Promoting Academic Achievement for Early Communicators of All Ages A review of best practices and recent research efforts provide guidance for serving school-age early communicators with complex communication needs (CCN) and significant cognitive disabilities (SCD). Our aim as SLPs working with students with CCN and SCD is to support the development of intentional and symbolic communication abilities and implement ... Article
Article  |   September 01, 2014
Promoting Academic Achievement for Early Communicators of All Ages
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lori Geist
    The Center for Literacy and Disability Studies, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
  • Penny Hatch
    The Center for Literacy and Disability Studies, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
  • Karen Erickson
    The Center for Literacy and Disability Studies, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
  • Disclosure: Financial: Lori Geist, Penny Hatch, and Karen Erickson have no financial interests to disclose.
    Disclosure: Financial: Lori Geist, Penny Hatch, and Karen Erickson have no financial interests to disclose.×
  • Nonfinancial: Lori Geist, Penny Hatch, and Karen Erickson have no nonfinancial interests to disclose.
    Nonfinancial: Lori Geist, Penny Hatch, and Karen Erickson have no nonfinancial interests to disclose.×
Article Information
Augmentative & Alternative Communication / School-Based Settings / Language Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Articles
Article   |   September 01, 2014
Promoting Academic Achievement for Early Communicators of All Ages
SIG 12 Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, September 2014, Vol. 23, 173-181. doi:10.1044/aac23.4.173
SIG 12 Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, September 2014, Vol. 23, 173-181. doi:10.1044/aac23.4.173

A review of best practices and recent research efforts provide guidance for serving school-age early communicators with complex communication needs (CCN) and significant cognitive disabilities (SCD). Our aim as SLPs working with students with CCN and SCD is to support the development of intentional and symbolic communication abilities and implement augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems that provide the means for interaction with a range of partners for varied purposes on a myriad of topics. Consistent exposure to knowledgeable communication partners who respond in meaningful ways to expressive behaviors leads the way for learning to use symbolic forms of communication. It is through our instruction and aided language input across a range of contexts that our students with SCD learn and assign meaning to the symbolic representations we teach. The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have heightened expectations about what students with SCD should know and be able to do and offer contexts that emphasize communication as an integral part of learning. Meeting these expectations through active participation and interaction in all learning activities requires reliable access to systems of communication that support ongoing development of abilities as a speaker, listener, reader, and writer.

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