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Dr. Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite

Monday, June 3, 2013

Dear Snoopi

Hi everyone, I have an exciting announcement. I am starting something new that I’ve been wanting to do for years. I am sure most of you have heard of Dear Abbey where people wrote to her with questions and she would answer them. I am starting something similar where you will write into me with AAC questions. It might be how to pick out a device, how to get someone to use it, how to prepare for an activity, or anything to do with AAC. However, the questions should not be device-specific. It has to be general questions so that everyone with a device will be able to benefit from them. If I happen to get a question about a device, I might write back to that one person and answer it. But I really want general questions for the blog.
All questions should be sent to
That’s all I have for this month. I hope you all write me with questions. Thank you.

Snoopi Botten

Sweet Caroline Synthesized Song - Free Download!

From Snoopi!

I have an important announcement. I didn’t know it, but the song “Sweet Caroline” is an anthem for a state, but I don’t know which one. It is also being used as a fundraiser for the victims of the Boston bombing. Because of this, I am making my version free so that anyone can use it to raise money for the victims. At this time, it is only available in a male voice. But if I have a request, I will make it available in a female voice. To get this free song, go to
There will be more songs under that link that will be for free so keep checking it.

Never Too Late For Literacy

I just received an e-mail with the latest developmental spelling test from a student who graduated from high school last week.  VERY exciting progress in less than two years.

Which makes me think of a question I am OFTEN asked at workshops . . .

Yeah, but . . . if students are in high school and not reading, isn't it time to just stop and focus on life skills?

Not for Ali!

When we started the project in August, 2011, his teacher Jen was determined that she would push for powerful literacy instruction for her students.

And she did.  With varying degrees of success for the students.  But with more engagement in literacy activities for all students.  And some very exciting results for several!

Which brings me to another question . . .

If they only figure out how to do initial letters, what difference does THAT make?

Well, it makes a HUGE difference to Annalise and Elaine (names changed), because they both use augmentative communication.

Now they can give 'initial letter cues'.  Such as:
- animal . . . zoo . . . big . . . R  (rhino)

Or more importantly - when asked, 'Who do you want to record this for you / sit with you / eat with?'
- girl - M (Marcy?  Maria?  not so many girls that start with M in the class!)

So, the two 'take-home' messages are . .

1) Please don't 'give up' because students are in high school . . . or in Adult Day Programs (we'll ask Deanna to write a guest blog on HER amazing literacy successes with adults).

2) A little bit of literacy can be extremely empowering!  This is true for phonics (that initial letter!), writing (sharing thoughts on paper), guided reading (increasing your understanding of text), and self-selected reading (learning how to choose and enjoy texts).