The Proloquo2Go App and Bluebee Pals

 Proloquo2Go is a communication app that is used by individuals who have a limited ability to use speech for communication and need an augmentative and/or alternative way to communicate. I have used this communication app with all ages from young children to adults with complex communication needs.

The Proloquo2G App offer s a variety of page sets for individuals with varying abilities and is easily customized. When referring to these tips below, I find them to be most useful when using the core vocabulary page sets, which give individuals the ability to communicate most effectively. Additionally, it would be helpful to have Proloquo2go on two separate iPads (one for the child if they are using that as their form of communication and the other iPad for the therapist who is using Proloquo2go for modeling purposes with the Bluebee Pal. 

Before you start an activity with your Bluebee Pal, ask the child “What would you like to name our Bluebee Pal?” Use the keyboard to create a name or give various choices. For an emergent reader, ask the child to choose one letter from the keyboard and then give choices from there (e.g. the child presses M, therapist asks child “Would you like her to be called Melanie or Mimi? etc). Having the child create a particular name for the Bluebee character will make the activity below even more meaningful. Once the child has created a name for the Bluebee Pal, add that name to the people page so that the child can create sentences with the name, request and comment appropriately.
 
Invite your Bluebee Pal to a tea party! your Bluebee Pal sit at the table  with you, as the therapist use  Proloquo2Go to help facilitate speech and language goals.
 When the tea party begins, practice greetings by navigating into the chat page and saying “Hello, My name is Bluebee (or the name created by the child)” What is your name? Have the child respond via speech or aided communication throughout this session. During the tea party, you can use Proloquo2go to ask questions (“What do you like to eat?”,“Who is your best friend?”), answer questions (“I like to eat toast.”etc.) and engage in simple conversation.                                                                   

 
This activity can help a child work towards initiating communication, sharing preferences (e.g. “I like the pink cup”) and sharing information.
  1. If a child is working on following directions, use your Bluebee Pal to give directions via the use of Proloquo2Go (e.g. Please give me the blue cup, etc). Encourage commenting by expressing various comments in the describing page (e.g. wonderful, favorite,fun).
  2. Use modeling and prompts to encourage the child to create 3-4 word sentences such as “This is fun” via using both core and fringe vocabulary.
  3. Other pages that would be useful during this activity would be the feelings page (e.g. “I feel happy”), actions (“I feed the baby”), and the food page (“I want a cookie”). Don’t forget to say “goodbye” and “all done” via navigating into your chat page and then accessing “all done” on your core page. 
 
 

Bluebee Pal Engaging Communication at P. 53K at P384

I am a speech-language pathologist working with verbal, minimally verbal, and non-verbal children on my caseload. I use Bluebee Pal Leo the Lion in nearly all of my therapy sessions. Leo the Lion, while paired to my iPad as I use absolutely any text-to-speech or communication app, provides spoken instructions to my students.https://www.bluebeepals.com/tutorials/

The kiddos sometimes ignore me, a human (I think), but I haven’t yet noticed anyone ignoring Bluebee Pal Leo, who is a cute robotic stuffed animal kind of thing, who moves his mouth as he talks or sings. I can’t compete with Leo. When he runs out of power (which takes days of use to happen), and I put him on the shelf, my kiddos look up at him, point, and request him! He is a powerful motivator for a number of my students who in the past resisted demands to try to pronounce difficult words but now readily imitate Leo. They sing along with him (e.g., Spotify app), and he tells them stories (e.g., MyOn app). https://Bluebeepals.com

Their increased engagement has resulted in measurable therapeutic gains, whether quality of speech production,range of vocabulary on a speech device (e.g., Proloquo2Go app; LAMP Words for Life app; TouchChat app), combining words, or adding new communicative functions.Students who previously requested only, learned from Leo to direct a peer to take turns or perform actions in a game (e.g., open).  As a bilingual provider, I toggle languages on my personal communication apps to change the language when needed. So, Leo speaks Spanish (or any other language) that my apps support. https://aacapps.com

I recommend Bluebee Pals for your kiddos. – Joseph Kurtz, Bilingual Speech Language Pathologist, MS, CCC-SLP, PC

 

Joseph Kurtz
Bilingual Speech Pathologist, Spanish Extension
PROMPT Certified MS, CCC-SLP, TSSLD-BE, PC
P. 53K at P384
242 Cooper Street, Brooklyn NY 11207

 

Bluebee Pals a Diverse Speech Therapy Tool

Bluebee Pals are a great therapy tool! What I love best about our Bluebee Pal is how diverse it is. We use it in so many ways! We have older kids use it as a projection of their voice to greet the younger kids; increasing peer-to-peer interaction is a great foundational communication skill for our kids to learn. Also, the kids are more motivated to pick a song when the bluebee pal is singing it.

We are currently using it in our joint action routines (JARs) to teach various communication skills to children with autism. Bluebee Pals provide a nurturing environment as a talking stuffed animal who engages in communication and companionship. In addition, the Bluebee Website  offers a host of free resources and tutorials.http://Bluebeepals.com

 

Bluebee a Speech Therapy Motivational Tool 

 

 Therapists utilize Bluebee as an effective speech therapy motivational tool to engage in communication and learning. Bluebee participates in repeating words, answering questions, and reading stories. Therapists are always seeking innovative tools to encourage and create enthusiasm in communication during therapy time. What could be a better response for a child than a talking stuffed animal. There are a variety of popular speech apps, from basic apps to AAC apps for non-verbal children. 

 

 

                              Recommendations: Pairing Speech Apps to Bluebee   

 

What are the leading apps paired with Bluebee Pals? Text to Speech Apps with reading activities, Proloquo2Go is an AAC app to enhance communication, Autism ihelps Apps teaches vocabulary, Super Duper Publications and Smarty Ears for speech and Splingo for speech and language acquisition. Gregory Horan, M.S., SLP Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist.https://www.bluebeepals.com/autism/

 

 

 


AAC Communication and Bluebee Pals

 

 

(AAC)Assistive Technology and Bluebee Pals

Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) with Bluebee Pals PRO Learning Tool with Companion Life Skills/Educational App

 

The world of Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) has been evolving and progressing at a rapid pace. AAC is the use of a method of communication other than verbal language. “Alternative” indicates that the system is being used as an alternative to verbal language and “augmentative” indicates that the system is being used to supplement verbal language. AAC users may be completely non-verbal, have limited verbalizations, and/or have vast verbal language that is unclear to communication partners. AAC modes include the use of photos or symbols on communication boards and books as well as low (paper overlays on electronic boards) and high tech communication devices (touchscreen devices). High-tech devices used to be only provided by a limited number of companies that created the hardware (tablet) and software (communication vocabulary system) at a very high cost. The invention of tablets such as the iPad/iTouch and Android devices have made high-tech AAC even more accessible and affordable. Users can communicate their wants/needs, make statements, ask questions and participate in social interactions with the use of their Alternative Augmentative Communication system.

At the start, the field of AAC often focused on teaching AAC users to request highly desired items like food or toys and labeling nouns and verbs. The vocabulary taught and used was often very specific such as “I want cracker”, “bathroom”, “ball”. Over time a vast amount of research has guided therapists, users, and caregivers towards more effective AAC use. What we have learned is that 80% of the words we use in English to communicate across various settings are not specific nouns and verbs, but instead what we call “core words”. Core words are frequently occurring abstract words that can be used to communicate many messages across many topics. They are words like “it”, “go”, “you”, “see”. Many low-tech and high-tech AAC systems are providing core word vocabulary to the user on their front or home page to allow fast and effect communication across all settings.

The more AAC users hear and see core vocabulary being used by their communication partners on their devices and the more they are aided to use it themselves, the more they will be able to communicate with the world! Bluebee Pals, a plush interactive educational tool is being used by therapists and educators across the nation to increase participation in therapeutic and educational activities for students with Autism with use of their AAC devices as well as any technology (we are talking iPads, tablets, smartphones) they access! These furry companions connect to all iOS and Android Devices and pair with all apps with a narrative or voice output. Bluebee Pal’s patented technology allows its mouth and head to move while reading stories, teaching through educational games, learning a language, singing a song AND connecting with AAC devices. 

 

With their donation initiative, The Bluebee Pals Project, numerous therapy centers and schools have been gifted Bluebee Pals to use during academic lessons and therapy sessions.

  • LaVesta Feagin, an Assistive Technology Specialist at the Center for Independent Living, used Bluebee Pals to bridge interactions between the seniors at her center and visiting children during her “Foster Grandparents” event.“The kids and elderly loved activating the Bluebee Pals with the iPad and AAC app (Proloquo2Go)! They could talk to the foster grandparents with the Bluebee Pals and even had the grandparents using the iPads!”
  • “I have seen an increase in engagement with students. For example, a student that rarely ever participates with the class has shown interest in the Blubee and will participate with the group/teacher most of the time if the Blubee is used”  -Rebecca N. – Curriculum Instructional Specialist – Florida Autism Center of Excellence (FACE)
  • “In my classroom, we are learning communication skills using our favorite tech learning tool, Bluebee Pals! Children absolutely love them and are so very motivated to interact with them! Through the use of our Bluebee Pals, my students have shown tremendous progress with their speech and communication goals”! -Helen H. Wagner, M.S., CCC-SL
  • “They are very easy to use, and with the Bluetooth you can make the intervention very client-centered. I also like how soft they are, you can barely tell that there are any electronics inside.” -Hannah Lambert, OTAS

Individuals who are learning to use their new AAC device have often only hear the voice output through the speakers of their device. By connecting their device to a Bluebee Pal via Bluetooth connection, the AAC user is able to control the plush companion and make it say whatever they wish! It is quite a novel and unique experience for the AAC user to experience their “voice” emanating from the plush companion!

Laura Jiencke, president of Kayle Concept and Bluebee Pal creator, is thrilled to see how her interactive tool has been able to provide children with Autism and AAC users with great entertainment while assisting in educating and developing communication skills. Bluebee Pals PRO can be purchased at www.bluebeepals.comas well as www.amazon.com. Interested in being part of the Bluebee Pals Project donation initiative? Submit a request at www.bluebeepals.com/contact-us/.

 

Punam Desormes, M.A., CCC-SLP: Bluebee Pals Ambassador and Speech-Language Pathologist in Orlando, Florida: Punam Desormes is a graduate of the University of Florida Masters in Speech-Language Pathology program. She has been working in the private and ESE school settings for 15 years. She also works as a clinical education at the University of Central Florida School of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

 

Bluebee Pals and Florida Alliance of Assistive Services

Kayle Concepts recently welcomed the Florida Alliance of Assistive Services and Technology (FAAST) to the Bluebee Pals Project. The regional centers received Bluebee Pals to use with clients during evaluation sessions, training activities and instructional events. FAAST is a state-funded program that provides device demonstrations and loans to help customers select assistive technology equipment that will help with activities of daily living and communication.

The Gulf Coast Regional Center is part of the Center for Independent Living (CIL) in Pensacola, Florida. LaVesta Feagin, an AT Specialist at CIL, works tirelessly to provide seniors with equipment to better access their environment and live active lives. LaVesta began working as a volunteer through a Career-Transition Program and then was hired as the AT Specialist.. She primarily works to provide the elderly with items from their “senior kit” including car canes for stability, car caddies, swivel seats, lifts, power chairs, and weighted eating utensils. However, she is faced with another crucial tasks of helping customers all over the Gulf Coast find Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) devices that will help them communicate effectively.

LaVesta has delved into this area with a thirst for knowledge that has guided her journey as the centers only AT Specialist. LaVesta was faced with limited experience working with children and AAC devices but was up for the challenge! She has used Bluebee Pals to engage children as well as the seniors at CIL with much success! She connects Bluebee to her trial AAC Devices including the Tobii Dynavox, the iPad with Proloquo2Go Communication App, Android devices, Kindles and even smart phones! “I was excited about how they can be used with so many devices because they are Bluetooth enabled” she stated.

 

LaVesta hosts a “Foster Grandparents” program which connects seniors with children. Both populations benefit from the shared experience of chatting, playing games and now interacting with Bluebee Pals! “The kids and elderly loved activating the Bluebee Pals with the iPad and AAC app (Proloquo2Go)! They could talk to the foster grandparents with the Bluebee Pals and even had the grandparents using the iPads!” -LaVesta Feagin

The Bluebee Pal’s biggest fan at Gulf Coast FAAST is Hannah. LaVesta works with this 17-year-old student with Autism who without question always lets her know if she is interested in a new activity or tool right away. She will let me know right away if she is not interested in something and she absolutely loves the Zebra Bluebee Pal that she has named June. I checked out the Bluebee Pal’s recommended apps on the website and downloaded Toca Hair Salon. Hannah loves hearing the hair salon sounds through Bluebee June and is so engaged.”
“Bluebee Pals are a good price-point for people because AAC is expensive. Not only is it an affordable price, but there are a variety of animals for kids. It offers people different choices.” – LaVesta FeaginLaVesta Feagin is an AT superstar, working hard to engaged seniors and children during FAAST activities as well as for AAC evaluations. We love that Bluebee Pals are helping her in this endeavor. We salute you LaVesta!…..https://www.bluebeepals.com/bluebee-pals-project-participants/
FAAST Gulf Coast Regional Demonstration Center
3600 N. Pace Blvd
Pensacola, FL 32505

Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC)

Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) & Core Words

The world of Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) has been evolving and progressing at a rapid pace. AAC is the use of a method of communication other than verbal language. “Alternative” indicates that the system is being used as an alternative to verbal language and “augmentative” indicates that the system is being used to supplement verbal language. AAC users may be completely non-verbal, have limited verbalizations, and/or have vast verbal language that is unclear to communication partners. AAC modes include the use of photos or symbols on communication boards and books as well as low (paper overlays on electronic boards) and high tech communication devices (touchscreen devices). High-tech devices used to be only provided by a limited number of companies that created the hardware (tablet) and software (communication vocabulary system) at a very high cost.

 

 

The invention of tablets such as the iPad/iTouch and Android devices have made high-tech AAC even more accessible and affordable. Users can communicate their wants/needs, make statements, ask questions and participate in social interactions with the use of their Alternative Augmentative Communication system

 

At the start, the field of AAC often focused on teaching AAC users to request highly desired items like food or toys and labeling nouns and verbs.

The vocabulary taught and used was often very specific such as “I want cracker”, “bathroom”, “ball”. Over time a vast amount of research has guided therapists, users, and caregivers towards more effective AAC use.

What we have learned is that 80% of the words we use in English to communicate across various settings are not specific nouns and verbs, but instead what we call “core words”. Core words are frequently occurring abstract words that can be used to communicate many messages across many topics. They are words like “it”, “go”, “you”, “see”. Many low-tech and high-tech AAC systems are providing core word vocabulary to the user on their front or home page to allow fast and effect communication across all settings. Just one look at a well-known AAC website http://praacticalaac.org/ will help you to see how core word use is really at the forefront of the AAC world!

The more AAC users hear and see core vocabulary being used by their communication partners on their devices and the more they are aided to use it themselves, the more they will be able to communicate with the world! Bluebee Pals are a great tool for use with AAC apps and core words. Simply connect your Bluebee Pal via Bluetooth connection to your iPad with communication app. As the AAC user activates buttons on their communication app, Bluebee will speak. What a fun way to hear your “voice” being used!

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