Congratulations to Dawn Sowers and Meghan Wendelken, who joined the AAC Leadership Project this Fall semester.
Dawn comes to the program with 20+ years as an SLP in the field of AAC across the life span. While providing clinical services, she focused on AAC implementation across environments and finding access solutions with those individuals requiring alternative access. Before starting the program, Meghan worked at a school for children with autism, primarily with children on the severe end of the spectrum who required AAC.
When asked to describe their motivation in pursuing their doctoral degrees—
I have a lot of experience teaching in-service professionals about AAC and would like to bring my experiences and love of AAC to the pre-service classroom and clinics through university teaching. I want to focus my research on developing a more access related evidence base and empowering the role of the family in AAC uptake and success.
I had completed a masters thesis during graduate school in which I focused on theory of mind and its relationship to language skills, executive functioning skills, and social cognitive skills in the ASD population. Much of what I learned from completing the research for my thesis was applied to my clinical practice over the last six years. While working with this population, unanswered questions arose every day, and I was inspired by my students to go back to school to learn how we can be more effective therapists. Specifically, I want to learn how we can better implement AAC when working with these individuals with severe ASD.
We are thrilled to have Dawn and Meghan join the PSU AAC community and cannot wait to see their impact on the field!