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My Hospital Passport

By Sally Millar on Tuesday 12th August, 2014 at 4:42pm

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A variant of Personal Communication Passport has recently been published, designed for use by people with autism who might need hospital treatment and/or who need to communicate their needs to doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals.

This was developed by Baroness Angela Browning - an NAS Vice President - in collaboration with The National Autistic Society.

Read more about the ideas behind it, and download the Hospital Passport Template and Guidance for its use, on the National Autistic Society website.

Check out Personal Communication Passports, the dedicated CALL mini-site, for more information about Passports ('Creating / Making Passports' for Templates)



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World Autism Awareness Day

By Craig Mill on Tuesday 3rd April, 2012 at 12:39pm

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World Autism Day

Reduced price and free Apps to mark World Autism Awareness Day

World Autism Awareness Day took place on April 2nd and to mark the event a number of App developers such as Good Karma Applications offered over 60 discounted Apps (including many free Apps) to download from the App Store. The Apps are predominantly for the iOS, ie, iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad with only one App available for the Android platform.

Don’t worry if you missed the offer as many of the Apps are still available at the same discounted price. 

The list of Apps is divided into 10 categories such as Social Behaviour, Social Stories and Communication with Images. Each App has a short descriptive overview of its functionality as well as a list of languages supported by the Apps.

There’s even a link directly to the App Store so you don’t have to spend hours of searching through thousands of Apps to find the right one.

The Apps list is hosted on the iAutism site which also offers a wide-range of useful resources including Autism related Apps Reviews, Technology and Tutorials.

Visit the iAutism site to find out more.


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Confusing Labels!

By Allan Wilson on Thursday 27th October, 2011 at 10:46am

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There was an interesting presentation by Professor Amanda Kirkby from the University of Wales at the Dyslexia Scotland Adult Conference 2011 held earlier this week. She made the point that 'labels' given to a child following a diagnosis of a condition such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, autism or ADHD can depend on who carries out the assessment. A teacher may suspect that a pupil has ADHD, but an educational psychologist may diagnose dyslexia and an occupational therapist may diagnose dyspraxia. Three different labels for the same child - all very confusing! In reality, the child may have all three conditions.

A study of a large group of children diagnosed as having dyspraxia (developmental coordination disorder) showed that 27% presented only with dyspraxia. 19% had dyspraxia and dyslexia, while a further 19% were eventually assessed as having dyspraxia, dyslexia, ADHD and autism. The remaining 35% were considered to have various other combinations of the four possible conditions.

Professor Kirkby's presentation is available from the conference web site.


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New! CALL DataBase of Apps for Communication

By Joanna Courtney on Monday 12th September, 2011 at 10:20am

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Over the past few months there have been more and more 'apps' available to buy, which could be useful tools for communication for some children and adults. These apps are available for iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad and vary in their features, possible uses and cost.

Some of these apps have synthesised voice output (text to speech) as well as symbols and can be used as comprehensive AAC solutions (e.g. Touchchat AAC); some allow you to record speech along with symbols and photos to create a system similar to a 'communication book' or medium tech AAC device like a Go Talk (e.g. Tap Speak Choice); and some can be used very effectively for 'photo stories' or 'talking books' using photos, symbols and video to create personalised resources like social stories, communication passports, visual scene prompts and interactive photo albums of special events (e.g. Scene & Heard).

CALL has been keeping a keen eye on these developments and has started to compile a database of the apps we have found most useful or show most potential in the field of AAC.

We will be updating the database as new AAC apps come out and are tested out by CALL and will also be including apps for reading, writing and literacy in the coming weeks.

Check out the apps we have included so far on the CALL App Database


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Hacking Autism

By Allan Wilson on Monday 8th August, 2011 at 3:10pm

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Hacking Autism is a web site which brings together a volunteer group of software developers and specialists in autism with the intention of creating apps for iPads and other touch-enabled devices that can be used by people with an autism spectrum disorder.

The site currently contains suggested apps to which children with ASD have responded well. These include Proloquo2go, Pictello, Soundtastic and iReward, along with many more. Parents of children with ASD are invited to suggest features they would like to see in future apps. You can also look at some of the ideas that have already been suggested and comment upon them.

This could be your opportunity to have an influence on the development of forthcoming apps for the iPad and other devices!


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The Dazzling World of Apps

By Sally Millar on Wednesday 25th May, 2011 at 12:59pm

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This is an interesting newsletter (from the USA) that draws together a rich list of resources and provides a useful set of iPad/iPod/iPhone App links but also offers some very sensible words of caution about the risk of being 'swept away' by an unrealistic expectation that iPad Apps can meet every need and solve every problem. A debate that will no doubt be airing a lot in these times ....


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Towards an Autism Strategy for Scotland

By Allan Wilson on Friday 10th September, 2010 at 10:15am

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The Scottish Government, working in partnership with the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Reference Group, have developed a draft Scottish Autism Strategy.  The Strategy sets out what the Scottish Government in partnership with users, carers and professionals proposes to do to meet the needs of people with ASD in response to growing concerns that, whilst much has been achieved in Scotland to date, much has yet to be done.

The draft strategy reviews and builds on existing policies with a number of recommendations under five main themes:

  1. Diagnosis, assessment and interventions
  2. Matching resources to need
  3. Standards and scrutiny
  4. Staff education and training
  5. Research

CALL Scotland's CPD Programme for 2010-11 includes a number of courses that are particularly relevant to teachers working with pupils with autism spectrum disorders:

  • 09.12.10 - Creating Communication Friendly Schools
  • 20.01.11 - Personal Communication Passports
  • 03.03.11 - Multimedia Social Stories

These and other CALL courses can also be run as in-service training in schools and local authorities.


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Sentence Trouble

By Sandra O'Neill on Friday 28th May, 2010 at 5:22pm

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'Sentence Trouble' - Communication Guide for helping troubled young people with dyslexia, autism & other disabilities:

Although not written for teachers or education, this guide has a lot of useful info/advice that some teachers and others working with young people have still to take on board!




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AAC study afternoon on 26th of May 2010

By Joanna Courtney on Friday 16th April, 2010 at 4:04pm

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Come along to the AAC SIG study afternoon on Wednesday 26th of May, at Braidburn School in Edinburgh, from 1.30pm to 4.30pm.

Our guest speaker will be Claire Murray, who will be presenting on ‘Emotional Understanding and Language’ in the context of the 'Growing Confidence Project'.

This should be a really interesting afternoon, with the opportunity to share experiences, thoughts and feedback on this subject with other professionals.

The session is FREE of charge. Please return the AAC SIG flier to the address given, in order to confirm your booking.

For more information, have a look at Claire's webpage

Hope to see you on the day!


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New AAC device, the Logan ProxTalker

By Sally Millar on Tuesday 28th July, 2009 at 5:55pm

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Today CALL was pleased to receive a demonstration and short term loan of voice output communication aid that is new on the UK market, the Logan ProxTalker.

This is a VERY simple-to-use system that is basically a PECS or communication book that can talk.  The user's pictures are on little cards with a Velcro backing, stored on Velcro-friendly pages. These can be photos, PCS symbols Widgit, Pics for PECS, plain words, or anything. The user selects the symbol card he wants and places it on the Velcro tag on one of 5 buttons on the device. As he/she presses the button, the card will speak (recorded/digitised speech).

How does it work? The symbol cards are 'smart' tags that are ID coded with unique radio frequencies (like swipe cards for security doors etc.) and the speech message is linked to the code. Messages can be between 2 and 8 seconds each, and the device will hold thousands of messages (on an SD card).

It is really quick and simple to change the recording, increase or decrease volume, check battery function. You can buy it with a core vocabulary of 80 symbols (and 20 blanks) or 100 blanks and make your own set of picture/symbol cards. Extra pages, tags etc can be purchased separately later. The ProxTalker uses 4 ordinary  'C'  Duracell batteries that last about 6 months. It comes in grey, blue or pink and can be carried in a neat little backpack, weighing overall about 2.25 Kgs.

We liked the innovative design and the extreme simplicity and robustness of the ProxTalker and can imagine that there will be lots of potential users out there - particularly children with autistic spectrum disorders but maybe others too.

For more information, check it out on A Proxtalker web site ( is coming soon.

If you would like to see or try this device, get in touch with CALL Scotland, we should have the demonstrator loan machine here until late September and will be keen to find potential users and to get feedback that we can relay to the developers/supplier.


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