synchronous tele-AAC

asynchronous tele-AAC

Getting started with Tele-AAC

Tele-AAC can happen in real-time (synchronous) or using store-and-forward methods (asynchronous). Both methods are very powerful in supporting individuals using AAC. Basically, you need ...

 

a way to connect...

You need to see who you are working with. Also, if you are sharing materials in real-time, the screen needs to be big enough to accommodate this. 

You may also want a second camera view to either gather more information from your remote location, or to model certain words, phrases, or programming skills. 

a way to share information about AAC...

There are powerful videoconferencing tools that allow you connect in real time. You can demonstrate things by sharing video/picture examples, or by showing the skill yourself. 

You can share handouts, videos you have created, videos on the web, quick tips, or visual supports via email, messaging, or by adding content to a shared folder in the cloud before or after you connect with an individual or team.

You can share your screen to share an intervention activity, or to show materials/example/skills.

By having a 2nd camera and your own AAC system (app or language board) you can model target words or phrases. 

Ideally using Internet plugged in at:

  • 150 kbps for screen sharing with video thumbnail,

  • 600kbps for video calling, and

  • 1.5 mbps for video calling with many people/seats (using a 2nd camera counts as a seat)

Reduce the visual clutter on your screen to make screen sharing as effective as possible.

a way to keep things secure and legitimate...

Tele-AAC is a legitimate service offered by licensed speech language pathologists, and it oftentimes involves talking about people and their protected health information (PHI). It is important to:

  • ensure tele-AAC is a good match for the individual and/or team,

  • maintain privacy and use secure, HIPAA-compliant videoconferencing tools, and

  • ensure you're following the licensing laws on your end and that of the individual/team.

You likely need to sign a BAA - business associate agreement

It is a good idea to get consent too before starting tele-AAC

What Equipment Do You Need?

A large enough computer to view the clinician/student and the intervention materials. In some cases, a touch screen computer is necessary (but screensharing and shared presenter controls are oftentimes sufficient). We use a specialized webcam set-up to support our tele-AAC services. This is usually attached to a secondary computer or laptop to help us view how the individual is using the AAC system. Additionally, in some cases, it is important to have emulation software or a second AAC system for the purposes of AAC modeling.

A Tele-AAC Solution:

The Adjustable J-Mount

The Adjustable J-Mount is designed to support synchronous and asynchronous telepractice services for individuals using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and assistive technology. The flexibility of the J-Mount arm allows the mounted webcam to capture a clear image of the AAC screen. Furthermore, the J-Mount can be adjusted to survey the surrounding environment, or be positioned as to allow for observation of a range of behaviors.

What About Security?

We take security seriously. It is important to use HIPAA compliant online videoconferencing tools (like GoToMeeting and Zoom - note: you oftentimes need to sign a business associate agreement (BAA) to ensure this). HIPAA compliant services are encrypted and only people who are authorized to view the content are allowed to.

 

In addition, the clinician conducts the session from a private area making sure that nobody else can view their computer screen. The clinician also where headphones to ensure that nobody can hear what is being said.

 

It is important to ask permission to record the video or take pictures (consent). Recording can be important to review a session and/or share with team members who couldn't join. 

What about the Internet for Tele?

A strong Internet connection is essential to ensure the service is equivalent to that received in person. 

Ideally using Internet plugged in at:

 

150 kbps for screen sharing with video thumbnail     |    600kbps for video calling

1.5 mbps for video calling with many people/seats (using a 2nd camera counts as a seat)

Platforms for Tele-AAC

HIPAA compliance is important, so check the security and compliance options of the tools you are exploring. It is important to have the following features:

  • Ability to video chat with more than 2 people/seats at once

  • Messaging features

  • Screen sharing capabilities

  • The ability to record if necessary (although this may conflict with BAAs)

  • Easy interface and controls

  • Whiteboard or annotation

  • Presenter control options

  • Various call in options

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