Speaking, Writing and Connecting: Engaging Learners to Use SGDs to their Fullest Potential


February 20-22, 2018, 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 speakers will present on engaging learners who use speech-generating devices (SGDs). At times, it is challenging to engage our students who use an SGD in language learning and in the communication process.  This can be particularly true for those students on the autism spectrum, those with more severe intellectual disabilities, and students with extreme physical challenges.  Jennifer Monahan, MA, CCC-SLP, will provide a framework for engaging and motivating these students to use their SGDs for both speaking and literacy-based activities.  Suggestions and functional ideas will be provided, starting with the pediatric level and progressing to middle school and high school-based learning.  Brad Whitmoyer, owner of BBRADLEY.NET, will demonstrate how to integrate the SGD into other technologies to maximize students’ access to educational resources, helping them to complete academic tasks and engage with their peers in meaningful interactions.  Over the past several years, Brad and Jennifer have assisted numerous students in the Columbus area with connecting their devices to classroom computers, Chrome Books, tablets and iPads to better help them connect with curriculum. This class will be hands on and will provide opportunities for the attendees to actually connect devices with technology. 


Bruce Baker, PhD

Deborah Laurent Witkowski, MA, CCC-SLP

Tracy M. Kovach, PhD, CCC-SLP

Russell Cross, BSc (Hons) Psych, MRCSLT

Jennifer Monahan, MA, CCC-SLP

Brad Whitmoyer

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. State at least two functions of communication other than labeling and requesting.
  7. State the difference between communication-based and compliance-based interventions.
  8. State two different purposes for using an AAC notebook.
  9. Identify two key differences between referential and descriptive teaching strategies.
  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 2.0 CEUs (20.25 hours of instruction). To register for CEUs:
  1. Download, and complete the following forms.
  2. Save the files names: 180222_SCS_Lastname-Firstname
  3. Send both files to ceus@aacinstitute.org
  4. CEU certificate will be sent after submitting the two forms

Note: If any difficulty is encountered in using this form, write to ceus@aacinstitute.org to request an alternative file format.