Friday, 31 October 2008

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

20 Oct: PowerPoint Communication Aid

Here's a screenshot of 340 High Frequency Words on a PowerPoint slide that will speak each word when clicked on (after we copy and paste the recordings from the 2-slide version we made first).

We didn't like it when we couldn't see half of the words at any one time on the 2-slide version, so we reduced them to fit 1 slide. These small words and large number of words on a page won't suit everyone's accessibility needs, but we need to see this set of words all at once for a project we are working on.

Gail Van Tatenhove recommends having all core words in view at once, and we have copied the colour-coding and word arrangement from her Colour Word Board.

The screenshot was taken in full screen SlideShow view. If you can't see it all at once press F11 to make the Menu bars go away. Press F11 again to bring them back.

All 330 words from the Marvin Study are on the slide and we only had to add another dozen to make sure that the Dolch top 200 reading words and the AAC Interview top 100 core words were included.

Note: In a language study with more participants or of longer duration there would hardly be any nouns at all (pale orange words, last two columns). The nouns in the Marvin list are not words that we would all say every day. They are the nouns specific to the few hours of conversation recorded in a study of 6 3-4 years old pre-schoolers in 3 classrooms.

PowerPoint 2007 has a Format option 'Change Picture'. Microsoft's little yellow speakers can be replaced with transparent gifs and recorded sounds can be right on top of something without blotting it out. We found this out while narrating the PowerPoint stories we wrote for Many Stories, One Voice.

Both stories have graphics showing around 80 Toddler's highest frequency words (Banajee, Van Tatenhove) so we turned them into voice output communication aids:


Wednesday, 22 October 2008

22 Oct: MSOV: Ferryhill

Today we read to students at Jake's school, Broom Cottages in Ferryhill.

Jake used his communication aid to introduce himself and us, then he used ReadPlease to read out his poem about Jigsaw Puzzles.

It was cool that the ReadPlease programme only covered the text of Jake's poem and we could still see the border of photos and painting of Jake in the Word document behind it.

ReadPlease will carry on talking in the background even when you have a PowerPoint slideshow taking up the whole screen, but we do like to see ReadPlease because it highlights each word as it reads and this helps our learning.

21 Oct: My knee!!!!!

Terry and Andrew were downstairs printing out MSOV bookmarks and stories from the Collection for tomorrow's reading and I was upstairs when my knee cap rolled around the side of my leg - glad they heard me shout - they tried to hop me over to my bed and somehow it went back into place by itself - it's a bit sore and swollen.

20 Oct: MSOV: Stanley

We read our narrated Powerpoint stories to the Special Needs group at Stanley library, and read more using the ReadPlease text reader.

We showed everyone the Many Stories, One Voice Online Writing Collection of over 100 stories, essays and poems written by people who cannot use speech as their main way to communicate. The authors are aged between 6 - 65 and from 13 countries.

We all wrote especially for ISAAC International AAC* Awareness Month this October, when people are reading aloud in libraries around the world, using AAC and computer technology.

Here's the link to the MSOV Collection:

Check it out!
Our stories are on this page:

16 Oct: MSOV: Spennymoor

Today we read to Robert's class at his school, The Oaks in Spennymoor.

15 Oct: LDP: Sedgefield Locality

Sedgefield Locality meeting of the Learning Disabilities Parliament.

I showed some slides I made to introduce everyone to the CRPD (United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilites). On the slides:

1. Some text copied from the Rehabilitaion International PowerPoint about the CRPD, and
2. Articles 21 & 24 of the Convention.

I used a free text-reader programme called ReadPlease to read out all the words on the slides. All I had to do was copy and paste the text from PowerPoint into ReadPlease and press Play.

Before this we had to work for hours storing everything on my communication aid in advance.

We are going to work on making CRPD information accessible for everyone to understand and discuss by the next meeting.

10 Oct: Engage TV

Charly emailed to say they got the funding to make a documentary with me! it will be three minutes and has to be done by February. More on that later.

Engage are also starting a year long Media Skills course with Gateshead College, NCFE certificate. People with learning disabilities will be working on 3 professional films, learning by work placement and working on all aspects of media from camera to performing.

11 Oct: MSOV: Durham

We read our stories to students from St Hild's at Durham Clayport library.

7 Oct: MSOV: Chilton

Our first for AAC Awareness Month was at Chilton Library.

The Mayor and Town Clerk, and Mrs Bell's class from the junior school came to hear our stories.

7 Oct: LD Parliament

Our first meeting since the swear in 3 September.

At 'Any other Business' I asked if the Parliament would petition the UK government to Ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities.

It does not become law for us in the UK until they do.

I gave them CD from Rehabilitation International with a PowerPoint about the Convention and a template letter that we could send.
There was a lot of interest and it was agreed to talk about it at the next Locality meeting.

28 Sep & 1 Oct: MSOV

Getting ready for our reading sessions in October.

26 Sep: Bruce Baker

We got 2 hours of video of Bruce to add to the CM and Montreal footage, edit and get on You Tube, still going places and doing things and collecting even more video to work on...

24 Sep: Engage TV

Went to Newcastle for a camera shoot with Engage - we are in a shortlist of three projects for making a documentary.

21-23 Sep: Communication Matters

I'll write up about our weekend with Communication Matters soon - getting some pics from the video took, for this post and some others I'm just making space for now.