ASHA: Big, bigger, biggest!

From November 15 to 17 we, Nate and Anne, attended the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Convention in Atlanta. ASHA is an education event that brings together all kinds of professionals for sessions and to meet exhibitors.

We arrived, together with David, one day earlier to set up the booth. It was kind of a struggle, as we have a new banner and needed some time to figure out how it works.
With almost 12,000 attendees, it was definitely the biggest conference we have ever been to. Luckily Jennifer, David and Cathy Kingeter from our US partner Origin Instruments joined us to help at our very busy booth. It was great to talk to so many different people with a wide variety of interests and knowledge of what is available in the field of communication solutions.
Nate: "Working in the booth, I got to meet many professionals looking for AAC solutions, mainly for Aphasia individuals. Many of the people who stopped by at ASHA didn’t know or never heard of Proloquo2Go before. It was good to expose them to the app and show how easy it is to customize for any type of user. The new children’s voices were a real draw for people just to stop to hear Josh and Ella. Everyone was impressed with how authentic they sound and the inflection of the Action buttons on the Expressions page."
We both had the chance to attend several sessions. As Nate is our Trainer and AV Specialist and handles the webinars, he went to a session on CEUs. “I learned that CEUs and CMHs can be confusing for most SLPs because CEUs need to be converted into CMHs. Most SLPs in this session were under the impression that they needed both CEUs and CMHs, but they were relieved to find out that CEUs count toward CMHs.”
Anne went to a few sessions on language development, as she is very interested in languages. Additionally, she attended a session by Jennifer Low, a lovely lady with Cerebral Palsy that uses AAC. She gave a presentation on her own life, and how she moved from one communication solution to another to find her perfect fit. "It was very interesting to learn more about all the struggles with different kinds of communication solutions that Jennifer had to go through to find the right one. Communication was very important to her. She knew she was never going to walk, but being able to talk was a goal she could achieve and that would give her independence. Her disabilities did not keep her from having a typical life. She studied, and now has two jobs: she works as Executive Director at SHOUT and as a consultant. Very inspiring!", says Anne. 
We both went to Janice Light’s session on early intervention. Research shows that early intervention for individuals who require AAC should start as soon after birth as possible but before the age of 5. It can build individual competence, which gives the individual a better chance to succeed in the school system.
Aside from our hard work, we also had some time for fun! Cathy’s family visited, so it was great for us, the AssistiveWare folks, to meet them. Together with them we played some pool (Cathy’s son Ross seriously beat Anne) and went to the Coca Cola museum. 
Hope to see you at ASHA next year! 
Nate and Anne

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