Please share this blog with your friends and neighbors!!
Dr. Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Meet Snoopi Botten!

Snoopi's First Blog Post   

Hi everyone, my name is Snoopi Botten. Most of you know who I am. I feel lucky that Caroline asked me to write on her blog every month. For those of you who don't know me, I am a 48 year old male with cerebral palsy. Right now I use the Eco2 to communicate. I am a writer, artist, comedian, singer, poet and speaker.

When I was growing up, I didn't know very many disabled adults and there was only one that I knew of that was in the public eye. It was a woman with cerebral palsy who played on "The Facts Of Life." I don't remember the name of the actress or the characters, but she was the cousin of one of the girls. I remember it was so cool when I had a baby sitter. Whenever I told them I had cerebral palsy, they would say "Oh yeah, like that woman on The Facts of Life." It used to help a lot because when they would know how normal she was, it would help them look past my disability.

As I got older I remembered that, and it inspired me to try and be a role model for the disabled. I have done a lot of things in my lifetime. As far as I know I was the first person to sing the National Anthem with Dectalk in 1997 for the Twins baseball game at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After that, it paved the way for many other people to do the same thing. I hope I can keep on inspiring people.

Over the years I have been on many news programs, in newspapers and on radio programs. In 2009, I was on a program called Main Menu. It's an Internet radio show and it features blind and disabled people. I did a segment on what I do with Dectalk, demonstrations of how I make different voices and I did a couple song samples. One song was in both English and Spanish.

Being that this blog is probably read by a lot of people, I want to share the Main Menu program that I was on. I hope that it will inspire others. If no one knows how high the bar is set, no one can raise the bar higher.

As most of you may know, Dectalk was made by Dennis Klatt and a team at MIT. His vision was to provide a way for disabled people to sing. Even though I never met Dennis Klatt, I worked hard at keeping his vision alive. If you have a communication device with Windows and you don't have Dectalk, you can download it from my web site.

If you have problems installing or running it, you can email my friend Blake Roberts at
He can answer most questions. If there are questions he can't answer, he will pass them along to me and I'll help answer them.

Role models are always important because they help the next generation. You are never too young or too old to be a role model, all you have to do is pass on what you know to other people and be willing to learn new things. If we all can do this, AAC will never stop growing.
Feel free to check out my web site at

Snoopi Botten

Scavenger Hunt - Tech-Wise!

Scavenger Hunt Using Talking Pens

Last week we had the TLC Statewide Arizona Assistive Technology for Communication series in Phoenix.  One of the team 'gifts' was the Anybook Reader from Franklin Electronics.  We challenged the groups to come up with great ideas for using their readers.  Here's a creative idea for introducing technology to ALL students!  This strategy would work with a variety of talking pens!

By placing the pre-recorded stickers around the school campus, you could set up an individual or small group scavenger hunt to help new students become familiar with a new campus. This would help the new students be comfortable and engaged in their orientation of a new campus, and it prepares the new student for all of the exciting technologies used at a new school.

Example: a sticker by the bathroom door would lead to the bathroom rules (i.e.. wash your hands, make sure lights are turned off, respect the bathroom and keep it clean for the next student, etc). After rules are stated, a short riddle would lead them to the next sticker.

Prepared by Lindsay Creighton, Jeremy Nelson and Ryan Levitt from Flagstaff Junior Academy; Flagstaff, AZ
Anybook Reader

Echo Pen

Saturday, February 9, 2013

HelpKidsLearn Website

Many of you will know about this already, but just in case . . . 

This website is fantastic for switch users everywhere! They offer a huge range of fun, accessible games.  These games can be played online, and new games are added frequently. For each activity, switch settings may be manipulated.

Categories include:
Early Years:  Even the most simple ‘cause-effect’ style games have style and pizzazz!  For example, Mystery Egg provides:
• A range of differently-colored eggs
• Multiple characters (monsters, dragons, a penguin) that pop out
• Varied music reinforcement

Games:  These include typical switch games such as Space Shooters, sports games such as Hurdle Champion, and obstacle games such as Little Lost Penguin.

Stories:  This section presents visual stories and songs, such as counting songs.  For all of the activities, the graphics are well-done, and often not too young, so that students in ‘double-digits’ (10 and up!) can still enjoy the activities.  In addition, music is not babyish, and story concepts are clever.  For example, the story Car Wash offers:
• Multiple scenes, so that students can predict ahead (car wash running, handsome young man in a convertible drives up . . .  !!!)  
• Highly engaging graphics, such as water spouting from the young man’s mouth after he goes through the car wash, top down!

Creative:  Explore your creative side with activities such as Card Maker and Train Tracker.

Find Out:  This set offers exploration of numbers, time, the keyboard and more.

You just might find this the best $16 you spend each year (the cost for a single user)!!