Jessica Conrad, Specialist
Specialty Areas: Early Intervention, AAC, Communication Disorders, AEM Technical Specs/Formats/Conversion, Training Videos/Tutorials
Visual supports are probably one of my favorite tools in my intervention toolbox. However, I make it my mission to do ANYTHING to make it easier and quicker to produce, especially on the fly. These are some of my go-to options and many of them are free or have some fantastic time-saving features.
Apps for iPad
CustomBoards is a template-based visual support maker. It has a huge symbol set (Smarty Symbols) and many templates, easy to insert images in Google and share what you've made. It also will pull images by phoneme and position (huge time saver for SLPs!). For everyday visual supports, flashcards, speech/language homework, social stories, PECS cards, and low/mid tech AAC boards, this is a great option.
iESLp is another app that creates visuals. There are some templates for games and work systems, but none for mid/low tech AAC. The symbol set is SymbolStix, the same symbol set used in Unique curriculum, which may very valuable to some teams.
LessonPix has tons of templates, a library, a great symbol set, easy to create visuals, and very affordable. It's easy to share what you've created or borrow other's work.
Free, Picto4Me has a smaller symbol set, but it's easy to use and what you make syncs with your Google drive.
Connectability offers a simple visual creator in a simple template. This may be a great one for families who need something very simple to create their own visuals.
PictoSelector is a free download and available in several languages for Mac and PC. There are many templates and a symbol set, or you can import your own pictures.
I have a small obsession with shopping at thrift stores. They are my all time favorite place to find new games and materials, and sometimes you score some really terrific teacher on a budget.
This weekend at my local thrift store I picked up one of the Goldie Blox kits. I'm intrigued how we can encourage young learners to explore STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) with tools and toys. This particular Goldie Blox set is marketed for kids 4 and up and is easy to explore and play with the ideas of belt drives, force, friction, and axles. It comes with a story book where kids build along with Goldie, learning the vocabulary of the simple machines. Kids are encouraged to design their own simple machines, and the pieces are so simple and flexible there isn't a wrong way to play and create.
[image of Jessica putting together the Goldie Blox kit, a blue base with axles and rods, and threading pink ribbon around the axles.]
In October this little lovable guy showed up in the mail. Love 2 Learn Elmo delivers fun games and songs learning that can be customized to each child's name and needs. From a smartphone or tablet, parents and teachers customize the experience with the kid's name, their favorite foods and animals. You can also customize want your child to learn (letters, numbers, etc.) and at what difficulty level. It also comes with three interactive games on the iPad, where you and Elmo interact to follow directions, learn colors, or spot animals.
As a child of the Furbee generation, I am also pleased to note that adult can put Elmo into Lullaby Mode, so he becomes a non-talking stuffed animal until the adult is ready for Elmo to "wake up" again. No 2 a.m. song sessions!
Elmo has tagged along to a few classroom visits and the PATINS State Conference and got rave reviews. In particular, he got to visit a birthday party where the kids enjoyed playing games with him and were absolutely entranced with the fact that Elmo knew their names and had special messages just for them.
[image of Jessica making the Love to Learn Elmo clap]
Jessica has been a PATINS Specialist since 2016. She is a certified Speech-Language Pathologist and former Technology Integration Specialist. Her first love is supporting communication for all learners. Her second love is technology and sharing how the right tool can make success possible. She enjoys finding fun ways to create language and learning rich opportunities with fun technology. She enjoys board games, reading, cooking, traveling, and hanging out with her husband, Adam, and chihuahua, Winnie. She is a proud Big Sister with Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Central Indiana.
Member of American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Special Interest Group 16, School-Based Issues
Special Interest Group 12, Augmentative and Alternative Communication
Member of the Council for Exceptional Children
Member of the Division for Early Childhood
Member At Large, Executive Board for Indiana's Chapter of Division of Early Childhood
500 Earlywood Drive
Franklin, IN 46131
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Trainings for 2017-2018 School Year:
ALL Trainings are at NO COST to Indiana's public schools and can be requested by any staff member. We can provide devices, training materials, pre and post consultation services, classroom visits and more to meet the needs of your staff at no cost. If you have any special requests, we would love to accommodate your professional development needs. Documentation is provided at all trainings that will satisfy for Professional Growth Points and ASHA's Clinical Maintenance Hours.
Introducing AAC in Your Gen Ed Classroom
Participants will learn how to use a selected AAC device, how to model with it, and how to support meaningful and robust communication in a general education classroom.
Mystery Bag Challenge: Tools to Support ALL Students
This interactive session will get participants driving and using a wide variety of technologies to support students in all environments from PK-12+, in ELA, math, Life Skills, and more. Tools and technology brought in will include assistive technologies and solutions to support accessible educational materials. We'll discuss Universal Design for Learning, how to plan and set up your classroom or a single student for success, and how to try these tools at your school at no cost.
Tots on Tablets: Apps (and Best Practice) for Preschool
Our youngest learners probably don’t remember a time where mom’s phone wasn’t a toy, so how do we harness tablets to promote engagement and meaningful learning in a preschool classroom? We’ll show off some fun apps that go beyond “free play” options to promote pre-literacy skills, mathematics, imagination, and more.
I Love Data
Turn information mountain into automated magic! We'll show off some Google tools used by therapists, teachers and AT coordinators to make progress monitoring, timeline watching, case history filling, device training, student information gathering and team communication a snap. For anyone who is a little nervous around spreadsheets, this will be a practical and hands on demonstration of Google Sheets, AutoCrat and Form Mule.
Visuals in a Snap
Behavior supports, visual schedules, communication boards, and representing content in visual ways for reading, writing, and more: it's all great news for our learners, but can you get it done quickly? We'll explore some simple, free, or nearly free tech tools and resources to make your visuals in a snap.
Learn the basics of Camtasia for Windows or Mac. By the end of this training, participants will know how to create and import clips, audio, stitch and edit, and add callouts, captions, and how to upload your complete video to your preferred video hosting site, like YouTube.
Training with No Time, No Budget: No Problem!
Are you one of the fountains of knowledge in your district for assistive technology, providing training and support and feeling like you need some new tools in your toolbox? This webinar will explore some simple and free solutions for:
- Saying it a million times but they still aren’t getting it when they walk out the door
- Providing meaningful training, but you can’t provide widget in their hand to learn
- Getting all the right people in the right room at the right time
- Is training really going to solve the problem?