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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Friday, July 20, 2012

Pittsburgh: Core Vocabulary Series

Core Vocabulary Learning:
Make It Fun!  Make It Interactive!

Dates and TimesTuesday, September 11, 2012:  8:30am - 4:30pm
Wednesday, September 12, 2012:  8:30am - 4:30pm
Thursday, September 13, 2012:  8:30am - 1:00pm

Location1000 Killarney Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15234
This program is part of the Pittsburgh AAC Language Seminar Series and is provided "FREE OF CHARGE."  Lodging and meals are provided.
This seminar provides clinically proven ideas for using the Unity® language system 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. 

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

Guest Speaker, Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite, PhD, is a speech-language pathologist and assistive technology specialist with over 25 years of experience working with students with severe disabilities in educational settings.  She has presented hundreds of workshops and is a founding member of the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication.  Caroline will provide a quick-paced, interactive session providing strategies that will support students in using core vocabulary for authentic purposes, with peers, and using repetition with variation.  Strategies include:  barrier communication games, using interactive apps, combining core vocabulary and literacy, and determining authentic purposes for all practice.  Participants will engage in multiple ‘try-it’ activities to help learning generalize, just as we hope to make core vocabulary generalize for our AAC users!  Participants will receive a CD with sample activities and forms.   

Katya Hill, Ph.D., CCC-SLP is a professor in the Departments of Communication Science Disorders and Rehabilitation Science at the University of Pittsburgh.  She is the founder of the AAC Institute, a web-based resource for parents, professionals and AAC consumers.  She is the founder of the ICAN Talk® Clinics.  Katya will provide an in-depth discussion of evidence-based AAC assessment and how to generate successful funding requests. 

Russell Cross, BSc. (Hons.) DipSCT, MRCSLT is the Director of Clinical Applications at PRC. He will demonstrate tools to enhance clinical practice within the PASS software and further explore symbolic representation and metaphor with regard to representing language in AAC.

Learning Outcomes:
1.   Participants will be able to explain why core vocabulary should be emphasized in AAC intervention rather than extended vocabulary.
2.  Participants will be able to describe the relationship between the use of core vocabulary and normal language development.
3.  Participants will be able to discuss the use of Minspeak® as a strategy for representing core vocabulary and promoting language development.
Here's what some of the previous participants have had to say about attending the Pittsburgh AAC Language Seminar Series:
"I learned so much, became so empowered and energized to meet the challenges my career brings forth."
"It was an incredible experience and I learned more in 3 days with you than had I previously learned in years of practice."
"I really learned a lot and I am excited to start implementing the tools that I learned." 
"We came for the Language Seminar and were truly amazed, both by the quality of information and presenters and the absolutely marvelous hospitality of our hosts."  
 AAC devices are not required for participation in the seminar.  Participants are encouraged to bring personal computers to practice using Unity® via  PASS, a free-emulation program.
Download PASS

For more information about the seminar, housing and the schedule of events, please click here.
Registration is limited to 22 participants.  Priority will be given to those who have not attended a previous seminar.  Additional registrants may be placed on a waiting list in the event that there is a cancellation.

To register, please click here to download a registration form.
For additional information, please contact Renee McGough at (412) 885-8541 or via email at


Bruce R. Baker, A.M., L.H.D., (Hons. Caus.)
Adjunct Assistant
University of Pittsburgh

Guest SpeakerCaroline Musselwhite, Ph.D.

Katya Hill, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Associate Professor
University of Pittsburgh

Russell T. Cross, Bsc. (Hons.) DipCST,
Member, Royal College of

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