12 November 2022

Assoc. prof. Kristine Stadskleiv, PhD
AAC and cognition: Assessment possibilities and practices in a life-span perspective

As a topic, “AAC and cognition” may be approached from at least three different perspectives: 1) People using AAC comprise a heterogeneous group, including in motor, perceptual and cognitive functioning. As there are many different communication aids and AAC approaches, it is important to assess individuals needing AAC in order to find the best communication solution for that person. This requires a multidisciplinary assessment approach, 2) Follow-up programs assessing cognition in diagnostic groups at risk may be particularly suited for early detection of AAC needs. As an example, a procedure for follow-up of cognition in individuals with CP and its implementation practices in Norway will be discussed, and 3) There are unique cognitive challenges involved in using AAC, particularly when operating complex aided communication aids. These cognitive challenges need to be considered when selecting communication aids and planning interventions. The three perspectives complement each other, and this will be discussed adopting a life-span perspective.

prof. Martine Smith, Kirsi Neuvonen, prof. Kaisa Launonen, prof. Stephen von Tetzchner
Saying and Meaning in Interactions Involving Aided Communication

In this presentation, we present data from a number of interactions involving aided
communication, drawn from the Becoming an Aided Communicator project (see von
Tetzchner, 2018 for a summary of this project). In these interactions, children and young
people who used AAC described brief video events to a partner, who had not seen the
videos. We use these interactions to explore some of the challenges all communicators
must navigate in sharing novel information with a communication partner, and to consider
some of the developmental changes that emerge to support individuals to become skilled
The impact of some of the unique features of aided communication on this aspect of
interactions is considered from two viewpoints. We focus on some of the challenges that
individuals who rely on aided communication encounter in (1) externalising communication
(i.e., in saying something) in a way that their communication partner can recognise and
decode; and (2) the challenges the dyad may experience in negotiating the meaning of that
expressed form. By highlighting the features of interactions where both partners seem to
achieve a satisfactory resolution of these communicative challenges, we aim to stimulate
consideration of implications for what might be useful to include in interventions to support
communication partners as well as individuals who use aided communication.

Oksana Kryvonogova, PhD & Hanna Usatenko
AAC in early intervention and emergencies. Digital Inclusion app for AAC in Ukraine

Jelena Kondratjeva
TD Snap across the lifespan of the AAC user

In her sessions Lena will focus on use of TD Snap software across the lifespan of the AAC user, as well as the support necessary for a successful journey of each member of the AAC community to uncovering their full potential. As Tobii Dynavox has a unique ecosystem that provides such support. Session will be looking at the resources developed by TD as well as share the materials freely available for AAC users and professionals.

Idalie Fernandez
Eye Gaze Play with Purpose

EyeFX 2 is a new and complete eye gaze assessment tool, developed by our partner, Sensory Guru, and supported within the Tobii Dynavox ecosystem. EyeFX 2 makes teaching and learning eye gaze skills fun. There are clear levels and goals that enable data-driven therapeutic decisions, guiding assessments to further the eye gaze learner’s skill development – all in a no-fail, fun environment. Use beloved PCS ® symbols and screen shots of familiar images and scenes to increase motivation, be in a familiar language ecosystem, and optimize the eye gaze learning experience.

Prof. Susan Balandin
The importance of safe and enjoyable mealtimes for older people who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC)

Mealtimes are an important part of life, not only for nutritional needs but also for the social interaction and pleasure that a good meal shared with others can provide. Many older people, with and without disability, have trouble with eating, drinking, and swallowing that may result in poor health , reduced social interactions, and death. In Australia, choking is the second highest cause of preventable death after falls. Older adults who use AAC may be more at risk for unpleasant and unsafe mealtimes as their health needs are not always monitored appropriately and frequently, they must rely on others to assist them with their mealtimes. In this presentation we will consider the health, safety and social issues associated with mealtimes for older adults who use AAC and discuss some practical management techniques that promote safe and enjoyable mealtime experiences.

Stanislav Nikov
Using Eye Control

Angela Pencheva
I was born twice

Tracy Shepherd, Yonit Hagoel-Karnieli
ISAAC – International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Jessica Gormley, PhD
Strategies to Train Families and Healthcare Providers to Use AAC Supports

ommunication is the essence of human life (Light, 1997); however, some children and adults are not able to communicate using speech alone. Instead, they rely on augmentative alternative communication (AAC) strategies such as pictures, gestures, or speech-generating technology to interact and connect with others. Regardless of age or environment, people who use AAC interact with a variety of communication partners including their family, caregivers, and healthcare providers and each of these partners must be fully equipped with the knowledge and skills to use AAC supports to ensure full participation in daily activities. Using AAC supports is not necessarily an intuitive process and requires training. Guided by recent research and technology advancements, this session will provide practical strategies for speech-language therapists to train caregivers to use AAC supports. Specifically, the following topics will be discussed: communication partner instruction models, application of just-in-time AAC trainings, and ways to create meaningful training opportunities through family and healthcare partnerships.

assoc. prof. Amy S. Nordness, PhD
AAC Supports for Adults with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Across Disease Progression

The communication needs of patients with the degenerative disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), change over time with the progression of the disease. This presentation will discuss research-based and evidence-based standards of care to support individuals across multiple stages of intervention. Different AAC supports and tools can be utilized at all stages, including voice/message/story banking, monitoring speaking rate, voice amplification, low-tech AAC, high-tech AAC, phone/text/writing supports, ICE card, and call signals, to support various communication needs and prevent harm. AAC supports should be addressed early to prepare for upcoming changes and transitional devices should be considered. New research and clinical trends will be considered. Photo and video examples of multiple AAC supports will be utilized.

Panel Discussion on AAC during the lifespan