AssistiveWare will attend the ASHA 2023 Convention: Igniting Innovation

Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, Boston, Massachusetts

Join us at the premier annual professional education event for speech-language pathologists, audiologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists.

Bringing together approximately 15,000 attendees, the Convention provides unparalleled opportunities to hear the latest research and gain new skills and resources to advance your career.

We're putting the final touches to our program - stay tuned for more details!

Beyond MLU: Using Lexical Diversity to Measure AAC User Linguistic Competence

Presenter: Erin and David

This session explores what the most robust way is to measure linguistic competence for language produced with an AAC system. We analyzed anonymous language use data from over 30,000 symbol-based and text-based AAC systems. We found that MLU, the current go to method, is too sensitive to the operational competence and/or habits of many AAC users and ignores that shorter utterances may be used to speed up communication. We found that Lexical Diversity, measured through a running average method (MATTR), is a far more robust measure of linguistic competence. It shows strong correlation with other indicators of linguistic competence such as Brown’s morphemes and typing. It also increases with larger grid sizes, and more advanced vocabulary levels.

When and where: 1:00 pm on Nov 17 | Location: CC/154 (Lvl 1)

What Can We Learn From 25,000 AAC Users? Key Insights for Practice

Presenter: Alyssa and David

What insights for daily AAC practice can we gain by analyzing anonymous data from over 25,000 AAC users, rather than the typical single subject and small group studies? Because extrapolation from small group studies to the population level is difficult, we take a different approach. Instead of conducting a detailed study of a small number of individuals, we collected anonymous language use data with consent from tens of thousands of AAC devices in multiple countries. This approach traded detailed knowledge of participating device users for greater privacy and more quantitive insights. We will share 5 key insights from this large study of anonymous language use data. We will discuss what these results mean for AAC practice.

When and where: 4:00 pm on Nov 17 | Location: CC/156AB (Lvl 1)

When Modeling AAC is Not Enough: Direct Instruction to Teach Core Vocabulary

Presenter: Erin

Clinicians play a crucial role in teaching vocabulary to children learning AAC. This session will propose new approaches for vocabulary instruction, grounded in familiar theories of language and vocabulary instruction. We will explore the unique instructional value of graphic symbols through the lens of dual coding theory. We will consider ways to enrich aided language input of core vocabulary by emphasizing clusters of words organized in semantic networks. We will learn to leverage common AAC features like taxonomic categories and semantic-syntactic displays to support instruction. And we will borrow a daily routine from alphabet instruction to consider a fresh new take on “word of the week.” Come join the conversation on what to do when modelling alone is not enough!

When and where: 8:30 am on Nov 18 | Location: Omni/Ensemble Ballroom AB (Lvl 2)

What Words Should We Use to Talk About AAC? Results From an AAC Community Survey

Presenter: Alyssa and David

Words matter. Preferences shift over time and different people have different preferences. Many organizations and individuals want to be respectful to AAC users, but are their word choices still aligned with today’s preferences? This was the central question of this study.

In an anonymous online survey, we asked people what words they prefer when talking about AAC and the people who use it. This presentation covers terms that are broadly liked and used, such as “AAC users” and “people who use AAC”, terms that are broadly disliked such as “communication deficit”, and terms that many may be unfamiliar with, including acronyms such as PWUAAC. We will also share terms where opinions differed between people with different connections to AAC.

When and where: 2:30 pm on Nov 18 | Location: Westin/Marina III/IV (Harbor Wing, Lobby)

Participatory Research: Our Experiences Examining Research Priorities in the Autistic Community

Presenter: endever* corbin, Alyssa, Brandon Eddy (non-presenting), Amy Donaldson, Melissa Ugianskis (non-presenting), Erin Ford (non-presenting), Olivia Strickland (non-presenting)

Participatory research (PR) has been used to authentically and effectively examine the priorities of minority communities within disciplines, including public health, for decades. The autistic community has been the subject of much research, but rarely have they been involved in the development of said research, which can lead to feelings of distrust, issues with study validity, and challenges with study effectiveness. PR includes autistic people as full members of the research team, ensuring that projects are rooted in community contexts and priorities and shaped by immediate community feedback. This session describes PR and how our team uses this framework to study the communication of speaking autistic people who use AAC. Implementation suggestions will be provided.

When and where (two sessions, varied content):
Location: In-person, Westin/Hancock (Lobby) | 4:00 pm on Nov 18
Location: Virtual | Available 9-29 November

Our team members at the event:

“Communication defines who we are and how we relate to others. I want to help enable everyone to communicate and make a difference in the world.”
David Niemeijer

Founder and CEO

“We can do this! Together, we can make communication and self-determination accessible to every single person.”
Erin Sheldon

Special Education Specialist

“AAC is for everyone, mouth words are just for most people. Why isn't speech the 'alternative'?”
Alyssa Hillary Zisk

AAC Researcher