Supporting Emergent Writing with AAC Systems


March 10, 2022


People with significant motor, cognitive and communication challenges are often not given opportunities to write or produce meaningful content because they may not be able to hold a pencil, write letters, or may be perceived as unable to write for other reasons. However, researchers and leaders in the fields of special education, speech-language pathology, and occupational therapy have known for over 20 years that people with complex disabilities who use AAC can learn to read and write. Research has highlighted that emergent writers need multiple meaningful opportunities throughout the day to engage with literacy. Work by Erickson, Koppenhaver, Hanser, Caffiero, and many others has shown that emerging writers benefit from using alternate pencils such as their AAC systems or alphabet charts to create meaningful content. 


Heidi L. Rabe, M.A., CCC-SLP/L

Learning Outcomes:

Participants will be able to describe at least 3 authentic purposes your students can use speech-generating devices to compose written work during the day

Participants will be able to compare and contrast using alphabetic and whole word methods of composition for emergent writers.

Participants with be able to describe at least 3 strategies to support emergent writing.


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: 220310_CTG_Lastname_Firstname

Send both files to

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 to request an alternative file format.