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National Joint Committee for the Communication Needs of Persons With Severe Disabilities (NJC)

The purpose of the NJC is to advocate for individuals with significant communication support needs resulting from intellectual disability, that may coexist with autism, sensory and/or motor limitation. The NJC is made up of representatives from eight member organizations, and focuses on research, policy, practice, and education. Read the history of the NJC.

NJC members talk about challenges faced by individuals with severe disabilities. Read more about this video.


Contribute to the McLean Yoder Schiefelbusch Fund (MYS Fund) 
The NJC plans to endow this ASHFoundation fund so that student scholars can receive support for research on the communication needs of people with severe disabilities. Find out more and how to donate [PDF].

NJC COVID-19 Resources
The NJC and related organizations have information for providers and others caring for individuals with severe disabilities during the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. The NJC has also created this resource to help during this time:  Communication Bill of Rights: Guiding Services for People With Severe Disabilities in the Context of COVID-19 and Systemic Racism.

McLean–Yoder Award   
The McLean–Yoder Award for Professional Excellence (MYAPE) honors a team that exemplifies high quality, professional service to individuals with severe disabilities. Teams that embody elements of interprofessional practices (IPP) are especially invited to apply. Learn more about the nomination process. The deadline for submissions for the 2021 award is May 31, 2021.

The 2020 MYAPE was presented to two teams serving individuals with complex communication needs:

  • The T4H Team of Bloomington, Minnesota offers person-centered assistive technology consultation and technical assistance to help individuals with disabilities live independently. T4H’s nomination highlighted examples of team-based efforts in community settings. 
  • The special services team from the Valley View School District south of Chicago, Illinois. The Valley View nomination featured collaborative team-based services for children with special needs offered throughout a diverse and engaged school district.  

Both nominations upheld the high principles of care espoused and modeled by the two researchers from whom the award was named, Drs. James McLean and David Yoder.

NJC Network
The NJC Network is a group of professionals with a common interest in enhancing communication effectiveness for individuals with severe disabilities. Joining the network doesn't involve cost or any specific obligation. You'll hear about NJC networking opportunities. Join the NJC Network!

Topic Areas

Intervention Issues and Practices

Articles and Presentations

View published articles and presentations by the NJC.

Guidance Documents

ASHA Corporate Partners