AAC Workshop (Winter Session)

Building a Foundation of Language and Literacy for Students with Complex Communication Needs

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Building a Foundation of Language and Literacy
for Students with Complex Communication Needs


Janet McLellan, Ph.D., M.A., CCC-SLP-L, Speech Language Pathologist
Alison Pentland, M.A., CCC-SLP, Speech Language Pathologist
Liz Arenas, M.S., CCC-SLP, Speech Language Pathologist
Sharon Reyes, M.S., CCC-SLP, Speech Language Pathologist

Intended Audience:

Speech Language Pathologists, Teachers, BCBA's, Occupational Therapists, School Psychologists, Administrators


Winter - January 12, 19 and 26, 2022


2:00p - 3:30p

Instructional Time:

Total 4.5 hours, 3 hour-and-a-half sessions


Online (meeting registration through Zoom) External link opens in new window or tab.

A foundation of language and literacy skills is essential for social, functional, and academic progress for all students. But Jonny is "so low," he can't walk or talk. Susie just rocks and screams all day. Mary isn't using her device and Fred just asks for cake. How do we move beyond cause effect switches and requesting to help students understand language and express themselves? This series will explore how we can help students with significant disabilities build the language and literacy skills they need. The first session will address how to assess current levels and create measurable goals that will make meaningful change in students' lives. The second session will address creating a communicative environment including communication tools. The final session will discuss ways to provide integrated language and literacy interventions. Content will be applicable for all professionals serving students with complex communication needs of all ages/grade levels.

Participants will learn how to:

  • Determine students' language and literacy levels
  • Write relevant and measurable goals
  • Build essential language and literacy skills
  • Move beyond cause/effect switches and requesting
  • Help students participate in meaningful interactions
  • Integrate communication tools into everyday activities
  • Create learning environments that support communication