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    Handout: AAC Basics Part 2: Barriers to and Strategies for Effective Implementation

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Course Description and Learning Outcomes

As promised, here is our second episode on augmentative alternative communication (AAC) Basics.  If you have listened to any of our other episodes you already know that we are passionate about AAC Implementation.   As we covered in our Implementation Plans episode, you could have the most appropriate set of AAC tools in the universe, but if they aren’t implemented in a way that supports the needs of the client / student then they are at risk for being abandoned.  Our goal for this episode was to try and unpack some realistic barriers to effective implementation. 

We begin this episode by providing a quick review / discussion of the different personnel roles in AAC based on a great article by Binger et al (2012).   We discuss how each of these roles has unique barriers to effective AAC implementation.  Finally, we review some strategies for how to overcome the barriers unique to each of these roles.  Come join us, be our nerdy friends, and learn a little more about AAC Basics. 

ASHA professional development hours are offered for this course (1 certification maintenance hour). Visit our ASHA Professional Development page for more information .

  1. Identify barriers for successful implementation across different environments
  2. Identify successful strategies across different environments and profiles

Course Presenters

SLP/BCBA; SLP Kate Grandbois (she/her) & Amy Wonkka (she/her

Kate and Amy are co-founders of SLP Nerdcast. Kate is a dually certified SLP / BCBA who works primarily as an "AAC Specialist." She owns a private practice with a focus on interdisciplinary collaboration, augmentative alternative communication intervention and assessment, and consultation. Amy is an SLP who also works as an "AAC Specialist" in a public school setting. Amy's primary interests are AAC, typical language development, motor speech, phonology, data collection, collaboration, coaching, and communication partner training and support.

Speaker Disclosures

Kate Grandbois financial disclosures: Kate is the owner / founder of Grandbois Therapy + Consulting, LLC and co-founder of SLP Nerdcast. Kate Grandbois non-financial disclosures: Kate is a member of ASHA, SIG 12, and serves on the AAC Advisory Group for Massachusetts Advocates for Children. She is also a member of the Berkshire Association for Behavior Analysis and Therapy (BABAT), MassABA, the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) and the corresponding Speech Pathology and Applied Behavior Analysis SIG. 

Amy Wonkka financial disclosures: Kate is an employee of a public school system and co-founder of SLP Nerdcast.  Amy Wonkka non-financial disclosures: Amy is a member of ASHA, SIG 12, and serves on the AAC Advisory Group for Massachusetts Advocates for Children.

Time Ordered Agenda

10 minutes: Introductions and disclosures

20 minutes: Discussion of barriers for successful implementation across different environments

20 minutes: Discussions of successful strategies across different environments and profiles

10 minutes: Overview, discussion, and closing

References and Resources

Beukelman, D., Ball, L., & Fager, S. (2008). An AAC personnel framework: Adults with acquired complex communication needs. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 24, 255–267

Binger, C., Ball, L., Dietz, A., Kent-Walsh, J., Lasker, J., Lund, S., … Quach, W. (2012). Personnel Roles in the AAC Assessment Process. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 28(4), 278–288. doi: 10.3109/07434618.2012.716079

Hunt, P., Soto, G., Maier, J., Müller, E., & Goetz, L. (2002). Collaborative teaming to support students with augmentative and alternative communication needs in general education classrooms. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 18(1), 20–35. doi: 10.1080/aac.

Janice Light & David McNaughton (2014) Communicative Competence for Individuals who require Augmentative and Alternative Communication: A New Definition for a New Era of Communication?, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 30:1, 1-18, DOI: 10.3109/07434618.2014.885080

Augmentative and Alternative Communication:

 Augmentative and Alternative Communication:  A Glossary:

 Information for AAC Users:

 ISAAC:  What is AAC?

 Iconicity - Libby Rush’s ASHA presentation 2007: file:///home/chronos/u-7131d381df49d87e032b826afd4ed96b8fc99eef/MyFiles/Downloads/0914_Rush_Elizabeth_2%20(1).pdf

Communication Matrix Handbook: file:///home/chronos/u-7131d381df49d87e032b826afd4ed96b8fc99eef/MyFiles/Downloads/handbook.pdf

Communication Matrix 7-Levels of Communication Handout:

Core Vocabulary:  Making Sense of Symbols:

AAC Communication Decisions:


The contents of this episode are not meant to replace clinical advice.  SLP Nerdcast, its hosts and guests do not represent or endorse specific products or procedures mentioned during our episodes unless otherwise stated.  We are NOT PhDs, but we do research our material.  We do our best to provide a thorough review and fair representation of each topic that we tackle.  That being said, it is always likely that there is an article we’ve missed, or another perspective that isn’t shared.  If you have something to add to the conversation, please email us! We'd love to hear from you!