Session 5A - Shaping AAC Systems to Empower Diverse Communicators

Speakers: Rachael Smolen and Lauren (Enders) Gonzales
 
Session Description:
Representation matters! Without it, we do not become invested or feel valued as individuals. This concept is not any different for individuals using an AAC system. There is a huge amount of diversity when it comes to AAC systems, the language programmed within them, and their Users. In this session, we will discuss considerations regarding AAC system customizations required to empower diverse communicators.
 
Objectives:  
  • Determine ways to compile a vocabulary list that reflects the AAC user’s linguistic needs that allows them to share their interests and passions.
  • Review considerations regarding vocabulary placement (whether individual words or phrases).
  • Describe at least two ways an AAC system can be personalized.
Speaker Bios:
Rachel SmolenRachel Smolen, M.S., CCC-SLP is a licensed and ASHA certified Speech-Language Pathologist currently working as a full-time Augmentative and Alternative Communication Specialist on the Assistive Technology Team for the Bucks County Intermediate Unit in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. She earned an Assistive Technology Graduate Certificate from George Mason University. Between her 10 years with the BCIU and the 14 years she spent as a practicing clinician in Arlington County Public Schools, Virginia, she has 24 years of working experience. During those years, she has worked with students with a variety of complex communication needs accompanied by physical and cognitive disabilities. She has presented on a variety of topics at national conferences as well as to colleagues in various districts in the Bucks County area. 

Lauren S GonzalesLauren S. Gonzales, MA, CCC-SLP is a licensed and ASHA-certified Speech-Language Pathologist currently working as a full-time Augmentative and Alternative Communication and Assistive Technology (AT) Consultant for Bucks County Intermediate Unit in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. She has had a passion for using AAC and other forms of assistive technology to support students with complex communication needs and complex bodies since she began her career in 1995. Lauren regularly presents at national conferences including Closing the Gap, ATIA, and ASHA as well as more intimate conferences, speaking engagements, and webinars. She has shared her knowledge via blog posts on PraacticalAAC.org as well as articles published in the ASHA Leader and Closing the Gap Solutions Magazines. Lauren enjoys sharing AAC and AT-related resources and networking with others in the field via Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.