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2014 AAC by the Bay Conference Schedule

Thursday, February 27, 2014

NOTE: All times on the schedule are PST.

Language and learning/Mobility

Time Activity/Speaker(s) Presentation Title & Abstract
12:00 - 12:50 Registration
1:00 - 1:30 Welcome and Introductions
Vicki Casella & Pegi Young
1:30 - 2:00 Lifetime Achievement Award: Jackie Brand
2:00 - 3:30 Plenary:
Nicki Nelson
Ten Reasons Why "Content Is the Prize": Updating "Performance Is the Prize" for the 21st Century

The award-winning article "Performance Is the Prize" was published in Augmentative and Alternative Communication more than 20 years ago. In it, Nelson argued that language competence, which is defined traditionally as what a person (a child with complex communication needs, in particular) knows about language, is not a stable hidden entity but actually can be different in different contexts, when different modalities are used for input and output, and when different levels of support are available from the environment. In this 2014 AAC by the Bay address, Nelson continues to support that view while updating it with arguments for keeping content at the center of models of communicative competence. She presents 10 reasons and associated assessment and intervention suggestions for how and why parents, teachers, clinicians, and individuals with complex communicative needs (all of us really) should focus on a person's ideas as an essential component of becoming competent learners and users of spoken and written language in school and society.

3:30 - 3:45 Break
3:45 - 5:15 Plenary:
Christine Wright-Ott
Movement Matters: Explore the World and Expand the Mind

Acting and knowing are inseparable aspects of human life. Children spend a great deal of time engaging in behaviors such as moving, throwing, and wiggling around, all with no apparent goal. However, research supporting current theoretical views of development reveals that there is more purpose to physical movement than previously thought. Typical toddlers travel 39 football fields in a day creating stimulating learning opportunities about themselves and their environment. The freedom of movement afforded by self-initiated mobility greatly expands opportunities for children to explore and interact as they move toward desired objects, locations and people who are beyond their stationary reach. Research demonstrates that these kinds of experiences are critical for the development of visual spatial cognition, problem solving, communication, social-emotional regulation and postural control and underlie a full range of skill development. In contrast, young children with physical disabilities spend more time sitting than their peers, experience low daily physical activity, and are typically positioned in non mobile therapeutic equipment and pushed in strollers or wheelchairs for mobility. Without a means for self-initiated mobility, they have limited opportunities to access their surroundings, which further limits their ability to initiate, explore, discover, interact and learn. The effects of providing self-initiated mobility experiences to young children with cerebral palsy to enhance learning will be shared. Activities for participation in natural settings and recommendations for matching self-initiated mobility devices and modifications to the child's abilities and environments will be described through slides and videos.

5:15 - 5:30 Question & Answer Session
5:30 - 6:30 Reception
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Friday, February 28, 2014

NOTE: All times on the schedule are PST.

Language and learning/Advocacy and social justice

Time Activity/Speaker(s) Presentation Title & Abstract
8:00 - 8:45 Morning Refreshments & Registration
8:45 - 9:00 Welcome
Vicki Casella
9:00 - 10:30 Plenary:
Holly Peartree
Toward Getting it 'Write': Effective & Authentic Writing Instruction for Students with Complex Communication Needs

Written language is a powerful and versatile tool for learning, communication, and thought (Sturm & Koppenhaver, 2000). The ability to use written language opens unlimited possibilities for self-expression across multiple contexts and partners (Sturm, 2012). To become literate, all students, including those who use AAC, need access to writing instruction that supports engagement in authentic, meaningful, and interactive writing experiences. Effective writing instruction in the classroom supports the development of students who view themselves as writers and who experience and understand the power and purpose of writing. In implementation, teachers must create an environment that supports their students as they generate narrative, opinion, and informative pieces as defined in the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). But where does the educator start? Which writing practices are effective for students who use AAC systems? One evidence-based approach to writing instruction, an Enriched Writers' Workshop, offers educators a framework for providing high-quality, differentiated writing instruction for students who use AAC, while addressing individualized student goals for communication. How do common AAC intervention practices fit with best practices in writing instruction? How do we measure change and growth in students who require an extended early writing stage? How do we select appropriate writing tools and accommodations for the writer with complex communication needs (CCN)? This session will address these questions as we use videos, photos, and case examples to walk through the process of creating a community of writers in the elementary classroom with students with CCN.

10:30 - 10:45 Break
10:45 - 12:15 Plenary:
Martine Smith
If Content is the Prize, How do we Improve the Odds? Evidence-based Instruction to Support Decoding, Recoding and Reading for Children Using AAC

It has long been recognized that children with significant speech difficulties are particularly vulnerable to difficulties learning to crack the alphabetic code and apply those insights in decoding print and identifying words. Parallel difficulties in recoding (i.e., mapping an internal phonological or spoken form onto a sequence of letters through spelling) are also widely acknowledged. Decoding is a critical skill in reading comprehension, while recoding is a crucial route for spelling - an important skill for children using AAC for all aspects of communication. These challenges are not unique to children using AAC. This presentation will focus on what is known to be effective in supporting the development of phonological decoding and recoding skills for children navigating the early stages of literacy development and explore how these principles can be applied with children who use AAC. The emphasis in the presentation is on how we construct shared meanings, whether as a reader or as a writer, and how children who use aided communication can be supported in developing these skills. Following Nelson’s view that focusing on a person’s ideas is central to becoming a competent user of spoken and written language, how do we best support children to crack the code of written language so that their own ideas can become available to a wider audience and their experiences can be enriched by the ideas of others through their reading?

12:15 - 1:15 Lunch
1:15 - 2:45 Plenary:
Barbara Collier
Supporting People with Complex Communication Needs to Negotiate Their Communication Access Rights

People who have communication disabilities have a legal right to equal access to all goods, services and opportunities within their communities. Their rights are protected by strong legislation that obligates businesses and organizations to accommodate an individual's accessibility requirements when using their services. While some disability groups are benefiting from this legislation, many people with complex communication needs (CCN) experience inequitable access to services because their accessibility requirements are not well understood, inadequately represented and frequently omitted from guidelines that tell organizations about what they should do to be accessible to everyone.

In the absence of these guidelines, the onus for educating and negotiating accessibility often rests on the individual with CCN. Yet many people with CCN are not aware of their communication rights and they may lack the information, skills and tools to negotiate their accessibility requirements.

This presentation will provide an overview of the key elements in communication access and how these can be applied in different community sectors. The presentation will focus on what people with CCN can do to improve communication within the organizations they use. A range of resources will be shared to support them in learning about their rights, defining their accessibility needs as well as educating and negotiating their accessibility requirements.

2:45 - 3:00 Break
3:00 - 4:30 Plenary:
Lateef McLeod
How People Who Use AAC Can Benefit from Thinking of Their Struggle in a Disability Justice Framework

Disability Justice is a philosophy developed by people of color with disabilities that tries to envision a society that can incorporate and accept everyone for who we are with all our intersectional identities and tries to build a space in community where all our bodies are deemed sacred and whole. Disability activist such as Patty Bearne and Leroy Moore, with whom I have worked closely in their performance-based collective, Sins Invalid, developed the disability justice framework that I will use for this presentation. A disability justice analysis leads us to work together with our differing physical, cognitive, and psychological abilities to build the community we want. We have to accept our full identities in regards to our race, sex, sexuality, gender identity, religious status as well as differing abilities and demand a space for our full selves.

For people who have complex communication needs we often get marginalized even in the already marginal disability community and are still struggling to find a collective voice as a community. Yes, AAC technology has liberated our voices and given us the freedom to express ourselves and engage with those around us. However, it is yet to be determined how, in the mainstream, most of us will be accepted as professionals, experts in our field, disabled sports athletes, potential love interests, marriage material, good parents, and reliable leaders. To envision a world where people can be and are expected to be, these things are where a disability justice analysis can be applied. This presentation will begin to conceive of what we must do to make this vision real.

4:30 - 5:00 Question & Answer Session
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Saturday, March 1, 2014

NOTE: All times on the schedule are PST.

CVI and its impact on learning/Effective patient provider communication

Time Activity/Speaker(s) Presentation Title & Abstract
8:00 - 8:45 Morning Refreshments & Registration
8:45 - 9:00 Welcome
Vicki Casella
9:00 - 10:30 Plenary:
Christine Roman-Lantzy & Sarah Blackstone
Vision, Language, Learning and Communication: Breaking down Silos to Support Children with CCN and CVI

This presentation builds on The Cortical Visual (CVI) Impairment: An Approach to Assessment and Intervention-- a functional vision assessment that investigates and determines the extent to which a child's CVI affects their functional vision (Roman Lantzy, 2007). We plan to share an easy-to-use, clinical framework aimed at helping guide family members, teachers and clinicians to support children who have cortical visual impairment (CVI) and complex communication needs (CCN). The Vision, Language, Learning And Communication (VLLC) Framework is based on how a child scores on The CVI Range and focuses on setting and meeting goals that acknowledge the dynamic nature and key relationships among vision, language, learning, mobility and communication skills. This presentation will introduce the VLLC Framework and encourage discussion regarding its usability.

Children with CVI and CCN face challenges seeing, learning and using language, as well as communicating, participating and exploring. Research clearly shows that early and appropriately targeted interventions make a significant difference. Thus, it is essential, isn't it, to provide these children with thousands of the right kinds of opportunities to engage actively in seeing, learning, exploring and developing critical language and communication skills across environments.

The VLLC Framework takes a systems approach to disability (Paul & Norbury, 2012; Thistle & Wilkinson, 2013), going beyond the individual to highlight the need for adaptations within the environment and specifically addresses the inclusion of tools that can support and maximize a child's ability to function. The framework seeks to tear down professional silos, stressing the key roles of communication partners across activities and environments.

10:30 - 10:45 Break
10:45 - 12:15 Plenary:
Aileen Arai, Caitlin Daly & Janelle Moynihan
Integrating CVI Interventions, Strategies and Accommodations into the Instructional Program at The Bridge School

Through consultation and trainings with Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy over the past year, The Bridge School has developed interventions, strategies and accommodations for our students with complex communication and physical needs who also have cortical visual impairment. We will use student specific examples to illustrate how The CVI Range guided changes and new developments related to students' use of vision in areas of: assessments, academic instruction, communication, curriculum development, and access to the environment.

12:15 - 1:15 Lunch
1:15 - 2:45 Plenary:
John Costello
AAC in the ICU and Acute Care: Enhancing Quality of Care through Bedside Intervention AND Advanced Planning

Augmentative Communication supports in the ICU/Acute Care vary by patient presentation. Our 20+ years of bedside service delivery reveals trends in patient needs for AAC across the continuum of care. Our experience also reveals the valuable role of people who use AAC, parents, teachers and others in preparing for communication vulnerability in the hospital BEFORE hospitalization.

This workshop will provide an overview detailing issues of communication vulnerability in the hospital setting, candidates for augmentative communication intervention and three phases of AAC assessment and intervention across the continuum of care. The importance of advanced planning will be highlighted through case discussion and video demonstration.

2:45 - 3:15 Question & Answer Session
3:15 - 3:45 Summation:
Sarah Blackstone
Summation: What did you learn? What new information are you taking back to your job?
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