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    Handout: AAC Evaluations Part 2: The Feature Matching Process

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Course Description & Learning Objectives

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) evaluations got you reaching for the Advil? Breathe, there’s a framework for that! 

In this week’s episode, learn how to eliminate the guesswork in AAC system decision-making as Kate and Amy tag-team Part 2 of the AAC Evaluation Basics Series. If you are new to AAC evaluations and haven’t listened to Part 1 in this series, you might want to take a quick detour to set your foundation. If your mindset is in the AAC-foundational principles zone already, jump right in to this week’s meaty discussion to broaden your scope of competence as an SLP supporting communication development with AAC. The Nerdcast crew is certainly in their zone here as they unpack tangible tools and tips to help you execute an AAC evaluation that is rooted in evidence based practice and person-centered care. Your challenge if you choose to accept it: learn how to rise above the social media and marketing buzz about the next best AAC craze to hit the app stores by getting a firm grasp on key areas of AAC assessment, invaluable assessment strategies, and the importance of a features versus fad approach to choosing tools for trial.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Define feature matching and describe its role in the AAC assessment process

  2. Identify at least 3 components of a comprehensive AAC assessment

  3. Identify at least 3 client considerations when conducting a comprehensive AAC assessment

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: Amy 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.  


Gosnell, J., Costello, J., & Shane, H. (2011). Using a Clinical Approach To Answer “What Communication Apps Should We Use?”. Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 20(3), 87-96. doi:10.1044/aac20.3.87

Light, J. (1989) Toward a definition of communicative competence for individuals using augmentative and alternative communication systems, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 5:2, 137-144, DOI: 10.1080/07434618912331275126

Light, J. & McNaughton, D. (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

Schlosser, R. W., Koul, R., & Costello, J. (2007). Asking well-built questions for evidence-based practice in augmentative and alternative communication. Journal of Communication Disorders, 40(3), 225-238. doi:10.1016/j.jcomdis.2006.06.008

Shane, H., & Costello, J. (1994, November). Augmentative communication assessment and the feature matching process. Mini-seminar presented at the annual convention of the American Speech-LanguageHearing Association, New Orleans, LA.

Time Ordered Agenda:

10 minutes: Introduction, Disclaimers and Disclosures

20 minutes:  Review of feature matching and descriptions of its role in the AAC assessment process

15 minutes:   Review of the components of a comprehensive AAC assessment

10 minutes:   Review of client considerations when conducting a comprehensive AAC assessment

5 minutes:  Summary and Closing


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! Wed love to hear from you!