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AAC Assessment and Training: Mentors, Speech Pathologists, Families and Educators in an Inclusive Team Approach

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The two authors of this paper are colleagues and members of a unique AAC Assessment and Training team. The team consists of Mentors who live with complex communication needs, Family Members, Speech Language Pathologists and Special Educators. The primary author is a Special Educator and parent of a daughter who uses AAC; her co-author is a Speech Language Pathologist with over 25 years of experience in the field of AAC. Together, they provide an example of what can be accomplished when families and AAC professionals have mutual trust and respect for each other’s experience.

For the past 15 years the co-authors have worked together on improving access to augmentative and alternative communication in their region. What began with an SLP’s direct service to her colleague’s daughter has culminated in the creation of an innovative center with direct services focused on AAC assessment and training.

The authors will share background that led to their vision for the center, including their passion for a “zero reject” policy; the importance of team based assessments that have the AAC learner at the center and take place in a meaningful context; their guidelines and tools for evaluation, using a “toolbox approach” as opposed to a technology hierarchy; and their training strategies, using modeling and shared activities in the natural environment, and training the AAC user’s team. Mentoring and coaching by and for people who use AAC will be discussed as a key training practice.

Author(s):

Bonnie Mintun    
Communication Technology Education Center (CTEC), a program of the Supported Life Institute
United States

Kristen Carroll    
Communication Technology Education Center (CTEC), a program of the Supported Life Institute
United States

 

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