Building a Foundation of Language and Literacy - For Students with Complex Communication Needs

In this training, participants will determine students' language and literacy levels, help students participate in meaningful interactions, and create learning environments that support communication.

A foundation of language and literacy skills is essential for social, functional, and academic progress for all students. But Johnny is "so low," he can't walk or talk. Susie just rocks and screams all day. Mary isn't using her device and Fred just asks for cake. How do we move beyond cause effect switches and requesting to help students understand language and express themselves? This series will explore how we can help students with significant disabilities build the language and literacy skills they need. This special training event will address 1) how to assess current levels and create measurable goals that will make meaningful change in students' lives 2) how to create a communicative environment using communication tools and 3) ways to provide integrated language and literacy interventions. Content will be applicable for all professionals serving students with complex communication needs of all ages/grade levels.

Intended Audience

  • Speech-language pathologists
  • Special education teachers
  • Board-certified behavior analysts (BCBAs)
  • Occupational therapists
  • Administrators

Participants Will

  • Determine students' language and literacy levels
  • Write relevant and measurable goals
  • Build essential language and literacy skills
  • Move beyond cause/effect switches and requesting
  • Help students participate in meaningful interactions
  • Integrate communication tools into everyday activities
  • Create learning environments that support communication


Wednesday, January 17, 2024, Wednesday, January 24, 2024, and Wednesday, January 31, 2024 from 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM


  • Janet McLellan, Ph.D., M.A., CCC-SLP-L, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Alison Pentland, M.A., CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Liz Arenas, M.S., CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Sharon Reyes, M.S., CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Casandra Guerrero, M.S., CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist


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