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Conference Faculty

Expanding AAC: Accessible Strategies for Functional Communication

May 5–17, 2021 | Online Conference

Kate R. Ahern, MS, is an educational specialist in complex communication needs in private practice. She is certified as an intensive special needs teacher for ages birth through adult in Massachusetts. Ahern has vast experience in the field of assistive technology with children and young adults. She has spent more than 20 years working with children and young adults who have complex communication needs. She is also the author of a popular special education blog and moderates several social media groups about augmentative and alternative communication. Ahern is often asked to guest speak or provide training about many issues in the field of complex communication needs. She holds a Master's of Science in Special Education from Simmons College. She is the recipient of the Federation for Children with Special Needs Inclusive Teacher Award and a Fighting Angels from the Fighting Angels Foundation.

Financial Disclosures:

  • Financial compensation from private clients, schools districts, and disability agencies
  • Honoraria for speaking engagements, as well as reimbursement for expenses encountered during those engagements
  • Sometimes receives free publications or apps from companies in exchange for honest reviews or consultation

Nonfinancial Disclosures:

  • Member of USAAC and ISAAC
  • Provides periodic feedback to the Cognixion company
  • Certified intensive special education teacher in the state of Massachusetts

Matthew R. Baud, MS, CCC-SLP, has been working with AAC for more than 15 years. He currently is the Assistive Technology Coordinator at Niles Township District for Special Education (NTDSE), performing evaluations and trainings, and coaching communication partners. Baud also has his own AAC private practice, working with individuals with complex communication needs from birth through adulthood. He is an adjunct professor at Saint Xavier University, where he teaches a graduate course in AAC, and he has presented at national and state conferences. Baud has published research in the area of AAC.

Financial Disclosures:

  • Financial compensation from ASHA for this presentation
  • Owner of private practice clinic 

Nonfinancial Disclosures:

  • ASHA member

Vicki Clarke, MS, CCC-SLP, is the CEO of Dynamic Therapy Associates, Inc. (DTA Inc.), a speech-language pathology clinic specializing in AAC. She is the Director of DTA Schools, a division of DTA Inc. that provides individual student, classroom, and district-wide AAC services for consultation, assessment, training, curriculum development, and equipment procurement in multiple public school districts. Additional professional activities include professional consultation and training through publications, workshops, and presentations at local, state, and national conferences in the areas of augmentative communication, speech-language pathology, special education, and autism.

Financial Disclosures:

  • Financial compensation from ASHA for this presentation
  • Co-owner of Dynamic Therapy Associates, Inc.
  • Owner of DTA Schools, a subscription-based website offering AAC resources and trainings
  • Access to professional copies of News-2-You products, almost all AAC apps, and long-term loans for speech-generating devices from Tobii Dynavox, Prentke Romich, Saltillo, Forbes Rehab Services, and Ablenet - for her role as an AAC evaluator and school district consultant
  • Licensing agreements with News-2-You and Boardmaker/Tobii Dynavox for the use of symbol sets in materials development

Nonfinancial Disclosures:

  • None

Cynthia J. Cress, PhD, CCC-SLP, is an associate professor at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, specializing in language, AAC, and early intervention. She has provided workshops all over the country and internationally, helping professionals provide communication services to some of the more puzzling children on our caseloads – children with complex communication needs and/or autism spectrum disorder, and infants and toddlers with multiple impairments. She researches patterns of communication in infants/toddlers with complex communication needs and has provided clinical services for children and adults who rely on AAC for nearly 30 years. Her latest research is to develop new communication assessment tools to screen and assess basic communication in preintentional communicators of all ages (children and adults). She brings a wealth of clinical as well as theoretical experience to her workshops about services for basic communicators.

Financial Disclosures:

  • Financial compensation from ASHA for this presentation
  • Salary from employment at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Nonfinancial Disclosures:

  • None

Lauren S. Enders, MA, CCC-SLP, is an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and Assistive Technology (AT) Consultant, working for the Bucks County Intermediate Unit (IU) in Eastern Pennsylvania. In her role on the Bucks County IU Assistive Technology Team, Enders supports special educators, speech-language pathologists, other related service providers, and paraprofessionals who provide services to school-age students (ages 5-21) across 13 school districts. Enders presents on topics related to AAC, AT, language, and emergent literacy at national and international conferences as well as smaller conferences, webinars, and podcasts. She has had articles published in the ASHA Leader, USSAAC Speak Up Blog, and Closing the Gap Solutions Magazine, and has been featured on the Praacticalaac blog. Enders is well-known in the AAC community for regularly creating and sharing resources on her professional social media accounts, including Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram.

Financial Disclosures:

  • Financial compensation from ASHA for this presentation
  • Salary from the Bucks County Intermediate Unit (BCIU) 

Nonfinancial Disclosures:

  • ASHA member 
  • Affiliate of ASHA SIG 12
  • Member of the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC)
  • Member of the United States Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (USSAAC)

Kelly Fonner, MS, is a self-employed consultant in assistive technology. She has a BS in Special Education from Millersville University and an MS in Educational Technology & Rehabilitation/Special Education Technology from Johns Hopkins. Her continuing education and research is in the area of Adult Education at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. She holds an ATACP Certificate of Learning from CSUN. Fonner has been a teacher, paraeducator, and AT specialist, and is currently a self-employed consultant in educational assistive technology. She has worked for a statewide AT project and has been an instructor in university courses. Since 1986, Fonner has presented at schools, conferences, and families in 48 states and internationally in Australia, Canada, and South Africa. She speaks on AT topics including augmentative communication, computer access, electronic literacy, AT assessment, and implementation strategies. Each year, she works with approximately 50 school-based teams supporting students and the implementation of AAC and electronic literacy implementation in the classroom. Fonner is also the daughter of a person with an acquired physical disability, the sister-in-law of a woman with cerebral palsy, and the cousin of individuals with a teenager with Asperger's. 

Financial Disclosures:

  • Financial compensation from ASHA for this presentation
  • Contracted trainer for several companies in the area of assistive technology and AAC

Nonfinancial Disclosures:

  • None

Sarah Gregory, MS, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist and Assistive Technology consultant in the Ithaca City School District in Upstate New York. She specializes in Augmentative and Alternative Communication in a public school setting with a focus on inclusion. Gregory presents on these topics at national and statewide conferences. She shares tech tips for AAC and teletherapy on her YouTube channel, Twitter, and Instagram.

Financial Disclosures:

  • Financial compensation from ASHA for this presentation
  • Salary from the Ithaca City School District
  • Income from speaking honorariums and online courses
  • Receives codes to trial therapy products/tools

Nonfinancial Disclosures:

  • ASHA member
  • Affiliate and professional development committee member of ASHA SIG 12  

Vicki Haddix, MS, CCC-SLP, is a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Memphis. She teaches the graduate-level AAC course and supervises students in the university clinic. Haddix is also a principal investigator on the TennesseTalks grant, intended to build school districts’ capacity to support AAC across Tennessee. Previously, Haddix coordinated AAC and AT for Boston Public Schools. She has presented on AAC at ISAAC, ASHA, ATIA, and several Tennessee state conferences.

Financial Disclosures:

  • Financial compensation from ASHA for this presentation
  • Salary from University of Memphis
  • Grant funding from Tennessee Department of Education

Nonfinancial Disclosures:

  • ASHA member 
  • Affiliate of ASHA SIG 12 (
  • Member of USSAAC/ISAAC
  • Board member of TAAT

Kathy L. Howery, PhD, began her career nearly 40 years ago, focusing on finding ways for students with the most complex needs to share their voices in the world. From 2004 to 2008, she led the Alberta Assistive Technology for Learning Initiative. She has developed and taught graduate level courses in assistive technology, inclusive education, Universal Design for Learning, and augmentative and alternative communication. Her research focuses on using phenomenological methods to explore the lived experience of young people who speak with (or through) speech-generating devices. Howery is incoming President of ISAAC Canada and a past board member of the Alberta Chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children. She has held positions on the Inclusive Learning Network of the International Society of Technology in Education (ILN/ISTE) and on the leadership team of the Universal Design for Learning-Implementation Research Network (UDL-IRN). Howery provides ongoing consultation to Alberta school jurisdictions in the areas of UDL; special education; and supporting children and youth developing communication, language, and literacy. Currently, Howery has developed an online certificate for teaching students with complex communication needs (CCN) and is a member of the Alberta Low Incidence Collaborative Supports team with primary responsibility in the area of CCN.

Financial Disclosures:

  • To come

Nonfinancial Disclosures:

  • To come

Ashley Larisey, MS, CCC-SLP, is a licensed speech-language pathologist who graduated with an undergraduate degree in Psychology/Human Services and a masters degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Larisey’s work experiences over the past 10 years include public and private therapeutic day schools, private speech/language clinics, and early intervention. Larisey also serves as an adjunct clinical supervisor at Saint Xavier University and teaches a module specific to the use of technology in the field of speech-language pathology. Larisey specializes in working with individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and other developmental disorders. In addition, Larisey has extensive experience working with children and adults who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems.  

Financial Disclosures:

  • Financial compensation from ASHA for this presentation
  • Employee of Community High School District 218
  • Adjunct Faculty at Saint Xavier University  
  • Income from Teachers Pay Teachers store

Nonfinancial Disclosures:

  • ASHA member
  • Affiliate of ASHA SIG 12 

Lesley E. Mayne, PhD, CCC-SLP, his an assistant professor in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program at California Baptist University in Riverside, Calif. She has 18 years of experience working in schools and private clinics prior to her faculty role teaching at the graduate and undergraduate levels. She is the author of Let’s Talk Social Skills, 1st ed. (2008) and 2nd ed. (2019) and co-author with Dr. Sharon Rogers of Augmentative and Assistive Communication: A Protocol and Intervention for Children with Complex Communication Profiles (in press, 2020). Mayne’s specialty is augmentative and assistive communication (AAC), promoting participation and communication for children with complex communication profiles.

Financial Disclosures:

  • Financial compensation from ASHA for this presentation
  • Employee of California Baptist University
  • Author royalties from SpeechMark-Routledge-Taylor & Francis

Nonfinancial Disclosures:

  • Member of ASHA
  • Member of the California Speech-Language-Hearing Association
  • Member of the Delta Kappa Gamma International Honor Society for Women in Education
  • Member of the International Society in AAC

Caroline R. Musselwhite, EdD, CCC-SLP, is an assistive technology specialist with more than 45 years of experience working with children and adolescents with significant disabilities in a variety of settings, including Head Start, clinics, developmental day programs, homes, and public schools. Musselwhite has written a number of textbooks and “how-to” books on a range of topics and has authored many books and software programs for youth with disabilities. She has taught courses at several universities and presented thousands of workshops throughout North and South America, Australia, Europe, and Africa. She has also supported Communication Circles and Balanced Literacy Clubs in multiple cities in the U.S. and Canada. Her honors include: Foundation Fellowship (West Virginia University), Educator of the Year (Association for Retarded Citizens, North Carolina), Honors of the Association, (North Carolina Augmentative Communication Association), DiCarlo Outstanding Clinician Award (North Carolina Speech-Language-Hearing Association), and ISAAC Fellow.

Financial Disclosures:

  • Financial compensation from ASHA for this presentation
  • Author royalties from Don Johnston Inc, for Readtopia curriculum
  • Speaker honoraria from PRC-Saltillo
  • Provided feedback on Assistiveware products during paid dinner meeting
  • Webinar presenter honoraria from Ablenet Inc
  • Curriculum royalties from Attainment Company, Inc

Nonfinancial Disclosures:

  • None

Jill E. Senner, PhD, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist with more than 20 years of experience working with children with complex communication needs. She is the owner/director of Technology and Language Center, where she specializes in providing augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and assistive technology (AT) services, including assessment, consultation and training, and workshops/lectures. Senner has presented at numerous national assistive technology conferences and has taught graduate courses in AAC and swallowing disorders. She has published research in the areas of AAC, siblings and disability, and swallowing disorders in cerebral palsy.

Financial Disclosures:

  • Financial compensation from ASHA for this presentation
  • Owner/director of Technology & Language Center, Inc.

Nonfinancial Disclosures:

  • ASHA member

Gloria Soto, PhD, completed her doctorate in Special Education with a concentration in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) in 1994 at Purdue University. She has been on the SFSU faculty since 1995, holding a joint appointment in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences and the Department of Special Education. Her areas of interests include language development and intervention through AAC, provision of AAC services in school settings, professional attitudes toward the use of AAC, and the provision of AAC services to children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Among Soto’s numerous publications are two books, Practically Speaking: Language, Literacy, and Academic Development for Students with AAC Needs, co-edited with Dr. Carole Zangari, and AAC in the Schools: Best Practices for Interventions, coauthored with Dr. Nancy Robinson.

Financial Disclosures:

  • To come

Nonfinancial Disclosures:

  • To come

Gail M. Van Tatenhove, MS, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist with more than 40 years of experience working with children and adults who use AAC systems. Van Tatenhove has had a diverse career focused on AAC. First, she worked in a special school that served children, age 3 to 22, who had significant, multiple disabilities. Then, she was on a statewide AAC assessment team that served students across the state of Florida. Van Tatenhove has also consulted with Semantic Compaction Systems on development of Minspeak® programs, language intervention strategies, and program development for the Pittsburgh AAC Language Seminar Series. Since 1988, Van Tatenhove has maintained a private practice, providing therapy services with children and adults using AAC systems. Van Tatenhove wrote a state grant to develop a loaner bank of AAC devices, was involved with several ASHA projects on AAC, has been a contributing author for several AAC textbooks, was a board member of USSAAC, served multiple times on the coordinating committee for ASHA Special Interest Group 12, served as the professional development manager for ASHA SIG 12, and is an ASHA Fellow. Van Tatenhove continues to support the field of AAC through speaking engagements, ongoing AAC projects, and development of intervention materials.

Financial Disclosures:

  • To come

Nonfinancial Disclosures:

  • To come

ASHA Corporate Partners