Facing the Challenges of Access and Functional Competence of AAC for Kids with Complex Bodies


August 11-13, 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, Karen Kangas will offer a full day presentation on the challenges of access and independence faced by individuals with complex bodies.  Access independence and competence remain a challenge for students with complex bodies.  To support children in developing and using “access” to AT devices, we must better understand how their bodies work functionally, (rather than pathologically) and what different seating equipment is needed. We need to understand sensory processing directly affects visual convergence, task attention, task engagement and postural control.  Access cannot simply be a choice of eye gaze, or single switch scanning, but must become a part of the activities within a child’s day. Equipment must include the knowledge of the activity and its inherent seating, movement, and experiential needs.


Deborah Laurent Witkowski, MA, CCC-SLP

Tracy M. Kovach, PhD, CCC-SLP

Russell Cross, BSc. (Hons.), DipCST, MRCSLT

Karen Kangas, OTR/L

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 two types of sensory processing: tactile processing and vestibular processing.

Identify the two actions required to activate an electronic switch.

Identify three alternate methods of access that can be used by children with complex bodies to manage their AAC devices.

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 1.9 CEUs (18.5 hours of instruction). To register for CEUs:  

Download and complete the following forms.

Save the files names: 200813_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.