Various AAC devices displayed on a table
Elena Fader presenting about AAC at a conference

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) services are led by Elena Fader. AAC services include evaluations, consultations, training, coaching, and professional development. These services, detailed below, provide support for individuals with complex communication needs at the awareness, consideration, assessment, and implementation levels.

If you are interested in these services, please contact Elena Fader, Assistive Technology Specialist and Speech-Language Pathologist, via email at Elena.Fader@OakHillCT.org

Evaluation

AAC Evaluations help individuals, families, medical facilities, and/or schools identify a technology system that can support the communication needs of an individual with limited or no verbal speech.

The process includes a review of records, intake form, and conversations with educators, support staff, clinicians, family members and the individual. Environmental observations and direct trials with various technology supports further guide the specialist through a feature matching process from which an appropriate AAC system can
ultimately be identified.

Within 4-6 weeks, the specialist will write a thorough report that summarizes the evaluation process, describes detailed recommendations, and provides research-based strategies paired with resources to guide the AAC implementation process. We take pride in reporting our comprehensive findings that can be used to bridge the gap between AAC and the client’s school/home/community settings. Upon request, the NEAT staff can be
available to report these findings via phone or videoconferencing.

Consultation

AAC Consultations help individuals, families, employers, medical facilities, and/or school teams determine the general technology needs of an individual with complex communication needs. The AAC Specialist can provide sessions in person, virtually, or following a hybrid service delivery model. Among other case-specific topics, the following concerns can be addressed during a consultation:

  • Can the client benefit from AAC?
  • Which features should a client’s AAC device contain?
  • Is the client’s existing AAC device appropriate?
  • Which alternative access method has the potential for providing a client with physical access to AAC?

The AAC Specialist will provide guidance in the form of clinical opinions and structured suggestions to support an individual/team in moving forward. Consultations typically last 2-3 hours and require the individual and/or staff to be present, as consultations do not yield written reports or written recommendations. If the team would like to request a brief, written summary of the consultation findings, an additional fee will be included. Important to note: This report cannot be used to request insurance funding of a dedicated AAC device.

Coaching

During AAC Coaching sessions, the AAC Specialist follows current evidence-based practices to guide an individual and his/her support team towards effectively incorporating the use of an AAC device within daily environments. This service is appropriate for individuals who are seeking support to expand their use of an AAC device currently in their possession. AAC Coaching can help an individual learn to use AAC to serve communicative functions within the realm of academics, social interactions, activities of daily living, vocational tasks, and more. The AAC Specialist can provide this service in a single session or on an ongoing basis. Sessions can be held in person, virtually, or following a hybrid service delivery model.

Professional Development

AAC Professional Development can help increase community knowledge and awareness of augmentative and alternative communication devices, apps and other related tools, accessories, and practices. NEAT can be invited to bring an AAC workshop to your location, or NEAT can host the presentation. Alternatively, NEAT staff can remote in through a webinar. Presentations can provide an in-depth overview of AAC, or they can focus on specific areas within the field of AAC. As applicable, presentations can incorporate time for exploration, practice, and hands-on experience with specific AAC tools along the AT continuum. AAC presentations are an excellent resource for college students, parents, school districts, and/ or human service professionals. See below for a list of current NEAT AAC professional development topics. Upon request, a presentation can be designed and customized to meet the specific needs of a given group.