Impacting lives, changing the community!

The Down Syndrome Foundation of Florida is very excited to launch our iCan Communicate Program.  For this unique and innovative program we have partnered with Dr. Jennifer Kent-Walsh, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, S-SP(C.  Dr. Kent-Walsh is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Central Florida and current Principal Investigator / Project director / Regional Coordinator for the FAAST Atlantic Region Assistive Technology Demonstration Center.  This program will bring the latest technology, research and local expertise to our members and the community.




The iCan Communicate Program is designed to assist individuals with Down syndrome that have limited speech.  The Foundation will provide iPads to 15 participants who will then work with the students in the UCF graduate level course:  Augmentative and Alternative Communication from January - May 2014 with additional training/therapy/ requirements in the summer and fall of 2014.  The UCF graduate students will assess the individuals selected for the program, identify the best applications on the iPad for them to be successful communicators, program the appropriate application on the iPads so they can use it for communication and then teach them and the professionals who work with them (and / or their family members) how to use the application and iPad in real world experiences.  Along with the program development and training these individuals will receive a 'plan of care' that can either be taken back to their Speech / Language Pathologist or they can select to work with the UCF Communication Disorders Clinic for on-going training and updates to their iPads.

What is the criteria?
To participate in the iCan Communicate program applicants must:
  • be an individual with Down syndrome between the ages of 2-4 
  • have less than 100 spoken words
  • have a speech / language or medical professional write a referral to our program
  • be able to travel to UCF at least 4 times between January - December 2014 (independently or with family / member - no transportation will be provided)
  • demonstrate ability to learn and use and iPad
  • be a resident of the state of Florida
  • member of the Down Syndrome Foundation of Florida
How do I apply?
The application is at the bottom of this page and is open until February 24, 2014.  You can apply to receive both the iPad and the application with the evaluation and support training or if you own an iPad already you may apply for the application and training and allow another family who does not already have an iPad the opportunity to participate as well. The next iCan Communicate Program will open in September 2014.

To get an idea of what Dr. Kent-Walsh does at UCF and how technology can assist individuals with Down syndrome, we have provided a portion of an interview with her about technology and communication:  

  
Since this video / interview was done, Dr. Kent-Walsh has added iPads to the technology used at FAAST and in her teaching.  The Foundation is very excited to be working with her and her graduate students not only for the benefit of the individuals who will receive an iPad to help them communicate, but also because this is allowing future speech and language professionals the ability to work with and learn the capabilities of individuals with Down syndrome.  We believe this to be a win-win-win situation for the university students, the community as a whole and the individuals with Down syndrome we serve.

If you are interested in learning more about this partnership or would like to become a sponsor of this unique program in the state of  Florida, please contact Christine.Bancalari@dsfflorida.org.  We look forward to bringing you many success stories from our iCan Communicate partnership with UCF.

2013 Intake Packet
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