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About Special Interest Group 12, Augmentative and Alternative Communication


The mission of the SIG dedicated to improving the quality and availability of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) services to consumers throughout the life span, is to promote clinically relevant research, educate and mentor current and future professionals, and identify and address the needs of service providers in the professions of speech-language pathology and audiology.


It is the goal of the Special Interest Group for Augmentative and Alternative Communication to:

  • Promote continuing education for ASHA members at introductory, intermediate, and advanced levels;
  • Advocate for ASHA membership regarding clinical service needs; and
  • Advocate for preservice and inservice personnel preparation in the area of augmentative and alternative communication.

Professional and Clinical Issues

Affiliate members have a direct voice in addressing issues that impact their profession, to communicate and network on a variety of topics, and to identify clinical issues that need immediate attention. Areas of interest include:  

  • AAC service delivery including assessment and implementation 
  • Functional, practical problem solving across all settings 
  • Ethical issues in AAC 
  • Literacy development for AAC users
  • Research 
  • Networking and community 

Affiliate Benefits and SIG Programs

Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups

Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups is the online peer-reviewed scholarly review journal of the SIGs. SIG 12 offers new self-study CE activities through Perspectives each year. 

Online Chats

SIGs sponsor live online chats. These events feature topic experts who answer questions from the audience. All ASHA and NSSLHA members may attend. Live online chats are not eligible for CEUs. Archived chats can be accessed online.

Continuing Education

  • The SIG sponsors a Short Course and a seminar at the annual ASHA Convention.
  • Perspectives contains continuing education articles. Readers may earn ASHA continuing education credit by completing self-study questions related to those articles. SIG affiliates may complete the self-study for a $5 processing fee.
  • Short Course: SIG affiliates are eligible for a 50% discount on select Short Courses at the ASHA Convention.


SIG affiliates have the opportunity to identify others with interest in augmentative and alternative communication:

  • SIG 12 has an online community where affiliates can discuss topics related to augmentative and alternative communication.
  • SIG 12 hold an annual affiliate meeting at the ASHA Convention.

Representation Within ASHA

  • The SIG 12 Coordinator represents the Special Interest Group on Augmentative and Alternative Communication within the ASHA Board of Special Interest Group Coordinators.
  • The Coordinating Committee responds to ASHA requests for input regarding policy, guidelines, committees, and other issues.
  • Affiliates have the opportunity to provide input to the SIG leadership and ASHA.

The Edwin and Esther Prentke AAC Distinguished Lecture

The Edwin and Esther Prentke Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Distinguished Lecture was initiated in 1997 to honor the life and work of the late Edwin and Esther Prentke. The Prentkes dedicated their lives to developing technologies that liberate the lives of people with disabilities. This lecture is an invited presentation that recognizes and is delivered by an accomplished person who uses AAC. It has been a highly anticipated event of the annual ASHA Convention. Previous lectures have highlighted the extraordinary abilities of the presenters, both as accomplished individuals in their own fields and as people who use AAC. Over the years, the lectures have been insightful and profound in their content and the question-and-answer session has been personal and enlightening to many. The Lecture itself has garnered a reputation as an inspirational and informational session at the Convention.

Since its inception, the Lecture has been sponsored by Prentke Romich Company, a manufacturer of AAC devices, and Semantic Compaction Systems, the developer of Minspeak™. ASHA Special Interest Group (SIG) 12, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, coordinates the lecture each year as a member of the Annual Convention Program Committee. The annual lecture series was discontinued in 2019. Following is a list of past recipients.   

Past Recipients

  • 2018: Todd Hutchinson
  • 2017: Yoosun Chung
  • 2016: Martin Pistorius
  • 2015: Kristin Rytter
  • 2014: Noah Trembly
  • 2013: Christopher Klein
  • 2012: Jennifer Lowe
  • 2011: Robert Segalman
  • 2010: India Ochs
  • 2009: Bac Shelton
  • 2008: Rick Keeton
  • 2007: Robert O'Gurek
  • 2006: Tracy Rackensperger
  • 2005: Michael Williams
  • 2004: Rich Creech
  • 2003: Jon Feucht
  • 2002: Solomon Rakhaman
  • 2001: Paul Pecunas
  • 2000: Bob Williams
  • 1999: Faye Warren
  • 1998: Ronnie Meeker
  • 1997: Gus Estrella

Additional Resources 

Coordinating Committee Members

  • 2018–2020 Coordinator: Nicole Tripp, Spring Branch Independent School District
  • 2020–2022 Associate Coordinator: Angela Standridge, Region 4 Education Service Center 
  • 2020–2022 Editor: Amber Thiessen, University of Houston
  • 2020–2022 Professional Development Manager: Michelle L. Gutmann, Purdue University
  • 2018–2020 Member-at-Large: Kathy V. Beatty, The Speech Pathology Group
  • 2019–2021 Member-at-Large: Jane R. Wegner, Schiefelbusch Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic, University of Kansas
  • Ex Officio: Brooke E. Hatfield, Associate Director, Clinical Issues in Speech-Language Pathology, ASHA

Additional SIG Volunteers

2018–2019 Continuing Education (CE) Content Manager: Rebecca Lynn Eisenberg, Westchester Institute For Human Development

Editorial Board

View the Editorial Board Roster for Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups .

Professional Development Committee

  • Michelle L. Gutmann, Professional Development Manager
  • Lauren Kravetz Bonnet
  • Lauren F. Danna Zubow
  • Anne M. Kovarik Kuhlmeier
  • Jillian H. McCarthy Maeder
  • Mary E. Spence
  • Faye A. Stillman
  • Kimberly S. Winter
  • Christine R. Yannone
  • Amber Thiessen, Editor
  • Brooke E. Hatfield, Ex Officio

Liaisons to the ASHA Board of Directors

  • Sharon Sandridge, 2019–2021 Vice President for Audiology Practice
  • Marie C. Ireland, 2018–2020 Vice President for Speech-Language Pathology Practice

ASHA Corporate Partners