Technology has unlocked communication for many children with complex communication needs and severe motor impairment. For children with significant oral motor dysfunction and limited speech production, the development of an expressive communication system is often considered to be the primary focus of the speech-language pathologist's treatment plan. This course will aid participants in the decision-making process, including five critical components to consider when selecting an augmentative communication system. The functional implications of cognitive, speech and language development, vision, and gross/fine motor skills on communication interactions in children will be considered. Presented will be guidelines for participants to use in determining the optimal AAC system to ensure successful communication across environments. Both high- and low-tech communication options will be examined, including: communication boards, the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS™), switches, eye-gaze, mobile technology, and speech-generating devices featuring static and dynamic displays on dedicated augmentative communication devices.
Participants will also learn to formulate appropriate goals and objectives based on data collection procedures specifically designed for monitoring a child's use of the features of his or her AAC system. Case studies will be presented to illustrate these technological advances and recommended strategies. Offered for 0.3 ASHA CEUs – 3 contact hours. The Illinois Early Intervention Training Program has approved this course for 3 hours of EI credential credit.
The content of this online CE course does not focus exclusively on any specific proprietary product or service. Presenter financial and non-financial disclosures may be found in the Presenter & Disclosures area.
Video PowerPoint presentation with author narration & downloadable handout.
Domain of OT: Client Factors: Body functions and structures; Activity Demands: Objects used and their properties, Sequence and timing, required actions, required body function, required body structures; Performance Skills: Sensory perceptural, motor and praxis, cognitive, communication
OT Process: Evaluation: Analysis of occupational performance
Joy Silverman McGowan, MS, CCC-SLP, is the Speech, Language, and Augmentative Communication Specialist at Easter Seals of Southeastern Pennsylvania. She has worked in the field of AAC for over 30 years providing consultation in a variety of educational, medical, and community settings. She has lectured and published several papers on the topic of AAC and children with complex communication needs. Joy teaches the graduate level course "Foundations and Management of Augmentative and Alternative Communication" in the Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences at Temple University. Together with Lori Frost she published two articles in ASHA Perspectives Journal (Division 12) on the topic of transitioning from PECS to SGD.
Financial — Joy McGowan is presenter of online CEU courses offered by Northern Speech Services; receives royalties.
Nonfinancial — Joy McGowan has no relevant nonfinancial relationships to disclose.
This program is offered for 0.3 ASHA CEUs (Intermediate Level; Professional Area).
ASHA CEUs: NSS online courses are registered with ASHA and are offered for ASHA CEUs. The number of CEUs is noted above. Note that 0.1 CEU = 1 contact hour = equals 1 CEE.
ASHA CE Registry: During the enrollment process, if you select to receive ASHA credit for this course and if you provide your ASHA number, NSS will automatically submit your CEU information to the ASHA CE Registry after successful course completion (80% on post test). This submission happens once per month, during the first week of the month. For example, if you complete your course on November 7th, NSS will submit all November online course CEUs to ASHA during the first week of December. When ASHA inputs the information into their database, they will mark the course as completed on the last day of the month in which it was completed, so November 30th using this example. The certificate of completion available for you to print immediately, however, will reflect the actual completion date, November 7th in this example. Due to ASHA processing procedures please allow 2-3 weeks, from the submission date, for the course to appear on your ASHA transcript.
ASHA CEUs: Attendees must meet at least one of the following conditions in order to be eligible to earn ASHA CEUs:
If an attendee is not an ASHA member or CCC holder but meets any of the above criteria, they may inform the ASHA CE Registry of their eligibility by visiting this site.
Licensing Boards: Most state licensing boards DO accept CEUs earned online (usually classified as home-study credits). Some state boards do, however, place a limit to the number of credits that can be earned via home study/online courses. For the most current information, we suggest that you contact your licensing board or agency to verify acceptance policies and/or any credit limits related to home-study courses prior to registering for this course.
Additional accrediting agencies by which Northern Speech is an approved CE provider:
Course Completion Timeframe: You have unlimited time to complete this online course. You may log off and log on as you wish in order to complete all sections of this course.
Content Access: Access to course materials and content does not expire, even after completing the post test. You may continue to review course material by logging into your NSS account, clicking the E-Courses tab, and then viewing your desired course.
Certificate of Completion: On successful completion of the post test (80%), a certificate will be immediately available for download and/or printing. This certificate will include your name, date of completion (based on the Eastern Standard Time Zone), and number of contact hours (CEUs / CEEs).
ASHA CE Registry Submission: During the enrollment process, if you select to receive ASHA credit for this course and if you provide your ASHA number, NSS will automatically submit your CEU information to the ASHA CE Registry after successful course completion (80% on post test). This submission happens once per month, during the first week of the month. For example, if you complete your course on November 7th, NSS will submit all November online course CEUs to ASHA during the first week of December. When ASHA inputs the information into their database, they will mark the course as completed on the last day of the month in which it was completed, so November 30th using this example. The certificate of completion available for you to print immediately, however, will reflect the actual completion date, November 7th in this example. Due to ASHA processing procedures please allow 2-3 weeks, from the submission date, for the course to appear on your ASHA transcript.
Purchase Orders: Purchase orders are NOT accepted when registering for online courses. Payment must be made online in the form of a credit or debit card payment.
More FAQ: Please click here.
What is an Online Course? Our Online Courses include text, audio, or video formats and are offered for ASHA CEUs. Unlike a webinar, which requires participants to be logged on and at a computer at specific times, our Online Courses are available to you at any time, from any computer, via your Northern Speech account. You may work at your own pace and start and stop your course as you wish. Your course will conclude with a short post test. On successful completion of the post test (>80%) a printable certificate of completion is presented to you.
Receiving CEUs: Northern Speech is an ASHA CE Provider and our online courses are registered with ASHA and offered for CEUs. Please note that successful completion of the online post test is required prior to the awarding of CEUs. Please contact your state licensing board for acceptance policies related to online CEUs.
Registering for an online course: You may browse all online courses by clicking the Continuing Education tab above, then Online Courses. Once you find a course, click Enroll Now, and you will be asked to either log into your existing Northern Speech account or create a new online account. Once you’ve entered your account information and provided your credit card payment, your course will be immediately available to you.
Accessing your purchased course or returning to a purchased course: You will be able to access your online course by logging into your Northern Speech account and then clicking the Online Courses tab on your profile screen. Click View next to the course you’d like to start or to resume. From there, proceed through the course sections until you are ready to complete the post test. You do not have to complete your course all at once. You may log on and off as you wish.
Course completion timeframes: Nearly all our courses provide for unlimited time to complete your course. You may work at your own pace and start and stop your course as you wish. Any access limitations will be clearly noted on the individual course description page.
Course content expiration: Nearly all our courses provide for continued access to course content and materials, even after completion of the post test. Any access limitations will be clearly noted on the individual course description page.
Testing requirements: Each online course concludes with a post test consisting of multiple choice or true & false questions. Scores of 80% or greater are required for successful course completion and awarding of CEUs. You may revisit course materials and retest as needed to achieve a passing score.
Certificate of completion: A certificate displaying participant name, date of course completion (based on the Eastern Standard Time Zone), and the number of contact hours earned is presented to participants once a score of 80% or greater is earned on the post test. Please note that CEUs are awarded on the date of successful test completion, not the date of course enrollment. Please ensure that you successfully complete the post test prior to any licensure renewal dates.
ASHA CE Registry: Northern Speech will provide CEU information to the ASHA CE Registry for you. At the time of course enrollment if you select that you are taking the course for ASHA Credit and if you provide your ASHA Member Number, Northern Speech will automatically submit your hours to the CE Registry after you successfully complete the post test. Please allow 45-60 days from the date of course completion for your hours to appear on your CE transcript. Note that ASHA will record your CEUs as earned on the last day of the month in which you completed your course. For example, if you completed your course on Nov 7, the CE Registry will reflect course completion as Nov 30.
Number of CEUs offered: We offer courses from 1 to 21 contact hours. Each course will note the number of CEUs offered. Please note that 0.1 CEU = 1 contact hour = 1 CEE.
State licensing boards and online CEUs: NSS is an ASHA CE Provider and most state licensing boards DO accept CEUs earned online (usually classified as home-study credits). Some boards do, however, place a limit to the number of CEUs that can be earned via home study/online courses. For the most current information, we suggest that you contact your licensing board or agency to verify acceptance policies and/or any CEU limits related to home-study courses prior to enrolling in an online course.
Course formats: Our course formats include: text, audio, video, and PowerPoint with author narration. Each course will note the format on the course description page.
Course handouts: Most of our non-text online courses provide a link to download the accompanying handout.
Purchase orders: Purchase orders are NOT accepted when registering for online courses. Payment must be made online in the form of a credit or debit card payment.
Group discounts: Groups of 3 or more are eligible for a 20% discount on each registration on most of our online courses. To receive this discount, registrations need to be processed together via the "Group Rates" tab on the Online Course of your choice.
Computer requirements: For our online courses to function best, we recommend that you update your computer to include the newest version of your Internet browser (Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer, etc) and newest version of Flash Player. Also a high-speed Internet connection is recommended (cable or DSL). Speakers or headphones will be required for many of our courses as many contain audio components.
Course Cancellation Policy: A purchased online course can be exchanged, refunded, or transferred to another individual if contact is made with NSS (via phone or email) within 30 days of purchase and the course materials have not been viewed or downloaded.
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"The clear and concise information in this course will help me to assess and choose the proper type of AAC for my patients." – J.M. (Apr. 2018)
"The information about the motor memory and organizing AAC boards was very beneficial." – C.N. (Apr. 2018)
"I appreciated the different video examples / case studies as these helped put these strategies into perspective." – E.G. (Mar. 2018)
"I enjoyed the section on how to begin with dynamic display SGD's." – J.B. (Feb. 2018)
"Everything was beneficial! This course was incredible! The course was in depth and went into the detail that I needed to understand this material!" – M.S. (Jan. 2018)
"I liked the comprehensive information and details in each area of the evaluation (not just listing the areas and moving on). Thank you!" – M.H. (Jan. 2018)
"The discussion of the switches and how to use them may be relevant to a couple of my lower functioning clients. I like that the course covered a lot of AAC systems with which I was not previously that familiar." – J.B. (Dec. 2017)
"I have a grandson that is just beginning the use of eye-gaze technology so that portion was very helpful. I liked the pace of the presenter and the videos and visuals." – D.L. (Nov. 2017)
"I liked the ease of use, practical information, and relevant topic. The discussion on the implementation of eye gaze to communicate is especially relevant to a very challenging patient on my caseload." – L.J. (Sept. 2017)
"Presented in a very organized way with good examples to illustrate specific principles." – S.P. (July 2017)
"Good video examples of students using AAC, especially the case study at the end showing the progression of eye gaze technology training." – C.S. (June 2017)
"Because I have not had a student in recent years who needed an AAC device, I found the overview beneficial. Most beneficial was the section on training vocabulary and use of a speech generating device." – M.B. (May 2017)
"Going over the criteria to use when considering or looking at types of devices was most beneficial - especially the part on Proloquo2go as I am currently using this device with a student." – D.C. (Apr. 2017)
"The presentation on PECS was most beneficial to me as I work with children with ASD. It covered a large area of AAC and discussed devices and types of devices that can be used with a variety of populations." – R.W. (Feb. 2017)
"All of this course was valuable information. I liked the pace - it kept my attention for the length of the course. I also loved the video examples." – S.K. (Jan. 2017)
"It was nice to get more information and see some videos with scanning/switches and eye gaze as I typically work with individuals with autism. I also enjoyed learning about the arc evaluation hump software. I was not aware that existed, and I am certainly going to take that back to my job and share with the other SLP's there." – A.H. (Dec. 2016)
"I appreciated the prerequisites for using an AAC device and guidelines for selecting the most appropriate device for a child. I like that it broke up the phases on how to use PECS and the videos of the different devices being used with children." – C.C. (Nov. 2016)
"I especially enjoyed the assessment of individuals who may benefit from a speech generated device and how to determine if it would be appropriate." – L.C.S. (Oct. 2016)
"I liked the videos! The implementation and strategies for implementing AAC devices were most helpful. It was a lot of info!" – J.Z. (Oct. 2016)
"I enjoyed the mini-videos on certain AAC devices. I enjoyed the detail it went into how each device is used and what they can be useful for. I loved going over how to use and develop a specialized AAC for each client. I learned different aspects to look for and how devices are individualized to each client's needs." – L.Z. (Oct. 2016)
"I really benefitted from the overview of prerequisite skills for considering an AAC system. I liked the information on current eye gaze and eye tracking technologies." – N.S. (Sept. 2016)
"I had very little background in AAC, but found this entire course to be dense with great information!" – A.C. (Aug. 2016)
"The listing of specific considerations when choosing between SGDs and a quick look at some commonly used devices was most beneficial. I liked the short videos of clients using the SGDs in the school setting." – L.P. (Aug. 2016)
"Looking at the AAC communication plan from a team approach was very useful. I liked seeing the different systems out there." – S.A. (Aug. 2016)
"The instructor was easy to understand. I appreciated the look at different types of devices and how to use them." – J.M. (Aug. 2016)
"Summarizing and delineating the process of assessment and selection were the most helpful topics. Good rate of presentation, good examples, very clear concept explanation." – A.L. (Aug. 2016)
"This course provides an overview and yet comprehensive in each topic. Each topic builds on the previous one and they are all very informative." – S.H. (Aug. 2016)
"I really enjoyed the discussion on the importance of completing a language sample and oral motor evaluation prior to implementing aac system." – R.H. (Aug. 2016)
"I like that it helped me implement PECS system better." – A.G. (Aug. 2016)
"Going over the core and fringe vocabulary words to include in a child's AAC device was very useful." – S.P. (July 2016)
"I liked learning about the different dynamic devices and systems." – P.B. (June 2016)
"This information is valuable to working in my setting at a pediatric outpatient clinic. It was beneficial to see the different devices and interfaces. I like the video examples and details of PECS and hi-tech AAC methods." – P.E. (June 2016)
"The discussion on the importance of assessment and personalized augmentative systems for each patient was really helpful." – V.M. (June 2016)
"I liked the very inclusive information about AAC - especially for those new to the area." – K.C.A. (May 2016)
"I enjoyed the discussion about introduction strategies for introducing children to eye gaze devices." – D.L. (May 2016)
"I liked how it encompassed most, if not all areas of AAC that needs to be considered when working with those who may benefit from using an AAC device. The coverage of PECS was most beneficial, because it seems to be the most functional and useful for the autistic population I work with." – D.T. (May 2016)
"I found the information about what is and what is not referred to as the PECS system very helpful." – L.G. (May 2016)
"I like that it touched upon a variety of options and skills students need for each one. The discussion on when to transfer from PECS to SGD's was most beneficial." – K.S. (Apr. 2016)
"I really appreciated the overview of all devices and appropriate population for use with restrictions." – M.S. (Apr. 2016)
"The assessment and discussions of eye gaze was very useful." – T.F. (Apr. 2016)
"The instructor was very knowledgeable and conveyed her knowledge effectively." – M.W. (Mar. 2016)
"Presenter speaks very clearly with good examples. This course provides a good overview of augmentative communication. It is very relevant to current patient populations." – A.F. (Mar. 2016)
"I thought the insight offered through this course addressed not only the learning outcomes but also dispelled some myths and/or offered suggestions on how to address common concerns when implementing the use of AAC systems. " – K.H. (Mar. 2016)