AAC in the Cloud 2021 Conference

Unlock the Possibilities

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 Any Time Starting June 10
Time Track 1
AAC for Professionals and Supporters
Track 2
AAC for Users, Families & Supporters
Track 3
AAC Technology or Services
A Heritage Language is a language that is not the dominant language, typically learned or used at home, by people who have cultural ties to that language. Through our family’s journey to achieving fluency and a working AAC device in an endangered language, this presentation will address common issues.
Janet Callahan: AAC and Heritage Language
This presentation will detail the introduction of literacy and communication to a classroom of four young men with autism and a history of ineffective education. “Never too old to start” is a motto that rings true in the classroom that had one year to prove that intensive teaching works.
Laura Taylor: Communication and Literacy in the Secondary Special Education Classroom -- It CAN Be Done!
Dasher is a fluid, continuous gesture text entry system implemented for the first time in an AAC app in Predictable, as an access method. It is accessible via direct touch, as well as head and eye tracking, and features a letter prediction engine.
Brad Jordan: Implementing Dasher for the First Time in an AAC App
Calling all hands-on deck for touch access! There is so much to consider and explore for clients who use touch access. This session is led by two assistive technology consultants and speech-language pathologists ( SLPs) to review ways to encourage touch access, low-tech to high-tech device modifications and DIY ideas to trial touch access methods with your students. One small change can make a big difference when using touch access. Get ready for this hands-on course and leave with a touch access resource guide for editing tips, checklists and trial ideas.
Kristen Powell & Mary Katherine Dally: All Hands On Deck for Touch Access
Predictable is a text-to-speech app designed for people who are literate but don't have the ability to speak. In 2020, we introduced three innovative access methods relying on Apple technology. This year, we worked with Irisbond and integrated the first iOS eye-tracking solution!
Gabrielle Flahault: Using Eye-Tracking to Access Predictable
To many, there's AAC apps for communication, and other devices for everything else. But, we use other apps (on the same device!) for communication, and AAC as non-communication assistive tech. The lines between AAC and everything else are fuzzy. Denying this, and locking us into one app is harmful.
tuttleturtle: AAC is Everything, Everything is AAC -- Why Guided Access & Other Methods of Locking Tablets Remove Autonomy
Who am I? What are switch adapted toys? Overview of switch adapted toys. Live tutorial. What is Jericho adapts toys and how to start your own organization!
Corinne Dicpinigaitis: Switch Adapting Toys is Easy!
I am going to look at home, school, community, friends and special events and how the user can be as independent as possible with the support of others.
Naomi: Fostering Independence of AAC Users in ALL Areas of Life
Sam Callahan and Samatha Aisling Wolfe: Dissociative Identity Disorder and AAC
Day 1 - June 23, 2021
Time Track 1
AAC for Professionals and Supporters
Track 2
AAC for Users, Families & Supporters
Track 3
AAC Technology or Services
11:30 am ET Welcome to AAC in the Cloud
12 pm ET
The use of literacy is a lifelong tool! The foundation for literacy is language. Communicators who rely on augmentative alternative communication should routinely utilize literacy for reading, writing and communication. Let’s explore the wealth of options to increase language use, reading comprehension, and written language for the AAC user.
Maribeth Plankers: Let’s Read & Write with AAC
Sharing stories is an authentic way to engage with communication partners across multiple settings and sessions. During this webinar, we will use the IDARE framework from our We Speak AAC Webinar, titled: Poetry Power Permeates Language, Literacy and Life with AAC (Musselwhite, Yonker & Wagner, 2021).
Deanna Wagner: AAC Remote Therapy During Covid
The COVID-19 pandemic shed light on the importance of communication, connection, and community for the AAC community. Lessons learned from the unintentional creation of an AAC community will be shared for members to create their own course of action to empower themselves and others with a connection to AAC.
Angelina Simms: Lessons Learned from Accidentally Creating an AAC Community
1 pm ET
While it might sound great to have an “AAC Expert” on hand, join this discussion about building sustainable support within schools and programs. Instead of putting high value on the expertise of one team member, this model recognizes that expert skills & knowledge work best when shared among a team.
Rachael Langley & Marlene Cummings: No Experts Here -- An Argument for Building Capacity to Support AAC
Why would speaking autistic adults also use AAC? What are their experiences? What supports do they need? In this presentation, researchers and the community member they partnered with will present their 2020 study on autistic adults who use AAC part-time, sharing direct quotes from participants to illustrate our results.
Amy Donaldson, endever* corbin, & Jamie McCoy: Speaking Autistic Adults Who Use AAC
3D printers create amazing Items supporting multisensory teaching and home made keyguards. Create visual, sensory and tactile cues to exploring and understand the language system. Let’s face it not everybody has a 3-D printer….it’s about partnerships: local high schools, generous engineers, community colleges. Come learn about 3D printing and AAC and see how I came up with novel ways to teach robust language systems to toddlers.
Gemma White: STE'A'M Partnerships Make Robust Language Systems Available for Toddlers
2 pm ET Kate Ahern: TBA
This session will review emergent communication behaviors and abilities when trialing dynamic voice output systems. It will expand upon the idea of what "stimming" looks like, how professionals and communication partners can redefine this term, and how to respond and support individuals with complex communication needs when they display "stimming" behaviors.
Laura Hayes: AAC Users -- Stimming or Not Stimming, That is the Question
In this fast paced, hands on session participants will explore how to support learners using AAC across content areas related to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics). By engaging students in motivating content with high interest learning experiences we can provide them with a reason to communicate and lots of the practice that research shows is needed to become proficient with an AAC system. Participants will have the opportunity to develop resources to use with their own learners during a hands-on component of the session, so this is much more than your traditional sit and git!
Kelly Fonner & Beth Poss: Power Your Core with STEAM
3 pm ET
This session will be presented by Lydia Dawley, an AAC user and AAC Consultant. The session will explore the importance of collaboration with clients to choose what to do in therapy. This will will teach them the independence and autonomy skills that they can be independent with daily activities.
Lydia Dawley: Collaborating with Clients with AAC on What They Want to Work on in Therapy
Need help convincing and encouraging communication partners to change how they interact with AAC learners? Tap into Motivational Interviewing: a counseling technique designed to help people discover their own intrinsic motivation to make positive changes in their behavior.
Sarah McKim Thomas: Motivational Interviewing: Cultivating Skilled Communication Partners for AAC Learners
AAC Anywhere! There may be many barriers to introducing AAC, but distance should not be one of them. This workshop will focus on a current project that demonstrates the effectiveness of remote AAC assessment, intervention, and modeling using tools and techniques we have learned during the pandemic when in-person learning was not possible. Through partnerships with PicSeePal in Australia, the Nika Project in California, and CoughDrop in Utah, we are currently working with teams with different levels of AAC experience in six countries across the globe (India, Peru, Nigeria, UAE, Malaysia, Federated States of Micronesia and Republic of the Marshall Islands). We will be sharing what we've learned -- from methods, to structure, to collaboration, to cost-effective tools (both high and low tech) -- to help guide us all into the new world of providing AAC service globally during these challenging times and beyond.
Dan Phillips, Scot Wahlquist, and Nancy Robinson: AAC Anywhere! Global AAC Partnerships Through and Beyond the Pandemic
4 pm ET
This presentation will share resources for teaming up to support the AAC Users in your world. Specific strategies for collaborating with team members during consideration, implementation, and data collection will be provided. The different models for working as a team as well as examples of technology that can support this will be discussed.
Sarah Gregory & Elisa Wern: Teaming Up to Unlock the Possibilities for AAC Success
This presentation will explore societal perspectives of relationships and dating for individuals who communicate through AAC. Join us as we share our experiences and discuss how societal attitudes and behaviors shape and reshape the relationships between AAC communicators and people without AAC needs.
Stephanie Fassov & Katerina Fassov: Societal Perspectives of Relationships and AAC
Smart speakers are a game changer for students who can't interact with the world typically. Students with multiple disabilities can use their AAC devices to control their environments This gives our students with the highest needs the ability to control their worlds, just like their typically developing peers.
Jeanna Kakavas: Alexa, Give me Independence
5 pm ET
Share experiences in Augmentative and Alternative Communication Online in, spanish identifying strategies, activities and resources that allows keeping and development of communication skills and get lots of connection, interaction and fun, for students and communication partners.
Claudia Marimon Rigollet: AAC for Fun -- How to Engage & Help Others *Session in Spanish
Autonomy, self-determination, and dignity of risk (the right to take risks and make mistakes) are often denied to AAC users, but are fundamental human rights. This session will explore the importance of these rights, their relationship to trauma, how AAC users can exercise them, and the role of professionals/supporters.
Cole Sorensen & Donnie TC Denome: Autonomy, Self-determination, Dignity of Risk, and Harm Reduction for AAC Users
Since there is no consolidated baseline or roadmap to designing high-tech AAC systems, in this presentation I want to share our one year AAC redesign story. We design AAC for two languages: English and Turkish, and had the chance to experience each step in developing and designing a high-tech AAC. This includes UX research and design, drawing of the symbol cards, arranging them, developer & admin side like coding for language engines. These insights will benefit with professionals in the AAC design field.
Naz Yilmaz: Insight for Updating a High-tech AAC with Cognitive Design Perspective
6 pm ET
Join this workshop to see how schools can build an AAC culture. Follow some real and authentic steps to engage educational teams in AAC. See how culture and mindsets can shift - and for the better. Recognise that all students, regardless of age, diagnosis or ability can benefit from AAC embedded into curriculum and learning. Learn how you can be part of this process.
Amanda Hartmann & Barbara van’t Westende: AAC for Everyone -- Building an AAC Culture in Schools
Why is it that some people are "all in" when it comes to AAC while others seem more resistant? In this session we will explore how The Enneagram plays into strengths, struggles, and mindset surrounding AAC implementation.
Emily Diaz: AAC Coaching and the Enneagram: Exploring Parent/Teacher Buy-in by Personality Type
Money, sex, and politics are discussions that don't belong at the dinner table, but they do belong in the speech room. Let's talk about how AAC devices need to be edited and straight-up redesigned to support marginalized AAC users wholly throughout their lives!
Lily Huston: AAC Features that Need to be Developed to Include Marginalized Communities
7 pm ET Lightning Talks and Hack Night
Day 2 - June 24, 2021
Time Track 1
AAC for Professionals and Supporters
Track 2
AAC for Users, Families & Supporters
Track 3
AAC Technology or Services
12 pm ET
In this session, Dr. Chung will speak about the background, timeline, examples, and, her own firsthand perspective of Ableism, which is one of the main barriers to unlocking possibilities for our community. In addition, she will present some action items to prevent Ableism in our society. The roots of Ableism can be traced back to the 1800s when the Eugenics movement was prevalent. Ableism as a concept undermines and underestimates the ability of individuals with disabilities to live their own lives. This belief perpetuates a harmful rhetoric that causes even more obstacles and difficulties. However, it should also be noted that some actions of Ableism are not all intended as some individuals might be unaware that their thoughts and actions may come across as Ableist due to lack of exposure and education. The purpose of this presentation is to prevent and reduce those occurrences while simultaneously unlocking possibilities once we’ve discussed the nature of Ableism.
Keynote Address: Yoo Sun Chung -- Breaking Down Ableism to Unlock Possibilities
1 pm ET
Do you have questions about how to document AAC within the Individualized Education Plan (IEP)? Learn how to address AAC devices and services in the IEP throughout the assessment process and implementation! We will discuss how to account for student needs and school district concerns, goal writing, and how to document all of the vital information efficiently in the IEP.
Janice Reese, Sabina LaClair & Saskia Splane: AAC in the IEP
As a parent of a non verbal autistic kid, I have encountered many SLPs and professional who were very opinionated about how to help support his language. We have tried many different types of therapies and different types of communication aids all with flaws and preconceived notions. What we haven’t been presented with are all our options. What we haven’t been given is the opportunity to understand how language develops. When we were finally presented with AAC, we were at first reluctant and we introduced it without the direct support of an SLP. With the behavioural interventionists, the AAC program wasn’t used to match communication functions, instead, it was used to accommodate prompting and choices. We didn’t use it leveraging core words and we over-programmed it. We couldn’t adopt it as is and failed at supporting our kid with his communication. After taking a keen interest in communication and how we can support him, we have finally understood how many words should be available and how to properly use it. We now understand how to challenge professionals and other communication partners to help support his development. We completely reverted back the programming of our device and are now able to understand how to converse with him with AAC. We may be at the beginning of our journey but we have many lessons learned that we would like to share with other parents at the beginning of their journey.
Maha Abdelhak: Lessons Learned from a Parent of an AAC User
Discuss common challenges that eye gaze communicators face in classrooms, brainstorm solutions, and learn about helpful features of the Eyegaze Edge SGD in the preK-12 population. Panelists include parents, SLPs, family members of AAC communicators, and Eyegaze trainers. Bring your questions and challenges to our panel of experts!
Lana Ridge: Eye Gaze Challenges in the Home and Community -- Solutions Panel Discussion
2 pm ET
This session will explain how to adapt both light tech and high tech AAC to meet the needs of all AAC users. We will discuss the importance of personalizing AAC apps (skin tone, language, dialect, cultural/religious vocabulary, etc.) and share current workarounds in the most commonly-used communication applications.
Christina Royster, Jill D’Braunstein & Alma Partida: Diverse and Inclusive Implementation of AAC
Brian Whitmer: TBA
Help the presenters create a character who will go on an interactive story-driven adventure. Participants will make choices, guiding actions and outcomes, all while using open-ended questioning, descriptive teaching, and aided language stimulation. Leave having experienced a model for creating an engaging experience to teach and learn language using AAC.
Shaun Pearson, Christopher Bugaj & Katie Robertson: Voice and Choice -- Learning Made Fun Through Interactive Choose Your Own Adventure Games
3 pm ET
The AAC Journey is a winding one for professionals, communicators, and families. The best guide we have available to us is that of typical communication development. This talk will outline two frameworks for approaching AAC assessment and intervention using evidence-based, family-centered practices and holding typical communication milestones at the core.
Tannlynn Neufeld: Using Typical Language Development to Guide AAC Practices
For children who write via non-traditional modalities, family and staff often miss the emerging steps of scribbling and drawing. Join Kelly to learn how to encourage your students with complex learning needs go through the beginning stages of putting ideas to print through activities, strategies and technologies.
Kelly Fonner & Donna McNear: Scribbling -- Writing Experience Before the First Written Word for ALL Students
Can incorporating “mindfulness” page sets on an AAC device benefit communicators and their support staff? Join us for a group mindfulness exercise, as seen from the screen of an Eyegaze device and see examples of various mindfulness techniques. Learn how these principles may increase quality of life for AAC communicators.
James Brinton: Incorporating Mindfulness Practice Pages into Eye Gaze AAC
4 pm ET Lauren Enders: Personalizing AAC -- A Deep Dive into Vocabulary Customization
Successful communication depends on the skills of all partners. Knowing how to support AAC-users is challenging for many partners. In fact, without explicit instruction, partners are less likely to provide communication turn opportunities. This presentation will explore multiple research-based communication strategies to make you a WISE partner (Wait, Interpret, Show, & Expand).
Cheri Dodge Chin: Communication Partner Strategies for AAC
I primarily use symbol AAC, iday I switch between 5-6 different types of AAC, depending on the situation,I use the internet. Multimodal communication is critical to my active lifestyle, so is cognitive accessibility and screen readers! My active life, multimodal communication, internet use doesn't change that.
Saoirse Tilton: Symbols, Multimodal Communication and Screen Readers -- Adapting AAC and Reading and Cognitive Support Needs in Adults
5 pm ET
This presentation will evaluate outcomes of a transdisciplinary, multi-tiered training program designed to improve competence of OTs and SLPs in the areas of AT and AAC. We will explore gaps in competency, program development, quality improvement measures, outcomes of our program, and step to build a program in your practice.
Mara Jonet & Annabeth Knight: Building Transdisciplinary Mentorship and Professional Development Opportunities to Improve AAC Competencies and Clinical Outcomes
This presentation will discuss barriers AAC users face in accessing health care and what AAC professionals and supporters can do to address them. It will cover the importance of autonomy and self-determination in health care for AAC users from the perspective of an AAC user in public health.
Donnie TC Denome: Ensuring Equitable Access to Health Care for AAC Users
As linguistic anthropologists and other scholars have argued, social interaction is the basis of what it means to be human. Yet, the interactional practices of Autistic people who do not speak are understudied and often misunderstood, resulting in claims that they have persistent interactional deficits. Moreover, nonspeaking Autistic multilingual individuals from minoritized language and racial groups in the United States face further marginalization due to deficit-based language ideologies and the groundless but commonly accepted belief that simultaneous acquisition of more than one language can hinder language development. As a result, many nonspeaking Autistic people must use English-dominant augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices to support their interactional needs. It is not clear, however, how multilingual users and their families view the role of these technologies in their daily lives. Drawing on in-depth ethnographic interviews of five nonspeaking Autistic multilingual Latinx AAC users and their families, this thesis investigates how participants creatively manage the interactional, linguistic, cultural, and technological limitations and affordances of AAC technologies. Utilizing the concept of “tinkering”, I demonstrate how nonspeakers and their families are problem-solving agents operating under constraint who develop innovative communicative strategies and workarounds that both reshape talk and reimagine family communication in interaction.
Erika Prado: AAC and Multilingualism
6 pm ET
Over the course of the 2020-2021 school year an AAC Implementation Coaching program was established districtwide in Chicago Public Schools. This presentation will discuss the evidence for coaching vs. training, how we applied it to AAC, and how this approach can be scaled at a district level.
Meryl Schnapp & Mark N. Brown: Developing District-wide Program for AAC Implementation Coaching
In this session, Cristian will share his experiences starting an adult day program with all new staff, moving into a new house with all new caregivers, and changing to new health providers as an adult. Cristian will share the communication aids and materials that were developed for these transitions.
Cristian Rosas: Taking My AAC Into Adulthood
Kathryn Helland: AAC & Transition -- Planning for an Everyday Life