sopp just posted this great book that introduces summer vocabulary. It's simple and timely so we made it today's freebie!

May 28: Summer Bingo by Kaura. Bingo is always a favorite when we're at demos or conferences - it's so hard to do by hand since every child needs their own card! Kaura Grant made this set of (11!) Summer Bingo cards - I bet it took her just a few minutes, but they're a great end-of-year game that wouldn't be worth the effort without LessonPix! Enjoy them for free today!

For the last few days we thought we'd share some of our favorite "Booth Demos" - ideas that we use to show how LessonPix can be used in the classroom in a therapy setting or even in the home.

May 29: Fire Drill Social Narrative by Andy. Our good friend Andy Renner may be the last person you'd expect to be making demos for us - after all, he's a fire fighter not an educator or SLP (however, he is the husband of one of our favorite OTs!). But when he was helping us setup and man the booth at ATIA 2014 and we were explaining how to use stories and narratives to help with transitions, we put him to work! And it turned out great! It's one of our most popular materials and we love sharing it!

May 30: S/SH Minimal Pairs Toss-Across by Bill. Speaking of under-qualified material-makers, here's one that Bill (a professional computer-geek) made before a training session in Hillsborough County. It takes advantage of the Minimal Pairs tool and created an activity that could be played from across the room!

May 31: Voice Level Scale by Lori. And finally, to bring our #BHSM to a close (and in honor of her Birthday this Sunday) our final material is a Voice Level Scale by our founder, Lori Binko. Scales, Rating and Rankings are huge right now - whether used as part of a self-assessment system (like Marzano) or a social skills tool like the Incredible 5-Point Scale or even just as a way to visualize things in order. When we added "Scales and Ratings" earlier this year, this was one of our favorite demos and we're glad to share it for Better Hearing and Speech Month.

Monday, December 15, 2014

A few quick Cariboo® Tips

I'd be remiss if I didn't apologize for the long delay between blog posts! 

We're still active online, it's just that we've spent lots of time working on the Soundable IPA Contest, staying active in the Soundable and LessonPix Users Groups on Facebook and as always playing with the #SLPeeps on Twitter.  With all that, this blog has sadly been neglected!

So, let's fix that and share something we've spent lots of time with lately: the Cariboo® from Cranium® (and later purchased by Hasbro®)!

In case you haven't heard, Cariboo® is the game right now for SLPs in the classroom (as well as many classroom teachers and home-schoolers).  In fact, it's gotten a little bit nutty in the School-based SLP Group on Facebook, with Cariboo® being named "the ONE therapy tool you would never give up!"

Why? Well, it's perfect for customizing by replacing the cards with articulation targets, it fosters left-to-right scanning, has progressive rewards, encourages turn-taking -- really everything you're looking for in an SLP game!  If you want proof, a quick Google search for "SLP Cariboo" provides a great list of starting-points!

The problem is that Cariboo® has been out-of-print for several years now and it's not exactly easy to find.

We at LessonPix picked up on this trend a few months ago and did a bit of strategic shopping, leading to us being able to give away some games as prizes and in drawings at our booth at ASHA (where it was a huge hit).  We also added a new Treasure Hunt game card material that (conveniently) fits perfectly in the Cariboo® game!  Here's a few examples of what folks are doing with them in the Sharing Center..

All that shopping led to us being accused (in a friendly way) of "hoarding" and "buying all the Cariboo® on eBay"!  So, I put together a quick video explaining in detail how you can buy (yes, buy, not "find") your own copy without paying an arm and a leg.  I hope you'll find it helpful.

Are you using Cariboo® in your practice?  If so, share your experience with us on Twitter, Facebook or in the comments below.  And if you're using our Treasure Hunt cards, please share your materials in the Sharing Center!

Happy Holidays and  I promise we'll post more often!

Friday, August 22, 2014

New CMS Regulations May Silence Thousands

UPDATE: CMS has pushed the implementation date for these changes to December 1, 2014.  However, the Congressional Letter must be signed by next Friday, September 5! 
Please ask your representatives to read and join the Dear Colleague Letter.

On September 1, bureaucrats at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will change the rules surrounding "Speech Generating Devices" or SGDs.  These changes make the devices less useful, more expensive to the taxpayer, and explicitly remove them from patients when they are admitted to hospitals, nursing facilities and (horrifically) hospice care.

Please consider joining us in trying to prevent them from going into effect and harming our neighbors with ALS, Autism, genetic disorders, stroke and more.

This decision offends me on so many levels its hard to list them.   The most insulting is the idea that we would choose to remove a device from someone who is entering a hospice facility.  Imagine this scenario for a moment.
Alice is 67 years old and suffers a stroke that impacts her ability to speak.  After months of rehab, she has learned to use an SGD to communicate with her family.  The device (funded by Medicare) has been "trained" for her: her rehab team has adjusted it to fit her needs by attaching switches and setting up the vocabulary and she's worked for days and weeks to get where she can at least have some control over her life and a margin of independence.  She can welcome her visitors and tell her family she loves them.
Sadly, Alice has a setback: perhaps another stroke, perhaps cancer, but for whatever reason, her prognosis dims to the point where hospitalization and eventually hospice care are needed.  This is likely the moment in her life when her words are the most valuable. Her family will cherish anything she says, and she will get to say goodbye.
Under these new rules, Alice would have to turn in her SGD upon admission.  The argument goes that, like walkers and feeding pumps, SGDs are Durable Medical Equipment and "should be provided by the facility."  But, unlike walkers and feeding pumps, this is Alice's device.  It has been configured and modified specifically for her and she, in many ways, has been trained to use it - it has become unique.  Even if the hospice facility has an SGD available, placing it in Alice's hands and asking her to speak with it will produce nothing but justifiable rage and frustration.

New Audible Speech Limitations

Another change coming is the elimination of devices that do anything but produce audible speech.  A bit of technical background is helpful here to understand why a techie like me is infuriated by this.  Bear with me, I think it's worth understanding.

Over the last few years, most SGD manufacturers have moved to a platform like Android (or Windows or iOS) that already has the basics functions of handling the touch-screen, powering the speaker, etc. "baked in."  Speech-specific software and hardware like hardened case and switch ports are then added to make the SGD.  You can see a similar trend in E-Readers.  Your Kindle or Nook is actually an Android tablet that Amazon or Barnes and Noble have added their software and (perhaps) nice paper-white screen to let you read their books.

SGDs based on platforms like Android are more powerful: they can access the internet, send text messages and emails, post to blogs and download updates to their software over the internet.  They are also less expensive: manufactures don't have to develop the low-level functions nor do they have to constantly improve them - they can just update their Android version and focus on making their speech software and hardware great.

Under these new rules, any device that is capable of doing anything other than producing audible speech is no longer allowed.  Even if that other functionality is disabled or hidden, the device will not be funded.

Consider the real-world impact of this change:
Betty is a 19 year old student with autism.  She uses her SGD (funded by Medicaid)  to speak and with the new LAMP-style systems can now express herself, not just make requests and answer questions.  She has opinions, irritations, joys and a point of view understandably very different than you or I.  She's learning at a young age that she's going to need to be a self-advocate, and she's able to do that through her device.  
She has spent years getting to this point and her family is incredibly proud of her. 
However, she is also like most teenagers in that the majority of her communication is silent.  She likes it that way--she likes the privacy.  She uses her device to send text messages and to post to Facebook.  Because the device is based on Android, those modes of communication are possible, but so are so many other things: she uses the built-in camera to share a smile with her dad when he's out of town and reads her books on the Kindle app.
After these changes, Betty will have to trade in her device for one that is dumbed down, and incredibly, more expensive to build.  This isn't hyperbole or a possible outcome, Saltillo, an excellent SGD manufacturer, has created (at great expense) stripped-down versions of their devices that they have had to gut until they only generated audible speech.  You can see both the normal and  Medicare/Medicaid versions here.

I seethe when I think about what that means: Betty, who has finally found a way to express herself after years of work, has just been silenced.  If she wants to talk to her dad, she'll laughably have to hold her SGD up to her cell phone so he can hear it!

Frustrated doesn't begin to describe it.

What does that mean about the value we place on the views of people like Betty?

Why would we do this as a society?

This is not "fraud prevention," as CMS has produced no evidence of widespread fraud after repeated requests.  The program has stringent definitions of "medically necessary" and the device must be prescribed by a doctor or SLP. 

It's not "cost cutting" because there's no incentive for SGD manufacturers to reduce their prices - in fact, it will increase them!  The only way this saves money is to remove devices from the hands of people who need them.  Plus, even if you chose to de-fund every device you'd save a few million dollars while silencing thousands of citizens--how can that be effective?

At first, I thought there might be "cronyism" behind this, where one vendor was effectively cornering the market.  However, every vendor I've spoken to, from the high-tech SGDs like Tobii/Dynavox and PRC/Saltillo to the low-tech SGDs that can make templates for think this is awful.  It's unanimous, and there are no winners here.

The only slightly plausible argument I've heard is that politicians and administration officials don't want to be "seen as giving away free iPads."  First, the lives of these people is more important than political "optics."  But, if that's what your worried about, strengthen the "medical necessity" requirements, don't dumb-down the devices..

Help Us Stop This!

Please help us try to stop this before they go into effect (or roll them back quickly).  There really are things you can do, and they really can make a difference.

Tara Rudnicki from ATIA and Tobii/Dynavox has written a great post of how you can involve your elected representatives.  Senators and Representatives from both parties have written a "Dear Colleague" letter to gather support within the legislature to put the brakes on these awful regulations while they are reviewed.

With the proper motivation from the citizens in their districts, this can happen.  Here are some tips:
  1. Find your House Member and Senators and write or call them all.  If you do nothing else, ask them to sign the Dear Colleague letter titled “Ensure ALS Patients Retain Access to Critical Communication Tools Ensure; Join letter to CMS urging clarification of recent Speech Generating Device policies.” (They will know how to find it & sign it)
  2. Tell them about people you know personally or that you admire who use AAC and SGD devices and how their views have impacted you. 
  3. Tell them this is a perfect example of government at its worst: bureaucrats making decisions that hurt the vulnerable and benefit no one.
  4. If your representatives lean conservative, point out that this does nothing to reduce spending and that by NOT reigning in these policies they are complicit in silencing those few that government should be helping and that the changes will spend our tax dollars less effectively.
  5. If your representatives lean liberal, point out that the views of a minority who have rights and points of view are being silenced.  We should be celebrating that these technical improvements have given them a voice in our society and listening to them, not limiting them based on regulations with no up-side.
Thank you for your patience and for reading this rant.  Thank you even more for your help.  If you know of any way we can do more, please reach out to me directly at or @LessonPix on Twitter.


Bill Binko

Thursday, May 1, 2014

#SLPVendors Unite! Still Partyin' with the #SLPeeps

Still Partyin' After All These Years

In 2012, right after LessonPix really took off, I was delighted to work with some of the best vendors in the speech and language area.  They were all active on Twitter, engaged with the #SLPeeps group and generally were loved and valued by their customers.

It was right before the ASHA National Convention, and we wanted some reason to drive traffic to our booths.  Something people would look for, be a part of, and generally have fun with.

A couple of blog posts (and lots of Tweets) later, we had a group of 16 vendors that you could feel proud to patronize (and in our case partner with).

Lori and I generated Bingo Cards complete with QR Codes and Pediastaff made their #SLPeeps booth headquarters for "Party With The #SLPeeps!"

It was an amazing thing to walk in our first ASHA convention and have a dozen people in the empty exhibit hall that you already "knew", who were happy you were there, interested in your product and happy to send (non-competing) traffic to your booth.  It was one of the best experiences I've had since starting LessonPix.

We didn't do that at ASHA 2013, mainly because it was a ton of work (and I'm not good at recruiting or delegating!) and it was really missed.  I'm pretty sure we'll do it this year, especially since ASHA is in our neighborhood and we'll be hosting an off-site.

So, what's new? Where's the Party?

Well, LessonPix and Tactus Therapy Solutions  have teamed up to create Soundable™: a sound-based social word game, much like Scrabble® or Words With Friends®, but using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).  It will be released over the next week or two as our gift to the SLP community for Better Speech and Hearing Month (#BHSM).

This is a great way to learn the IPA, and it's a lot of fun!  In fact, my 15 year old daughter has completely taught herself the IPA using this game (she uses it for her Italian opera practice).  It's amazing!

More importantly for those same great #SLPVendors, it's a great way to get your products put in front of hundreds (if not thousands) of SLPs and other Speech Professionals.  You see, the app is 100% free, supported by ads, and we're choosing to set aside dedicated space in the rotation for SLP vendors we know and love.

Sure, you'll see lots of ads for LessonPix and Tactus Therapy Solutions: that's the primary driver for the game--to get our names associated with a) Great IPA-Based tools like the Soundfinder and b) Great apps like the whole Tactus Therapy suite.  But there's plenty of room for more ads and they will be much more compelling if there's a selection of ads from vendors they know and trust!

At this point, we're prepping for launch, and we're ready to start setting up the ads.  We've got room for banner ads at the bottom and interstitial ads that fill the screen when you start and leave the game.

So, if you were a part of that great #SLPVendors group, you can expect to hear from me soon!  And if you're working with a great vendor who takes care of their customers and would like to put their products in front of an engaged set of current and future speech professionals, please reach out to me (quickly) at or


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Please excuse the interruption! will be down for a few hours while perform some much needed maintenance.  We try very hard to avoid this type of outage, but we  need to update some server hardware as well as upgrade our system to ensure we are not impacted by the heartbleed bug.

I realize that this is an inconvenience for our users (especially if you've just signed up) and I assure you this is a rare occurrence. In fact our last total outage has been over a year ago. 

I will update this post as the progress continues.  

UPDATE 1: we are about 35% of the way through the upgrade with no major issues. 

UPDATE 2: well there have been a few kinks in the update and we expect to be down for a while longer. Again we apologize and I'll give details on our changes when it's done

FINAL UPDATE: We're happy to say that is back up and running.  If you have any troubles, please contact us at  We will post an update to the blog explaining the changes that were made (and unfortunately, those yet to come) tomorrow or Monday.

Enjoy your Easter!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Low-tech Communication Board Help Needed!

WOW, it's been way too long since we've posted!  I'm sorry and will get back on track!

As I've learned at ATIA, lots of SLPs and AT Specialists use our Picture Card template to make low-tech communication boards.  It makes sense: you can quickly layout from 1-48 cards on a page and it's quick and easy.

But it kinda stinks!  The pages are portrait, not landscape, there's not enough room between the cells, there's no way to spread across two pages or use legal paper, etc.

So, we're hoping the folks in the #SLPeeps and #ATChat communities can help us build a great new template set just for communication boards!  Tell us what you use today, what's great about it, what stinks, how you lay things out, and we'll try very hard to make our Material Wizard generate them quickly and easily (and of course, affordably!).

I (Bill) will be doing this work this week, and here's what I know so far:

  1. Thanks to @atklingensmith and @SLP_Echo I know that background-colors are a MUST
  2. @PrAACticalAAC taught me that I need the colors for the Fitzgerald and Goossens color coding schemes
  3. Many #SLPeeps tell me that there's not enough space between the cells and some want rounded corners on the cells (but I don't know if that's good or bad or a personal choice!)
  4. We need a version that easily will convert into book form (space for binding on left/right/top/bottom
  5. This 2008 AAC Institute Article gives me some great guidelines but doesn't show me what people are needing in practice.
So, I would LOVE some help here, #SLPeeps and #ATChat folks: you've got my full attention, and I'll make it do what you ask (within reason, of course).

Tell me what you're looking for in terms of low-tech communication boards?  Post pictures of your favorite layouts and tell me how they could be even better!  

You can leave comments below, or just share them via Twitter and include @LessonPix in the post - I'll see them!

Thanks everyone, and I can't wait to see what you suggest!

Bill Binko

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Announcing the winners of the #SLPTunes Uncommon Christmas Music Contest!

We have our Winners!

The #SLPeeps on Twitter and Facebook have dug deep and pulled out the old vinyl to get our best Uncommon Christmas Music… and we have our winners!

@SLPTanya's BNL submission came in first
@GrayMatterTX tied with @emilywailes for second with Sufjan's Christmas album and David Bowie/Bing Crosby respectively.

The entire collection can be viewed below with great YouTube videos to accompany them!

You can also listen to the #SLPTunes Pandora Channel to get not just these tunes, but other "inspired" by them!  Click Here to listen!

What did they win?

Well, @SLPTanya will have first choice, then @EmilyWailes (since she submitted early!) and then @GrayMatterTX.  They get to choose from…
  1.  A one-year LessonPix Gift Certificate (also good at renewal!)
  2. Their choice of any Tactus Therapy Solutions TherAppy Apps!
  3. A set of Lively Letters Mini Cards and matching CD from Reading With TLC!
Winners, please contact me on Twitter (@LessonPix) to claim your prizes!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Uncommon Holiday Music with the #SLPeeps

It's that time of year--time for Holiday Music on every channel, in every store and stuck in your head. But if you're anything like us, there are tunes that nobody knows that are your favorites… and now you get to share them!

It's time for….

The #SLPeeps Uncommon Holiday Music Contest!

Here's how it works… 
  1. Pick your favorite Uncommon Holiday Music - you can enter up to three times and it doesn't matter whether it's a song, album, video - as long as it's Holiday Music
  2. Post it to Twitter using the hashtag #SLPTunes on Google Moderator or post it in the comments below.  Make sure to provide a way for us to hear/see it!  Links to YouTube, iTunes, or the tool of your choice are great as well as a way to identify you (if you want a prize!).
  3. Every day, we'll add the new submissions to the Moderator page and remind folks to vote for their favorites.
  4. This Sunday (Dec. 8) evening, we'll tally the votes and the top winners will get prizes!  
UPDATE: We have more prizes!  Our top three winners will get one of:
  • A one-year membership
  • Their choice of any Tactus Therapy Solutions Apps
  • A Reading With TLC gift pack of one Lively Letters CD and a set of Mini cards
If you're a vendor and want to donate a prize, contact us here or at @LessonPix on Twitter

What counts as Uncommon Christmas Music?

The #1 rule is,  it can't be boring!  If we've all heard it, it's OUT!  

Also, it should be something that's publicly available--your kid's Christmas show might be great, but we can't add it to our Playlist for Christmas Future.

Finally, keep it clean… not squeaky clean, just PG-rated or better.  Chances are good that some of these will be played in classrooms! :-)

Any questions? Leave them in the classroom or on Twitter!