School of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology


Instructor: Katie Boarman, M.A., CCC-SLP

Module 1: Introduction to Augmentative and Alternative Communication

AAC defined, user, partner, and professional perspectives,

General societal response,

Contrast among high tech, low tech and no tech communication devices,

Vocabulary selection issues such as developmental changes, individualization based on desired outcomes, organization and selection methods.

Module 2: Augmentative, Alternative Communication Terminology

Symbol systems: unaided and aided techniques, overview and demonstration of available aided symbol systems, matching clients to symbol systems,

Rate Enhancement,

Access Methods: direct selection, scanning, other indirect methods, and switches,

Device vendor presentations from local representatives.

Module 3: Developmental Disabilities

AAC and issues for people with developmental disabilities,

Supporting participation and communication for beginning communicators,

Language development and intervention,

Literacy intervention and educational inclusion for individuals with complex communication needs,

Case reviews and Achieving Communication Competence Intervention Plan.

Module 4: Acquired Disabilities

Adults with acquired physical disabilities,

Aphasia, Apraxia of Speech, Traumatic Brain Injury, Degenerative cognitive and linguistic disorders,

AAC in intensive, acute, and long-term medical settings.

Module 5: Assessment, Funding, and Cultural Issues

Principles of decision making, intervention, and evaluation,

Principles of assessment and assessments for funding,

Cultural Issues and AAC users.

Suggested Resources


Beukelman, D., & Mirenda, P. (2013). Augmentative and alternative communication: Supporting children and adults with complex communication needs (4th ed.). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co., Inc. 

Gillette, Y. (2012). Achieving communication competence: Three steps to effective intervention. Verona, WI: Attainment Company, Inc.

Soto, G.,& Zanagari, C. (2009). Practically speaking: Language, literacy, and academic development for students with AAC needs. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co., Inc.

Galvin, J.C. & Scherer, M.J. (1996). Evaluating, selecting, and using appropriate assistive technology. Gaithersburg MD: Aspen.

Flippo, K., Inge, K. Barcus, J. (1995). Assistive technology: A resource for school, work, and community. Baltimore: Paul Brookes.

Lewis, R. (1993). Special education technology: Classroom applications. Belmont CA: Wadsworth.

Lloyd, L. LL., Fuller, D. R., Arvidson, H.H. (1997). Augmentative and alternative communication: A handbook of principles and practices. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Church, G. & Glennen, S. (1991). The Handbook of assistive technology. San Diego: Singular Publishing Group, Inc.

Riechle, J. York, J., Sigafoos, J. (1991). Implementing augmentative an alternative communication: Strategies for learners with severe disabilities. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.

Musselwhite, C.R. & St. Louis, K.W. (1988). Communication programming for persons with severe handicaps. Boston: College Hill Press.

Gossens, C. and Crain, S. (1986). Augmentative communication: Assessment resources. Don Johnston Developmental Equipment, Inc.

Gossens, C. and Crain, S. (1986). Augmentative communication: Intervention resources. Don Johnston, Developmental Equipment Inc.

Burkhart, L. (1987). Using computers and speech synthesizers to facilitate communication intervention with young and/or severely handicapped children.


Closing the Gap, P.O. Box 68, Henderson, MN 56044 $26 a year, $1495 Resource Directory

Symbols Sets:

Mayer Johnson, R. (1990). The picture communication symbols. P.O. Box 1579, Solana Beach CA: 92075-1579. (also available in computer form: Boardmaker)


USAAC/ c/o ISAAC (Professional: $48, student, $20 -see application)

The AAC (Alternative and Augmentative Communication) Journal

Publications affiliated with ISAAC

Communication Outlook ($15)

RESNA (An interdisciplinary association for the advancement of rehabilitation technology).

ASHA: Special Interest Group 12 (any special interest division is $35 in addition to regular ASHA dues)

Publications affiliated with TAM:

The TAM Newsletter


International: ISAAC (International, Biannual)

National: Closing the Gap (Minneapolis, Oct.), C-SUN

Regional: Northeast Ohio (March/April)


Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) Systems

Ellis-Hale, K. (1995). Screening clients for an augmentative and alternative communication clinic: A multitrait-multimethod approach. Evaluation and the Health Professions 18,1,64.

Light, J. & Lindsay, P. (1992). Message-encoding techniques for augmentative communication systems: The recall performances of adults with severe speech impairments. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 35(4), 853-864.

Light, J. (1989). Toward a definition of communicative competence for individuals using augmentative and alternative communication systems. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 5, 137-144.

Lloyd, L.L., Quist, R.W., & Windsor, J.(1990). A proposed augmentative and alternative communication model. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 6, 172-183.

Funding, Devices, Vocabulary Selection, Principles of Intervention

Beck, J. (1991). Consumer advocacy: The key to funding. Communication Outlook.

12(4). 7-10.

Beukelman, D.R., Yorkston, Poblete, M., Naranjo, C. (1984). Frequency of word occurrence in communication samples produced by adult communication aid users. Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, 49, 360-367.

Epstein, R. (1994). Coverage for augmentative devices. Exceptioanl Parent, 24, 68-9.

Menlove M., (1996). A checklist for identifying funding sources for assistive technology. Teaching Exceptional Children, 3, 20-24.

Parette, H.P. (1996). Augmentative and alternative communication impact on families: Trends and future directions. The Journal of Special Education, 30, 77-89.


Blischak, D.M. (1995). Thomas the writer: Case study of a child with severe physical, speech, and visual impairment. Language Speech and Hearing the the Schools, 26, 11-20.

Carlson, F., Hough, S. Lippert, E., & Young, C. (1987). Facilitating interaction during mealtime. Implementation of strategies for improving the use of communication aids in schools serving handicapped children. Rockville, MD. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Glennen, S.L. (1985). Training functional communication board use. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 1, 134-142.

Light, Janice C. (1998).Building communicative competence with individuals who use augmentative and alternative communication. Baltimore : P.H. Brookes Pub. Co.

Light, J. & McNaughton, D. (1993). Literacy and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC): The expectations and priorities of parents and teachers. Topics in Language Disorders, 13,2, 33-46.

Light, J., Datillo, J., English, J., Gutierrez, L. and Hartz, J. (1992). Instructing facilitators to support the communication of people who use augmentative communication systems. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 35(4), 865-875.

Mirenda, P. & Santogrossi, J. (1985). A prompt-free strategy to teach pictorial communication system use. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 1, 143-150.

Reid, S. (1995). Computers, assistive devies, and augmentative communication aids: Technology for social inclusion. The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 10, 80.

Stuart, S. (1986). Expanding sequencing, turntaking, and timing skills through play acting. In S.W. Blackstone, (Ed.), Augmentative Communication: An Introduction, 389-396. Rockville MD: American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

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