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About Special Interest Group 12, Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Mission

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.

Goal

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

Earn ASHA continuing education units (CEUs) through 

  • Self-study of Perspectives and pay the lowest processing fee to take the learning assessments 
  • SIG sponsored Master Classes and one-hour sessions at the annual ASHA Convention. 

Networking

SIG 12 Affiliates have access to exclusive discussion forums/groups, which provide the opportunity to interact with other SIG Affiliates who share interest in augmentative and alternative communication. Use ASHA's Member Directory to search for individuals by SIG affiliation. In addition, SIG 12 Affiliates can meet in person and online at an ASHA and SIG 12 sponsored events; typically each SIG hosts an Affiliates meeting at Convention and sponsors a virtual open house.  

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

  • 2019: Stephanie Faso 
  • 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

  • 2021–2023 Coordinator: Angela Standridge, Texas Technology Access Program 
  • 2022–2024 Associate Coordinator: Jane R. Wegner, University of Kansas
  • 2020–2022 Editor: Amber Thiessen, University of Houston
  • 2020–2022 Professional Development Manager: Michelle L. Gutmann, Purdue University
  • 2021–2023 Member-at-Large: Abygail E. Marx, Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • 2021–2023 Member-at-Large: Barbara S. Weber, Private Practice
  • Interim Ex Officio: Brooke E. Hatfield, Associate Director, Health Care Services, ASHA

Editorial Board

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

Professional Development Committee

  • Michelle L. Gutmann, Professional Development Manager
  • Krista R. Davidson
  • Haley M. Dayel
  • Karen Lotich Arribas
  • Joy S. McGowan
  • Aine Mooney
  • Michelle M. Raymond
  • Erin L. Reilly
  • Margaret S. Roll
  • Kathryn Teresa D'Agostino Russo
  • Allison Marie Sauerwein
  • Amy Miller Sonntag
  • Barbara S. Weber
  • Amber Thiessen, Editor
  • Brooke E. Hatfield, Ex Officio

Liaisons to the ASHA Board of Directors

  • Janice R. Trent, 2022–2024 Vice President for Audiology Practice
  • Linda I. Rosa-Lugo, 2021–2023 Vice President for Speech-Language Pathology Practice

ASHA Corporate Partners