Access Issues Anyone???

Posted Feb 11, 2015 - 11:25am

By Elizabeth Bortz, MSCCC-SLP, Regional Consultant for Maryland/Delaware

Access Issues Anyone???

As an SLP, who had been a part of an Assistive Technology team for years, I was always been challenged with the students who you know could say more if their access issues didn’t “get in the way”. I consistently felt frustrated that I basically had two choices: 1) Provide the student with a tool that was limited in vocabulary (number of words he/she could say) to prevent fatigue or 2) Provide the student with a larger vocabulary option, but due to fatigue associated with scanning it was rarely utilized or the child really never was able to scan proficiency (learn column/row, etc.). I have been frustrated that I was really not effectively meeting the needs of these students from a language perspective.

Sound familiar????

As an SLP, I wanted to provide students with a device/tool that would allow them the freedom to participate, joke, comment, ask questions, express their feelings, negate things (without behavior preferably), and be able to express their own thoughts consistently across environments. I felt STUCK, UNTIL………………………………………………CORESCANNER ARRIVED!! I truly do think it is the “best thing since sliced bread” for students who use scanning.


I’ve been utilizing CoreScanner with students of all ages from 22 months old to 19 year old students and am blown away at how teams across my region have embraced this new vocabulary option to try with their students. CoreScanner works by providing “Cornerstones” to the child, which start off as 8 key words. These “Cornerstones” allow the child to have access to more words without having to change motor plans as they progress through the CoreScanner levels and build their vocabulary utilizing block-linear scanning patterns.


I literally feel soooooo grateful that I finally have a solution to provide these amazing children. The 22 month old little boy named Jordan quickly caught on to the power of utilizing words via CoreScanner, despite having significant access issues. One of the most amazing things has been for me to watch Jordan and other children who’ve had limited switch experience and limited success in the past with AAC, begin using CoreScanner and within minutes speed up their rate of access due to the motor planning benefits (just like you have when we are typing on a keyboard, you know where to go to touch the “W” or the “enter” buttons).

If my little guy could do it, what about yours?

This new vocabulary solution helps provide children with the freedom and flexibility to use ALL language functions. Whether your child or student is using auto-scanning or step-scanning, trialing CoreScanner is definitely worth exploring!!!!

This also makes me ponder, “how many times have I limited the vocabulary selection for a child in order for them to be a direct selectors with their hands” when they might have been able to communicate so much more using switch access and CoreScanner. I sincerely wish I had this AAC solution years ago!!!! Here’s hoping you get “blown away” with all the novel messages your students can create with this new vocabulary option.

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