Through the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and the Department of Educational and School Psychology and Special Education, Penn State offers numerous educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students interested in AAC, including:
- The Penn State AAC Leadership Project, a federally funded doctoral level training grant (#H325D110008) designed to prepare high quality doctoral students in AAC as researchers/ university faculty.
- Doctoral funding is also available through departmental assistantships. These graduate assistantships provide full tuition and a monthly stipend, but also include a 20 hour/week work commitment as research or teaching assistants. These experiences are carefully designed to enhance competencies in research and teaching.
- The Penn State Children’s Communicative Competence Project, a federally funded training grant (#H325K110315) designed to prepare Masters level speech language pathologists in the specialized competencies required to provide high quality AAC services to children with complex communication needs and their families.
A wide range of academic courses in AAC
- Introduction to AAC
- Sign language
- Assessment and Intervention in Augmentative and Alternative Communication
- Research-based intervention to improve language and communication outcomes for beginning communicators who require AAC
- Research-based intervention to improve language and literacy outcomes for individuals who require AAC
- Evidence-based interventions to improve outcomes for high need children with complex communication needs: Influences of poverty & cultural differences
- Universal design: Supporting access to the general curriculum for individuals with complex communication needs
- Assistive technology /apps for individuals with complex communication needs
- Enriching AAC interventions for individuals with developmental disabilities through cross disciplinary collaboration
- Strategies for working effectively with consumers with complex communication needs, parents, and families
- Technologies for persons with disabilities
Numerous opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to be engaged in AAC research
- More than 40 undergraduate and graduate students actively involved in student research projects to improve outcomes for individuals who benefit from AAC
Numerous opportunities for mentored clinical experiences in AAC
- There are both in-house and community externship experiences in AAC
These courses and mentored research and clinical experiences are taught by the 7 academic and clinical faculty in AAC at Penn State. These faculty members are well recognized for their excellence in research and teaching
- More than 40 externally funded grants, over 180 publications in peer-reviewed journals, and over 500 presentations at state, national, and international conferences
- Numerous research awards
- Active involvement on the editorial boards of leading journals
- Editorial awards for best research papers and best student papers from some of the leading journals in the field
- Extensive experience in evidence based practice in AAC and clinical supervision/ teaching
- Numerous academic teaching awards
The Penn State AAC community and the AAC-RERC program have produced a wide range of webcasts/web-seminars and resources available for free to support continuing education and dialogue about critical issues for communicators with complex needs.
The program specific to PhD scholars has been designed to be comprehensive and provide focused, individualized, direct experiences across education (coursework and teaching), research, and leadership skills. Master’s students participate in extensive coursework with an emphasis on preparation for teamwork and collaborative problem solving, direct instruction and experiences with the full range of multimodal strategies and supports, research on evidence-based interventions, and clinical practicum with focused supervision on campus and within nearby community placements. There is a deep commitment to the value of mentorship throughout each of these areas and all levels of learning. At this time, the PSU AAC Community feels strongly that these goals are best served through on-site learning and support.