Building Language and Literacy Skills in Bilingual Students Who Use AAC


April 10-12, 2018, 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.  Research on speaking children who are bilingual consistently shows that supporting continued development in the home language has significant benefits.  Students who are taught language, literacy, and academic skills in their first language are more quickly able to use these same skills in their second language than if they are taught the same concepts only in the second language.  This holds true even for students with language impairments.  Most importantly, supporting the bilingual student’s ability to communicate with his/her family in the home language allows the student to develop communication, social, pragmatic, and emotional skills that can best be learned within the family and home community.  This is especially important for the bilingual AAC user.  During this presentation, our guest presenter will provide strategies for developing language and literacy skills for bilingual AAC students by supporting them both at school and in their home environment.  Participants will learn the importance of developing cultural competence, strategies for teaching patterns and schema for generalizing familiar words to the acquisition of new vocabulary, and implementation strategies to promote social interaction and literacy in Spanish.  Participants will have the opportunity to use the UNIDAD™ language system, a bilingual English/Spanish Minspeak application program, during the seminar. 


Bruce Baker, PhD

Deborah Laurent Witkowski, MA, CCC-SLP

Tracy M. Kovach, PhD, CCC-SLP

Russell Cross, BSc (Hons) Psych, MRCSLT

Deanna K. Wagner, MS, CCC-SLP

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 the challenges with using a page-based system in an AAC device.
  5. Discuss the impact of motor automaticity in the successful use of AAC devices.
  6. Explain how to use language acquisition information when an AAC implementation plan for a bilingual student who uses AAC.
  7. Dispel at least 2 myths about AAC intervention.
  8. Describe at least 2 benefits of concurrent language instruction and development.
  9. Demonstrate at least 3 language patterns supported by UNIDAD® in both languages.
  10. Identify two key differences between referential and descriptive teaching strategies.
  11. Generate linguistically oriented IEP goals and objectives for students who use AAC.
  12. 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 2.0 CEUs (19.75 hours of instruction). To register for CEUs:
  1. Download, and complete the following forms.
  2. Save the files names: 180412_SCS_Lastname-Firstname
  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.