September 15-17 2020

Due to COVID-19 gathering and travel guidelines that vary state to state, this seminar will be virtually presented as an online webinar and will not take place as a gathering in Pittsburgh. No travel will be required. We ask that registrants commit to participating in the complete 3 day webinar.

PALSS Standard Content

Bruce Baker, AM, LHD, (Hons. caus.)
Debbie Witkowski, MA, CCC-SLP
Tracy Kovach, PhD, CCC-SLP
Russell Cross, BSc (Hons.), DipCST, MRCSLT

Each PALSS event regularly includes presentations of Bruce Baker’s work and presentations by Debbie Witkowski, Russell Cross, and Tracy Kovach. The seminar includes theoretical and practical information regarding vocabulary selection, language development and building competence for individuals who use AAC. In addition, the importance of building motor automaticity when using AAC systems will be discussed. Participants will also have the opportunity for hands-on practice with the UNITY® language system.


Guest Presenter Topic:

Literacy Instruction for the Older Student

Maureen Casey, MA, BA (Hons), ACE (Incl), DSE (Re), DE (JP)

 It is critical for students who experience complex communication needs (CCN) develop sound literacy skills in order to increase their participation and communication interactions with as many people as possible. Without the requisite mature literacy abilities, this group will be disadvantaged in that they may be unable to access the dedicated, sophisticated, high or low technological AAC systems which are available to support their educational, vocational and social experiences throughput their lives. This means that they will neither be able to enrich their life experiences, nor develop their cognitive potential to the full. Reading is a complex process that places many cognitive demands on the reader. It is well documented that individuals with CCN who have sufficient intellectual ability and receptive language have greater difficulty than their peers in becoming literate. Yet, it is possible for individuals with CCN to master the code, despite the often irregularity of instruction as well the fact that English orthography is variant and predictable.

This presentation will aim to highlight teaching strategies and approaches that have been successful in teaching the older student become literate.