AAC in the Cloud 2024 Conference

Breaking Barriers: AAC Innovation & Beyond

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
Time Track 1
AAC for Users, Families & Supporters
Track 2
AAC for Professionals, Teachers, and Supporters
Track 3
AAC Technology, Practices, or Services
Explore effective collaboration strategies for AAC users, families, educators, and healthcare professionals. Gain insights from a seasoned special education teacher and parent of an AAC user. Learn to create personalized action plans integrating education, therapy, and medical goals. Empower families to advocate effectively and build cohesive AAC teams, leaving with practical tools for inclusive AAC support.
Heather Roach: Helping Families Build AAC Teams Through Collaboration
Katie Threlkeld: Advancing Independence for Individuals Who Use AAC Through Assistive Technology
This session explores the uses of tactiles, which are growing as an effective instructional strategy. Tactile representations are used for access to literacy and learning, and as a representation of language in both expressive and receptive communication. Presenters will explore two main teaching considerations supporting integrating the use of tactiles or reviewing their use: (1) What are the properties of tactiles? and (2) How do we use them?
Kelly Fonner and Donna McNear: Sorting Through Tactiles for Literacy & Communication: What Are They & How Do You Use Them?
Practical ideas to integrate AAC into community-based instruction, empowering individuals to communicate effectively in various real-world settings.
Sarah Weber: AAC in the Community: Bridging Communication Gaps Beyond the Classroom
Day 1 - June 25, 2024
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
This session will cover the presenter’s experiences of AAC use in post-secondary education - with an emphasis on both academic and social settings.
Courtney Johnson: Firsthand Experiences of AAC Use in Higher Education
We will discuss inclusive practices for providing all preschool students with accessible communication tools and supports, and delineate how the universal design for learning framework can be applied to early childhood classrooms. In this way, we can strive to make AAC the norm, rather than the exception, in preschools.
Melissa Friscia: The Intersection of AAC and UDL in the Preschool Classroom: Strategies and Solutions for Addressing Early Childhood Access to Universal Communication Supports
A brief overview of 3D Printing and the processes of, designing, slicing and printing will be explained with the equipment needed for each stage of the process identified. The importance of multi-sensory teaching in education drawing on research from Multi-sensory Teaching Approach for Reading, Spelling, and Handwriting, Orton-Gillingham Based Curriculum will be explored. The relationship of perception and/or language to reading, spelling, and handwriting achievement has been investigated extensively. Multi-sensory activities are based on whole brain learning, which is the belief that the best way to teach concepts is by involving multiple areas in the brain. By adding auditory or visual components to reading assignments, like illustrations or online activities, you can help students develop stronger literacy skills. According to the whole brain learning theory, all brain functions are interconnected for this reason; we remember how to do things best when the directions are given engage multiple senses. Most educators add audio or visual multimedia into their assignments, but multi-sensory learning can also include tactile, smell, and taste-related materials. An activity that engages multiple areas of the brain, it can help students develop stronger memories. If we know multi-sensory skills benefits differentiated reading instruction then consider how it can impact AAC learning. Free and paid resources for designing 3D printed items will be highlighted with examples of multi-sensory, supports and toys for different language systems that I have been experimenting with. The AAC multi sensory supports I created with Fusion 360 will be shared. Free openSCAD designers for Bliss symbols will also be shared. Examples of the 3-D printed STL files already available for download will be available. Finally, some examples videos of how multi-sensory supports can be used to stimulate language in conjunction with Aided Language Stimulation will be available.
Gemma White: Using 3D Printing to Create Multi-Sensory Support Materials for AAC
1 pm ET
This presentation will introduce CoughDrop as more than your standard AAC app. CoughDrop is a powerful AAC tool designed to improve collaborative communication in educational, healthcare, and personal settings. Learn about its user-friendly interface, customizable communication pages, real-time collaboration features, and integration capabilities. We'll demonstrate practical applications, share success stories, and provide tips for overcoming common communication barriers. Discover how CoughDrop can revolutionize your communication strategies. Don't miss this opportunity to enhance your collaborative efforts!
Kim Benyon: Enhancing Collaborative Communication with CoughDrop
Effective practices in AAC assessment and intervention require the collective expertise of a multi-disciplinary team that recognizes the importance of family-centered practice. However, this can often be a challenge for busy school professionals with limited access to families. In this session, interprofessional practices in AAC assessment will be discussed. A tool developed by one suburban special education cooperative that encourages participation of all stakeholders will be introduced.
Jill Senner and Matt Baud: Creating an Interprofessional Practice (IPP) for AAC Assessments in the Schools
Bryce Johnson: Microsoft and Accessibility
2 pm ET
I want to show SLPs as well as parents how to support speech and language development via AAC. How to make this process playful and natural, and how to built a positive attitude towards AAC, so it won’t be seen as an obstacle but a help on a way to functional speech.
Ewa Grzelak: AAC for Childhood Apraxia of Speech
This session equips the speech language pathologist to support AAC users and their teachers. Attendees will gain a deeper understanding of how to train school staff members in regards to AAC. Attendees will also be given ideas, strategies, and tips to effective push-in classroom services to increase overall AAC engagement.
Randi Brown: Supporting AAC Users in the Classroom
There are several factors to consider when selecting AAC tools, including the individual’s skill development and the frequency of which insurance will fund a new AAC device. This session will examine how dynamic assessment facilitates AAC tool recommendations and intervention planning that are client-appropriate currently and well into the future.
Hannah Foley: Dynamic Assessment: AAC Tools and Intervention Plans for Today and Tomorrow
3 pm ET
“Storytime with AAC” is a library (community) based program designed for emergent AAC users and aims to support families/caregivers of AAC users in demonstrating language on their child’s AAC device, along with developing a love for reading and building language through shared interaction and connection.
Elena Dukhovny, Polina Rubanova, and Sabena D’souza with guest speaker Himani Hitendra: Establishing a Library-Based Story Book Reading Program for AAC Users and Families: A Tutorial
Marnina Allis, Karen Conti, Barbara Donleavy-Hiller, Jean Marie Florkowski, Andres Guerrero, and Marisa Portanova: Innovative AT Case Studies
This presentation provides an exploration of Speech-Generating Devices (SGDs), emphasizing the importance of dedicated devices for effective speech generation. It covers the procurement process, including rep and tech support, warranties, and the laws and policies surrounding SGDs, such as recent legislation like the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The session navigates the intricacies of insurance coverage for SGDs, eligibility criteria for funding, and common reasons for funding denials, highlighting the top five reasons for both approval and denial of funding. It also outlines best practices for securing funding for SGDs, including a collaborative approach with healthcare providers and a successful insurance appeals process. In conclusion, the presentation reiterates the importance of dedicated SGDs and best practices in funding accessibility, calling for advocacy and education on SGD funding. This presentation aims to empower individuals by providing the knowledge and tools necessary to navigate the complex landscape of SGD funding successfully.
Whitley Bieser and Chelsie Smith: Empowering Communication: Best Practices in Funding AAC Devices and the Vital Role of Dedicated Devices
4 pm ET Lauren Fischbacher and Robin L. Dodds: Teaching Parents and Caregivers to Use AAC in Early Childhood: Reducing Barriers and Getting AAC to Kids Sooner
Megan Stewart: Bringing Literacy to Life: Using AAC & Sensory Elements to Build Connections
Sara Ware, Carolyn Sparrow, and Rebecca Gettings: Take Me Home Country Roads: AAC in Rural Communities
Day 2 - June 26, 2024
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
The session will discuss family-centered approaches and provide resources and evidence-based strategies to help the AAC professional approach AAC assessment and intervention using a family-centered framework.
Maria De Leon: AAC Best Practices: A Family-Centered Approach
What if instead of AAC Assessment, we could do AAC Screening? The population of AAC users far exceeds the number of professionals with AAC experience, and the gap is growing. We propose a possible solution to increasing AAC access, used in conjunction with the Specific Language System First Approach.
Brianna Hughes and Tiffany Rezvani: AAC Screening for Preschool Students: A Work-In-Progress Tool
This presentation will provide a comprehensive overview of all things Forbes AAC. We will showcase our diverse product line, featuring our latest additions: the CoughDrop Pro AAC app and our newest eye gaze technology on both Windows and iOS platforms. Join us to learn about the latest developments at Forbes AAC and discover how we continue to empower individuals to access the power of voice through cutting-edge technology and dedicated support.
Whitley Bieser: Forbes AAC + CoughDrop Product and Company Updates
1 pm ET
Communication needs can change throughout a person’s life. How can we support continued AAC use and growth while navigating transitions through the lifespan? Learn about barriers, tools, and strategies to support AAC users through major life transitions and events.
Cassie Calia: A Lifetime with AAC: Communication & Transitions through the Lifespan
In this session, attendees will explore the latest enhancements to the CoreWord Language System. We will dive into the intricacies of layouts 6, 12, 20, 40, and 60. Through engaging discussions and interactive demonstrations, participants will gain a deeper understanding of how the CoreWord Language System can empower individuals to communicate more effectively. By the end of the session, attendees will leave equipped with practical strategies and insights to harness the full potential of this innovative AAC solution.
Breanne Bockwoldt: Empowering Communication: A Deep Dive into the CoreWord Language System
The Hungarian Angelman Foundation and Bethesda Children’s Hospital stared a clinical program for children with Angelman syndrome to support to improve life quality through access to wide range of specialists and doctors to evaluate and treat the most common problems. Part of this process is AAC assessment.
Brigitta Miksztai-Rethey: AAC Assessment Results in the First Year of the Hungarian Angelman Clinic
2 pm ET
This is a presentation that talks about my story with autism and mental health issues. Then how I overcame these issues then I talk about what I do for first responders and other things I do in the assistive technology field.
Jessica Smith: How AT and AAC Changed Me
PrAACtical Strategies: Cultural Competence and AAC in the Special Education Classroom
Alexis Welch: Cultural Competence and AAC in the Classroom
In this session, participants will review and get access to free, easy to use, CVI-friendly materials they can use to provide the Explicit Alphabet Knowledge Routine that is detailed in Erickson & Koppenhaver's 2020 "Comprehensive Literacy for All" through https://sites.google.com/view/emergingreaders/home
Laura Clark: Easy & Free CVI-Friendly Tools for Explicit Alphabet Knowledge Instructional Routine
3 pm ET
When it comes to helping as many people as possible through AAC, we as a larger community still have room for improvement. Come learn about the projects we are tackling and hoping to take on at the OpenAAC non-profit and find out how you can help raise the expectations of what AAC can and should be.
Brian Whitmer: Knock Knock! Opening Doors and Raising Expectations Through OpenAAC
Join us for this timely conversation about who gets to decide when a person has enough augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). We will discuss who gets to decide when there is “enough language”, “enough autonomy”, “enough independence” or “enough” of anything by sharing personal life experiences and case studies.
Julia Pearce and Breanna Loveland: What is "Fine Enough" for Communication? Now and Then.
Artificial intelligence used well has the capability to offer a more authentic and efficient AAC system for everyone. Emotions are such an integral part of communication. Most AAC users lack the opportunity to authentically express themselves. Expressive voices can help support social interactions and social relationships as well and hence, should be an uncompromising requirement in any AAC system. In this session, we will show some of our latest updates of Avaz AAC along with the AI based experimental features that we are working on. With Avaz AAC powered by AI, users can communicate more efficiently, spontaneously, and independently than ever before.
Narayanan Ramakrishnan and Lakshmignanabala Akilan: Creating an Authentic & Efficient AAC system powered by Artificial Intelligence