ARPDC Professional Development Resources

Resources to Support Low Incidence Population

These resources are intended to provide professional learning for professionals working with Children and Youth in the Low Incidence Population.


Complex Communication Needs (CCN)

Children and youth with complex communication needs (CCN) benefit from assistive technology and augmentative and alternative communication to support communication and language development. Students who have complex communication needs are unable to communicate effectively using speech alone. They and their communication partners may benefit from using alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) methods, either temporarily or permanently.

AAC systems of communication do not rely on speech. Children and youth who require AAC may have some speech but not enough to meet their daily needs. AAC systems may be used to augment existing communication skills or provide an alternative to speech.


 Issues and Trends in AAC Interventions for People with ASD – In Conversation with Dr. Ganz

How we can use naturalistic aided AAC instruction and parent and peer-mediated interventions to support communication and language development for children and youth with Austism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who also have complex communication needs. Potential topics of discussion include the necessity of involvement of family members in AAC intervention, a focus on functional language in natural contexts, and using multiple modes of communication in developing communication in this population.




Environmental Communication Teaching (ECT)- Webinar 3-part Series

Environmental Communication Teaching (ECT) is a researched-based classroom intervention strategy for teams who serve students who struggle with expressive communication. It is appropriate for special and regular education settings as well as in preschool/early childhood settings. It is appropriate for identified students who have high-tech and low-tech communication systems/apps, but who have not begun to implement them in school settings. It is not an AAC assessment training. This is not a pull-out therapy model. It is an implementation planning strategy for symbolic communicators. If you are interested in strategies for presymbolic communicators, please request information on CEP: the Communication Enhancement Process.

The researched-based model of ECT determined that the most effective ECT teams consist of a teacher, SLP and para-educator. The typical training support is through a school year-long process where these educators gathered at 4 to 5 days of training at various points throughout the school year as they make systematic changes in order to increase the communication output of targeted students.

This webinar series will highlight the 5 main points of the ECT process that has been running in US and Canadian classrooms for over 25 years.


Webinar 1 Planning for Communication in the Classroom (September 15, 2016)

Training on the basics of ECT and the common solutions to classroom communication that it can provide. You will be taken through the process of identifying “ECT” students and looking at classroom activities as to the type of communication opportunity it provides to students with complex communication needs who typically are already identified, provided with some type of an AAC app/system, but have yet to use that on a regular basis. Examples through information and video will be used to develop an understanding of communicative requirements of educational, vocational, and community activities. Teams will begin the process of choosing an activity and be provided with information on how to script an activity.



Blind or Visually Impaired (BVI)

Visual impairment generically covers a continuum of visual functioning and can include the following terms: blind, legally blind, partially sighted, low vision, or cortically visually impaired. For educational purposes, an individual with visual impairment is one whose visual acuity is not sufficient for the student to participate with ease in everyday activities. The impairment interferes with optimal learning achievement and can result in a substantial educational disadvantage unless adaptations are made in the methods of presenting learning opportunities, the materials used and/or the learning . ~Quick Guide Supporting Children & Youth From Low-Incidence Populations

These resources are intended to provide professional learning for professionals working with Blind or Visually Impaired (BVI) Children and Youth.




Webinar: Access to Core Vocabulary Using 3D Tactile Symbols with Kathy Look Howery (September 14, 2016)

New research is challenging the commonly held belief that students who have severe visual impairment, significant intellectual disability and complex communication needs must focus their symbolic communication with symbols that have a concrete referent. (Snodgrass, Stoner & Angell, 2013)

It is now commonly understood in the field of augmentative and alternative communication that all students need access commonly used core vocabulary. Core vocabulary is a small set of simple words, in any language, that are used frequently and across contexts. (Cross, Baker, Klotz & Badman, 1997)

This webinar will introduce you to a newly developed set of 3D tactile symbols created by the Centre for Literacy and Disability Studies. Current research and practice focusing on the use of these symbols to support language development and expressive communication will be also shared. You will also be directed to resources that can assist you in teaching and modelling use of core-vocabulary throughout the day for students whose challenges come in multiples.



Webinar: Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) Readasaurus Kit (November 16, 2016)

You may be familiar with CNIB’s Braille Creative Writing Contest and CNIB’s role in providing an accessible TD Summer Reading Club. But have you heard of the Readasaurus Kit and, CNIB’s website about alternative literacy for kids and teens with vision loss? Did you know that CNIB has a Pinterest board, and a series of videos about DIY braille and tactile books?


Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH)

Children and youth who are Deaf or hard of hearing (DHH) make up a very diverse population, making it difficult to make general statements about them as a group. Some of this diversity is rooted in factors like cultural, linguistic, social, medical, and physical variables. Because the Deaf or hard of hearing population is so diverse, it is critical to address the individual’s unique set of strengths and needs when planning to support teaching, learning and development. It is important to assist children and youth to develop the ability to exercise self-advocacy and self-determination and develop ways to access communication. This may include visual and signed language such as American Sign Language (ASL), acoustic communication through  audiological interventions, and technologies such as hearing aids, cochlear implants, and amplification systems. A strengths-based approach also considers the ways in which children and youth who are Deaf or hard of hearing may best be able to access, understand and use information. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles, combined with a responsive, whole-person approach, can support effective teaching, learning, and inclusion while addressing individual needs and preferences.  ~Quick Guide Supporting Children & Youth From Low-Incidence Populations


Webinar: Facilitating the Development of Auditory Skills in Children with Hearing Loss: An Introduction to the CID SPICE Auditory Training Curriculum

This introductory webinar is designed for speech-language pathologists, teachers of the deaf and audiologists to capitalize on auditory information made available to students with cochlear implants and/or hearing aids.

It will focus on research-based practices for auditory training and recommended procedures using the Central Institute for the Deaf (CID) Speech Perception Instructional Curriculum and Evaluation (SPICE) to build a foundation for auditory skill development.




Language and Speech Services For The Hearing Impaired (LSSHI) Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital

The Language and Speech Services for the Hearing Impaired (LSSHI) at Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital shares the services they offer to help children with permanent hearing loss in both ears learn speaking and listening skills. The LSSHI works together with families, community agencies, and health service providers to support clients and families to reach their goals and use technology in their day-to-day lives.