February 24-25, 2020

Pre-Conference: February 23 (2-4 PM)

OVERVIEW: This 2-day Institute provides Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) with a wide variety of strategies to support a wide variety of communication needs. The keynote & breakout sessions cover current topics for SLP's. Our unique setup allows for direct interaction with a variety of vendors, including therapy and educational materials & assistive technology strategies. The Institute also provides an opportunity for SLPs to re-connect with an extended community of school-based SLP's. In addition to our distinguished keynote speakers, this conference features vendor exhibits, an ethics session, and fabulous door prizes.


Monday: Kelly Fonner

Morning = AAC Assessment - You can do this!

The AAC assessment process can seem complicated and quite a mystery. It is not as easy as buying an iPad and downloading the latest AAC app, but if you proceed in an organized manner, the process will fall into place. With the consideration of assistive technology being mandated for every student, many questions are generated about the proper way in how to conduct an assessment. Where does it take place? How long should it last? What does it look like? This half-day session will inform those questions and more for those who are new to the process, and/ or new to the field of AAC.

During this workshop, a variety of assessment tools will be shown as examples to highlight different portions of the AAC assessment process, including the Communication Matrix, Communication Participation Model, Social Networks, and others. We will give examples of formats for all types and levels of abilities. Case studies will be used to demonstrate the outcomes of AAC. An electronic resource guide will be provided so that participants have a reference for reviewing assessment tools presented and for more research into specific tools that they may want to add to their district resources.

Throughout this half-day, participants will develop a new or review their current AAC assessment process. Material to be presented will include:

  • developing a student based AAC assessment action plan for a new assessment or a reevaluation of AAC needs
  • efficient ways of gathering background information,
  • compiling current skills assessment measures,
  • conducting AAC specific assessments,
  • generating possible solutions through the feature match process
  • collecting data during trials,
  • coming to consensus, and following through with the order submission

Bring a wireless device (laptop, tablet) for use throughout the session. Prior to session attendance, it would be helpful if you signed in for a free registration to the Communication Matrix website. We will use this free tool in the assessment portion of the day. www.communicationmatrix.org

Afternoon= Implementation Planning for the User of AAC

The “real world” of school communication does not always play out easily for the student using AAC. This half-day session will expand the use of the Participation Assessment Model as an implementation strategy to be used when working with Preschool through K-12 classroom teachers who have students with AAC systems. Strategies to be covered will include:

  • selection of meaningful communication activities,
  • prompting strategies that do not create dependency
  • data collection

We often meet challenges when introducing AAC systems and strategies from the clinical or “speech room” setting into the busy and sometimes chaotic environment of the classroom setting. Whether students are using lo-tech or hi-tech apps or dedicated systems there are strategies that can assist the teacher and related service staff in deciding where to start and how to move forward with their AAC using students throughout the school day.

This presentation has a basis in expanding upon the assessment strategy, Beukelman & Mirenda’s Participation Plan. After participants are introduced to the basics of this model and the adjustments made for implementation planning, they will be taken through an activity that has them consider the communication context of school-based situations. From that activity, several examples will be given of students using AAC systems in common school situations. Through these examples and further explanations of ways to boost communication, participants should be able to analyze the AAC language boards and systems that they have seen go unused in the classrooms that they serve. A goal of this section of the presentation is to have participants examine and expand the variety of communication situations that they have been providing to their students. Have they only been giving students vocabulary that is instructional or activity-based? How are they providing the vocabulary for conversation and other dyadic situations? Do their students have a means for saying novel messages? We will go through the 5 steps of the ECT: Environmental Communication Teaching model for those students who are symbolic and the First Things First model for students are presymbolic in their use of symbols.

Tuesday: Scott Yaruss

Practical Treatment Strategies for Preschool Children Who Stutter

Numerous surveys have shown that speech-language pathologists are generally less comfortable treating stuttering than other disorders, even though most clinicians already possess many of the skills and much of the knowledge they need to be effective stuttering therapists. This workshop is designed to help clinicians become more comfortable with their ability to appropriately diagnose and effectively treat both preschool and school-aged children who stutter so they will feel more confident with their clinical skills and ultimately provide better service to children who stutter. The workshop will begin with a brief overview of current understandings of the cause of stuttering, with special consideration of the reasons that many clinicians view stuttering as “too difficult.” Next, participants will discuss various options for diagnosing and evaluating stuttering, with guided practice in identifying important risk factors and behaviors that indicate the need for treatment and differentiate stuttering from normal dis-fluency. The majority of the time in this workshop will address specific treatment strategies for working with preschool and school-aged children who stutter, including an analysis of the goals of treatment and guided practice with techniques for helping children improve their speech fluency and their communication attitudes. Particular attention will be paid to the critical transition between early stuttering and more advanced stuttering which often occurs for children who stutter in the early school-age years. Throughout the workshop, an emphasis will be placed on capitalizing on clinicians’ existing skills and abilities for working with other speech and language disorders and on recognizing clinicians’ strengths for helping children who stutter.

Educational Objectives: Following this presentation, participants will be able to (repeat for both preschool and school-age)

  1. Select and utilize 3 specific treatment approaches for increasing fluency, reducing stuttering, and improving communication attitudes in preschool and school-age children.
  2. Describe 3 techniques that help children express their concerns about stuttering
  3. Implement 3 strategies for helping parents of children contribute to their children’s success in treatment.

Pre-Conference Sunday: Andrea Bertone

SLP Updates from DPI


Andrea Bertone, M.S., CCC-SLP

Education Consultant for Speech/Language and Related Services Special Education

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction