Augmentative and alternative communication workshops scheduled for Feb. 27-28

The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (Vanderbilt University)

For children with severe communication impairments who are unable to communicate using natural speech, augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) can open up other forms of expression and ways to connect with family members, teachers and friends. The fifth annual Augmentative and Alternative Communications Workshop will be held Feb. 27-28, 2014, in Room 241 of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, located at 110 Magnolia Circle in Nashville. The 2014 AAC Workshop will focus on low-tech and mobile technologies, such as electronic tablets and the apps needed to access these AAC gateways.

On Friday, Feb. 28, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Celeste Helling will lead a workshop titled “Low Tech and Mobile Technologies and AAC: Building the Framework for Success.” This workshop will provide participants with detailed information on the uses of various AAC systems (low-tech and mobile devices) and how to match information from comprehensive AAC evaluation with features of both low- and high-tech AAC systems to best meet a user’s communication needs.

Registration fees for the Friday workshop are $175 for professionals; $125 per person for groups of two or more from the same school or agency; and $50 for students and parents. The Friday workshop fee includes lunch, breaks and instructional resources. Attendees can earn .6 ASHA CEUs if they attend the entire Friday workshop. Click here for more information or to register for the Friday AAC Workshop.

Prior to the all-day workshop, a free presentation titled “Engineering the Environment for Communicative Success” will be held on Thursday, Feb. 27, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center.

Vanderbilt’s Alexandra Da Fonte, assistant professor of the practice of special education, and Michelle Gutmann, assistant professor of clinical hearing and speech sciences, will lead the presentation as well as a hands-on storybook adaptation project. Thursday night’s event is free and open to the public.  Attendees are asked to bring a storybook from home to adapt and take home after the presentation. Click here to register for the Thursday night presentation. Attendees may attend Thursday’s event without having to attend Friday’s workshop.

Registration for both events is now open through Feb. 21.

The 2014 AAC Workshop is co-sponsored by the Department of Special Education, Vanderbilt Peabody College; the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center; the Vanderbilt Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disorders (LEND) Training Program; the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities; and the Technology Access Center.

Contact: For more information, call (615) 322-8240.

story by Elizabeth Turner