Continuing Education Course - Spring

Enhancing Communication in Individuals with Complex Needs

April 1, 2016

Williams Center, The State University of New York at Fredonia

The Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences is sponsoring this 6 hour (.6 ASHA CEUs) workshop for teachers, speech-language pathologists, psychologists, and special educators.
Session 1

Presentation Slides for Session 1

Communication and Students with ASD, Laura Geraci, Ph.D.
This presentation will provide school-based practitioners with strategies for engaging students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in learning and communicating, the "autism looks like" in relation to spectrum disorders and classroom instruction, and an overview of ASD characteristics and the revised DSM-V.
At the completion of this session, attendees will be able to:
  • describe ASD traits and characteristics, including an update of the revised DSM-V
  • discuss what "autism looks like" in relation to a spectrum disorder and classroom instruction
  • describe school-based practitioner strategies for engaging students with ASD in learning and communicating

Session 2

AAC Today: Evaluation through Implementation of a Communication System, Laura E. Smith M.A., CCC-SLP/L
With the availability of growing and ever changing technology, access to tools to build an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) system is vast, but navigating AAC options has become overwhelming. This presentation will focus on learning what AAC is today, how to complete an AAC evaluation that results in step by step goals for implementation, navigating the complexities of funding technology, and lastly to provide tools to help with vocabulary selection that focuses on building independent communication.

At the completion of this session, attendees will be able to:

  • define AAC and list at least three types of systems and how the features differ
  • Explain how to conduct an AAC evaluation and create goals that lead to the implementation of AAC across environments
  • describe the different funding issues and sources related to acquiring AAC systems
  • explain best practices of vocabulary selection and organization of AAC systems.

Session 3

AAC & ASD: Strategies for Promoting Interaction & Communication with individuals with Autism, Barbara Neth, M.S., CCC-SLP
People on the autistic spectrum have unique cognitive, social and communication characteristics that can present challenges to participation and interaction. There are many Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) interventions available, especially with the increase in mobile technology, but it can be daunting to decide on what to try and how to implement it. This presentation will focus on understanding the specific nature of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and learning how to evaluate, select and implement AAC options for this population to promote communication and interaction for increased independence.

At completion of this session, attendees will be able to:

  • describe the unique cognitive, social and communication characteristics of people with ASD
  • describe how to select appropriate AAC strategies (no-tech; lite-tech; mobile tech) from available options to promote interaction and communication with this population
  • explain strategies for effective implementation of high-tech AAC systems

Speaker Biographies

Dr. Laura Geraci, Ph.D., is a Professor at Fredonia State University of New York in The College of Education. Dr. Geraci has 25 years of experience in the special education field, including research and teaching and is past Director of Special Education. Her research and publications focus on bullying, autism spectrum disorders, and positive behavior supports. Dr. Geraci has been the Program Coordinator for the Childhood Inclusive Teaching Program for seven years; she also collaborates with local school district's, supervises teacher candidates in course related field placements and is responsible for undergraduate and graduate courses in instruction and assessment for inclusive education, special education foundations, and autism.

Financial -Laura Geraci is a salaried employee at Fredonia State University of New York and will receive a stipend for speaking at this CEU event.

Nonfinancial -No relevant nonfinancial relationship to disclose.

Laura E. Smith, M.A., CCC-SLP/L, has expertise in the areas of developmental language disorders and the evaluation and implementation of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) for individuals with Complex Communication Needs (CCN). Laura spent 12 years at Aspire of WNY providing therapy to students ages 3-21 and was the team leader for AAC and Assistive Technology. Laura recently joined the faculty at The University of Buffalo in the Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences as a Clinical Assistant Professor. Laura teaches CDS 670: Augmentative and Alternative Communication and provides clinical supervision to graduate students in the UB Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic. Laura helped re-establish AAC evaluations and therapy in the UB Clinic. Laura and colleagues are conducting research on Role Playing and AAC: A Therapeutic Approach to Improve Spontaneous Conversational Exchanges in Natural Contexts, submitted to ISAAC, November 2015. She holds her B.S. from Ithaca College and her M.A. from the University of Buffalo. Laura maintains ASHA CCCs, holds her New York State Licensure, and has her New York State Permanent Teacher Certification.

Financial -Laura Smith is a contracted employee at the University at Buffalo of New York State and will receive a stipend for speaking at this CEU event.

Nonfinancial -No relevant nonfinancial relationship to disclose.

Barbara Neth, M.S., CCC-SLP, is a New York State licensed speech language pathologist specializing in Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Ms. Neth has worked with individuals with developmental disabilities for 30 years, formerly at Erie #1 BOCES and is now in private practice providing direct therapy, consultations, and evaluation services to individuals with complex communication challenges. Ms. Neth is also an Instructor at Fredonia State University, currently teaching Foundations of SLP in Educational Settings. In the past, she has taught AAC at Fredonia and Social Interaction & Communication with Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder at Canisius College.

Financial -Barbara Neth is a contracted employee at Fredonia State University of New York and will receive a stipend for speaking at this CEU event. Barbara Neth is the sole owner of (DBA) AAC Assessment and Support Services.

Nonfinancial -No relevant nonfinancial relationship to disclose.


8:00-8:30 a.m. Registration

8:30-10:00 a.m. Session 1

10:00-10:15 a.m. Break

10:15-10:45 a.m. Session 1 continued

10:45 a.m. -12:00 p.m. Session 2

12:00-1:00 p.m. Lunch on your own

1:00-1:45 p.m. Session 2 continued

1:45-3:00 p.m. Session 3

3:00-3:15 p.m. Break

3:15-4:00 p.m. Session 3 continued

Program Completion Requirements: Participants are expected to be present for the entire program. Individuals who are not present for the full program will not be recommended for ASHA CEUs. No partial credit will be provided.

Cost for participation: $85.00 (includes coffee, tea, light refreshments -lunch on your own)

Register now!

ASHA approval emblem
This course is offered for .6 ASHA CEUs (Intermediate level, Professional area)

Parking: The use of Fredonia State's Park and Ride shuttle is encouraged. Handicapped parking as well as limited non-handicapped parking will be available in surrounding parking lots.


Communication Disorders and Sciences Office

W123 Thompson Hall
State University of New York at Fredonia
Fredonia, NY 14063
(716) 673-3202