Links / Info

Public policy documents and reports:

Neurodisabilities 2016 forum - http://neurodisabilitiesforum.org.nz/
UNCRPD (United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities)  https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/convention-on-the-rights-of-persons-with-disabilities.html
NZ Disability Strategy https://www.odi.govt.nz... 
Autism Living Guidelines  - http://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/disability-services/disability-projects/autism-spectrum-disorder-guideline/living-guideline-group-keeping-asd-guideline-date
State of the Sector Invisible Disabilities - www.yesdisability.org.nz/download/13

Good practice summaries:

Communication Partner Best Practices PDF as written up by Kate Anderson and additional Research to Practice guides from the group. 
Play Schemas - I love Susan Harper's summary table PDF  as well as her description here.

Evidence reviews:

Informed SLT - https://www.theinformedslp.com/
Research Autism Net - http://researchautism.net/autism-interventions/our-evaluations-interventions

Autism - what to look for:

First Words Project- http://firstwordsproject.com/about-16by16/
ASD Detect - http://asdetect.org/
Chart comparing DSM IV versus DSM V regarding ASD - Harker and Stone 2014 PDF

Literacy:

Literacy for All - http://literacyforallinstruction.ca/
Jane Farrall's blog - http://www.janefarrall.com/literacy/
Centre for Literacy and Disability Studies - https://www.med.unc.edu/ahs/clds
Willians Hill School - http://www.willanshil-s.schools.nsw.edu.au/literacy-and-communication

Assessment tools

Bridge Assessment - https://www.med.unc.edu/ahs/clds/resources/early-childhood-resources-1/the-bridge-assessment
Communication Matrix - https://communicationmatrix.org/
PACT frameworks  - https://pactinfo.education.govt.nz/about-the-pact/the-frameworks/
MacAurthur Communication Checklist
 -  NZ version (contact authors before using) http://www.cmds.canterbury.ac.nz/documents/NZ-CDI-2012.pdf (
 - Samoan and Tongan - http://www.growingup.co.nz/...

Technology and tools:

App review list - AAC - http://www.janefarrall.com/aac-apps-lists/
App review list - https://otswithapps.com/2017/10/26/call-scotland-new-revised-apps-wheel/
Alternative Pencils http://alternativepencils.weebly.com/
Co-Writer - https://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/co-writer/id674099732?mt=8
Tar Heel Reader - https://tarheelreader.org/
Pictello - http://www.assistiveware.com/product/pictello
Pictello and Tar Heel reader converter - http://www.assistiveware.com/tar-heel-reader-pictello-converter
Resources for making low tech supports (I am not endorsing nor do I stand to make any money off these links):
       Augmentative Resources Inc - Velcro Dots
      Indiana University Visual Support Samples - https://www.iidc.indiana.edu/pages/visualsupports 

Resources regarding reporting abuse

Central MN Sexual Assault Center's collection of symbols to support discussing abuse and crime - https://cmsac.org/communication-tools/  from their Who, What, Where, When: A Symbol Book for Communicating with Sexual Assault Survivors who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication.
Child Matters NZ - http://www.childmatters.org.nz

Blogs / youtube / FB pages

Praactical AAC has a great FB pages as well - http://praacticalaac.org/
Caroline Musselwhite's two pages:
http://aacgirls.blogspot.co.nz/2014/10/
http://www.aacintervention.com
We Speak Podd -
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfvD20l2wn-fS2Ar4bdTXZg
https://www.facebook.com/wespeakpodd/
Uncommon Sense Blog - http://niederfamily.blogspot.co.nz/p/our-communicationaac-journey.html

Some of my own thoughts and research shared publicly:

2017 Open Letter regarding the need for expressive voices for AAC technology
2017 Letter regarding language impairments
2016 Submission to the NZ Parliamentary Select Committee regarding the Education Update
2015 Forum Note in AAC journal with Graham Pullin regarding need for expressive speech synthesis
2014 Published Collaboration with Éva Székely, Zeeshan Ahmeda, João P. Cabral, and Julie Carson-Berndsen
2007 Article outlining the state of the art in AAC with Krista Wilkinson with a focus on people with intellectual impairments

Accessing funding for AAC technology in New Zealand

Health funding - either ACC or MOH -
Any one can refer themselves to TalkLink for an assessment.  You can also contact a private specialists with CAT-1 accreditation from Enable. It is strong advised that you seek out an assessment, however given the long wait lists and the reality that some AAC options now cost less than a full assessment,  some families are opting to self-fund apps.  We strongly urge you to consider and/or trial at least 2 options if possible. 

Here is a partial list of the types of symbol based iOS AAC apps that are considered to provide a reasonably robust, high quality vocabulary set (in alphabetical order). They differ significantly in terms of pricing structure (subscription v one off payment) and design principals (motor planning, pragmatic organisation, alphabet/semantic categories/syntactic prediction layouts, search features, voice quality, symbol sets etc).  Jane Farrall's app list is an excellent starting point.  Inclusive Communication's assessment kit includes demo versions of the following apps:

  • AVAZ
  • Tobi Dynavox
    • PODD set
    • Compass
  • Proloquo2go
  • Sonoflex
  • Speakforyourself
  • TouchChat with Wordpower (the WordPower is key)
  • LAMP Words for Life (similiar to Minspeak)

Voices

There currently are no Kiwi synthetic accented voices on the market. Nor has a speech engine been developed for the Te Reo Maori language.  Voice banking is an option if you want to create a custom voice using your own voice (or even someone else's voice that fits your gender, regional accent, and age).  This is a powerful tool if you are at risk for losing your own voice due to cancer, surgery, or a progressive numerological disorder.  This technology also allows someone to "donate" their voice to someone who would like to be able to speak with a voice that better reflects their regional identity, gender, and/or age.

Voice banking / custom voices for AAC
Cereproc - https://www.cereproc.com/en/services/voicecreation
VocalID - https://www.vocalid.co/
Acapella - http://www.acapela-group.com/voices/custom-voice-creation/
Modeltalker - https://www.modeltalker.org/

Based on a websearch (November 2017)
Before starting the voice banking recording process, double check with the app manufacturer that the resulting voice will work on your AAC system
  Cereproc Acapella Vocal ID ModelTalker
Speakforyourself     X  
LAMP and PRC     X  
Proloquo2Go   X    
Tobii Dynvox     X  
Grid (SmartBox)     X  
Scene/ Heard
Predictable
ChatAble
(Therapy Box)

 
X     x