Implementing Core Vocabulary in the Classroom


May 3-4, 2017, Arlington, VA


This two-day workshop is geared toward educating teachers and speech-language pathologist on the importance of core vocabulary in AAC and in strategies for implementing core throughout the school day.  Research evidence to support the dominance of core vocabulary will be presented.  The importance of core vocabulary to language acquisition will be explored through discussion and videos.  Strategies to promote the use of core vocabulary and to promote language growth will be described, including aided language input and descriptive teaching strategies.  Generating IEP goals and objectives as well as lesson plans that align with the Virginia Standards of Learning will be explored.  A hands-on training of the Unity® language system will be provided.  In addition, learners will participate in several active learning activities.


Deborah Laurent Witkowski, MA, 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. Identify two key differences between referential and descriptive teaching strategies.
  4. Identify the challenges with using a page-based system in an AAC device.
  5. Generate linguistically oriented IEP goals and objectives for students who use AAC.
  6. Distinguish between referential and descriptive teaching techniques.
  7. 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 0.9 CEUs (8.75 hours of instruction). To register for CEUs:
  1. Download, and complete the following forms.
  2. Save the files names: 170504_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.