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2009 Assistive Technology Pre-Conference

Posted Apr 26 2009 12:28am

2009 Assistive Technology Pre-Conference

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) hosted by INDATA


Thursday, August 6, 2009


Who Should Attend:                      Students, Parents, Teachers, SLP’s, Rehabilitation            Professionals and anyone interested in AAC


What:                                                    Pre-Conference Sessions on Augmentative and Alternative                        Communication hosted by INDATA


When:                                   Thursday, August 6, 2009, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.


Where:                                                 Indiana Convention Center

                                                                  100 South Capitol Avenue, Room 209

                                                                  Indianapolis, IN 46225-1021


Cost:                                                       Free


Registration:                                       Required or 888-466-1314 and talk with June White.  Anyone requiring accommodations can contact Emily Abel at the same numbers.

Presenters, Topics and Features

Presenter:          Dr. Lisa Pufpaff, Ball State University, Department of Special Education,                                                  Assistant Professor


Topic:                    Emergent Literacy Development of Children with AAC Needs


Abstract:              The components of emergent literacy will be described and illustrated. The impact of little or no functional speech on emergent literacy development will be discussed in terms of research evidence and clinical practice. Specific strategies will be provided for assessing emergent literacy skills among children with little or no functional speech and/or severe physical impairments.


Presenter:          Katie Barsness, AAC Specialist at Riley Hospital for Children


Topic:                    Get Connected to AAC at Home:  A “How To” Guide Focusing On LowTech Strategies


Abstract:              Having trouble transitioning AAC strategies from therapy to the home?                                                  You’re not alone.  If you have ever thought, “I can’t find the picture when I need it,” “I can’t carry this thing around,” “Why do we need this?” “I don’t know where to start,” or “We’ve been working on this forever and not progressing,” this session is for you.  During this session we will cover:

·         Importance of AAC

·         Troubleshooting current system

·         Easy organization ideas

·         Ideas for everyday use

                                 Focus will be on light tech strategies, but ideas can be translated to users                                              with high tech devices.



Presenter:          Sarah Wilds, M.S., CCC-SLP, Prentke Romich Company, Regional                                                                 Consultant, IN and Central IL


Topic:    “Not just my fingers”:  An Overview of Access Methods in AAC


Abstract:              Speech- Language Pathologists (SLP’s) are often the first professionals to identify a need for augmentative/ alternative communication (AAC) in clients that they serve.  But while our professional training provides us with a good foundation for language paradigms to use in AAC, it does not adequately prepare us to look at different forms of physical access for the clients that we support.  Ideally, a team environment would make use of an occupational therapist with knowledge of different access methods, but this is not always possible.  This short course will provide an overview of different access methods in AAC, including direct selection, 1- and 2-switch scanning, headpointing, and eye gaze.  All methods will be demonstrated, and suggestions will be given for how to identify clients who might benefit from that type of access method, and how to begin teaching it.  Hands-on time with different methods will be provided.


Presenter:          Beth Cain Beecher,         MA CCC-SLP

Assistive Technology Team Coordinator

Hamilton-Boone-Madison Special Services Cooperative Tri County Education Center


Topic: Connecting Abilities to Goals in an AAC/AT Evaluation and Beyond!

Abstract:              This session will focus on the before and after of the AAC/AT evaluation. Participants will learn that communication encompasses all areas such as access, positioning, cognitive and social aspects. This is a team process and should be connected in all environments i.e. school or work, home and community. The team can consist of the individual, therapists, school or work staff and family members. Low tech and High tech options will be discussed. The funding process will be briefly discussed. State and national resources (therapy ideas, websites and Boardmaker templates) will be provided.


Unique Features of the AAC PreConference:

 “Ask the Expert” Panel:               The expert panel will consist of Speech Language Pathologists, Augmentative and Alternative Specialists, and Special Education professionals.  The panel will be available for any questions you have concerning augmentative and alternative communication including device specific questions, inquiries about devices that are on the market, which device might work best for your situation, how you could “try a piece of AAC” before the purchase is made as well as funding questions and more.            


“AAC Minute Clinic”

You will have twenty minutes with an AAC Specialist (child or adult) to discuss your communication requirements and to ask specific questions about your AAC device operation and/or functionality in regards to your specific goals.  Appointments will be scheduled the day of the Preconference.  Lana Milburn and Wendy Gahimer from Easter Seals Crossroads are the AAC Specialists for this conference feature. 


Lana Milburn M.A. CCC-SLP

Augmentative Communication Specialist


Ms. Milburn is a speech/language pathologist and currently is an Augmentative Communication Specialist with the adult population at Easter Seals Crossroads.  She obtained a Bachelor’s from Purdue University and a Master’s from Ball State University.  She has 30 years experience as a speech/language pathologist and 18 years experience specializing in Augmentative/Alternative Communication.  She has attended several of the well-known conferences on assistive technology such as Closing the Gap, ISAAC and ATIA.  She has been a past member of an advisory council for DynaVox Technologies and sat on the AAC committee for the Indiana, Speech, Language and Hearing Association (ISHA) for many years.  She has been a guest lecturer on the topic of augmentative communication for several universities within Indiana.  She currently is as an adjunct faculty member for the University of Indianapolis where she co-teaches an assistive technology course for physical and occupational therapists.


Wendy Gahimer, M.A., CCC-SLP


Wendy is a Speech Language Pathologist and Augmentative Communication Specialist at Easter Seals Crossroads.  She earned her Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology at Indiana University in 2002 and has worked in the pediatric field for 6 years.  She has extensive experience and a passion for working with children who have Autism, Down Syndrome and a wide variety of other diagnosis.  Wendy volunteers with the Johnson County Autism Support Group, serves on the board for Johnson County Special Olympics, and coaches a play skills group in Johnson County for kids with special needs.   


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