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This version of NSU News has been archived as of February 28, 2019. To search through archived articles, visit nova.edu/search. To access the new version of NSU News, visit news.nova.edu.

This version of SharkBytes has been archived as of February 28, 2019. To search through archived articles, visit nova.edu/search. To access the new version of SharkBytes, visit sharkbytes.nova.edu.

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Division of Public Relations and Marketing Communications
Nova Southeastern University
3301 College Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314-7796

nova.edu/prmc

SharkBytes Archives

Contact

Division of Public Relations and Marketing Communications
Nova Southeastern University
3301 College Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314-7796

(954) 262-5353
(800) 541-6682 x25353
Fax: (954) 262-3954
communications@nova.edu

Speech and Occupational Therapy Students Join Together to Learn about Augmentative and Alternative Communication

NSU speech language pathology and occupational therapy students with Queenie Archer

NSU speech language pathology and occupational therapy students with Queenie Archer

Each October, Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is celebrated around the world. The goal is to raise awareness about AAC and to teach the public about the many different ways in which people communicate, including using Speech Generated Devices.

Last month, students in NSU’s College of Health Care Sciences’ Masters of Occupational Therapy (MOT) Program had the opportunity to visit and meet speech language pathology (SLP) students at NSU’s Abraham S. Fischler School of Education. This fieldtrip was an effort to bring attention to the interdisciplinary teamwork required for successful assessment and prescription of AAC and Assistive Technology (AT) use. The MOT students toured the Speech Language Pathology Clinic, were introduced to the services offered there, and had the opportunity to see the state-of-the-art Augmentative Communication Education (ACE) Lab.

The most exciting part of the visit was meeting and interacting with Queenie Archer, a user of both AT and AAC. Archer has received AAC services in the past and is a lifelong friend of the Speech Language Pathology Department. She is a poet, author, photographer, artist, and an inspiration to all who know her. She is also an individual with cerebral palsy, which limits her ability to speak and use her arms and legs.

Archer’s needs in both AAC and AT have changed over the course of her lifetime – and so has technology. The past decade has brought significant advances in technology – more so than at any other point in time – particularly through touch-screen technology.

Recognizing both the advances in technology and the changing needs of clients, like Archer, led to a coordinated interdisciplinary effort between Carole Zangari, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, professor, programs in speech language pathology and principal investigator, UM-NSU CARD (Center for Autism Related Disabilities); Adrienne Lauer, Ed.D., OTR/L, assistant professor, Department of Occupational Therapy; and Lori Wise, M.S., coordinator of clinical and educational services, UM-NSU CARD; to informally reevaluate how the newest technology could better help Archer to engage in desired activities. With the right equipment (adjustable, table mounted iPad holder and adjustable head pointer), the team was able to make an iPad accessible to Archer, giving her a new-found independence. Archer shared her experiences with the MOT and SLP students. Her determination, passion for life, and willingness to be transparent for the sake of educating others, were clear.

Archer demonstrated her independent access skills for the participating MOT and SLP students on this special day in October. With much practice, she has become quite experienced in navigating the iPad, opening up many opportunities to engage that she otherwise would not have had. Using a text-to-speech app, Archer expressed her gratitude saying, “Dr. Lauer, thank you for opening my eyes to the world through this iPad. I can do a lot on my own now. I can read my email, my Facebook, my music, and I can put the camera on myself! I’m learning how to read and write. And I’m learning to do artwork on my iPad. I love watching YouTube videos of my favorite singer Diana Ross – I love the way she moves her hair!”

Archer concluded by saying, “People like me like to learn about stuff, just like everyone else. My iPad makes that possible! It’s a whole new world for me. I want your students to remember how you helped me so that they can help other people like me to have access to technology like this too.” There was not a dry eye in the room!