Bookshare, Kindles, and Nooks…



I’m going to date myself a little bit here by telling you that I have a terrific album collection from the 1960’s through the 80’s.  I love looking at the covers and listening to the ‘crackle’ sound when the needle first touches the vinyl, but didn’t own a stereo that would play them! Only just recently did I pick up a vintage system that rocks.  It was simply a matter of matching the right player to my specific media…

I often field calls from teachers and clinicians asking how to download Bookshare books onto Kindles and Nooks.  I know a lot of districts have invested in these low-cost devices for digital reading support and they love them.  That makes it even more disappointing to find that the two are incompatible with Bookshare. Federal laws mandate that Bookshare books are converted into very specific digital formats for e-reading accessibility and neither the Kindle or basic Nook devices are designed to read these file types (although the newer Nook HD does).  Simply put, the device just isn’t able to play them any more than my 8-track player will play a CD.

For more information, see this explanation regarding Kindles and Bookshare use.

Bookshare Web Reader Update

I love Bookshare, but I will admit that it takes a little work to learn how to use it.  That said, it is WELL worth the effort and will make you wonder how your students ever read without it! I was happy to learn today that they now offer an option for web reading without an individual membership and wanted to share this link with you for learning more.  Previously, students needed an individual subscription and password to log in outside of the school’s account.  Now the teacher can assign a specific log in for them, download books for the student, and assign them to a shared reading list to allow student access from the internet anywhere.  Wow.  It just keeps getting easier!

Getting Lost Trying to Use and Navigate Proloquo2Go?

The AssistiveWare website has tutorial videos to help you out!

From simple topics like “Introduction to Proloquo2Go” and “Customizing the Vocabulary” to more advanced features like “Access Methods”, AssistiveWare has got you covered with over 20 how-to videos that are conveniently broken down by specific features.  To access the videos, click on one of the links below and fill out the e-learning registration form, with just your name and email, then click “Watch”.

(NEW denotes video recorded with Proloquo2Go version 3.0)

It is noted on that videos 2-7 were recorded using Proloquo2Go Version 2.0, and will look a little different if you have the latest version (3.0).

Proloquo2Go Supplemental Videos

These videos will be helpful if you are using an older version (1 0r 2) of Proloquo2Go:


Check out these Guest Videos that are featured on their website:

iPads & Apps – For Learning, For Leisure, As Tools for Autistic Kids, and Adults – Shannon Des Roches Rosa (2012)

Autism & Augmentative and Alternative Communication: Research-based Best Practices – Joanne M. Cafiero, Ph.D. (2012)

Boardmaker Tutorials and Guides

Snowman Activity Book
Snowman Activity Book

snowmageddon 2015


Wow!  We’ve been out of school here in east Tennessee for 2 full weeks due to “snowmageddon 2015”. I missed seeing my students while trapped at home under ice and snow, but it gave me a lot of time to create new curriculum materials using visual supports. Take a look at our ready-to-print thematic project titled “Let’s Build a Snowman’ in case you need something to tie in with our recent weather events.  Of course, now I am working on projects for Easter and spring in hopes that we can wish the cold weather away!

While working on my projects, I realized that I’d never shared the Boardmaker Help & Training Center site created by Mayer-Johnson/Dynavox.  An excellent resource, it contains tips, guides, and short video tutorials to help when learning to create with Boardmaker products.  It’s easy to navigate and offers a host of supports.  Check it out today! 

Two FREE Winter Books with Activities

Click on the links below to download two FREE Winter Boardmaker Books and Activities, created here at our AT Center:  Let’s Build A Snowman – which includes activities for Beginning Letter Sounds, Color Matching, Counting, Size Sorting and Building A Snowman.  And Sam, What Do You Wear When It’s Cold Outside? – which includes activities for Identifying Body Parts, Counting, Dress Sam, Hot or Cold?, Shapes, and Winter/Summer Clothes Sorting.

The files are saved as PDF, so you will not be able to edit the boards, but that means that you don’t need to have Boardmaker to print them either!

                                   Activity Book   Google Drive2                    Activity Book   Google Drive

Free Winter Boardmaker Books and Activities:

Let’s Build A Snowman – Boardmaker Book and Activities

Sam, What Do You Wear When It’s Cold Outside? – Boardmaker Book and Activities

Using the iPad for Literacy Instruction

So excited to share a day with a great group of teachers in Blount County tomorrow!  This district has received an instructional grant to purchase carts of iPads and apps for all 7th grade classrooms to use for reading instruction.  I have created a Livebinder file full of resources, links, tutorials, app lists, and curriculum supports for their use during and after the close of our educational session.  I love the TPACK model (Technology, Pedagogy, and Content Knowledge combination) for integrating technology into the curriculum and we will be using this to help these teachers understand how to select and incorporate iPad tools and supports into their instruction.  If you are also using iPad tools for literacy instruction, feel free to explore these resources!

PVC Pipe-Eye Gaze Frame

Photo Feb 11, 1 39 31 PM

Need a way to spread out picture supports and get them up at eye-level for those using Eye Gaze for communication?  This is a cheap and easy DIY project that comes together in a matter of minutes.  Made out of PVC Pipe, a few connector joints and a few stripes of Velcro, this particular frame is great for those who travel to different schools/locations because it is easily taken apart and put back together (as long as you have labeled the pieces the first time you assembled it!)  Of course, it can be glued together if you wont need to disassemble it.  Also, be sure to ask them to cut the pieces in the sizes that you need at the hardware store, unless you happen to have a PVC cutter laying around in your garage!  This will make assembly that much faster when you get it all home.  Here are the directions:  Eye Gaze Frame made out of PVC Pipe  Our version of the PVC Eye Gaze frame is taken from a previous idea by Linda Burkhart.


Roane State CC Resources

Therapy is my ‘thing’ and teaching has always been my passion, so I enjoy spending time with the Occupational Therapy Assistant students at Roane State Community College.  I’ve been invited to offer a guest lecture/hands-on lab for this group every fall for the last 4 years and it’s become one of my favorite things to do.  I believe that “adaptive equipment” and “assistive technology” are the SAME thing, just named differently because of the times in which they were defined. People often ask me, “What’s the difference between the tools for OT and AT?”   My answer… “Not much at all!” Assistive technologies are simply newer, more technology-based forms of adaptive equipment and the goal for both is always to improve independence.

TheRSCC Overview 2014 I showed this week looks at AT as it applies to the accommodation for dysfunction and disability.  I set up a hands-on learning lab and we looked at student profiles in an interactive exercise, offering the OTA students an opportunity to look at what’s available and think creatively when choosing AT for specific needs.  On my home page, there is a link to the Assistive Technology Lending Library list2.  The list includes photos and information about specific tools or programs and can be a great resource for becoming more familiar with what’s out there.

When evaluating students with physical disabilities for AT needs, a checklist can be an invaluable tool.  Dr. MariBeth Coleman at the University of TN (Department of Education) has created a wonderful UTK Curriculum Access Checklist that guides the process and i shared this with the students, as well.


TN Association for Assistive Technology Conference 2014!

For those of you interested in learning more about the use of assistive technologies (AT) in the special education classroom, THIS is the conference for you!  The TAAT has become one of the hottest conferences in the south for peer guided instruction, hands-on learning, and practical application ideas for using all forms of AT to support students with special needs.

If you are interested in teaching a session, the Call for Proposals is still open (until October 4) and up to 2 speakers per session are allowed to attend the conference FOR FREE.  This year’s event is scheduled for December 4-5, 2014 at the Cool Springs Marriott in Franklin, TN.  Contact hours and CEUs are included, provided by our co-sponsor, the AAC Institute.  For more information, to submit a proposal, or to register to attend, visit today!