The Southern California Augmentative and Alternative Communication Network... a support group for professional development, problem solving, leadership, mentoring, and training in the use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) to develop communication in non-speaking and minimally verbal individuals in the Southern California Region.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Pittsburgh Language Seminar Series (Feb-May)

Pittsburgh [Sorry SoCal-AACers] Language Seminar Series
Schedule of Events
These seminars provide clinically proven ideas for using Unity® with children and adults who are both nonspeaking and possibly language impaired. Participants will learn how to enhance language growth leading to successful use of communication devices including the SpringBoard™ Lite, Vantage™ Lite, and ECO™2.  Participants will have the opportunity to learn the Unity® software through hands-on interactive instruction offered by Dr. Bruce Baker and Russell Cross.  In addition, each seminar will feature a different guest speaker as listed below.

Bruce Baker, A.M., L.H.D., will begin the seminar with an in-depth, research-based discussion on language development and core vocabulary as it pertains to AAC.  He will also discuss various methods of representing vocabulary, a comparison between the referential and descriptive methods of instruction and motor automaticity. 

Katya Hill, Ph.D. will discuss evidence-based assessment for AAC and how to generate successful funding requests for speech generating devices. 

Russell Cross, BSc.(Hons.), DipCST, MRCSLT. will explore the power of multi-meaning icons and core vocabulary, including how assigning multiple meanings to pictures is a natural linguistic occurrence.  He will also provide participants with the opportunity to learn Unity® software through hands-on demonstration using the PASS software. 

Each seminar will also include a guest speaker, as indicated below:

(PAST - Sorry!!) January 17-19, 2012
Now You’re Talking – Becoming Fluent in Unity®
Guest Speakers:  Darlette Navrotski, MA, CCC-SLP
& Debbie Witkowski, MA, CCC-SLP
 The goal of this immersion session is to have all participants really talking with the Unity® Language program.  D & D will facilitate participants’ learning of Unity® through use of materials from the AAC Language Lab and other teaching and implementation strategies.  Participants will observe their own progress through using the Language Activity Monitor and will experience the power of communication through using single word vocabulary.   Participants will leave with tools for teaching language. 

February 14-16
AAC Assessments:  Will Your Teams SGD Funding Request be Chopped?
Guest Speaker:  Katya Hill, Ph.D.
 Katya Hill, Ph.D., CCC-SLP will provide an in-depth presentation on of the techniques of evaluation and documentation that are instrumental when seeking funding approval for SGDs.  AAC for individuals who have experienced strokes will be highlighted. She will discuss, as well, gathering clinical data on all populations and how a teacher or therapist can explain the role of AAC to family members, teachers, and caregivers. 

March 13-15
Best Practice for Integrating AAC into the Classroom
Guest Speaker: Jane Odom, M. Ed.
This presentation will focus on strategies to teach and promote the use of an augmentative communication system: how to get students to independently initiate spontaneous, novel utterances rather than simply repeating pre-stored sentences when prompted. The strategies presented will cover a range of communication ages and abilities, including those at the level of emerging language and literacy. The teaching strategies presented are appropriate for a wide variety of devices and programs. The workshop is not limited to people using PRC devices. This presentation is appropriate for anyone (teacher, SLP, parent, paraprofessional, etc.) working with a student using a communication device.

April 17-19
Supporting Unity® Users in the Classroom and
Communication Sampling and Analysis:  Focus on Unity® Users
Guest Speaker: Marilyn J. Buzolich, Ph.D.
This presentation will discuss how to meet curricular needs of Unity® users in elementary classrooms; adapting curricular materials, customizing systems, and providing support to classroom staff to effectively assist students during instruction. The presentation will include video clips of classroom instruction, staff training materials, and lesson planning.  In addition, Marilyn will provide in-depth discussion on obtaining and analyzing language samples.

May 22 – 24
Supporting Language Development for Children and Adults Using Unity®
Guest Speaker:  Gail Van Tatenhove, P.A., M.S., CCC-SLP
This presentation will focus on the use of a multi-modal Unity® system to build motor automaticity, strengthen semantic networks and stimulate grammatical output.  Gail will review how to teach strategic skills in the classroom as well as how to develop and use visual support materials to teach Unity® paradigms. 

All of these seminars are provided free of charge, with meals and lodging provided.  If you are interested in attending one of the events listed above, please contact Renee McGough immediately at 412-885-8541 or email her at to register. 


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