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Shema Kolainu – Hear Our Voices Webinar Brings Hundreds Together to Explore Augmentative Alternative Communication

BROOKLYN, NY, UNITED STATES, July 29, 2020 / — Shema Kolainu – Hear Our Voices (SKHOV) hosted a free webinar workshop, “Intro to Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC)”. SKHOV’s Chaya Sara Templeman, SLP-CF, TSSLD, led the presentation and provided an overview of the different AAC technology available, as well as helping participants understand the pros and cons of each technology and which populations, they serve best.

“We want to establish a social connection and teach children with autism to engage with others,” said Templeman while explaining why AAC can help children with autism understand and interpret social situations while learning to communicate thoughts, wants, needs and ideas.

Individuals can take many years to learn how to use and operate hi-tech, robust AAC devices but Templeman described how low-tech methods such as Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) can provide students and parents with a less intimidating system to help children with spontaneous communication.

“The main purpose of AAC is to help children communicate without prompts or assistance,” said Templeman, “For some children, AAC devices become their voice.”

The webinar workshop reached a wide audience of over 300 participants using the Zoom Webinar platform, including a diverse range of professionals including social workers, educators and parents of children with special needs.

Templeman concluded her presentation by helping participants understand that it takes a lot of time and patience for individuals to get used to communicating with an AAC device or method. “Don’t rush the process or get frustrated,” she said while explaining that learning to use an AAC device is similar to learning a new language and that it takes time before children feel comfortable communicating with one.

During the Q&A portion of the webinar, a participant shared her story and introduced everyone to her son who learned to communicate through the help of an AAC device.

SKHOV Founder and CEO, Dr. Joshua Weinstein, started the workshop series to share important information with the neurodiverse community, “Our Speech Pathologist help children with ASD every day, using AAC as just one of the many ways to help them find their voice.”

The workshop was provided free of charge by the New York City Council Autism Initiative and a full video of the presentation, along with many others, is available here:

Shema Kolainu - Hear Our Voices

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