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An Immersive Tele-AAC Program

This module of the webinar goes over the implementation of the tele-AAC program, what worked, why, as well as the challenges.

Module 3: Implementation of the Program

Section 3.1: What Worked for Each of the Stakeholders

In this module, Hillary and Nerissa revisit preparing for the three primary stakeholders and then go on to talk about what worked and went well for each of these groups. 


Critical thinking questions and learning objectives for this section are:

  • List at least three different ways in which online camp worked for the individuals using AAC;

  • Explain at least two ways communication partner involvement informed the work of the clinicians; and

  • Identify two ways in which tele-AAC supported the skill advancement of pre-professional clinicians. 


The campers are discussed first, and Hillary and Nerissa describe how social connectedness emerged as a prominent feature for some of the individuals involved in the program. They talk more concretely about how routine and predictability make room to really work on language and exposure to different concepts and vocabulary.

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As has already been identified in previous sections, being able to work more closely with caregivers and family members turned out to be a very successful element of online camp. Nerissa describes an “authentic collaboration” with the caregivers and talks to the role tele-AAC has with this. 


Lastly, Hillary and Nerissa talk about the experience of the pre-professional clinicians, and what the tele-AAC setting did for their learning experience. 


After you have watched the video, think about:

  1. How did tele-AAC help services to feel more “relevant,” and how can you consider including this in your own practice, even when remote service delivery may not be a necessity?

  2. How is “observing” in a tele-AAC environment for pre-professional clinicians different, and what are the benefits of this?

  3. Does tele-AAC create an opportunity for better inclusion and incorporation of primary stakeholders? How and why?

Section 3.2: Why and How Did it Work

In this section, Hillary and Nerissa delve into detail about why and how online AAC camp worked. Although pertinent to camp, the elements discussed are relevant to online program development and implementation at large, and this section encourages one to think more deeply about the many details that might seem unnecessary at first, come together to form a cohesive online experience. 


Critical thinking questions and learning objectives for this section are:

  • Explain, in one’s own words, how tele-AAC offers a continuum of support;

  • List at least three ways in which engagement was addressed, for the individuals using AAC in particular; and

  • Detail the similarities and differences between what worked for the communication partners and the pre-professional clinicians.


Nerissa starts us off by going into detail about the elements that made an online AAC program work for such a range of individuals with complex communication needs and varied learning profiles. Viewing tele-AAC service delivery (whether it is direct, indirect, synchronous or asynchronous) as a set of approaches that can complement one another depending on the unique needs of the individual and their team is important.


Hillary then shifts to discussing what worked for the communication partners. As mentioned previously, communication partners are an essential part of successful use of AAC, and we know that tele-AAC affords the opportunity to work more closely with these critical stakeholders. 


Hillary and Nerissa wrap up the section by talking about what worked for the preprofessional clinicians and why. Tele-AAC created a tunnel effect where one is better able to focus on specific details in the absence of many other “distractions” that are ever-present in the environment at large. This “hyper focus” emerges as an important factor in thinking about the success of the program. 

After you have watched the video, think about:

  1. Why the tele-AAC environment encouraged the clinical teams to be more clear, explicit, and unambiguous in their approach, and is this different to on-site settings?

  2. How would you plan to support the communication partners based on what you have heard, and what would be your top three ways of doing so and why?

  3. Why is “community” so important for individuals using and working with AAC?

Section 3.3: Challenges

This section reviews some of the challenges that arose during the program. Aside from the technological and Internet-based challenges inherent to remote service delivery, more subtle and nuanced issues pertaining to actually learning and engaging remotely are discussed.


Critical thinking questions and learning objectives for this section are:

  • Detail at least three challenges (not related to technology, hardware, and/or the Internet) faced; 

  • Explain in your own way how working with the communication partner is also a service for the individual using AAC; and

  • List different ways in which the clinical team address the variable engagement seen in tele-AAC sessions 


Hillary and Nerissa explore what was difficult about offering an immersive camp experience online. There are obvious hardware issues related to computer and tablet systems and Internet connectivity. 


While we know that there are discrepancies in how programs run across different platforms (i.e., the features of Zoom are different on a Mac versus a PC, versus on a Chromebook or an iPad). But, how does this effect our service delivery? Knowing these differences means we have to plan for them more mindfully, or adjust the content created and shared to be operational on any platform. 


Hillary talks to her own difficulties as a clinician working in the virtual environment, emphasizing the difficulty gaining and maintaining instructional control in the context of virtual sessions. She also mentions environmental distractions, and how to address these while not being physically present in the same on-site space.

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This theme of “being explicit” (as seen in other sections) comes up again, especially in the context of talking to and guiding communication partners. This is also connected to the transparency and establishment of a shared vision that both Hillary and Nerissa touch on in this section. 

After you have watched the video, think about:

  1. Why is affording time to create a shared vision of what an online program will look like is so important?

  2. Knowing that not everyone gains information in the same way, how can different formats of tele-AAC account for this?

  3. What would your troubleshooting toolkit look like and what would your plan be to build upon this over time?

Cancellation Policy: Commūnicāre, LLC reserves the right to cancel a class based on low registration. If a class is cancelled, participants will be notified and can either transfer their registration to another class or request a refund. 


Refund Policy: Refunds will not be issued if a participant is unable to attend a class. However, registration may be transferred to another class, if available.

Complaint Policy: If you are not satisfied with the course you purchased, or have questions, comments or concern, please contact our Professional Development Coordinator

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