AAC in the Cloud 2019 Conference

Looking for CEUs? When you watch the sessions in our conference player you'll see a link at the end to fill out participation surveys that will be used to generate a certificate you can report for credits.
Pre-Conference Sessions - Watch Anytime After June 17
Time Track 1 Track 2 Track 3
Yesterday I posted on Facebook, took my medicine, went to class, answered emails, and went out to eat. I can do this because I can read and write. I can read my medicine bottle, my Facebook feed, my class books, emails, and the menu at the restaurant. It was hard to learn to read. I will tell my story about learning to read and how I read and write now.
Cristian Rosas: How I Learned to Read -- the experience of an AAC user
I worked with children who were non-verbal and minimally verbal 20+ years ago. There were so many things I didn't know that I wish I had and many people still don't believe now that I know would have made kids I worked with who had no communication have much more communication.
Naomi Herman: AAC: Success with AAC users what I didn't know 20+ years ago and many still don't know
Unfortunately, Patricia was unable to complete this session to share. It has been canceled.
CANCELED Patricia Gutierrez: ¿Qué necesitamos? ¿Qué tenemos? **Session in Spanish**
A MASTER PAL, or “skilled partner” of an individual who uses AAC engages in authentic and meaningful interactions. However, developing such skills with communication partners is an on-going, nuanced and gradual process. This session lays out a framework for meaningful team dialogue to identify, describe, and discuss interaction behaviors of exemplar communication partners, in digestible chunks. Model as a MASTER PAL has been implemented in a school-based setting, but the content and structure are relevant across environments where AAC communication partners require support to understand and engage in authentic communicative interactions. Participants will be provided access to and an overview of Model as a MASTER PAL modules on the following topics: Model AAC, Motivate, Accept Multiple Modalities, Statements more than Questions, Time, Engage Naturally, Response Not Required, Presume Competence, Appropriate Prompting, and Let the Child Lead.
Tabi Jones-Wohleber: AAC Implementation -- Model as a MASTER PAL
An overview of low tech communication, including some of the reasons why people use low tech. We will demonstrate different physical access methods: • Pointing by hand • Pointing with a laser (head mounted or handheld) • Eye Gaze • Scanning • Gestures
Margaret Cotts: Low-tech AAC Solutions Overview
When people talk about AAC they usually think about iPad programs and letterboards. There are however, many more options for AAC, including things that are often overlooked as communication. Let’s look at the wider idea of communication and how it happens.
Stephanie Fuller and Saoirse Tilton: Unconventional AAC
AAC for Caregivers: When aging parents or a spouse suffer speech loss following a stroke, surgery, progressive illness or dementia, life at home gets very stressful. This presentation provides an overview of how to use no tech/low tech Augmentative Communication Aids to help individuals get their care needs met at home, in the hospital and out in the community.
Randi Sargent: AAC for Caregivers
Kelly is excited to bring together this panel of Mothers who have children of a variety of ages (from preschool to young adults) who use AAC Systems. Each Mom will give their "Top 5 Tips" from their unique, experienced based perspective on AAC.
Kelly Fonner & Moms: Tips from Parents of Kids Who Use AAC Systems
Day 1 - June 25, 2019
Time Track 1 Track 2 Track 3
11:30 am ET
Make sure you attend to find out about the prizes and competitions going on throughout the conference!
Welcome and Opening Remarks
12 pm ET
This presentation will cover types of switch, how to find the placement for the switch to be accessed, the different kinds of scanning patterns used with switch access, and the difference between auditory prompts vs auditory scanning.
Amber Devine Stinson: AAC and Switch Access: Placement, Patterns, and Prompts Oh My!
Whether you work in the schools or in health care or community settings, whether you are a person who uses AAC or someone who supports people who use AAC, you'll want to learn how you can prepare yourself and others for emergencies and disasters.
Amy Goldman: Be prepared! What you need to know for People Who Use AAC
Instructional assistants often spend the most time with students; however, they frequently do not get the training needed to effectively implement augmentative alternative communication with students with complex communication needs. This presentation offers examples of trainings and strategies we used to train instructional assistants in our Colorado Department of Education Facility School.
Jennifer Clark, Robby Vickery & Kyle Delahanty: Empowering Paraeducators to Use Students' AAC Systems
1 pm ET
AAC stands for augmentative and alternative communication. People can speak and still choose to use AAC. It can be a powerful tool when someone has difficulty being understood. Research shows that people with Down Syndrome and other disabilities have more difficulty being understood by unfamiliar communication partners, or when speaking longer sentences. Even if their speech is understood by those who know them well, it may still be of benefit to use AAC. AAC can broaden the range of potential communication partners and ensure communicative independence.
Kathryn Helland: Using Both Speech and AAC to Support Communicative Independence
After selecting a device and language system for an AAC user, it’s important to consider how the system will be introduced and implemented throughout the day. This session will introduce a plethora of ideas to support families and professionals who are learning to speak symbol language and support the AAC users in their life.
Bridget Gilormini: Implementation Roundup -- Getting started once you have a program & device
Simple AAC brings together the key thoughts on how to give AAC learners the best chance of success, in a way that is easy for anyone to understand and remember! Learn more about it, get practical ideas, and find out how to access free Simple AAC resources.
Daisy Clay: Simple AAC -- easy to follow strategies and practical ideas for anyone supporting early AAC learners
2 pm ET
We talk a lot about the importance of training in AAC, but are only starting to talk about how to do that training. With years of teaching AAC to pre-service and in-service SLPs and teachers, Vicki has become a firm believer in hands on activities and she will share some here.
Vicki Haddix: Hands-On Activities for Teaching AAC to Professionals: Why and How
The best way to teach AAC is to speak AAC. As an SLP serving many families with a consumer of AAC, I am often encouraging parents, caregivers, and other providers to incorporate AAC into daily routines. The goal of this presentation is to provide a basic overview of language development and instruction, aided language modeling, and providing examples of two-word phrases to model during every-day activities.
Susan Todd: Modeling AAC Every Day- Beyond the “I want” Funk
CoughDrop has added some great new features over the last 18 months, all focused around helping communicators and their support teams be more successful. Check out what we've done around goals, modeling support, messaging, integrations, etc.!
Brian Whitmer: Giving CoughDrop a Second Look - What You Haven't Seen CoughDrop Do Before
3 pm ET
Over the last 4 years the speech language pathologists at P.G. Chambers School have been working to improve staff knowledge, skills, and interest in increasing their use of aided language stimulation with students using AAC in the classrooms. P.G. Chambers School is a private school for children with complex communication needs, and 75% of the students attending our school use some form of AAC (from beginning communicators to advanced high tech device users). Research states that successful communication interactions between AAC users and communication partners will depend heavily on the skills of the communication partner, (Kent-Walsh, McNaughton 2015) and that partner instruction should be viewed as an integral part of AAC assessment and intervention and provision of instruction should be routinely provided… (KentAWalsh, Murza, Malani & Binger, 2015). Being an effective communication partner or AAC facilitator is not intuitive. It often requires one to change long established, unconscious ways of communicating (Blackstone, 2006). We have engaged our staff in several different learning opportunities, trainings, and projects that have focused on giving everyone the boards/tools to provide aided language stimulation to the wide range of students using AAC. We will discuss the trainings, projects, and tools we have provided and our successes and the continued challenges that we face.
Dana Hall & Jennifer Jacobs: Communication Partner Training
Occupational Therapists love thinking outside the box! We will discuss when to involve an OT on your team as well as hidden benefits of doing so. Resources to share with your current teams will be provided to support your thinking outside a typical team and help your AAC users succeed!
Elisa Wern: Thinking Outside the Box - OTs: an Untapped Creativity Source!
Bill Binko: Engaging High School STEM and Robotics Programs in your AT Efforts
4 pm ET
In the world of AAC (Augmentative Alternative Communication), we tend to really focus on the alternative piece. As an SLP working in the public schools, I work with a lot of students who are partially verbal. That is they are speaking words but it might just be one or two word sentences or telegraphic speech. Oftentimes these students really benefit from the structure of a low tech communication board to give their sentences correct grammatical structure and by having a multi-sensory method of expressing themselves. This presentation will give you some tips and ideas for ways you can help your students "augment" their communication.
Anne Page: Putting the other "A" in AAC: The Augmentative Part
Community based instruction is an essential piece of today’s life skills curriculums. Unfortunately, supporting students who use AAC in the community setting can be a difficult and daunting process. This presentation aims to provide resources and support to help professionals provide the best possible services to the individuals they serve.
Sarah Weber: Communication in the Community
This session covers some of unique team building features, data and reports included in CoughDrop that help grow a stronger AAC team. Whether you are new to CoughDrop or wanting to refresh your knowledge, you'll gain insight into how others are using it and what ways it might be a benefit to current and potential AAC users and their teams.
Scot Wahlquist: AAC Success Stories with CoughDrop (Getting to Know the App)
5 pm ET
This course will teach participants how to utilize the latest apps, extensions and software to streamline multidisciplinary communication and collaboration. Strategies discussed will include how to support carry-over of AAC implementation across environments, setting up and maintaining efficient data collection systems as well as encouraging team “buy-in” on adopting new technology systems to support AAC learners. Attendees will leave this session with an action plan that will increase team collaboration.
Rachel Madel & Chris Bugaj: Tech Hacks that Support Team Collaboration, Productivity, and Efficiency
To improve AAC skills, it helps to write for an authentic audience. Organizing and marking up photos can be a fun family activity. It provides opportunities for commenting, asking/answering questions, and using the alphabet. Once photos are organized, they can be used in the AAC app to set a topic or share a memory.
Deanna Wagner: AAC for Families -- Stories of Ourselves: Fun With Family Photos
Eye gaze AAC assessments can be one of the most intimidating types of evaluations to perform. Learn how to apply ASHA’s evidence-based guidelines for eye gaze assessments and learn what questions to ask to find a product that delivers working solutions for each individual eye gaze communicator.
(Postponed) James Brinton: Demystify eye gaze AAC assessment! Let ASHA’s evidence-based guidelines help you select the best for your eye gaze communicator
6 pm ET
What is the meaning of voice in the life of a young person who speaks using a SGD? This presentation provides a glimpse into the lived experience of people who use speech generating devices, drawing upon their first hand accounts. “Giving voice”, both literally and metaphorically, will be explored.
Kathy Howery: The Meaning of Voice -- The Lived Experience of SGD Users
I would like to discuss what I have learned working as an AAC user, and hopefully share ideas and experience that can help other AAC users in workplace and professional environments.
D. Burrow: AAC in the Workplace
In 2018, AssistiveWare embarked on a project to create support materials for users of text-based Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC). After conducting a comprehensive literature review, we realised how little specific support and knowledge there is. Following this we conducted interviews with a range of AAC users and their supporters, including users with developmental disabilities and Autism, acquired physical disabilities, aphasia, and traumatic brain injury. The insights and knowledge gained from the group of AAC users changed many assumptions we had made about AAC.
Amanda Hartmann: Powerful insights from Adult AAC users that challenge how we practice AAC
7 pm ET
Anyone who wants can do a 1-5 minute session on anything they'd like to share! More details in the Slack chat channel.
Lighting Talks (& Hack Night on Slack)
Day 2 - June 26, 2019
Time Track 1 Track 2 Track 3
12 pm ET Keynote Address: Lauren Enders -- Connection: The Heart of Communication
1 pm ET
Technology fails. It’s a horrible but very real truth. Other times, technology cannot do as much as we would like (like go for a swim with us). During this presentation, we’ll discuss creating backups of systems (high-tech and paper-based), as well as creative solutions to access language across all environments.
Amanda Samperi: When technology breaks -- No-tech and low- tech AAC solutions
Presentación teórico práctico que brinda fundamentos actualizados basados en la evidencia sobre comunicación aumentativa y alternativa, proporcionando estrategias de intervención y recursos para niños y jóvenes que presentan complejas necesidades de comunicación. English Practical theoretical presentation that provides updated fundamentals based on the evidence of augmentative and alternative communication, providing intervention strategies and resources for children and young people who present complex communication needs.
Claudia Marimón Rigollet: Nuevas Tendencias y Buenas Prácticas en CAA **Session in Spanish**
Many AAC communicators can benefit from the gradual introduction and modeling of a small set of core words for the week or month. Focusing on a set of core words can also help the support team and families have a concrete area of focus. In this session we will discuss the research backing up this educational strategy and introduce the Communication Workshop, a free, open-licensed, community-driven library of books, videos and activities to support core word implementation across multiple device brands and implementations.
Brian Whitmer: Core Communication Workshop -- Accessible Tools to Support Core Learning
2 pm ET
Shared storybook reading is a great way to build language skills and emergent literacy skills. But a lot of new-ish AAC users think books are B-O-R-I-N-G. This presentation will offer practical tips to make shared storybook reading fun!
Chana Feinstein: Shared Storybook Reading With AAC Users Who Don't Like Books: How to Make It Awesome
This session will share 10 unique ways that devices, core boards and other multi-modality methods have been adapted to ensure communicative success in our school district. While the words remain the same, the manner in which each student accesses and uses the words is customized to their individual strengths and needs.
Deidre Dobbels & Kelly Key: Personalizing Core Vocabulary Based Communication Systems: There's Something For Everyone!
This session will offer real world experiences using eye gaze to encourage and enhance independent communication and learning skills as an additional method of communication. Through videos, examples, ideas, and resources we will demonstrate how using this method of communication allows the user the ability to participate in games, social media, communication, as well as enhance learning skills in both school and home environments.
Keith Jackson: Eye Gaze for Communication and Independent Learning
3 pm ET
The “real world” of school communication does not always play out easily for the student using AAC. This session will expand the use of the Participation Assessment Model as an implementation strategies to be used when working with Preschool through K-12 Classroom teachers who have students with AAC systems.
Kelly Fonner: Applying the AAC Participation Model to Implementation Planning
The ultimate goal of a comprehensive AAC assessment is effective communication. Given the complexity of AAC evaluation, the diversity of those needing assessment and the constraints imposed by time and reimbursement factors, the need for a systematic, comprehensive approach to assessment is critical to the goal of successful AAC use. But how to get there when there are few systematic assessment protocols available? This session reviews the iOS app AAC Evaluation Genie, an informal assessment framework that provides a cohesive protocol for evaluating the skills that are most commonly looked at during an AAC evaluation process.
Celeste Helling: AAC Assessments
In this presentation we’ll demonstrate how keyguards improve accessibility for AAC apps, how to choose a case for your device that will best suit a keyguard, and the variety of materials and manufacturing methods available today. We’ll also include a discussion of how to best configure the most popular AAC apps for use with a keyguard.
Mark Larson: Keyguards to Improve Accessability on iPads & Tablets
4 pm ET
All parents teach their children to communicate. Without classes or workshops or the direction of a specialist, moms, dads, and caregivers teach language. Yet, when we look at a young (or older) child who is not able to communicate fully using spoken language we become afraid. We don’t know where to start or what to do. Advice varies and everyone has an opinion. This session will focus on looking at the skills all parents draw upon to teach their children to communication and harnessing those skills to teach your child with complex communication needs.
Kate Ahern: You’ve Got This! Caregivers as the Driving Force in Early AAC Implementation
It is easy to agree that all learners should be placed in the Least Restrictive Environment. But sometimes students with complex communication needs are placed in general education classroom without a robust plan for support. Inclusion is not a place, it is a concept and it is not just about physical placement. The goal of general education placement is authentic inclusion, not merely a seat at the table.
Sarah Gregory: AAC & Inclusion -- Leveraging Peer Models
In this session, we’ll discuss the research and design principles that contribute to the creation of a complete language and literacy ecosystem for AAC. We'll talk about the development and use of Core First, our symbol-based communication system. Next we'll address communication partner training and the creation of Pathways, a free companion app that allows you to identify the needs of each AAC user and then establish priorities for engagement and growth. Finally, we learn about how we built the Core First Learning curriculum to leverage language success and literacy development with hundreds of books, activities, and lesson plans.
Maureen Donnelly: Building Language & Bridging Literacy -- Just Like That!
5 pm ET
People who cannot rely on speech are at-risk of neglect, abuse, and medical errors. This session will examine the causes of this vulnerablity. We will then explore the most effective safeguards to ensure AAC users have the tools, support, and strategies they need to be safe and heard.
Erin Sheldon: Safeguards for AAC users: vulnerability, autonomy, and being heard
In 2018, Natalie created a monthly social group for families of emerging AAC users. This presentation will discuss what has worked and what is still a work in progress, including: fostering opportunities for AAC users in a larger, relaxed recreational setting; supporting modeling by family members; increasing sibling involvement; and training graduate students.
Natalie Kimmelman Maroni: AAC Family Groups: Lessons From the First Year
This session will present a case study highlighting the use of speech-generating devices to supplement the verbal communication of a young child with Sensory Processing Disorder. Sub-topics will include identification of AAC candidates, funding of devices for semi-verbal populations, and implementation in all communication environments.
Andrea Rabenold: AAC and Sensory Processing Disorder - Using Speech Generating Devices to Supplement Verbal Speech
6 pm ET
Explore a classroom-based communication model and supporting tools which assist IEP team members in assessing current AAC skills and progress toward communicative competence in both social and academic environments. Discover the Dynamic AAC Goals Grid-2 and the Classroom Communication Goals Grid with application of these tools in the development of IEPs.
Holly Schneider & Vicki Clarke: AAC and IEPs -- A GPS for Communicative Competence
Some autistic adults, including myself, use both speech and AAC. Out of necessity, preference, or both, we may not (only) use a dedicated device, or even a dedicated application. I will discuss why we look beyond dedicated options, other tools we may use, and how to apply this more broadly.
Alyssa Hillary Zisk: What autistic adults who use speech and AAC can teach us about thinking beyond the device
Building meaningful activities start with our students’ interests, engaging activities/tasks, developing the environment and tools for success. Through an interview with two adult AAC communicators, participants will gain first-hand insight around the subject of building meaningful activities for older students and the importance of planning activities and teaching around transition.
Sharon A. Redmon: CCN/Complex Bodies: Building meaningfully activities for older students who are switch users/AAC communicators with transition in mind.
7 pm ET
Learn about OpenAAC, a new initiative to help break down barriers for AAC users around the world! This session will be hosted in the Slack chat channel, we will do a short introduction video session and move to chat.
OpenAAC Live Chat