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Wizard of Ounces

  1. 1. Siobhan And the Wizard of Ounces Linda Karr O’Connor Joseph Karr O’Connor 
  2. 2. “Everyone has a right to communicate with others and to be communicated with.” Joseph and Linda
  3. 3. “For her own well being, safety, and greater enjoyment of life it is vital that we support Siobhan’s communications systems.” Joseph and Linda
  4. 4. PictureExchange 
 Communication System(PECS) Using PECS methodology helps us teach vocabulary and communicative routines and helps Siobhan modify her behavior.
  5. 5. PictureExchange
 Communication System(PECS) Siobhan’s communication protocols are implemented through the use of picture schedules and speech generating devices (SGDs).
  6. 6. Picture Schedule Siobhan knows what’s next. Promotes frictionless transitions.
  7. 7. October 29, 2017 Siobhan using Dynavox Xpress
  8. 8. Dynavox Xpress Summer 2018 
 Speakers popped off, taped back on. Backup not working. Screen cracked. The system is failing fast.
  9. 9. AcquiringA 
 NewSystem The race is on to: 1. get an AAC evaluation of Siobhan, 2. evaluate systems, choose a system, 3. submit insurance funding request, 4. take delivery, do the configuration.
  10. 10. AcquiringA
 NewSystem The Center for Applied Rehabilitation Technology (CART) at the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, Downey, California, provides a number of services and one of them is evaluations for AAC systems.
  11. 11. AcquiringA 
 NewSystem At CART Carlene Yonemori and team members did a speech evaluation of Siobhan and recommended that she continue using AAC systems.
  12. 12. AcquiringA 
 NewSystem They then made some suggestions about new systems and with our input selected potential systems. They arranged for trials of the systems. They even 3D printed a case for one!
  13. 13. FormFactor A small form factor is critical for Siobhan. It is most unfortunate that SGD form factor design has been engulfed by the design characteristics of the Apple iPad. “Just like an iPad!” chant the sales team. This is not the form factor Siobhan is looking for.
  14. 14. SymbolSet From the experience gained through 22 years of experimenting with symbol libraries it is essential that a new device must have a license to use Picture Communications Symbols (PCS).
  15. 15. Simple home page 
 with PCS symbols.
  16. 16. Voice A new device should have a license to the Loquendo voice pack with the Susan voice. This voice, or an approximation of it, is essential to her identity.
  17. 17. BatteryLife Unfortunately, new systems have built-in batteries that only last a portion of Siobhan’s talking day. A new SGD should have interchangeable or easily charged batteries.
  18. 18. Software The software that runs on the device should be easily and quickly configurable. The companion computer software should run on any OS.
  19. 19. Software A new device should have word count as a software feature. If communication is up we know that our methodologies are working, if down we need to pinpoint the cause and devise and implement a strategy to encourage communication.
  20. 20. Software To prolong battery life, devices can be set to sleep. Touch-to-wake is essential. Waking that requires a button push can be tricky.
  21. 21. Hardware Trials 1. NOVA Chat 5 by Saltillo Ultra light small form factor, PCS, word count, one voice approximates Susan, battery can be recharged by USB battery pack, software easily configured. Waking requires button push.
  22. 22. NOVA Chat 5 6.25 x 3.19 x 1.19 in, 11.2 oz
  23. 23. Hardware Trials 2. Tobii Dynavox Indi 7 “Like an iPad” form factor, PCS, word count, one voice approximates Susan, can only be recharged by AC charger, software easily configured. Waking requires button push.
  24. 24. Tobii Dynavox Indi 7 9.6 x 6.9 x 1.4 in, 1 lb 11 oz
  25. 25. Tobii Dynavox Indi 7 9.6 x 6.9 x 1.4 in, 1 lb 11 oz NOVA Chat 5 6.25 x 3.19 x 1.19 in, 11.2 oz FormFactor
  26. 26. SymbolSet PCS symbol set available on Indi 7, as add-on for NOVA Chat 5.
  27. 27. Voice The Nuance Loquendo voice pack with Susan isn’t available for Indi 7. We approximated with Acapela Tracy. Not fair to Communicator Local 1!
  28. 28. Voice The Nuance Loquendo voice Susan is available for NOVA Chat 5! (Ask us for workaround.) Much thanks to: 
 Belva Holman, Saltillo; 
 Derek Clarke, Nuance; 
 Melanie Endres, CodeFactory
  29. 29. BatteryLife The NOVA Chat 5 recharges with a USB cable. Battery life is reasonable. Can be recharged with a small external USB battery or in the car.
  30. 30. BatteryLife The Indi 7 requires a bulky AC charger. The first day out battery lasted 5 hours. We learned to use sleep more effectively. This lengthened battery life, but Siobhan couldn’t make it wake.
  31. 31. Software The software that runs on the Indy 7 and NOVA Chat 5 is relatively* easily and quickly configurable. *Not for newbies.
  32. 32. Software Both systems companion computer software only runs on Windows. Both systems have word count as a software feature.
  33. 33. Software We use our own layouts to approximate Siobhan’s communication book. This legacy approach assures confident stable communications. Both systems allow for this flexibility.
  34. 34. AcquiringA 
 NewSystem Nova Chat 5 good for handheld use, battery life adequate, charging easy, wake is problematic.
  35. 35. AcquiringA
 NewSystem Tobii Dynavox Indi 7 too bulky for handheld use, battery life too short, needs AC charger, wake is problematic.
  36. 36. AcquiringA
 NewSystem We chose the NOVA Chat 5.
  37. 37. AcquiringA 
 NewSystem Our heartfelt thanks go to CART and Carlene Yonemori. We couldn’t have done this without them.
  38. 38. AcquiringA
 NewSystem Thanks very much to Steve Lee of the W3C and Jamie Knight and Lion of the BBC who helped Joe explore open source free AAC software.
  39. 39. AcquiringA
 NewSystem If you're looking for a symbol set to use with your #AAC software then give open source Mulberry Symbols a look. "Symbols and design process originated by Garry Paxton who then assigned copyright over to Steve Lee in 2018."
  40. 40. AcquiringA
 NewSystem If you are looking for an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) app that's open source and free then check out @cboard_io at
  41. 41. AcquiringA
 NewSystem If you are looking for an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) app that's open source and supports Picture Communication Symbols (PCS) then check out @CoughDropAAC. Prices are very low and you can use it on any device. Thanks very much to @swahlquist and @whitmer.
  42. 42. Conclusions The 
 Whirling Blades
  43. 43. Whirling Blades This whole process is way too complex and difficult.
  44. 44. Whirling Blades Whirling Blades #1. Siobhan frequently asks to listen to the Wizard of Oz soundtrack.
  45. 45. Whirling Blades After setting up the NOVA Chat 5 the Wizard of Oz was speaking as the Wizard of Ounces. 
 Raise your hand if you know how to fix that.
  46. 46. Whirling Blades It took some poking around but we finally found a pronunciation table. Oz was set to speak as ounces.
  47. 47. Whirling Blades We went on to set up the SGD so that Siobhan can ask Siri to play the Wizard of Oz and all her other music.
  48. 48. Whirling Blades Whirling Blades #2. Each time we get a new device we have to make all of the pages from scratch. (Again CART helped, but someone had to provide the labor.)
  49. 49. Whirling Blades The grids, all the buttons, all the button behaviors, all the pages, all the links between the pages, find and import the photos of people, everything has to be remade from scratch.
  50. 50. Page Schematic Showing page names and icons.
  51. 51. Whirling Blades It’s just a database! How hard could it possibly be to make it interoperable? It’s not interoperable, even between devices and versions from the same manufacturer!
  52. 52. Whirling Blades Whirling Blades #3: Siobhan found it difficult to use wake with a button though she did it on the Xpress for years.
  53. 53. Whirling Blades Whirling Blades #3: Siobhan is confused by the wake button on both systems.
  54. 54. Whirling Blades Whirling Blades #3: CART created a wake button extension on the 3D printed case but Siobhan isn’t using it yet.
  55. 55. Whirling Blades Whirling Blades #3: It’s not intuitive like touch to wake is. One caregiver didn’t turn it on for hours, so Siobhan couldn’t talk.
  56. 56. Action Join Joseph on the World Wide Web Consortium Voice Assistant Standardisation Community Group and push for AAC system standards.
  57. 57. Action Coming to Anaheim soon! PECS Level 1 Training 
 April 1 and 2, 2019 
 Cost: $429 Professionals/ $329 Parents 
 Workshop Hours: 8 am - 4 pm 
 Presenter: Jesseca Collins, M.Ed., BCBA
  58. 58. 1. I want: hand reaching for box; 2. PECS: handing ball symbol to communicative partner; 3. training: trainer leading class 
 (shout out to Andy Bondy!)
  59. 59. ThankYou! Carlene Yonemori and team, CART; 
 Steve Lee, W3C; 
 Jamie Knight and Lion, BBC; 
 Scot Wahlquist and Brian Whitmer, CoughDropAAC; 
 Anders Mathisen, Tobii Dynavox; 
 Belva Holman, Saltillo; 
 Derek Clarke, Nuance; 
 Melanie Endres, CodeFactory.