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Learning Outcomes and Course Description

In this session, the history and basic principles of of descriptive talking-teaching-testing (DTTT) are discussed.  This course also reviews the importance of core vocabulary, the difference between referential vs. descriptive talking-teaching-testing, and how this relates to curriculum.

As a result of this activity, participants will:

  • Discuss the history of Descriptive Talking-Teaching-Testing (DTTT)
  • Define the basic purpose and principles of DTTT
  • Discuss the importance of core vocabulary to implement DTTT
  • Define the difference between referential vs. descriptive teaching talking-teaching-testing
  • Develop a curriculum lesson to teach lesson content descriptively

About the Speakers


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.

Gail Van Tatenhove, PA, MS, CCC-SLP

Gail is a speech-language pathologist with 40+ years of experience working with children and adults who use AAC systems. Gail has had a diverse career, focused on AAC. First, she worked in a special school that served children, aged 3 to 22, who had significant, multiple disabilities. Then, she was on a statewide AAC assessment team that served students across the state of Florida. Gail has consulted with Semantic Compaction Systems (SCS) on development of Minspeak® programs, language intervention strategies, and in training professionals through webinars and seminars. Since 1988, Gail has maintained a private practice, providing on-going therapy services with children and adults using AAC systems. Within the field of AAC at-large, Gail wrote a state grant to develop a loaner bank of AAC devices, was involved with several ASHA projects on AAC, has been a contributing author for several AAC textbooks, was a board member of USSAAC, served as the professional development manager for ASHA Special Interest Group 12, and is an ASHA Fellow. Gail continues to support the field of AAC through her many speaking engagements, on-going AAC projects, and development of intervention materials.

Speaker Disclosures

Kate Grandbois has the following relevant financial relationships to disclose: 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 has the following relevant financial relationships to disclose: Amy is an employee of a public school system and co-founder for 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.

Gail Van Tatenhove has the following nonfinancial relationships to disclose: Gail is a member of ASHA’s Special Interest Group 12, the International Society of Augmentative and Alternative Communication, and the United States Society of Augmentative and Alternative Communication. She also helps coordinate the activity of Device Verses, an AAC users’ weekly support group.

Time Ordered Agenda

10 MIN Introductions and Backgrounds
15 MIN The Beginning of Descriptive Teaching
10 MIN Teaching Users to Talk Descriptively
10 MIN Descriptive vs. Referential Teaching
10 MIN Doing Descriptive Teaching with Lesson Examples
5 MIN Closing, Discussion, and Questions


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!

In-Kind Support

This course was originally published as part of SLP-Live, an online conference that took place in February 2020.  At that time  the following companies provided in kind support through product offerings, services, and/or discounts to giveaway to attendees at no charge: Vooks, The Speech Chick, The Digital SLP, Swivel Scheduler, Creative Speech Lab, What Should Danny Do?, SLP Now, Bridges, The Speech Tree Co, SLP Toolkit, Northern Speech Services, Speech Time Fun, Peachie Speechie, SLP Nerdcast, and Tassel Learning.