I am a speech-language pathologist who has worked with students with significant disabilities – particularly students with autism and/or CCN (complex communication needs) for more than 40 years. I have been active in the area of AAC (augmentative-alternative communication) starting with the use of manual signs and early BlissSymbols before other, pictorial symbols were created.
I am passionate about providing all children with a means to communicate whatever they want to say, and about providing these students with literacy skills. To that end, I work with an Assistive Technology Center, with public and nonpublic schools, with families, and with group homes to reach those individuals who need these services. I also present workshops and seminars, and sessions at national and international conferences.
I create adapted curriculum and intervention materials for SLPs, teachers, and parents to use with those children and adults with whom they work; often basing my projects on specific needs of given students or clients. These materials are available for sale in an internet -based storefront at Teachers Pay Teachers. You will also find a variety of free handouts and resources there. Sample resources are pictured on the curriculum resources page.
In 2013, I started a blog, dedicated to communication, language, and literacy, called Kidz Learn Language. (http://kidzlearnlanguage.blogspot.com ). I talk about a variety of topics related to AAC, language development & intervention, and building literacy skills. I offer tips, ideas, free resources, and more.
In 2011, I developed my first app, based on an intervention technique I had developed over the years working with students with autism; aimed at teaching how to answer Wh-questions. This is an area of significant difficulty for these children. Over the years many parents had told me it was the only things that had ever worked, and asked me to publish it. Finally, through the marvels of technology, the internet, and Apple, I created Question It; the answer to Wh-questions.
Subsequently I also developed an app for students who struggle with learning phonological and phonetic awareness skills – such as those with dyslexia – called SoundSwaps. This app targets manipulation of sounds in words in a hierarchy of difficulty.
To learn more about how those apps work, visit http://languagelearningapps.com.
Seeing a need in even my local community, in 2015 I designed, wrote, and launched (briefly) an on-line course for parents wanting to learn how to teach their children to use AAC. I searched the internet for similar offerings, and found very little available. Parents who could, kept coming to me wanting help with where to start, what to do, how to teach their children to communicate. So, I created “4 Steps to Creating the POWER of AAC.”