ATANZ Newsletter Winter 2017

ATANZ 2017

Welcome to the ATANZ Newsletter for Winter 2017. If you are interested in events in the world of Assistive Technology, read on. 

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Message from the Chair:

Kia Ora ATANZ members.

I’m sure we at ATANZ are not alone in having had a busy start to the year. We have looked at the results of our survey and have sorted out the final details for some of our training events these year so registrations for these are now open. See below for more details on all of this. In addition to these events we are working on setting up webinars with Sarah Wilds, a Speech Language Pathologist from the Prentke Romich Company. More details on this to follow, once we have the intricacies of setting these webinars up sorted out.

We have also had some discussions with TalkLink around CAT 1 support. Please read on for statement from Ann Smaill (TalkLink General Manager), written in response to queries from CAT therapist, which outlines some of the processes around CAT Level 1 applications. These processes have been outlined in previous ATANZ newsletters, but this clarifies some of the interaction between TalkLink and CAT Level 1 accredited therapists.

The ATANZ loan pool of equipment is being administered by TalkLink, as at ATANZ we do not have the resources to do this ourselves. Up until now the ATANZ equipment has been incorporated into the TalkLink loan pool but as there is considerable pressure on trial equipment at the moment, specifically around iPads, we have agreed to some changes. These are also included in Ann’s statement.


Magnus Hammarsal ATANZ Chairperson


Feedback from Professional Development Survey

In March we created a Survey Monkey to find out what professional development our members are interested in, so we can fine tune our planning to match the need of our members.

We have had 56 responses to our survey, 3 of them are teachers, 51 Speech Language Therapists and 2 Occupational Therapists. They work with a variety of clients, most work with children; about 50% with pre- schoolers, 86% with primary school children, 75% with children in intermediate and high school and 30% work

with adults.

Two third of our respondents are CAT accredited assessors. When asked whether the information and questions included in the CAT accreditation process were relevant to their work setting and caseload, 80% indicated that this was the case. In addition, it was mentioned that it could have been discipline specific, more focus on adult clients and doing the EMS module didn’t teach about the CAT process.

The preference for format in which future professional development is presented was clearly a course or workshop where one attends in person. Some respondents would like both options (in person and online webinars) since the cost of the PD is an important factor when deciding on what PD to attend.

We received a great response to our query about what PD topics everyone would be interested in. Many wanted to tick all boxes (which wasn’t possible and which caused some frustration): workshops on current AAC apps, current AAC devices. Therapists want to see them and have a play with new apps and devices: Hands on. A practical workshop on how to apply the SETT Framework was also of interest – especially how to compare different tools and get the best outcome.

Furthermore what was cited:

  •   The need for more support around the process of an application for equipment

  •   Gayle Porter with PODD (which ATANZ have organised for later this year)

  •   The LAMP approach as there has been too much focus on PODD recently

  •   OT specific with regards to access options

  •   AAC for emergent communicators, how to assess and where to start.

  •   The need for support to move from CAT level 1 to CAT level 2

  •   Empowering and coaching families

  •   How to manage different systems in one classroom, e.g. PODD and core boards

 Data collection/monitoring progress

More suggestions:

  •   Information on AAC assessment tools

  •   Pixon training

  •   Literacy Intensive week

  •   Aided Language Modelling

  •   Transitioning between systems

  •   Core Vocab therapy

  •   AAC for stroke patients (which ATANZ have organised for later this year with Sarah Wallace)

The ATANZ board is pleased with the constructive and useful feedback. We will certainly take the information on board when planning PD in the future.

Hilde van Santen
Speech Language Therapist



ATANZ Board Member Profile Routhelle Gaerlan

I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology from the University of the Philippines – Manila in 2006. I practiced there for two years working with children and adults with communication and swallowing difficulties before moving to New Zealand in late 2008. I have worked for three different DHBs since I moved here and I have also been able to obtain my Postgraduate Certificate in Rehabilitation. Currently, I am a Community SLT with the Adult Community Services under Auckland District Health Board. Communication is a vital part of everyone’s lives. I believe that everyone should be able to access communication, and engage their ideas in any way or form. We all already use different modes of communication in our day-to-day lives from the use of emojis, gifs, and even on different social media platforms like Snapchat - where the use of words is not necessary to convey a message. The improvement of technology and integration of

mainstream devices could be maximised to meet our clients’ needs. I look forward to the years when augmentative communication and use of assistive technology is part of the ‘norm’ and are not viewed as ‘specialised medical devices.


Information regarding CAT Level 1 processes from Ann Smaill at Talklink.

I am really excited about feedback regarding the interest in AAC I am receiving from all over the country. It is fantastic to see AAC being considered as part of SLT practice more and more. The use of visual supports such as core boards and the positive impact these supports are having, is fantastic.

We have noticed a lot more CAT L1 therapists putting in requests for trial iPads, which is resulting in considerable pressure on a limited resource. The number of requests from CATL1 therapists was not anticipated. There seems to be a bit of confusion around some of the processes that this statement will try and clarify:

  •   CATL1 is for assessment of people who may benefit from low to mid technology communication solutions, such as:

    •   static display devices

    •   keyboard devices that do not require complex programming

    •   and more recently tablet devices but with a number of stipulations

  •   Historically tablet devices were considered to be CATL2. This was changed in 2014 to allow CATL1 therapists to apply for tablet devices where:

    •   the person is able to “direct access” (i.e., not via a switch or eye-gaze system)

    •   there are no complex environmental factors that may affect the use of the tablet. By “environmental

      factors” this is in reference to the “E” in the SETT framework – information related to anything or anyone

      around the student in places where the technology is expected to be used.

    •   the proposed Service Request has been discussed with the Ministry’s Specialist Assessment Service

      (Communication Assistive Technology) which is TalkLink Trust, before being submitted to the EMS Provider, and this consultation has been recorded on the EMS Assessor Section of the EMS Prioritisation Tool. TalkLink, EnableNZ and Accessable do not police this step, as we expect that as professionals there is no need for “policing”.

      In reviewing some of the trial requests for tablet devices, we are concerned that therapists may not be that familiar with the app options. This is entirely understandable because you are not using these all the time and AAC is only part of your busy and varied caseload. I would therefore suggest that you discuss the app selection with TalkLink before you trial – this may save you time and also result in better outcomes. It also ensures that the app(s) being considered do in fact fit the CATL1 criteria. Using the SETT format may be an easy way of sharing your findings.

      If you consider that your app knowledge is not adequate, then you should consider the assessment as CATL2. Furthermore if you do not think you have the technical or support knowledge to provide training and support regarding the tablet/app and general implementation of AAC, this should also be considered as CATL2.

  •   TalkLink has a limited supply of iPads for trial, the majority of which we have had to fundraise for. Apart from iPads that come back for reissue, we do not have any support from the Ministry of Health for developing our trial pool. This means that currently in the Upper North Island we have 77 people on the waitlist for iPads and iPad Minis, 32 of these are for CATL1 therapists. The waitlist is not as significant in the rest of the country but there is still a wait. The requests from CATL1 therapists is a lot higher than we had envisaged, and makes us question whether some of the requests are actually for mid-tech solutions.

  •   ATANZ now has a pool of iPads that we are using to help support CAT requests, and because of the increase demand we are going to use ATANZ iPads for CAT requests and not TalkLink owned equipment. Please note that there are only 10 of these iPads – 5 iPads and 5 Minis so on average you could be waiting several months before a trial request can be processed. Trial are normally for two weeks unless negotiated differently. Don’t forget we are managing all this as extra to our busy work days, so please realise we will do this asap but there may be delays because of work load.

  •   Essentially tablets are loaned chronologically, however in some cases we have to expedite trials, generally this is for people with progressive conditions.

  •   Our therapist are busy but are keen to support you. The more information you provide the easier it will be for us to respond in a timely way.

    Ann Smaill General Manager Talklink Trust

  • Reminder that we have a FaceBook page where you can keep up to date on new changes at ATANZ and upcoming PD events. New-Zealand-176110802441118/


ATANZ Research and Professional Development Grant

To apply for the 2018 funding grants please see here: grants/

Equipment in the ATANZ CAT 1 loan pool

The following equipment is avaliable for trial: EchoVoice EV6 voice amplifier
12 BigPoints
5 iPad Minis with LifeProof case and strap

5 iPad with LifeProof case and strap
Predictable communication app
TouchChat with WordPower communication app LAMP Words for Life communication app
PODD with COMPASS communication app

Little Step by Step without levels Big Step by Step without levels GoTalk 20+
Buddy button

Switch adapted toys Powerlink
Dual switch latch & timer Jellybeamer twist

We have created an OT assessment Kit which contains the following and will be avaliable for trial as a bundle, it is called the “ATANZ OT Assessment Kit”:

HP Probook laptop Crick box
Buddy button (small) Buddy button (large) Jellybean button

Gooseneck mounting with universal plate Big Bang software
Switch Skills 2 software
Switch Skills for Two set 2 software Switch Skills Scanning software

To access the loan equipment please use TalkLink’s CAT support request form, which can be found here:

ATANZ Professional Development Opportunities


Sarah E. Wallace, PhD CCC-SLP Associate Professor Duquesne University

Explore methods of integrating technology and AAC into provision of clinical services for individuals with neurogenic communication disorders

This presentation will focus primarily on the inclusion of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) strategies in comprehension intervention programs for people with aphasia and people with traumatic brain injury. Low and high technology strategies will be covered, with integration of recent research findings. AAC will be considered as broadly defined to include supports for comprehension and expression. Additionally, the presentation will review two recent studies examining the use of a computerized, tablet-based cognitive assessment.

Sarah E. Wallace PhD, CCC-SLP is an Associate Professor and Program Director for the Adult Language and Cognition clinic in the Speech-Language Pathology Department at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Dr. Wallace also directs the Communication and Cognition Lab. Dr. Wallace is a certified speech- language pathologist with clinical experience providing services to individuals with acquired communication disorders.

Dr. Wallace conducts clinical research aimed at improving the quality of life for individuals with communication impairments following traumatic brain injury and aphasia


Friday 25th August
Venue: Canterbury University, Dovedale Campus, Room DA02

AUCKLAND Presentation

Thursday 31st August
Venue: The Terrace Boardroom, Potters Park events centre, 164 Balmoral Road, Balmoral, Auckland


Cost (includes lunch and morning tea): $160 for ATANZ members
$200 for non-members

Registration form


Pragmatic Organisation Dynamic Display (PODD) Two Day Introductory Course 2017

Presented by Gayle Porter


Wednesday 11 and Thursday 12 October 8.30am registration (for 9am start) to 4pm Venue: The Terrace Boardroom, Potters Park events centre, 164 Balmoral Road, Balmoral, Auckland

PRICE (includes GST & lunch): $400 for ATANZ members
*there is a limit of 10 spaces for family prices for each venue

Registration form

Pragmatic Organisation Dynamic Display (PODD) Speech Generating Device 2017

Presented by Gayle Porter

AUCKLAND One-Day Workshop

Friday 13 October 2017
8.30am registration (for 9am start) to 4pm Venue: The Terrace Boardroom, Potters Park events centre, 164 Balmoral Road, Balmoral, Auckland


Wednesday 18 October 2017 8.30am registration (for 9am start) to 4pm Venue: Ministry of Education

PRICE (includes GST & lunch): $200 for ATANZ members
*there is a limit of 10 spaces for family prices for each venue

Registration form

Note: Completion of a two-day PODD introductory workshop is a pre-requisite for this course.


Monday 16 and Tuesday 17 October 8.30am registration (for 9am start) to 4pm Venue: Ministry of Education

(48 Hereford Street, West End

Christchurch 8013)

$480 for non-members $270 for families*

(48 Hereford Street, West End

Christchurch 8013

$240 for non-members $135 for families*


Professional Development Opportunities

ISAAC Australia is very excited to announce that the International Society on Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC) Biennial Conference will be in Australia for the first time in 2018!

The ISAAC Conference examines communication options and outcomes for individuals with complex communication needs – which includes anyone who doesn’t have enough speech to meet their daily needs. This might include individuals with autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, stroke, Alzheimers, Motor Neurone Disease, and other developmental and acquired conditions which affect speech and language.

As well as AAC, the conference will have streams on a number of related issues. Practical sessions and the latest research around a range of areas will be presented. This will include a number of sessions by people who use AAC, and sessions on topics such as education, literacy, advocacy and self-advocacy, AAC and apps, AAC design and vocabulary selection, the latest in synthesized speech research and development and cutting edge assistive technology.

In addition to the main conference there will be pre-conference workshops presented by notable international presenters, some great social events and an AAC camp for people who use AAC of all ages!

This is a very exciting event for those in the Asia Pacific and Australasian regions as this is the first time this highly regarded peer reviewed international conference will be coming to our part of the world. ISAAC Australia hopes to see you there and welcomes everyone interested in being part of the international and regional AAC Community.

Preliminary information about the conference is now available at

ISAAC 2018 Conference Co-Convenors are:
Meredith Allan Jane Farrall Kate Anderson Gayle Porter Sally Clendon




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C/- TalkLink Trust,
Po Box 44053 Pt Chevalier,
Auckland 1246