Communication and Community: Parents Incorporating Best Practice AAC

Quick Overview

Parents of children with Angelman syndrome are leading the way in incorporating best practice Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) into their daily lives. They have found success in using aided language stimulation, where they model language using AAC devices to teach their children to communicate. The parents emphasize the importance of being patient and taking the long-term approach when starting with a new AAC system. They also highlight the need for peer support and involvement in the communication process. The parents recommend trialing different AAC systems to find the one that works best for their child. Overall, they stress the importance of communication and the impact it can have on their children’s lives.

Mary-Louise Bertram and her team kick off the day at the 2016 FAST Educational Summit. Mary-Louise is a well-known figure in the Angelman community and it is an honor to have her speak at the event.


Mary-Louise expresses her gratitude for being given the opportunity to speak and introduces the parents who will be sharing their experiences with AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) in the Angelman community.

Shawna Moreno: Aided Language Stimulation for the Long Haul

Shawna shares her personal journey with AAC and how she discovered the concept of aided language stimulation. She explains how using the system to talk to her son, Chance, helped him learn to communicate. Shawna emphasizes the importance of finding topics that interest the child and being patient throughout the process.

Karen Hoerst: Communication in Real Life

Karen discusses how communication is a family effort and shares examples of how they incorporate AAC into their daily lives. She emphasizes the importance of making communication accessible in various settings and using different methods to support the child’s communication.

Teresa Eberhart: Engaging Peers in School

Teresa talks about how they involve peers in AAC and the strategies they use to support communication in school. She shares examples of communication circles and small group work, highlighting the importance of peer interaction and deepening relationships.

Cori Stell: Co-Planning for Communication

Cori explains the concept of co-planning and how it helps children share their stories with others. She shares examples of co-planning activities, such as creating pages in a remnant book, and emphasizes the importance of giving children the opportunity to communicate in their own way.

Kelly Meissner: Integrating AAC into the Curriculum

Kelly discusses how AAC can be integrated into various subjects, such as math, science, and social sciences. She emphasizes the importance of finding ways to tie AAC into the curriculum and provides examples of goals that can be modified for AAC users.


The panel concludes by answering questions from the audience and emphasizing the importance of finding the right AAC system for each individual. They encourage parents to advocate for their children and seek support from professionals in the field.

Talk details

  • Title: Communication and Community: Parents Incorporating Best Practice AAC
  • Author(s): Mary-Louise Bertram, Cori Stell, Kelly Meissner, Karen Hoerst, Shauna Moreno, Teresa Eberhart
  • Author(s)’ affiliation: None
  • Publication date: 2017-01-04
  • Collection: 2016 FAST Educational Summit