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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.


The NJC will host a conference “Honoring the Past, Committing to the Future: The Next Generation of Research, Policy, and Practice in Severe Communication Disabilities” in June 22–23, 2023 at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina. Stay tuned for more details.

2022 McLean–Yoder Award (MYAPE) Winner Announced

The NJC recently honored two recipients of the 2022 MYAPE, the Paul F. Doyon Memorial School in Ipswich, Massachusetts, and a team within Family Health West Pediatric Rehabilitation in Fruita, Colorado.

The team at Paul F. Doyon Memorial School stood out for the role that everyone in the school has had in the success of a student who uses augmentative and alternative communication. Training in augmentative communication has been provided school-wide, including all teachers, staff and students, resulting in positive outcomes for all students. The team at Family Health West Pediatric Rehabilitation included a speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, and physical therapist, and stood out for the programming they have developed to support communication, mobility and the ability to participate in community activities for children who use augmentative communication. Family values are at the center of their philosophy, resulting in families who are empowered to effectively advocate for the needs of their child.

The NJC congratulates this year’s winners and encourages others to nominate innovative teams. The submission deadline for the 2023 award is May 31, 2023.

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.

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