Webinar: Augmentative and Alternative Communication in School-Aged Populations

Program Description

Augmentative Communication deviceRecorded: September 18, 2019 – This webinar explains the importance of providing language learning and exploration opportunities for children and young adults who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). A review of child language development milestones and fundamental components of language learning in early childhood is provided. This webinar then focuses on using readily available tools and materials that can help with providing opportunities for adults and peers to model the use of external language (e.g., symbols, speech generating devices) in a practical setting. Examples of ways that child language development principles can be incorporated into AAC treatment are offered as starting points for identifying creative problem solving strategies. Finally, a discussion of the importance of language play and exploration for all children and especially those with complex communication needs is offered.

Participants learn:

  • About the components of language development in early childhood as they relate to language development for children who use AAC.
  • The value and meaning of core and fringe vocabulary – including ideas for exploring them in the classroom, on the playground and in other socially valued venues.
  • Fundamental techniques for supporting language development in multiple modalities and promoting increased participation in learning environment.


Jane Puhlman is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at University of Maine. Her research centers around early intervention, specifically examining parent-child interactions within routines and creating interventions that are feasible and family focused. In addition, Dr. Puhlman investigates interventions to support language and literacy development for children who are Deaf or hard of hearing. Jane has been a licensed speech pathologist since 2003.

Jennifer M. Seale is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Maine. Her academic, research and clinical interests are focused on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) science and practice. Dr. Seale has expertise providing AAC services to diverse populations. Her research aims to inform AAC service delivery and product design using human computer interaction, social interaction analysis and mixed-methodologies. In addition to these interests, Dr. Seale is devoted to advocacy and public education around important social and systemic issues unique to the AAC community.


References and Resources for Materials and Additional Learning

Maine Department of Education – Special Education Forms

Note: As these forms are updated from time to time, you are advised to visit the Maine Department of Education Special Services website for the latest information.

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)

International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC)

Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Augmentative and Alternative Communication (RERC on AAC)

PrAACtical AAC

Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities at Rhode Island College

revised: 9/23/2019