ILC Speech Pathologists learn and share the ‘Best in AAC’

ILC Tech Speech Pathologists Amy Litton and Tanith Brien attended the AGOSCI Biennial Conference held in Brisbane in May. Themed ‘Best in AAC’ the conference provided the opportunity for Amy and Tanith to learn about the best in partnerships, communication practices and supports for people with complex communication needs.

AGOSCI is a group representing people with complex communication needs, as well as those who live, know or work with people with complex communication needs.

The conference brought together people who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), their families, friends, work colleagues and people who work within the area of AAC.

At the conference Amy and Tanith presented on ‘Intensive AAC Support in Schools – “Now I feel lost without it!” and ‘Resourcing the AAC Journey Together – Becoming Part of the Classroom’.

Young boy reading with an ipad in front of him showing a screen with pictures from an AAC appThe first presentation shared insights into the innovative 12-month project undertaken by ILC Tech during 2013-14 which challenged the model in which AAC support services are delivered to school age students in mainstream WA schools. The presentation saw Amy and Tanith:

  • discuss a model of delivery of intensive speech pathology support within the classroom;
  • share insights into the benefits of this model;
  • summarise student goals and outcomes;
  • illustrate the impact of this service delivery model through feedback and testimonials from teachers and therapists involved in the project; and
  • suggest potential changes for schools, therapists and families when planning their services.

Tanith said that through the presentation her aim was to engage the audience in new ways of thinking about how schools invest in speech pathology support for AAC.

Jacson smiling and standing beside his teacher holding an iPad in front of his classmates and Tanith. The second presentation focused on providing attendees with some new tools for working within classrooms.

“With this presentation we wanted to open the conversation between speech pathologists, families and schools in valuing each others input as part of the AAC team,” said Amy.

Specifically, the presentation:

  •  Shared specific strategies for therapists and families in understanding the challenges of the classroom environment;
  •  Discussed tools for collaborative goal setting and intervention planning processes between teachers, families and therapists;
  • Provided access to a range of AAC intervention resources successfully used in the project;
  • Outlined experiences in teamwork between therapists and teachers;
  • Summarised peer engagement strategies to support AAC users in mainstream classrooms; and
  • Gave practical tips and tricks for AAC intervention in the classroom.
  • A range of positive feedback about the presentations was received.

Conference Promotional Tile for the AASE WAESPAA on 27 and 28th August in Freemantle

Amy will again be presenting on ‘Intensive AAC Support in Schools – “Now I feel lost without it!” and ‘Resourcing the AAC Journey Together – Becoming Part of the Classroom’ at the upcoming 2015 Australian Association of Special Education and Western Australian Education Support Principals’ and Administrators’ Association Joint National Conference being held in late August. More information about this conference can be found here.

Through ILC’s Private Options ILC Tech is now offering schools a range of services to enable staff and students to get the most out of technology for learning and communication in the classroom. For further information about ILC Tech Support in Schools click here.

  About Amy Litton, ILC Speech Pathologist

Portrait image of Amy LittonAmy joined the ILC Tech Team in 2011 after working in private practice and with the Disability Services Commission. Throughout her career Amy has worked with children and adults with complex communication needs giving them opportunities to communicate and participate at home, school and in their community.

Amy has specialised knowledge in the areas of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), literacy technologies, tablet technology, switching and eye gaze technology. She regularly delivers training on communication, AAC Devices and assistive technology to people with disabilities, carers, health professionals and educators. Amy has represented the ILC at a number of local and national conferences, presenting on innovative projects in the area of AAC.

 About Tanith Brien, ILC Speech Pathologist

Tanith webTanith joined the Independent Living Centre Tech Team in 2015. Tanith has had a strong interest in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) throughout her career and has worked with both children and young adults with complex communication needs.

Tanith has experience supporting AAC users and their families within home, school and community settings while working at Therapy Focus and gained further experience working collaboratively as part of the education team implementing AAC at a specialist school for students with physical disabilities in the United Kingdom.

Tanith continues to be passionate about developing her skills in working closely with school teams to support the implementation of AAC within the education setting and is currently involved in delivering the Independent Living Centre’s Intensive AAC Support in Education Support Centres project.