Beyond AAC Modeling

Effective Language Instruction for AAC Learners

With Gail Van Tatenhove, Gloria Soto, & Carole Zangari

Join us for a pre-conference workshop at ATIA!

About This Workshop

AAC learners often 'get stuck' at the early stages of language development, and, as a result, they may communicate with limited vocabulary, simple declarative sentences, and basic grammatical structures in their daily interactions. Their language is frequently immature and marked by difficulties with sentence constituents, verb forms, noun phrase elaboration, negative and interrogative sentences, complex sentences, and narratives.

How can we help AAC learners become more linguistically competent?

This workshop will begin with a description of key aspects of language development for children who use AAC, a review of the interaction features that may support or restrict language learning, and a discussion of the principles and practices of discourse-based language intervention.

These concepts will then be applied to designing and implementing intervention that helps AAC learners further develop their language abilities. Participants will gain insights into using language samples to develop language goals and create a systematic plan for instruction.

Designing instruction for 3 aspects of language - semantics, morphology, and syntax - will be a key feature of this workshop. A systematic approach to teaching core and other high-frequency words (such as modals/auxiliaries) will be explored. A framework for teaching academic/Tier 2 vocabulary will also be addressed along with specific instructional methods, activities, and materials. Additionally, participants will learn how to plan instruction for a variety of morphological and syntactic skills.

Case examples will be used throughout the day to illustrate key points. Suggestions for free and low-cost materials will be shared.

ATIA 2019

Wednesday, Jan. 29th 2020 at 8am-4pm

8101 World Center Drive

Orlando, FL


Gloria Soto, Ph.D.

Dr. Gloria Soto is a Professor in the Department of Special Education and the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences. She teaches graduate coursework in special education, cultural diversity, augmentative communication and curriculum-based language and communication intervention. Her area of professional expertise is in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). Her areas of research interest include applied educational issues such as multiculturalism, collaborative teaming, inclusive education and professional preparation, as well as more basic areas such as narrative language in AAC, language development through augmented means and the impact of graphic symbol use on language development. She is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences related to communication intervention and special education. She has published numerous articles and book chapters. Dr. Soto is currently serving as Co-Chair of the ISAAC Biennial Conference to be held in Cancun in August 2020.

Gail Van Tatenhove, MS, CCC-SLP

Gail is a speech-language pathologist with more than 30 years experience working with children and adults who use AAC systems. She began her journey in 1977, working at a special school that served children, 3 to 22, who had significant, multiple disabilities. While part of that program, Gail implemented a groundbreaking program that provided AAC systems for all students at-risk for developing functional speech. Gail continued to promote AAC by joining a statewide AAC assessment team that served students across the state of Florida. For 5 years, Gail conducted multi-disciplinary assessments and traveled to local school districts to assist in implementing AAC programs. Since 1988, Gail has maintained a private practice, providing on-going therapy services with children and adults using AAC system. This work has helped her develop strategies for working with families, group home staff, and school teams. Gail’s specialty area is in the teaching of core vocabulary and the support of people who use Minspeak-based speech generating devices.

Carole Zangari, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Dr. Carole Zangari is a professor in the Speech Language Pathology Department at Nova Southeastern University where she teaches master’s/doctoral courses in AAC, coordinates the AAC Lab, and supports graduate student clinicians. In addition, Dr. Zangari serves as the Executive Director of the Broward satellite of the University of Miami-Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (UM-NSU CARD). She is a frequent presenter on AAC topics at international and national conferences. Dr. Zangari is the co-editor of Practically Speaking Language, Literacy, and Academic Development for Students with AAC Needs and co-author of TELL ME: AAC in the Preschool Classroom. She blogs at

ATIA Pre-Conference Session #PRE-11W

Registration Options


FAX: 847-277-7414
TELEPHONE: 847-620-4471
MAIL: ATIA Registration, 8324 Solutions Center, Chicago, IL 60677-8003