PODD Workshop Review

podd_picture.pngThe PODD 2-day introductory workshop was presented by Gayle Porter. It was hosted at the ILC on the 8th and 9th of April and attended by a range of speech pathologists, educators and parents. Gayle Porter is a Senior Clinician of Speech Pathology at the Cerebral Palsy Education Centre (CPEC) in Melbourne. She has worked for more than 29 years with children with a disability and is the creator of PODD. Gayle’s workshop was inspiring and she spoke passionately about providing strong language learning environments for AAC users.

Gayle reminded us that AAC users should be able to say what they want to say, when they want to say it, to whoever they want to say it, whenever they want to say it. To promote this, she discussed the use of aided language stimulation (ALS). The principle behind ALS is to provide an AAC user the same input that we would want them to use (output). This means that if we speak but not use the AAC system, the user will experience disconnect between what they are being taught and what they need to learn. If we speak while we use the AAC system, the user can then begin to see how others use their AAC system, and can better learn how to communicate with an AAC system, within their natural daily activities. This also provides an important environment which demonstrates that everyone around the user values the use of AAC in communication.

PODDs come in different shapes and sizes and each template from the PODD CD contains varying content targeted at different language levels. Some PODDs fit onto one page, some are built for two page openings and some have an additional third panel for more vocabulary. The PODD CD is commercially available.

Gayle also demonstrated a range of PODDs designed to be used with clients needing alternative access (unable to touch a picture as a means of indicating). This included PODDs for eyegaze and for use with auditory and/or visual scanning. Gayle is currently working on producing another PODD CD where templates for PODD catering to alternative access needs will be available. This CD is not yet available.

For more information about PODD, you can:

· View CPEC’s website: http://www.cpec.org.au/podd.html

· Email podd@cpec.org.au

· Have a look at http://www.novita.org.au/Content.aspx?p=683

· View the PODD CD available from Spectronics along with FAQs about PODD http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/product/pragmatic-organisation-dynamic-display-podd-communication-books-direct-access-templates