Sustainable AAC Intervention and Supports for Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities


May 15-17, 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.  Many adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are not getting appropriate AAC intervention or supports.  Many used some type of AAC when in school, but are now living in the adult world with no reliable means of communication.  In this presentation, Gail will be addressing the issue of building a sustainable AAC program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in both adult day programs and residential facilities.  The morning session will focus on intervention strategies that help build generative language and social interaction skills.  The emphasis is on authentic intervention that builds independent communication skills.  The afternoon session will address building sustainability for AAC through administrative support, staff training, peer mentoring and personal advocacy. 


Bruce Baker, PhD

Deborah Laurent Witkowski, MA, CCC-SLP

Tracy M. Kovach, PhD, CCC-SLP

Russell Cross, BSc (Hons) Psych, MRCSLT

Gail M. Van Tatenhove, PA, M.S., 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.
  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. Discuss issues that influence life-long AAC use with adults with IDD.
  7. Describe two strategies to support authentic, generative language production with adults with IDD.
  8. Describe two ways to build authentic social communication skills with adults with IDD.
  9. Develop a staff-training plan to support AAC use with adults with IDD.
  10. Describe how to promote personal advocacy with adults with IDD.
  11. Identify two key differences between referential and descriptive teaching strategies.
  12. Generate linguistically oriented IEP goals and objectives for students who use AAC.
  13. 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 1.9 CEUs (19.0 hours of instruction). To register for CEUs:
  1. Download, and complete the following forms.
  2. Save the files names: 180517_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.