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This module will assist teams in using the WATI Assistive Technology Decision-Making Guide for Communication. As the team looks at a student with complex communication needs (CCNs), it is important to gather information that will assist in the decision-making process to meet the student's communication needs.

This module uses the following three questions to gather student-centered information for that purpose: What are the student's abilities and difficulties associated with communication? What environmental considerations impact the student's communication? What communication task(s) does the student need to successfully accomplish? The answers to these questions will guide the team in making decisions about selecting appropriate communication systems based on a feature-match process, facilitating the student's communication needs across environments, and supporting the various communication tasks the student with CCNs has to perform.

Estimated Time to Complete: 2 hours

  • What's Included
  • 34 pages
  • Pre/post-assessments
  • Optional $20 certficate
  1. List two reasons why determining the communication abilities and difficulties of a student with CCNs is challenging.
  2. Explain why criterion-based assessment procedures are more appropriate for a student with CCNs than standardized assessment procedures.
  3. List two reasons why it is important to determine the symbolization level of a student with CCNs.
  4. Identify two comprehensibility factors that positively impact a communication partner's ability to understand the speech of a student with CCNs.
  5. Describe two barriers associated with a communication partner that could negatively impact the communication success of a student with CCNs.
  6. Define both direct and indirect accessing methods.

Module Authors

Gary Cumley, Ph.D, CCC-SLP

Gary Cumley, Ph.D., was a speech pathologist in California for 20 years prior to receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Cumley is retired faculty and chair of the School of Communicative Disorders at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP). At UWSP, he taught graduate courses in AAC, special populations, autism and school-age language. He also established a comprehensive clinical AAC program for adults and children with CCNs. He has published and co-authored Chapter 3, entitled "Assistive Technology for Communication" in the WATI - Assessing Students' Needs for Assistive Technology. Cumley has presented at state, national and international conferences on AAC.

Module Content Provided By

This module was developed in collaboration with WATI and provides updated content from the Assessing Students' Needs for Assistive Technology (ASNAT) - IDEA discretionary grant #: 9906-23. 1992-2009

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