2016 Nancy McKinley Lecture Series: Topics in AAC {Day 3}

October is AAC Awareness Month!  All this week I am attending a live webinar series on called:

2016 Nancy McKinley Lecture Series: Topics in AAC


Day 3

Building Collaborative Teams in AAC

Presenter:  Jennifer Thistle, PhD, CCC-SLP

Today, Jennifer Thistle, PhD, CCC-SLP from the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire spoke about team collaboration.  She framed her presentation with four questions that need to be answered.

Asking questions is so important in any collaboration!

Why does this matter?

The goal of AAC is to support the most effective communication for the individual.  No one exists in an isolated bubble; everyone in the individual's life can support this goal.  But we need to be working as a team to best achieve that goal.

A good team relies on trust.

Approach collaboration with respect and trust.  Using a family centered (Prizant, 2008) approach to AAC - regardless of delivery model - facilitates a feeling of respect and trust with the family.  Parent views need to be considered and discussed.

What do we know about parent's desires and experiences with collaboration?

Parents want to be involved and to be heard.

Who is part of the team and what are their roles?

Parents, student/individual, SLP, educators, OT, PT, other specialists (vision, hearing, etc.) - ultimately who comprises the team is based on who needs to be part of the team.  Then the role(s) that everyone is going to play need to be determined.  Roles are dynamic (overlapping, multiple, changing/flexible).  And someone needs to lead to facilitate the process.

How do we build a collaborative relationship?

Ways to support good collaboration:

  • be a good listener (demonstrate respect; value input from others)
  • ask questions
  • follow through (be trustworthy)
  • admit mistakes (address them and move on)
  • strive to understand perspectives (don't assume, don't apply your own filter)

Resist the urge to fix and rescue.  Strive to problem-solve and witness (listen).

How to be a good listener: LAFF

L: listen (communicate respect and empathy)

A: ask questions

F: focus on the issue

F: find a first step


Tools & Resources


Learn more about funding:


Check back tomorrow for a summary of Day 4!


Here are links to my summaries for the other lectures in the series this week:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 4

Day 5

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