Core Language Learning: Make It Fun and Interactive!


September 12-14, 2017, Pittsburgh


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 theory and strategies to promote language and positive social interactions with individuals who use AAC. This quick-paced, interactive session will support students in using core vocabulary for authentic purposes, with peers, and using repetition with variation.  People who use communication devices must juggle multiple balls – WHO to talk to, WHEN to initiate, WHAT to say, and WHERE to find the language on their devices.  Typically, instruction emphasizes primarily where to find language, resulting in poor generalization and limited initiation.  This session will support students in learning to generalize the use of core language by supporting the following steps:

  • Rehearse (WHERE to find language)
  • Practice (adding WHAT to say)
  • Model (adding WHO to talk to)
  • Go (generalizing, using devices in multiple settings, and considering all elements)

This session will share creative, interactive, and FUN ideas for each step, including motivating apps to support learning.


Bruce Baker, PhD

Deborah Laurent Witkowksi, MA, CCC-SLP

Tracy M. Kovach, PhD, CCC-SLP

Russell Cross

Dr. Caroline Musselwhite

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. Identify two key differences between referential and descriptive teaching strategies.
  7. Summarize the RPM-GO strategy to teach and generalize core language skills.
  8. Describe at least one strategy to teach core language through books, songs, or poems.
  9. Discuss how to set up a communication circle to support core language learning.
  10. Generate linguistically oriented IEP goals and objectives for students who use AAC.
  11. 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 (18.75 hours of instruction). To register for CEUs:
  1. Download, and complete the following forms.
  2. Save the files names: 170914_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.