AAC by the Bay Conference Speakers
The AAC by the Bay 2012 conference will focus on issues and strategies related to education and communication of users of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).
Sarah W. Blackstone, Ph.D.
An internationally recognized leader in the field of augmentative and alternative communication. President of Augmentative Communication Inc. in Monterey, CA; Board of Directors, Central Coast Children's Foundation; and Board of Directors, The Bridge School. Sarah wrote/published Augmentative Communication News and co-authored Social Networks: A Communication Inventory for People with Complex Communication Needs with Mary Hunt-Berg, Education and Research Program Director, The Bridge School. Sarah is currently involved in an international dissemination and support project with The Bridge School, Cisco Systems, Inc., and former Teachers-in-Residence.
Marcela Manzur Camacho, SLP
A graduate of the Universidad de las Americas of Mexico City and Director and Co-founder of Centro de Apoya Tecnológico para la Comunicación y el Aprendizaje (CATIC). Marcela provides language, speech, augmentative and alternative communication therapy to children and adults. She has worked in public schools and supervised university students in their practicum experiences. Marcela helped organize the first congress of augmentative and alternative communication in Mexico in 2005 and a second conference in Celaya. Marcela and Gabriela have been instrumental in training and dissemination in Peru and Columbia.
Caroline Musselwhite, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
An assistive technology specialist with more than 30 years of experience working with children and adolescents with severe disabilities in a variety of settings. Dr. Musselwhite has written a number of textbooks and “how-to” books on a range of topics, and has also authored a number of software programs for youth with disabilities. She has conducted workshops throughout North and South America, Australia, Europe and South Africa, and is a founding member of the Board of Directors for the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication.
Gabriela Berlanga Ramírez, SLP
Gabriela is the Founder and Director of CATIC, Centro de Apoyo Tecnológico para la Comunicación y el Aprendizaja, a Mexico city therapy center that provides AAC, Language, Learning and Emotional Development services for people with Complex Communication Needs. Gabriela was the 2004-2005 Teacher in Residence at The Bridge School. She has over 10 years of experience working in the field of Special Education. She has presented at numerous national and international conferences, workshops and courses on AAC. Gabriela and her professional partner, Marcela, have organized and hosted several conferences in Mexico, bringing together professionals in education, communication and special services.
Kristin Rytter, Ph.D.
Kristin Rytter, Ph.D., obtained a doctorate in Developmental Psychology at the University of Washington. She then went on to develop her own business, SAGE-WITHIN-us, facilitating developmentally appropriate learning experiences, mostly for children with motor and speech impairments. Dr. Rytter also presents at conferences and guest lectures at universities regarding various disability related topics. A few years ago, she explained very candidly about growing up and being a functional adult with severe motor and severe speech impairments in her autobiography, People Who Raised Me Beyond.
Alina Smyczek is the AAC team leader, Special Education Teacher and Speech-Language Pathologist for children and students with complex communication needs at the Set of Special Schools No 11 in Cracow, Poland. With over 15 years experience, she has presented at national and international conferences, authored books and articles about AAC and supporting people with CCN, and is a lecturer at the University training AAC teachers in Poland. She established and currently leads the national AAC Association, “Speaking Without Words.” Alina was The Bridge School 2000-2001 Teacher in Residence at The Bridge School.
Janet Sturm, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Janet M. Sturm, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Professor, Department of Communication Disorders at Central Michigan University (CMU). Dr. Sturm's research and clinical interests include developing writing instruction for students with developmental disabilities and those who use AAC, computer-supported literacy, tying together literacy assessments and instructional strategies, and classroom communication.
Christine Wright-Ott, MPA, OTR/L
Christine is an occupational therapy consultant at The Bridge School. Her interests are in the areas of assistive technology and self-initiated mobility for very young children with physical disabilities. She developed the KidWalk and Gobot through previous US Department of Education research grants. She authored the chapter “Mobility” in the 5th Edition of the book, Occupational Therapy for Children edited by Jane K Smith. She has taught at the University level and is a frequent speaker at national conferences.
Aileen Arai, M.A.
An Education Specialist at The Bridge School, with 17 years of experience in the Bridge classrooms. Aileen specializes in designing and implementing instructional strategies that promote her students’ use and learning of AAC systems in the context of ongoing instruction and participation in academic and social curricular areas. She is currently involved in developing, implementing and evaluating a home-instruction program via Skype with one of the Bridge School students.
Director of Education and Transition. Special Educator for 32 years working with children who use AAC. In addition to ongoing leadership of classroom programs, Sarah directs the Transition Team’s activities to support Bridge School graduates in their local school districts and communities. Interests include literacy development, portfolio development for transition support and self-determination into adulthood.
Caitlin Daly, M.A.
Caitlin is a special education teacher at The Bridge School whose professional interests include supporting her preschool and pre-Kindergarten students as they develop an interest in literacy, math, and science activities.
Tiké DeMarco is a support specialist on The Bridge School Transition team. She provides on-going support and resources to Bridge School alumni students and their teams. She is also the coordinator of the Bridging Communities Through Alternative Communication group (BCTAC), an outreach program of The Bridge School whose mission is to raise awareness of individuals who use AAC.
Thanh Diep is a Vietnamese American woman with Cerebral Palsy. She interacts with people with the assistance of her Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) device, the “Pathfinder.” She graduated from San Francisco State University in May 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies. She would love to work with children with or without disabilities and teach them about disability awareness and art.
Holly Hamilton, M.S., CCC-SLP
Holly Hamilton is a Speech-Language Pathologist at The Bridge School whose professional interests and expertise include supporting her students' use of AAC during the writing process and their participation in designing their low and high-tech AAC systems. With over 10 years of experience, she has presented at national and international conferences. Holly played a key role in the development and implementation of a self-determination curriculum at The Bridge School and she is currently providing intensive support for several Bridge School graduate students as a member of The Bridge School Transition team.
Clay Holquist, is a guy with a lot on his mind. To communicate he uses his Vanguard communication device or his voice and signs to answer questions or make requests. He is active at Abilities United (AU), a community based program, where he volunteers, attends classes and where he started his own coffee delivery service for the staff at AU. His favorite drink is a mocha.
Mary Hunt-Berg, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Mary Hunt-Berg, PhD, CCC-SLP is The Bridge School’s Education and Research Program Director where she leads the innovative work of a highly skilled educational team in applying and tailoring research findings to the Bridge School context. She coordinates ongoing development, implementation, and documentation of Bridge School’s student curriculum and instruction and plays a lead role in the dissemination of knowledge gained through research and practice at The Bridge School. With over 25 years of experience working with students who use AAC, she has presented at numerous local, regional and international conferences. Her many publications include Social Networks: A Communication Inventory for Individuals with Complex Communication Needs and their Communication Partners, which she co-authored with Dr. Sarah Blackstone, and “The Bridge School: Educational Inclusion Outcomes over 15 Years” in the journal Augmentative and Alternative Communication.
Jill King, M.A., CCC-SLP
Jill completed a Masters degree at the University of Maryland, and a Post-Master’s Fellowship with Specialization in AAC at the Kennedy Krieger Institute and has completed 28 years of experience working in the field of augmentative and alternative communication. She worked for 15 years at The Bridge School as an AAC Specialist, Educational Director, Outreach Coordinator and Executive Director. Jill is currently the Coordinator of the Placer County SELPA. Within Placer County, she has developed a regional Assistive Technology program that serves 17 school districts/charter schools and the county office of education. She developed and provides an “AAC Specialty” certification program for speech-language pathologists practicing in the schools, offered through Placer County SELPA and other Northern California SELPAs. Jill continues to work with the Bridge School via advisory boards and committees.
Elisa Kingsbury is a Speech-Language Pathologist with extensive experience supporting students who use AAC and working with educational teams in a range of school based settings. Currently she works in Bridge School’s educational program with a special interest in adapting curricula for preschool children learning to use AAC systems and strategies.
Keith Kingston, is an active member of the San Jose Steamrollers, a power wheelchair soccer team. He attends a post-senior program in Palo Alto and is currently establishing goals for his new career move in the movie industry. He is a graduate of Gunn High School.
Judith Lunger-Bergh, M.A., CCC-SLP
Judith Lunger-Bergh is a Speech-Language Pathologist with over 20 years of experience working with children and adults with functional, developmental and neurolinguistic disorders of speech, language, communication and related educational or functional deficitis. Judith specializes in treating children and adults who benefit from using augmentative/alternative communication and assistive technology, phonological speech disorders and language-based learning disabilities. Judith has authored papers and tools in the field of AAC and presented on a range of topics at local, national and international venues. She has a private practice in Berkeley, CA.
Joy McCollum-Franco, ATP
Joy is the full time Assistive Technologist for the Bridge School. For over 22 years, she has provided assistive technologies and supports to Bridge School students and graduates in the areas of seating, positioning, mobility and technology access. She specializes in providing AT services in ways that maximize active participation, communication and learning in school environments.
Maricor Pagsanjan has a Bachelor's Degree with a double major in Women's Studies and Sociology from UC Berkeley, where she graduated with honors in 2009. She is currently working on admissions to graduate school to work towards a Master's Degree in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling. She likes to read, go see live music, shop and hang out with friends. She's a mentor for four teenagers with complex communication needs in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Tyson Renze, is a true Californian man! He was born and raised in Lodi, California and graduated from Bear Creek High School in Stockton. He has Cerebral Palsy and uses his Freedom Toughbook to communicate with people, surf the net, send emails, etc. He calls his communication device his window to his world. Tyson considers himself a self-learner, a thinker, and a bit of a dare. He loves taking college classes and doing adaptive sports, particularly hang-gliding and skiing.
Peter Schlegel is a local San Franciscan! He graduated from Balboa High School and has since been attending The Arc of San Francisco. He loves the city and enjoys listening to his favorite tunes on his iPod, spending time with his family, and visiting his friend Thanh at Creativity Explored. Peter was in the first graduating class at The Bridge School.
Chris is an Education Specialist with 30 years of experience working with individuals with complex communication and physical needs. She is currently a member of the Transition Program at The Bridge School supporting graduates and their teams in local school districts and communities settings. Chris is one of the developers of the Framing A Future tool and is currently working on a self-determination program for middle school students who use AAC. Other interests include literacy development and student portfolios for transition support.
Janelle Ziobro, M.S., CCC-SLP
Janelle Ziobro is an Speech-Language Pathologist at The Bridge School who works primarily with preschool and kindergarten-aged children. Her professional interests include supporting her young students as they develop competencies for use of AAC and AT tools, discover their voices as beginning writers, and learn school-readiness skills.