Expanding the capacity of districts to meet Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) needs by providing evaluation, direct service, consultation, and professional development
What is Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)?
As stated by the Massachusetts DESE Technical Assistance Advisory SPED 2018-3, Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is a form of assistive technology that can help students with disabilities communicate to meet their education goals and participate fully alongside their nondisabled peers in all aspects of their education, while also giving them an opportunity to communicate and interact with others.
AAC generally refers to methods of communication that enhance (augment) or replace natural speech and other conventional forms of expressive and receptive communication. AAC includes natural communication such as vocalizations, facial expressions, and gestures, as well as communication devices and aids accompanied by services that support the use of AAC. It includes speech-generating devices and other types of assistive technology, as well as low-tech aids such as picture communication boards and books.
For many years, voice output, or AAC devices have been used to help those with developmental or acquired disabilities communicate successfully. Use of a total communication approach with AAC devices and systems, offers tremendous possibilities in helping students communicate based upon their unique needs.
Our Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Collaborative Consultation program offers:
- Student AAC Evaluations
- Follow-up treatment and/or consultation/collaboration
- Short term provision of direct services with the intention of expanding district capacity
- Consultation, collaboration and coaching with district Speech-Language Pathologists and educational teams on AAC and other issues related to communication goals for students having complex communication needs
- Consultation and support on the purchase and utilization of AAC devices
Professional Development Topics:
- AAC 101: What is AAC and how do we use it
- How to implement AAC across the school day
- Modeling and aided language input
- Programming for specific AAC applications
- Family and caregiver education to maximize AAC use in the home
- How AAC can support behavior management
- Data collection and AAC
- Running AAC group lessons
- Teaching and implementing literacy strategies with AAC users
- Applying the participation model to AAC implementation
- Honoring diversity in AAC
- Supporting AAC users in general education classrooms
If there is a topic you are interested in that is not listed here, please contact Jennifer Leighton as we may be able to create a presentation to meet your needs.
Who is eligible?
Speech-Language Pathologists, teachers, and teams working with students having complex communication needs who would benefit from support in any area related to AAC.
We are available to help support you with these types of challenges in your school setting.
We are accepting referrals for consultation, student specific services and district professional development.
For inquiries please contact:
Jennifer Leighton, M.A., CCC-SLP
AAC Program Coordinator
Phone: 978-232-9755 x1320