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.
Course Run Time: 3:08:02
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 the ASHA Perspectives Journal (Division 12) on the topic of transitioning from PECS to SGD.
Financial — Joy McGowan is the 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 ASHA CEUs is noted above. Note that 0.1 ASHA 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 our online courses. You may log off and log on as often as you’d like to in order to complete all sections of a course.
However, completion dates are based on Eastern Standard Time. Therefore, if you need your CEUs by a certain date, be sure to complete the course test before 11:59pm EST on that date. For example, if you need CEUs before January 1st, you will need to complete the course test before 11:59pm EST on December 31st.
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 My Online 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 Eastern Time Zone, USA/Canada), and number of contact hours (CEUs / CEEs). 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 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 are currently not accepted for online orders, if you wish to submit a purchase order please do so at firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 888-696-9655.
What is an Online Course?
Our Online Courses consist of video, audio, and/or text content 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 device, via your NorthernSpeech.com online 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.
Northern Speech is an ASHA CE Provider and our online courses are registered with ASHA and offered for ASHA 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 CEUs earned online. Please note that courses offered for university students are not applicable for 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 My Online Courses tab on your profile screen. Click the course you would 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.
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.
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 ASHA 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.
Our course formats include: text, audio, video, and PowerPoint with author narration. Each course will note the format on the course description page. Most courses include closed captioning.
Most of our online courses provide a link to download the accompanying handout as a PDF file.
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.
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, Firefox, Edge, Internet Explorer, etc.) and newest version of your computer's operating system. 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.
Please click here for any special needs requests, and we will do our best to accommodate them.
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"This was an excellent presentation from beginning to end. Basic principles of determining benefits and choices for a child were discussed. A wide variety of AAC were presented with some methodology for effective training. Presentation of the AAC in use for a child were very good. Ms. McGowan spoke at a very good rate and was most clear." S.C. (Dec. 2021)
"A great review of the PECs protocol, transitioning to SGD and different programs available for devices". L.L. (Dec. 2021)
"I found the presentation of different AAC devices both low tech and high tech beneficial." M.K.T. (Nov. 2021)
"Discussion regarding AAC options and considerations for pre-intentional communicators and/or individuals with cognitive deficits will benefit my daily practice. I liked the videos, clinical examples." L.M. (July 2021)
How to train early AAC users, how to include caregivers, and how to determine the best form of system. Information was presented clear and with wonderful video examples." – M.S. (May 2021)
"Learned more about the assessment process and what types of AAC are available, including how to transition from PECs to a SGD. The information was laid out in a logical manner." – M.A.
“It was very thorough but also provided a very good overview of the different options available. The short video clips were also helpful.” – L.G. (Jan. 2021)
“This course contained a lot of information about different forms of AAC-from low tech to high tech.” – S.S. (Dec. 2020)
“The different ways to describe/discuss the device with parents was helpful.” C.H. (Sep. 2020)
“I thought it was a very good explanation of the different systems, with examples of who it would best fit. I also liked that you were able to work at your own pace and able to repeat important points.” – T.L. (Aug. 2020)
“I found the evaluation of patients who require AAC to communicate to be very helpful. The examples of patients and what worked/what did not work for them was insightful.” – K.D. (Jul. 2020)
"The entire course was very helpful. It provided a comprehensive overview of AAC. The presenter was very knowledgeable about all aspects of AAC." – P.G. (May 2020)
"I appreciated the discussion of various AAC devices and their pros and cons. I liked the inclusion of videos to demonstrate concepts and strategies. I expected more details regarding how to evaluate level of symbol recognition." – J.M. (Apr. 2020)
"The detailed discussion on criteria for selection, PECS, and transitioning from PECS to speech generating devices was most beneficial. Very thorough and helpful. Comprehensive and detailed course." – T.A. (Mar. 2020)
"It was helpful just to review the types of systems and options available. Also, learning the kinds of skills kids need to use some of the systems was helpful." – A.M. (Feb. 2020)
"This was a great overview of AAC and what to consider when selecting devices. I liked the incorporation of videos and pictures of devices. I would have liked a little bit more information on implementing devices with new AAC users." – T.K. (Feb. 2020)
"I've recently become the AAC point SLP for our district, and it was great to have the in depth look into eye gaze. Lots of good information." – K.W. (Jan. 2020)
"I enjoyed the many complex considerations in choosing an AAC system and the strategies for implementing effective systems. The course was easy to follow with a comprehensive overview of AAC systems from simple to complex and from assessment to implementation." – S.D. (Jan. 2020)
"There was a lot of practical information in this online course which will help me in my day to day practice. Going over the use of PECS and programming a dynamic SGD initial training was helpful." – J.M. (Dec. 2019)
"The PECS stages description was very helpful. I liked the videos and content. I would have liked to hear a bit more about other high tech programs." – S.S. (Nov. 2019)
"Learning about where to start in selecting an AAC method or advice and then learning about some of the devices and how to use them was most beneficial. The video examples were helpful." – J.V.R. (Nov. 2019)
"I liked the general overview of AAC selection and theory. Would recommend this to a beginning clinican." – A.D. (Oct. 2019)
"I loved the help with implementing eye gaze technology. I loved that the course really explained the terminology well as it relates to AAC. Fabulous course!" – K.C. (Sept. 2019)
"I needed to have a complete overview because I will be implementing a communication device for a preschool student. I needed some guidance about where to begin. The instructor presentation was clear and concise. She used an excellent amount of video presentation to support her slide show presentation." – T.A. (Aug. 2019)
"I will feel more confident talking with parents who have been told they need an iPad ASAP. I feel more comfortable starting with PECS if it seems appropriate and then be able to transition in the future now." – C.K. (Aug. 2019)
"I found the information about eye switches as well as video examples to be helpful." – K.J. (Aug. 2019)
"It was all good. I especially appreciated the overview of the types of devices and how to teach their use." – I.B. (July 2019)
"I enjoyed the detailed description of AAC and components to consider with selection and the amount of relevant content discussed." – N.A. (June 2019)
"The video clips were helpful demonstrations implementing the strategies and materials being presented. I am a visual learner, so the notes, charts, and videos were very helpful." – T.S. (June 2019)
"I liked the examples with real situations (hands-on), and the discussion on Language Disorders was most helpful." – W.R. (May 2019)
"The content was spot on, the presentation was easy to follow, and the video examples were beneficial." – C.R. (Apr. 2019)
"The course overall was very interesting. I liked the different examples and the extent of resources the speaker talked about." – I.O.P. (Mar. 2019)
"I liked the review for PECS. The various types of AAC devices for me to implement via Assistive Technology Team in my school district." – D.G. (Feb. 2019)
"This was a really great training. There was a lot of information but she covered all critical components when considering AAC. I liked that there were a lot of videos and pictures. This is helpful to sustain my attention. Wonderful course!" – A.F. (Jan. 2019)
"I loved her presentation of PECS - very thorough and a good refresher. Loved that she discussed all the strengths and benefits of PECS. However, I didn't realize that the course would spend so much time on students with motoric difficulties." – L.M. (Jan. 2019)
"I appreciated her focusing on the use of each type of AAC, e.g. pros and cons of each, the comprehensiveness of the course, and the video clips." – E.R. (Dec. 2018)
"I enjoyed going over the details on how to develop an AAC program for a child from beginning to end including all the factors that need to be considered. The video examples were very beneficial." – L.G. (Dec. 2018)
"The most helpful part was learning how PECS might be preferred over SGD's as well as learning Core Vocabulary elements." – A.B. (Nov. 2018)
"I specifically appreciated direct therapeutic ideas for implementation and generalization within a given session. The speaker was very knowledgeable and pleasant; however, I would recommend more modulation or enthusiasm in her voice. It was presented at a rather slow and monotone pace, making it difficult to stay focused and attentive at times." – K.U. (Nov. 2018)
"I most enjoyed the topic of using eye gaze to access AAC. I liked the course because I have had very little experience with AAC and felt it was a good place to increase my knowledge in this area." – V.T. (Sept. 2018)
"I found her going over the phases of PECS and how to progress through this communication system most helpful." – B.S. (July 2018)
"All of the information provided has been beneficial. I liked the thoroughness of the lecture, giving plenty of examples and videos." – A.P. (May 2018)
"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)