Assessing and Developing Communicative Competence


November 3-5, 2015, Pittsburgh


This focus of this two and a half 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 target diagnostic intervention through the Augmentative Communication Profile.  AAC services are often coordinated by speech-language pathologists with varying levels of knowledge about AAC.  Tracy Kovach, Ph.D., CCC-SLP will spend the morning exploring important aspects of AAC assessment that are ongoing, enabling effective AAC team management and developing students’ performance profiles.  Through this process more comprehensive, evidence-based intervention plans are used that result in development of communication competence.  In the afternoon, she will shift her focus to increasing linguistic competence through the use of “storybook reading” and discuss how it can facilitate the acquisition of narrative skill development.  Developing narrative skills can maximize communicative competence and use of vocabulary for more functional skill development.  Strategies used in “storybook reading” will demonstrate some ways in which this essential skill can be developed, and used for more functional communication.


Bruce Baker, PhD

Deborah Laurent Witkowksi, MA, CCC-SLP

Tracy M. Kovach, PhD, CCC-SLP

Russell Cross


Learning Outcomes:

  1. Explain why core vocabulary, not extended vocabulary, should be emphasized in AAC intervention.
  2. Describe the relationship between the use of core vocabulary and normal language development.
  3. Describe the difference between a needs-based communication display and a language-based communication display.
  4. Identify four of the eight components of a language-based model for AAC assessments.
  5. Identify the three major language transitions all children move through for linguistic competence.
  6. Identify three procedures to assess receptive language skills in children with severe and complex disabilities.
  7. Identify three procedures to assess expressive language skills in children with severe and complex disabilities.
  8. Identify three requirements to support the SGD trial process for insurance funding approval.
  9. Identify the challenges with using a page-based system in an AAC device.
  10. Discuss the impact of motor automaticity in the successful use of AAC devices.
  11. Define the skill areas within four areas of learning that contribute to the development of communicative competence using AAC.
  12. Describe how a performance profile of a child who uses an AAC system can be used to focus intervention planning.
  13. Define the rationale for working on stories as a means to narrative development to increase communicative competence.
  14. Describe two ways to teach morphology and syntax when using the Unity® MAP.
  15. Identify two key differences between referential and descriptive teaching strategies.
  16. Discuss strategies that enable students who use AAC to demonstrate learning to demonstrate learning within the components of Bloom’s Taxonomy.


This activity is offered for up to 1.9 CEUs (18.5 hours of instruction). To register for CEUs:
  1. Download, and complete the following forms.
  2. Save the files names: 151105_SCS_Nov_Lastname-Firstname.xls
  3. Send both files to
  4. CEU certificate will be sent after submitting the two forms

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