AAC Intervention Strategies for Early Communicators and Facilitating Team Buy-In


July 9-11, 2019, Pittsburgh, PA


The focus of this 2.5 day seminar will be to provide learners with a theoretical and practical foundation for the use of core vocabulary as it pertains to language and vocabulary development for augmented communicators as well as how to integrate the use of core vocabulary as a primary strategy for targeting communication and language in home and academic settings. Our guest speaker will present information on strategies for working with emergent communicators as well as facilitating buy-in from educational teams and families. This session will cover AAC intervention strategies for beginning communicators, including individuals on the autism spectrum, and how to establish and maintain buy-in from parents and other professionals.  As an increasing number of young children are prescribed high-tech speech generating devices, teachers, parents and clinicians are left to determine best programming practices, vocabulary selection, teaching strategies and how to gain buy-in from other team members.  Many of these answers can be found in the processes of natural language development and the principles of the Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP) program. Current clinical practice shows that natural language development processes can be mirrored in AAC language development from the earliest cause and effect stages through the development of grammatical structures, even for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. In the earliest stages of language development (in natural speech or using AAC), beginning communicators learn new words by connecting motor movements to their resulting auditory signal to the natural reaction they receive. The session will include discussions about the sensory and neurological foundations of language development, vocabulary selection, goal setting, intervention strategies and evidence-based strategies for establishing and maintaining buy-in from parents, teachers and other professionals. Theories and concepts discussed will be supported by video evidence, hands-on activities and group discussion.


Bruce Baker, PhD

Deborah Laurent Witkowski, MA, CCC-SLP

Tracy M. Kovach, PhD, CCC-SLP

Russell Cross

Lindsey Paden Cargill, MA, CCC-SLP

Learning Outcomes

Explain why core vocabulary, not extended vocabulary, should be emphasized in AAC intervention.

Describe the relationship between the use of core vocabulary and normal language development.

Describe the difference between a needs-based communication display and a language-based communication display.

Identify the challenges with using a page-based system in an AAC device.

Discuss the impact of motor automaticity in the successful use of AAC devices.

Discuss the concept of an icon family within the Unity® software.

List the five patterns of vocabulary access in Unity®.

Identify three tools that can be used to support intervention with Unity®.

Identify two key differences between referential and descriptive teaching strategies.

Generate linguistically oriented IEP goals and objectives for students who use AAC.

Discuss strategies that enable students who use AAC to demonstrate learning to demonstrate learning within the components of Bloom’s Taxonomy.


CEUs This activity is offered for up to 2.0 CEUs (20.0 hours of instruction). To register for CEUs:  

Download, and complete the following forms.

Save the files names: 190711_SCS_Lastname_Firstname

Send both files to ceus@aacinstitute.org

Upon completion of the two forms and passing the quiz, a CEU certificate will be sent

Note: If any difficulty is encountered in using this form, write to ceus@aacinstitute.org to request an alternative file format.