Calling all Communication Partners! Model as a MASTER PAL


July 14-16, 2020: VIRTUAL!


This focus of this 3 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 presenter, Tabi Jones-Wohleber, will offer a full day presentation on the critical skills necessary to be a skilled communication partner for individuals who use AAC.  A MASTER PAL, or “skilled partner” of an individual who uses AAC engages in authentic and meaningful interactions.  Model as a MASTER PAL is a framework and compilation of resources that focus on supporting communication partners of those who use AAC by highlighting behaviors and belief systems that shape quality communicative exchanges and emphasize the importance of being an engaged and respectful communication partner.  This framework aims to facilitate meaningful dialogue by identifying, describing, and discussing interaction behaviors of exemplary communication partners, in digestible chunks.  It arose from the premises that 1) communication is NOT compliance; it MUST be autonomous, and 2) teaching AAC is rarely intuitive. 

The goal is to create learning opportunities for communication partners to reflect on and attend to the dynamic and nuanced process of teaching language with AAC, and to gain a thoughtful understanding of their role in that process.  Model as a MASTER PAL consists of readily available resources that have been used by this presenter in school-based settings with teachers, paraprofessionals, SLPs and families; but the content and structure are flexible and relevant across environments where AAC communication partners require support to be a MASTER PAL. In this session, participants will explore each topic through discussion, interactive activities, and video examples.  Participants will be introduced to training modules and extension resources, and opportunities to discuss “getting the conversation started with teams back home” will be provided.


Bruce Baker, PhD

Deborah Laurent Witkowski, MA, CCC-SLP

Tracy M. Kovach, PhD, CCC-SLP

Russell Cross

Tabi Jones-Wohleber, MS, 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.

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

Describe how modeling AAC fosters skills development for those who use AAC.

Identify the type of motivation required to model and teach authentic communication.

Describe 3 types of discourse statements that prioritize core vocabulary and enable communication partners to provide ample modeling across activities without expectation of a response.

Identify the benefits of attributing meaning to all communicative attempts.

Identify two key differences between referential and descriptive teaching strategies.

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 1.7 CEUs (17.25 hours of instruction). To register for CEUs:  

Download and complete the following forms.

Save the files names: 200124_SCS_Lastname_Firstname

Send both files to

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

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