Welcome to AAC at Penn State!
The Penn State AAC community of faculty, graduate students and undergraduate students are dedicated to enhancing communication and improving the overall quality of life for individuals who have complex communication needs and their families. We are seeking to improve outcomes for individuals with autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, developmental apraxia, traumatic brain injuries, aphasia, ALS /Lou Gehrig’s disease and many other disabilities through the use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) such as signs, light tech symbols, high tech speech generating devices, etc.
We focus on three main areas in our work:
- Research to improve outcomes for individuals with complex communication needs
- Undergraduate and graduate education to prepare professionals to meet the needs of individuals who require AAC and their families as well as a doctoral-level program to prepare future researchers and leaders in the AAC field
- Service delivery (AAC assessment and intervention services) and outreach to meet the communication needs of individuals who require AAC and their families.
The Penn State AAC program is one of the leading research and educational programs in the world. We have a vibrant AAC community at Penn State that includes
- 7 nationally recognized academic and clinical faculty in AAC who have more than 40 externally funded grants, over 180 publications in peer-reviewed journals, and over 500 presentations at state, national, and international conferences, active involvement on the editorial boards of leading journals, and extensive experience in evidence based practice in AAC
- Approximately 8-10 doctoral students preparing to assume leadership roles in the AAC field as researchers / university faculty
- Approximately 10-15 Masters students per year preparing to be fully credentialed speech language pathologists with the specialized competencies required to provide high quality evidence-based AAC services to individuals with complex communication needs and their families
- Approximately 40 undergraduate and graduate students actively involved in research to improve outcomes for individuals who benefit from AAC
The Penn State AAC community offers a wide range of enriching learning experiences
- Generous funding to support doctoral studies in AAC
- Generous funding to support Masters level training of speech language pathologists who wish to specialize in AAC
- 10 undergraduate and graduate level courses in AAC
- Numerous opportunities for student involvement in research to improve outcomes for individuals who require AAC
- Mentored clinical experiences in AAC
The Penn State AAC program provides a wide range of outreach and service delivery activities
- Comprehensive AAC assessment for individuals with complex communication needs
- Recommendations for appropriate evidence-based AAC systems to enhance communication
- Evidence-based AAC intervention to improve outcomes for individuals with complex communication needs
- Information dissemination and training for families of individuals with complex communication needs, schools and communities
- Inservice training to improve the AAC knowledge and skills of education and rehabilitation professionals