AAC in the Cloud 2023 Conference

The Power of One

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.
AAC Now
Pre-Conference Sessions - Watch any time after June 10
Time Track 1
AAC for Users, Families & Supporters
Track 2
AAC for Professionals, Teachers, and Supporters
Track 3
AAC Technology, Practices, or Services
Pretend play is critical to many areas of child development, including communication, language and literacy learning. There are essential benefits to launching emergent literacy learning during pretend play routines. Join us as we share materials, adaptations, tools, and supporting research on the potential of developing early literacy through pretend play.
Kelly Fonner & Donna McNear: Pretend Play Power -- Integrating Literacy Modalities & Tools
La evidencia confirma que las personas con Complejas Necesidades de Comunicación necesitan aprender a leer y escribir. La búsqueda y creación de materiales y recursos para apoyar la alfabetización integral de lectores y escritores emergentes, nos invita a compartir recursos para las necesidades de estudiantes y adaptadas a español.
Claudia Marimón R. & María Soledad Cuesta G.: ¡¡Encuentra el tesoro!! Recursos y estrategias para alfabetización emergente en español
Let's explore some of the great materials, websites, supplies, and assets that can be accessed for FREE to help support AAC communicators and teams.
Melissa DeMoux: Free AAC Resources for Buy-in and Communication Growth
Join Naomi and Stefanie as Naomi discusses what she has learned as a part-time AAC user with vision impairments, and Stefanie shares device modifications she has made with young AAC users with vision impairments. Participants will receive access to resources related to AAC and vision impairments.
Naomi Herman & Stefanie Olson: Visual Impairments & AAC -- Case Study and Discussion of Tips & Device Adaptations
Feature-matching in AAC assessment is a crucial component of the assessment process but can be intimidating! Feature-matching is completed by looking at an individual’s skills and needs to determine the most appropriate AAC system features (ASHA, n.d.). Learn more in this recorded webinar!
Katie Threlkeld: Feature Matching in the AAC Assessment
Kate Ahern: Literacy and Learners with CCN Using UFLI
Plain language is a type of writing that uses clear, simple words and sentences. Plain language can help people understand a piece of text better. You should use plain language when writing and talking about AAC. This presentation will teach you the basics of writing in plain language. This presentation will talk about how to write about AAC in plain language.
Donnie TC Denome: Plain Language for AAC -- What It Is and Why It Matters
For students AAC communicators, the development of literacy skills are essential to unrestricted access to ALL the words. Too often, Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening are taught in isolation. In this session, participants learn ways to connect and integrate reading, writing and language into instructional routines across the student day.
Beth Poss & Kelly Fonner: Literacy Connections -- Reading, Writing and AAC
Day 1 - June 20, 2023
Time Track 1
AAC for Users, Families & Supporters
Track 2
AAC for Professionals, Teachers, and Supporters
Track 3
AAC Technology, Practices, or Services
12 pm ET
Community outreach and education is crucial to provide more widespread AAC access, earlier. Further, outreach, education and collaboration fosters improvements in AAC implementation, leading to more successful, independent communicators. This presentation aims to empower AAC providers to build relationships with community members in order to improve AAC access and use.
Sara Ware: Power in Community Partnership: Fostering Relationships in Order to Improve AAC Access and Implementation
As speech-language pathologists, we lead the way in determining how communication is viewed within our professional setting. In this practical presentation, we will review the essential components of a communication-focused program in order to support authentic, student-centered communication skills, and to create a more inclusive and supportive learning environment for all students.
Katie Threlkeld: CoughDrop AAC App from A to Z
3-D printers are becoming more available and accessible in our communities. By harnessing free open S card software and a number of free made pre-downloadable files you can make AAC accessible and print a scaffolded system to develop robust AAC usage.
Gemma White: Bigger is Better- 3d printing masked keyguards (and you don’t need to own a 3d printer)
1 pm ET
Come join Krista Howard, a life-long user of AAC and her friend Brandi as they share how they use light-tech AAC to communicate when in the pool, spa and at the beach. Attendees will see how two friends communicate in a variety of environments with multiple modes of communication! We welcome AAC users, family members, caregivers, therapists, and teachers to join us in learning communication partner strategies when utilizing light-tech AAC in various environments.
Krista Howard & Brandi Wentland: This is how we do it -- AAC Fun in the Sun
This session will be provided by four SLP’s who share their secrets to providing productive and engaging AAC group sessions. Top tips and favorite activities will be provided within a real time group session. Find out how we manage various AAC systems and juggle data collection while maintaining engagement.
Jaime Lawson, Melonie Melton, & Heather Patton: The Power of One SLP-- What Can’t We Do?
It is widely recognized that birth to eight is a crucially important time for the development of language, literacy and world knowledge. Today’s early educators are effectively tasked with planting two flowers with one seed; finding or creating high-quality core curricula for children who face learning barriers, and then delivering it in ways that result in student growth. This session will define high-quality core curricula and highlight the benefits of curriculum-based professional development, as well as introduce one program as a model for doing both.
Maureen Donnelly: Two Flowers, One Seed -- Deliver Early Learning Curricula and Grow Your Practice
2 pm ET
Supporting AAC users requires a team effort that involves SLPs, special education teachers, instructional assistants, general education teachers, parents, and others. But what happens when team members are unsure about what to do or why? In this session, you'll learn how to use an AAC Roles Chart and an AAC Implementation Plan to create a unified team approach to support communication growth. Join us to discover practical strategies for effective implementation and collaboration.!
Shannon Archer: AAC Takes a Team!
Developing communication competence in a focused and fun manner.
Kate Ahern: Talker Power -- Creating an AAC Skills Class for AAC Users and Caregivers Together
Laying a solid foundation for an AAC system that will be accessible to for an individual with CVI across time, settings, and partners requires many components including a family-centered approach, consideration of the individual’s specific CVI characteristics, responsibilities of the communication partner(s), and consideration of aided AAC design features.
Lynn Elko, Tara McCarty, & Dawn Sowers: Evidenced-Based AAC Interventions for Cortical Visual Impairment
3 pm ET
Many people with disabilities rely on direct support professionals in their daily lives, including some individuals who use AAC. This presentation discusses personal experiences as an AAC user receiving home and community based services - with an emphasis on the importance of access to communication for ensuring an individual’s safety and autonomy.
Courtney Johnson: AAC and Self-Determination -- Autonomy and Safety in Home/Community-based Services
Therapy for GLPs often focuses on moving them towards word-based language generation. While this is an important skill to have, it is also important to support their neurotype by helping them feel confident communicating with their scripts. This session considers the benefits and methods to support this for AAC users.
Lily Konyn: Supporting Gestalt Language Processors to Keep Scripting
As an AAC user and developer, this presentation will explore how augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and artificial intelligence (AI) can intersect. The main focus will be on how AI can enhance AAC through natural language processing and phrase prediction. The presentation will also discuss the challenges and limitations of using AI in AAC, including issues related to privacy, data security, and bias. Finally, there will be examples of how AI and AAC have already been successfully combined, such as with virtual assistants for people with communication disabilities. Overall, this presentation aims to provide an overview of the exciting possibilities that arise when AAC and AI intersect, while also highlighting some of the ethical and practical considerations that must be taken into account when using these technologies in the context of disability.
Owen McGirr: AI and AAC
4 pm ET
This will be a bilingual presentation in both English and Spanish. Cristian will share about his life experiences and give advice on how to support AAC users.
**Canceled Due to Illness** Cristian Rosas: Consejos Para Familias y Maestras / Advice for Families and Teachers
Come learn how to play games that create opportunities for communication, connection and creativity. Krista Howard, a life-long user of AAC will demonstrate ways she has used games that are authentic and engaging to support students’ learning and communication. Attendees will practice a combination of in-person and virtually accessible games for all age groups that will leave you inspired and ready to take on tomorrow! We welcome therapists, teachers, and parents to join us in learning how to coach users of AAC to create and facilitate their own activities to empower and share the skills they have learned with other users of AAC. All forms of AAC will be demonstrated including no-tech, light-tech and high-tech AAC during the session.
Krista Howard, Brandi Wentland, & Shaun Pearson: Game On with AAC -- Virtual, In-Person, and User-Led Fun for All Ages
Children learn language through play. Individuals with significant motor impairment may require assistive technology to access their environment for play. This may include the use of switches or eye gaze to access play through a speech-generating device (SGD). This presentation aims to identify barriers and solutions for play for those with complex motor and communication needs and to provide evidence-based strategies for language development during play for those who require alternate access to AAC. The session will discuss the use of the WinSlate speech-generating device (SGD) from Forbes AAC and the language development kit (LDK) companion accessory as a means of providing access to play for language development for individuals with complex motor and communication needs.
Breanne Bockwoldt & Kimberly Benyon: The Power of Play in Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC)
5 pm ET
Augmented communicators discuss the joys, frustrations, impact, and lessons learned from paid speaking engagements. Each will offer examples from public speaking, what they needed to be successful, how they prepared, unexpected challenges, and way they can use their experience to create more employment opportunities.
Chris Gibbons: AAC Speakers Panel -- Experiences and Opportunities for Paid Speaking Engagements
Presentation will provide information on how to categorize AAC communicators in order to determine an individualized and attainable path for intervention. Presenters will discuss three communication categories and will share a tool to assist in determining an AAC communicator’s profile based on prognostic indicators and linguistic skills.
(Video no longer available) Trina Becker & Beth Bergstrom: Identifying Appropriate AAC Communicator Categories for Individualized Intervention
Communication can't just be a “speech thing.” It may feel easier to provide answers or advice to those supporting complex communicators, coaching often yields better understanding and willingness to shift practices. Join us to learn strategies related to AAC capacity-building efforts that can also be utilized for other collaborative initiatives.
Sara Pericolosi & Carolyn O'Hearn: Building AAC Capacity Through Coaching
6 pm ET
This presentation explores the challenges and best practices associated with Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) implementation, which can help people with complex communication needs communicate effectively. It offers insights into how involving individuals, comprehensive training, multidisciplinary teams, access to resources, and community advocacy can overcome the obstacles that impede successful AAC implementation.
Elianita de Paula & Brooke Brown: Breaking the Barriers of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) -- Challenges and Best Practices for Successful Implementation
The interdisciplinary Assistive Technology team from Blythedale Children’s Hospital will provide a review of case studies of the medically fragile pediatric population. Discussion will include solutions for mobility, access and a focus communication. Therapeutic strategies and collaborative problem solving to promote functional independence will be reviewed.
Marnina Allis Karen Conti, Barbara Donleavy-Hiller, Jean Marie Florkowski, Andres Guerrero, Diana Ryan: AT Case Studies Promoting Clinical Collaboration
To provide inclusive environments we need to consider communication supports, not only on the playground but at local attractions too. This presentation will discuss everything you need to know about community communication boards: where they are, how to develop one, and the impact they can have!
Lauren Greenlief: Community Communication Supports -- Beyond the Playground
Day 2 - June 21, 2023
Time Track 1
AAC for Users, Families & Supporters
Track 2
AAC for Professionals, Teachers, and Supporters
Track 3
AAC Technology, Practices, or Services
12 pm ET
In this session, you will learn how the wildly popular, powerful, and versatile Canva app can be used to support AAC Learners (either in-person or virtually). In addition to a paid Pro version, Canva offers both a free version (that anyone can use) AND the robust Canva for Education subscription that is FREE for all K-12 educators! Tune in to learn how this fun and all-around mighty tool can be used in creative ways to engage all types of learners. Demonstrations will include exciting new Canva features that even include artificial intelligence (AI). Not super tech-savvy? No worries, Canva has one of the most user-friendly interfaces around, so you can do this!
Lauren Enders Gonzales: Reimagining Canva as a Powerful Tool for AAC Learners
Aided language input, prompting, creating opportunities—the are all well known strategies that are often discussed when it comes to supporting AAC development. However, how often do you and the communication partners that support AAC users talk about the importance of acknowledgment? In this session, we will dive into the importance of communication acknowledgement and the role it plays in language and socio-emotional development. Participants will learn about how to use it as a tool in their toolbox to enhance communication with AAC users.
Laura Hayes: The 1 AAC Strategy You May be Missing
Our experience as a speech-language pathologist and teacher in a French-speaking special education school (adolescents, aged 12-21 with severe disabilities) in getting school staff members buy-in for AAC on a daily basis in the classroom : our successes, difficulties and ideas for progress.
Julie Paquet & Floriane Olivier: Créer une culture de CAA, un intervenant scolaire à la fois (Creating a culture of AAC, one school member at a time) *Session in French
1 pm ET
As partners supporting kids learning to use AAC, we know that we need to model, model, model! But what does this actually mean? What does it look like? How do you actually do this? And how often? Join for strategies that go deeper than a definition. Have a student that’s tough to engage? A child who doesn’t seem to follow your models no matter how hard you try? Perhaps a communicator with unique motor or vision needs? We’ll break it all down so that you have tips to apply right now, and resources to keep on growing as a partner!
Tannalynn Neufeld: The Power of One Strategy -- A Deep Dive Into Modeling AAC
During this session, a SPED teacher and SLP will share their successes and challenges supporting communication and academic learning in a classroom of AAC users with alternative access needs. Discussion will focus on important foundational beliefs, providing alternative AAC access, and increasing academic rigor and student engagement within the classroom.
Robbie Cromwell & Holly Wellington: AAC and Alternative Access -- Lessons From the Classroom
My presentation explores common difficult of implement AAC across a busy special
Zoe Pardoe: Practical implementation of AAC within a busy special school - importance of school and home links
2 pm ET
“Help, I already trained the team and the device still isn’t being used outside of my sessions.” Sound familiar? This is common if one training element is missing. In fact, without coaching in the natural environment, there’s only about a 5% chance that the strategies you’re teaching will be used.
Jill E Senner & Matthew R. Baud: Coaching Communication Partners in AAC
For adolescents who use AAC, they often demonstrate difficulties with using aided AAC to communicate effectively and have limited opportunities to develop conversational skills (McNaughton & Bryen, 2007; Smith, 2005). Challenges faced by adolescence who use AAC includes establishing personal identity, addressing the increasing educational demands, and coping with their differences from their peer group (Smith, 2005). At this age, the focus of speech therapy and AAC intervention begins to shift from the educational setting to workplace and social environments. The goal of AAC intervention is to maximize an individual’s communication across environments and for adolescents who use AAC, it is important to address the many challenges related to transition planning, such as self-advocacy. This presentation aims to review intervention approaches for adolescents who use AAC as the focus of treatment shifts from language development to functional language. Recommendations for communication partner training for caregivers, employers, education staff, and peers on how to support AAC users and facilitate effective communication will be addressed.
Katie Threlkeld & Laurel Duever-Collins: Transitioning from Developmental Language to Functional Language for Adolescents Who Use AAC
The Voice Keeper Kids delivers life-changing, assisted-AI voice creation for AAC users, fostering personal and emotional connections to their synthetic voice. This revolutionary service gives children a voice they can connect with rather than a pre-made generic voice they are detached from.
Jennifer Borzumato & Elik Gurvitz: Empower your child with a personal voice that is uniquely theirs
3 pm ET
This session trains the SLP to create and sustain family centered practice in regards to AAC, no matter what setting they work in. Attendees will leave feeling equipped in planning and executing parent training that not only gives parents confidence, but also promotes longevity of device use in the home.
Randi Brown: Coaching Parents of AAC Users -- Cultivating Comfort and Confidence with AAC in the Home
AAC implementation is most successful when we have a community of knowledgeable others. Let’s examine how we can shift from an expert model to a capacity model that is self-sustaining so that AAC best practices are utilized across communication partners and environments.
Sarah Gregory & Ashley Larisey: AAC Capacity Building -- Foundation, Framework, and Future
Imagine… Imagine being able to scan a QR code on a fixed playground communication board and use the same display with voice output on your device. Imagine families being able to do that with whatever device they have with them, whether it’s an Android, Apple, Windows, Kindle, etc. Imagine being able to do that FOR FREE. Sounds too good to be true? Well, it’s not! It’s possible with CoughDrop AAC, a web-based program that allows users to create dynamic and interactive communication boards that can be accessed by anyone with a smartphone or tablet. In this session, you will learn… How to use CoughDrop AAC to create a playground communication board that can be printed on a sign and linked to a QR code. How to scan the QR code with your device. How to create links on the electronic grid so different boards can be used in different stations on the playground such as swings, slides, and sandbox. These grids can also be printed and fixed around the playground equipment. How to customize the electronic display and update it as necessary. In addition, you will learn… Strategies partners can use to help the communicator learn how to use the display around the playground and with others. Ways you can promote the use of communication boards in your community. How to advocate for more inclusive and accessible playgrounds for everyone. As a bonus, we will provide you with the PDFs of two grids we have already designed that you can print and install in your community playground. Join us for this fun and informative session and learn how easy it is to make communication more playful and engaging on the playground with the help of CoughDrop AAC.
Scot Wahlquist & Christine Baudin: AAC Playground Communication Boards coming to life with CoughDrop AAC
4 pm ET
What do you do if a gestalt AAC user is doing *something* important on their device but it's not what you expected? We will discuss different uses of AAC and media such as rewinding youtube clips, pressing buttons repeatedly, and how we can document, support and guide our AAC users.
Sarah Weber: Creating a culture of communication
Sometimes teachers are ready to go and sometimes others can be stuck when it comes to AAC. SLPs, AAC professionals, and others must meet teaching staff wherever they are through collaboration. This takes getting creative with understanding curriculum, schedules, and providing unique ways to implement AAC.
Cici Fritts & Candace Hayden: Meeting Teachers Where They're AT
In this session, two experienced AAC professionals will discuss their use of screen recording software in various settings, providing case examples and a comparison of popular tools. Storage and sharing strategies, as well as how to incorporate the recordings into practice for AAC teaming and parent education will be discussed. Attendees will receive practical resources to implement in their own practices.
Elisa Wern & Rachel Madel: Using Screen Recording Software to Support Communicators, Educators, and Learners
5 pm ET
Learning AAC at home is hard for everyone at times. For every glorious moment when it’s available and used there are as many where it’s unavailable and overwhelming. I want to talk about what IS happening at these times and how ‘spAACes’ are just as important as AAC.
Joanna Holmes: SpAACes -- What IS happening when AAC isn't (or appears not to be)
Do you work with AAC users who struggle to move beyond single words? This session will provide actionable strategies for building language beyond basic requests. Learn how to use an SVO (Subject-Verb-Object) framework to prompt and model expanded utterances, as well as other cues to support communication growth. We'll also showcase fun tasks and activities for building SVO/SVL utterances. Join us to improve your AAC teaching skills!
Shannon Archer: Building Language with AAC -- Going Beyond Requesting
IEP teams often complain that the AT/AAC process is too complicated and takes too long to start and to acquire the ‘best’ tool(s). This session will look at how applying the Jaggedness Principle to AT/AAC Department’s procedures can streamline services so student needs are met in a time-efficient manner with team buy-in in the inclusion environment.
Irene Hughes: How the Jaggedness Principle Improves AT/AAC Services
6 pm ET
Join us as we challenge how classrooms look and how teachers use AAC. Anything that is not speech is AAC. AAC is a universal tool that all classrooms and it’s students can benefit from. This presentation will share examples of AAC, multimodal communication and tools that enhance interaction and engagement.
Amanda Hartmann & Shannon Braithwaite: AAC in classrooms -- Universal, Multimodal, Engaging!
The purpose of this session is to provide attendees with the background knowledge necessary for understanding the 5 W’s (who, what, where, when, and why) of considering AAC for our students and clients. Students and clients with complex communication needs are often viewed as not being capable of engaging in the same way(s) as their typically developing peers, however, this is a common misconception. This session will discuss how Speech Language Pathologists can select and incorporate AAC early on in speech and language therapy and select materials and activities to promote social interactions. Additionally, this session will provide examples of how to select appropriate activities and materials that can be easily incorporated into AAC intervention for young children to support emergent communication. Participants who attend will have the opportunity to view previously recorded sessions showing progress in social interactions with clinicians, peers, and family members when implementing AAC devices. Participants will also leave with a digital resource containing downloadable and printable materials to immediately begin using with their clients/students.
Kristin Ellis: Improving Quality of Life and Fostering Relationships Using AAC
This presentation will discuss how a parent of an AAC user started a virtual literacy group using the strategies from the Comprehensive Literacy for All book. Topics will include resources used for teaching, ideas to help engage students, tools for visual support, and implementing multi-modal approaches to support language and literacy development.
Tina Lorenzana: Teaching Literacy in a Virtual Group Setting