Let Your Eyes do the Talking: AAC or Rett Syndrome


May 10, 2022


Rett Syndrome is a rare neurological disorder, occurring almost exclusively in girls, which leads to significant impairments in communication, mobility, health, etc.  Frequently, people incorrectly refer to Rett Syndrome as a degenerative disorder, when in fact it is a neurological disorder and severity is thought to be impacted by the location/type/severity of the genetic mutation and related health conditions/ complications (Dubbs, 2017).  Though Rett Syndrome presents differently for every individual, there are some common characteristics and related health impairments.  These must be taken into consideration when supporting communication and learning.  With the use of specific strategies, individuals with Rett Syndrome can make significant progress in their ability to participate meaningfully in activities and communicate with others.  Many individuals with Rett Syndrome use alternative augmentative communication (AAC) systems to communicate.  It is important to immediately consider high tech AAC systems for individuals with Rett Syndrome as they will likely need AAC to independently communicate with others using symbolic language (e.g., words).  Though they benefit from and use a variety of AAC modalities such as vocalizations, gestures, facial expressions, body movements, partner assisted scanning, low tech AAC boards, etc., individuals with Rett Syndrome also need a way to communicate using Spontaneous Novel Utterance Generation (SNUG).  SLPs may lack understanding of how to best work with individuals with Rett Syndrome.  An understanding of eye gaze as an access method , partner assisted scanning, aided language stimulation, wait time, high tech device settings, robust language systems, language development, and more are necessary for SLPs, educators, and caregivers to best help individuals with Rett Syndrome.  This webinar will explore characteristics of Rett Syndrome such as anxiety, apraxia, stereotypic hand movements, etc. and how they can impact AAC intervention.  Specific strategies will be shared to help students make progress in their language and communication skills using AAC.  Additional strategies will be shared to help clinicians and caregivers feel comfortable and confident helping support individuals with Rett Syndrome grow their language using AAC. 


Amanda Soper, MS, CCC-SLP

Learning Outcomes:

Identify at least 3 intervention strategies to use with individuals with Rett Syndrome who use high tech eye gaze AAC systems.

Describe at least 2 strategies for modifying AAC devices to meet the needs of individuals with Rett Syndrome.

Discuss at least 2 strategies to promote authentic participation in activities for individuals with Rett Syndrome.


CEUs This activity is offered for up to 0.2 CEUs (1.5 hours of instruction). To register for CEUs:  

Download and complete the following forms.

Save the files names: 220510_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.