Tag: AAC

Episode 94 | Sabita Finds Her Voice: Advocacy for the nonverbal

Episode 94 | Sabita Finds Her Voice: Advocacy for the nonverbal

This week on ISAAC’S Autism in the Wild podcast Holly is joined by an amazing mother, entrepreneur, and advocate for the nonverbal community, Dr Stephanie Vavilala.  We were honored to zoom chat with Dr Stephanie about the amazing facility she is opening as well as the services she is currently offering in St. Augustine Florida through her LMH practice Therapeutic Expressions and her nonprofit organization Sabita Speaks. Listen in as we discuss important programs that have been created to fill the many gaps in special needs care across the country and the release of Dr. Stephanie’s book, Sabita Finds Her Voice which serves as a flagship for educating the youth about AAC Speech Devices and how they can better bridge the gap between the verbal and non-verbal populations.
Dr. Stephanie Vavilala, Ed.D, LMHC, BCBA, RPT-S is the CEO and founder of Therapeutic Expressions and Awetism Wonderland (an autism therapy center), as well as the author of the children’s book Sabita Finds Her Voice. She is the mother of a daughter who has autism and is non verbal, Sabita. Stephanie’s daughter inspired her to become a leader in the space of special needs. Her therapeutic style is holistic, empowering, and action-oriented. She and her daughter reside in St. Augustine, Florida.
Episode #10 | AAC Speech Output Devices for Communication

Episode #10 | AAC Speech Output Devices for Communication

My special guest this week is Lauren Swineford, research professor at Washington State University. Dr. Laurie (as we like to call her) is a speech-language pathologist and assistant professor at Washington State University. She earned her PhD at Florida State University and completed her post-doctoral training in the Pediatric and Developmental Neuroscience Branch at the National Institute of Health. She has conducted extensive, longitudinal studies with children with ASD and her clinical and research interests involve the prelinguistic and language development for individuals with ASD.

Dr. Laurie and I dived into the confusing world of AAC communication and what this means for our kids with language disorders.  You’ll learn:

  • What exactly AAC stands for.
  • Why AAC is such a hot topic.
  • The difference between “unaided” systems vs. “aided” systems.
  • Deep discussion on the messy state of research with regard to effectiveness of AAC (specifically with regard to technology based communication programs.)
  • Importance of early intervention and emphasis on functional use of spontaneous communication.
  • Discussion of the National Autism Center report (2015) that evaluated the state of treatment research for individuals with autism and it’s assessment of AAC.
  • Recommendations to parents for what to look for when seeking an AAC assessment.
  • Myths about who would benefit from AAC.
  • Takeaways recommendations for parents on how to view AAC.

***The second half of this podcast is dedicated to specific information regarding Dr. Laurie’s current research projects at WSU. Families with young children starting as early as 9 months of age (with and without concerns of ASD) can be part of her program to help further research on language development in young children. The second project focuses on developing a screen process for assessing language in young children, once it it is present.  This program is for children ages 2 to 12 years of age.

This post will be updated with contact information for research program participation as soon as it is available.