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:
Calling all Communication Partners! Model as a MASTER PAL
Tabitha Jones-Wohleber, MS, CCC-SLP
A MASTER PAL, or “skilled partner” of an individual who uses AAC engages in authentic and meaningful interactions. Model as a MASTER PAL is a framework and compilation of resources that focus on supporting communication partners of those who use AAC by highlighting behaviors and belief systems that shape quality communicative exchanges and emphasize the importance of being an engaged and respectful communication partner. This framework aims to facilitate meaningful dialogue by identifying, describing, and discussing interaction behaviors of exemplary communication partners, in digestible chunks. It arose from the premises that 1) communication is NOT compliance; it MUST be autonomous, and 2) teaching AAC is rarely intuitive. The goal is to create learning opportunities for communication partners to reflect on and attend to the dynamic and nuanced process of teaching language with AAC, and to gain a thoughtful understanding of their role in that process. Model as a MASTER PAL consists of readily available resources that have been used by this presenter in school-based settings with teachers, paraprofessionals, SLPs and families; but the content and structure are flexible and relevant across environments where AAC communication partners require support to be a MASTER PAL. In this session, participants will explore each topic through discussion, interactive activities, and video examples. Participants will be introduced to training modules and extension resources, and opportunities to discuss “getting the conversation started with teams back home” will be provided.