Home Academia & Research Spotlight on Special Interest Group 12, Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Spotlight on Special Interest Group 12, Augmentative and Alternative Communication

by Kathy Beatty
written by
clinician working with child

SIG 12 is dedicated to improving the quality and availability of AAC services to consumers throughout the life span. Read on for why affiliate Kathy Beatty finds this SIG so professionally rewarding.

When did you join your SIG—and what made you want to join?

I have been a proud member of SIG 12 since 2010. I was presenting at the ASHA Schools Conference and spoke with a SIG 12 Coordinating Committee member about the benefits and support that I would receive by joining SIG 12. It was definitely a wise choice.

How has your involvement with the SIG helped you in your career?

Oh my goodness, in so many ways! The world of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) changes at an incredible rate. It is wonderful to know that I have a place to find solid AAC clinical information. I particularly enjoy reading our novice practitioners’ questions and sense their relief in having an affiliate to share with. I have found the ideas and insights from experienced colleagues across the nation to be superb. And I have comfort that so many of us are dedicated to providing the best AAC supports and services possible. It is truly amazing how generous our members are with their AAC knowledge!

How do you carve out time to volunteer with the SIG while working in your full-time job and balancing other commitments? What advice would you give to someone who’d like to get more involved in the SIG, including how you get support from your supervisor/institution?

I will be completely honest—my life is busy, busy, busy. But volunteering with SIG 12 and meeting so many dedicated members has made my busy schedule so worth it. My volunteer tasks wax and wane, so there are never too many at one time. As for advice about getting involved in SIG 12—do it! You will receive many rewards from helping our field to grow while supporting our members.

What upcoming events related to or sponsored by your SIG should everyone know about? Chats, conferences or convention events?

ASHA recently had a live webinar, “Effective Solutions to Ethical Dilemmas in AAC,” which is now available on demand. This topic is of great importance as we navigate the sticky ethical issues in AAC. We also had a live chat in October on “AAC and IPP in Private Practice.” Plus, the SIG 12 affiliates meeting at the 2018 ASHA Convention. I can hardly wait! Just let me say—it will involve costumes!

What is your favorite recent Perspectives article, and why?

I am eagerly awaiting the articles that will soon be appearing with a focus on AAC and cultural linguistic differences (CLD), edited by Gloria Soto. This is such a timely topic. I have seen far too many individuals with CLD experience additional roadblocks to communication, especially in the area of AAC. As a profession, we need to learn all that we can to empower their communication and honor their differences.


Kathy Beatty, MA, CCC-SLP, is director of the AAC Mentorship Program for the Speech Pathology Group, Inc., in the San Francisco area. kathy@speechpath.com

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