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Beenleigh Special School Australia Utilizing AAC

Beenleigh Special Needs School in Australia received a special visit this month from Laura Jiencke founder of Bluebee Pals after they purchased the first Bluebee in Australia. Laura received a wonderful reception from the principal, assistive technology coach and teachers. Bluebee Pals were applied in conjunction with AAC Devices in every classroom to engage non-verbal children in communication.

Each classroom is set-up to the Australian AAC ( alternative, augmentative communication) system. AAC incorporates the individual’s full communication abilities and may include any existing speech or vocalizations, gestures, manual signs, and aided communication. AAC is truly multimodal, permitting individuals to use every mode possible to communicate. Over time, the ability to use AAC devices may change and the AAC system chosen today may be a different system tomorrow. In any case, an AAC system is an integrated group of four components used by an individual to enhance communication. These four components are symbols, aids, techniques, and strategies.

Assistive Technology Coach Shannon Braithwaite Presenting to Classrooms Bluebee Pals with AAC Apps.


 “The classrooms use AAC apps Proloquo2go and PODD/Compass. AAC is embedded into the teacher’s practice so rather than utilizing it for specific activities, our teachers use it for all interactions they have with students. The teachers point to symbols of the AAC system while speaking to the students. This is referred to as (modeling) and teachers are encouraged to model a range of communication functions, not just asking a question. Our teachers implement the Australian curriculum where every lesson/ activity would be modeled on the AAC system. The students are encouraged to participate using multimodal communication (verbal responses, AAC, gesture/ facial expression and combination methods).” …..Shannon Braithwaite

Bluebee Pals a Huge Success in all Classrooms!


Bluebee Pals Impacts Ipswich Special School in Australia

Founder Laura Jiencke of Bluebee Pals visited the Ipswich Special School in Australia in late May. The school is the second Australian school to implement Bluebee Pal learning companion tools into their AAC Curriculum. The principal and faculty welcomed the Bluebee Pals with opens arms! Once the Bluebee Pals arrived from the USA, the teachers immediately started incorporating Bluebee Pals in every classroom.

“I am impressed by the passion and commitment demonstrated by principal Tracey Banks to her staff and students. Special education is very challenging for many educators when discovering the most effective assistive technology tools. Many special needs schools are often limited by expensive technology tools available on the market; Bluebee Pals bring creativity and innovation as an affordable tool that impacts a child’s learning abilities when connected to a wide range of AAC, Educational, Reading, Language and Music Apps.”






 AAC is short for Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Communication systems, strategies and tools that replace or supplement natural speech are known as augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). These tools support a person who has difficulties communicating using speech……( Source-AssistiveWare

  • The first “A” in AAC stands for Augmentative Communication. When you augment something, you add to it or supplement. Augmentative communication is when you supplement your speech with something (signs, symbols, a letter board, for example) to make your message clearer to your listener.
  • The second “A” in AAC stands for Alternative Communication.  This is when you are not able to speak, or your speech is not understandable even when you add something to it. In this case,  you need a different way to communicate.
  • Basically, AAC are the tools, systems and strategies that help a person communicate when they are not able to communicate effectively using speech.


The history of the Ipswich Special School can be traced back to 1923 when classes for students with special needs commenced as part of the Ipswich Central Boys’ State School. The Ipswich Special School community strives for excellence in education by providing a caring and supportive environment in which all students may achieve their potential to function and participate effectively as valued members of society.


The Ipswich Special School provides educational programs for students with a broad range of abilities, learning characteristics and needs aged between three and eighteen. All students have had their educational adjustment needs profiled under Education Queensland guidelines. All students have been diagnosed with an intellectual disability and many have also been diagnosed with Autism, hearing impairment, visual impairment and/or physical impairment.



Strategies and Apps to Promote Engagement

Bluebee Pals Founder Laura Jiencke sent Bluebee Pals  to Joan Green(M.A., CCC-SLP) founder of Innovative Speech Therapy to evaluate Bluebee Pals talking tech companions as assistive technology tools for her speech therapy practice. Joan utilized Bluebee Pal Sammy Bear by participating in segments of her Facebook Speech Webinar iintroducing not only third party apps but a featured presentation of  the new Bluebee Pal Life Skills/Educational App.

The Bluebee App is a free App on Apple and IOS and received 5 star reviews. Videos and PDF’s Tutorials for the Bluebee Pal and Bluebee App were incorporated early this year on the Bluebee Website as a support resource tool for therapists and educators. Bluebee Pals affordable assistive technology tools progressed from its original release as basic educational tech toy, to it’s a recent launch in 2018 as a premium  educational tool created for therapists and educators.



Over the past 30+ years, Joan Green developed systems, techniques, and strategies to help others speed toward their communication, cognitive, and learning goals. She combine the use of the latest assistive technology features, online tools, engaging speech and language therapy apps, evidence based speech therapy techniques, inclusive family-centered communication training, and multiple means of support.

implementing Apps in Speech therapy

  • Adults who have not responded to previous therapy
  • Verbal and nonverbal children
  • Emergent language learners
  • Beginning to introduce AAC- Alternative, Augmented Communication
  • Diagnosis of Autism (ASD), Intellectual impairment, Dementia, or Cognitive dysfunction

With a considerable number of K-12 students in special education programs throughout the U.S., teachers have found that the traditional use of textbooks and worksheets is often ineffective. The use of assistive technology – computer software, communication devices and tablets – is a new and innovative trend among educators. 


Bluebee Pals Engaging Public Schools


Bluebee Pals founder Laura Jiencke received this testimonial from a public elementary school in College Place, Washington

I thought you would enjoy watching this language lesson using one of the Bluebee Pals you donated to us in our elementary life skills classroom. This lesson incorporated teaching the core word SOME through our Blubee Pal Lion using the AAC App Proloquo2go on our Ipads.Our story was The Tawny Scrawny Lionby Kathryn Jackson (Little Golden Books).

After this video ended we went on to have the students practice asking the lion, “Do you want some food?” both verbally and with their voice output AAC devices. The Bluebee Pal Lion would respond, “I want some food” then the student would feed it. They were very engaged and excited throughout this lesson.

 One of our students who is generally less engaged than the other students, squealed and laughed with delight at our antics with the lion.  Thank you again for providing these fun educational tools for us to utilize in so many ways in our speech and language lessons. We wil continue to explore the usages in incorporating Bluebee Pals not only in our speech classes but in our reading classes and circulmn.



Bluebee Pals Dazzle Beenleigh Special School in Australia

Beenleigh Special School in Mount Warren Park Queensland, Australia is the first school in Australia to introduce Bluebee Pals Assistive Technology Tools. Founder Laura Jiencke is visiting the school this week after accepting a invitation to visit the school and recieving posiitve reviews of Bluebee Pals impact on the school. The school opened in 1983 and provides specialized education programs for students with an intellectual disability from Prep to Year 12.

The enrollment at Beenleigh Special School is currently 163 students who come from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds. The student population consists of children ages between 4.5 and 18, who have a wide range of disabilities. The school caters for students with physical, intellectual, vision and hearing disabilities and students with autism spectrum disorders.The educational needs of students attending Been Leigh Special School are determined using a statewide education adjustment process. Data from this process is used as a basis for enrollment at the school. 



The curriculum that guides teacher planning and learning experiences for students in year P-10 is the Australian Curriculum. The focus for students in Years 11 and 12 is on future planning and post-school. This is achieved through an individualized curriculum, using the Guidelines for Individual Learning as a framework. 


At the end of each semester, student progress is formally documented and reported to parents/careers. All students at Beenleigh Special School have an Individual Curriculum Plan (ICP),or for Senior Secondary students a Senior Education Transition Plan. Education teams work together to implement the ICP, and constantly monitor and evaluate each student’s progress.


Bluebee Pals and Google Workbench



Bluebee Pals meets Google Workbench provides a platform for educators and therapists to download a spectrum of classroom curriculum, life skills and fun activities for children Pre-K1. Through research, consultants and testimonials, the Bluebee team created resources to promote Bluebee Pals tech companions as an effective technology tool engaging learning and communication for all mainstream and special needs classrooms.

Bluebee Pals Pal 8 Lesson Plans are available free on Google Work Bench…

The goal of all educators should be to prepare all 21st Century students for a global society through the practice and mastery of the Four Cs- Communication, Creativity and innovation, Collaboration,Critical thinking and problem solving. Over the last ten years the National Education Association interviewed a diverse panel of leaders who agreed on the necessity to incorporate the “Four C’s” into K12 education for all learners.













Bluebee 4 PDF Resource Pages are recommendations from educators, speech and occupational therapists outlining the diversification of applications to utilize the Bluebee Pals and the Bluebee Pal Life Skills/Educational App.

The Bluebee Pals Learning App is a robust life skill and cognitive development tool for children ages 3 to 7. When connected to a Bluebee Pal, children can immerse themselves in activities in five life skills’ rooms and play 9 educational mini-games. In addition to our app, Bluebee Pals pair with all apps with a narrative providing endless entertainment and education for all mainstream and special needs children.






***Special Thanks to Jayne Clare-Teachers with Apps & Susan Wells -TechTerra Education

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