2018 AAC In the Cloud Presenters

The AAC Superheroes we get to hear and learn from this year!

Keynote: Dana Nieder

Dana Nieder is a former teacher, current AAC parent-advocate, and recent recipient of an M.S. in speech-language pathology. She writes the blog "Uncommon Sense" and runs the social media accounts associated with the blog. She is passionate about providing individuals with complex communication needs with early access to robust AAC systems, and about bridging the gap that can exist between AAC families and professionals. Dana lives in NYC with her husband, Dave, and two children, Maya and Will.

Susan Berkowitz 

Susan Berkowitz has been a speech-language pathologist for over 40 years, working primarily with augmentative-alternative communication.  She has worked in a variety of settings.  Susan holds graduate degrees in both speech pathology and education, combining her knowledge of educational strategies, language development, and behavioral implementation in her practice. She has published research in peer reviewed professional journals and speaks across the country at national and international conferences and private workshops about aac implementation.

Rachael Langley MA, CCC-SLP

Rachael is a speech-language pathologist working as an Augmentative/Alternative Communication (AAC) Specialist in Mid-Michigan. Her 15-year career has focused primarily on supporting students with complex communication needs. A two-time graduate of Michigan State University, Rachael has worked as clinical faculty at the university level for several years. Rachael is one of the organizers of the #TalkingAAC Conference, the only conference of its kind in Michigan. Rachael enjoys creating and sharing materials that promote awareness and best practices from the field of AAC.

Heidi LoStracco, MS, CCC-SLP

Heidi LoStracco is an ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist who holds a Bachelor's Degree in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences from Temple University and Master's Degree in Speech-Language Pathology from LaSalle University. For the past 12 years, Mrs. LoStracco has focused on AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) for students who have complex communication needs (CCN).  She is one of the creators of the Speak for Yourself AAC app and has a vast knowledge base in regard to communication devices, AAC apps and implementation in the school, home, and community. She continues to work daily with students and young adults who have CCN and use AAC to communicate.

Melissa Hoffmann

Melissa has been practicing for 22 years. She graduated from the University of Toledo with my BA in Communications in 1992 and Western Michigan University with my MA in Speech-Language Pathology. She worked in a variety of medical settings before joining the Assistive Technology department at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in 2010 to focus on augmentative communication. She works with people of all ages who need AAC and diagnoses within outpatient, inpatient and home care settings.

Amber DeVine-Stinson, MS, CCC-SLP

Amber is a sole owner and provider of services at East Louisville Speech Therapy, LLC, in Louisville, Kentucky. Amber graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders, and received her Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology from Nova Southeastern University. She worked for the public school system for 10 years and found her love for augmentative and alternative communication. In 2014, Amber made the decision to leave the school system and pursue private practice where she could provide AAC evaluations, trials, funding, and ongoing therapy for children with complex communication needs.

Kathryn Helland, MS, CCC-SLP

Ms. Helland is the AAC Services Coordinator at the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University. She provides information, AAC evaluations and AT consults to consumers of Pennsylvania's Initiative on Assistive Technology (PIAT). Kathryn is a certified speech-language pathologist and has worked with individuals with autism spectrum disorders and complex communication needs. She received her bachelor's degree from Oberlin College and her Master's in Communication Disorders from William

Paterson University. She blogs on AAC and AT at the website, AACCommunity.net.

Kelly Fonner

Kelly is a self-employed consultant in assistive technology and AAC. She is a Special Educator and has a Masters in Educational Technology with emphasis in Rehabilitation/Special Education. Since 1986 she has presented to schools, universities & families in 48 states & internationally on augmentative communication, and access to literacy development. You can find out more about her & her services at www.kellyfonner.com

Jill Senner, PHD, CCC-SLP

Jill is a speech-language pathologist with 20 years of experience working with children with complex communication needs. She is the owner/director of Technology and Language Center where she specializes in providing augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and assistive technology (AT) services including assessment, consultation and training, and workshops/lectures.  Dr. Senner has presented at numerous national assistive technology conferences and has taught graduate courses in AAC and swallowing disorders.  She has published research in the areas of AAC, siblings and disability, and swallowing disorders in cerebral palsy.

Matthew Baud, PHD, CCC-SLP

Matthew has been working with AAC for the past 14 years.  He currently is the Assistive Technology Coordinator at Niles Township District for Special Education (NTDSE) performing evaluations, trainings and coaching communication partners.  Matthew also has his own AAC private practice working with individuals with complex communication needs from birth through adulthood. He is an adjunct professor at Saint Xavier University where he teaches a graduate course in AAC and has presented at national and state conferences. Matthew has published research in the area of AAC.

Shelley Harris

Shelley is a Children’s Librarian at the Oak Park Public Library where she focuses on family learning. She is in charge of educational programming like storytimes and parent workshops as well as literacy supports. She also has a sibling who uses AAC.

Brian Whitmer

Brian is a computer programmer with extensive experience in human-computer interactions who graduated with his Masters of Computer Science from Brigham Young University. He co-created the learning management system, Canvas, utilized by hundreds of districts and universities nationwide. In an effort to improve communication for his daughter who has Rett Syndrome and cannot speak, Brian worked with dozens of speech professionals to develop and then create the cross-platform augmentative communication app, CoughDrop. CoughDrop is now used around the world to give voice to people with communication struggles.

Audra Vanderland, MS
Audra wears two hats: special education teacher and mama to an AAC user. Her tween uses AAC to talk back, sass, and insist on more YouTube -- so she gets lots of practice with "something's wrong"! Serving children with social-communication disabilities for a decade, she is deeply committed to the idea that ALL children have the right to access robust language taught in respectful and authentic ways.

Miriam O’Sullivan

After graduating with honors with a Bachelor of Arts in social care, Miriam began her career in the disability sector where she worked with adults and children with varying degrees of physical and intellectual disabilities. In 2016 she received her Master of Arts after performing a research project “An Exploration of the Effectiveness of of Communication apps through mobile devices on children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.” Since graduating, Miriam has managed two disability service centers and established her own business, AAC Tech which uses evidence based practices and interventions to empower people with disabilities through the use of mobile devices and apps.

Amanda Samperi

Amanda is a speech-language pathologist with a particular love of assistive technology (AT), augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), and executive functioning (EF).  She is a passionate SLP who loves coffee, blogging, travel, photography, musical theater, and more coffee.

Jenna Williams, MA, CCC-SLP

Jenna received a Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Chapman University, where her passion for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) sparked while hosting summer camps for high-tech device users and building iOS applications. Upon moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, Jenna has primarily provided consultation services to AAC users in schools. Jenna has presented at both ASHA and CSHA, and universities across California on topics relating to AAC. She also supports other AT/AAC Specialists who participate in the AAC Special Interest Group Mentorship Program at the Speech Pathology Group.

Sarah Weber

Sarah earned her Masters of Science in Speech-Language Pathology from Chicago’s Saint Xavier University in 2014. She has worked in private clinics and therapeutic day programs serving students with autism, developmental delays, and emotional disorders. Through her work with these diverse populations Sarah has gained skills treating pragmatic language disorders and language delays in children with challenging behaviors. Sarah has completed additional training to support children and families using AAC devices. Her therapy is focused on the whole child with an emphasis on parent participation to help her AAC users  participate in meaningful communication in their everyday lives.

Patricia Gutierrez

Patricia has been working as an independent AT consultant & trainer for 25 years, providing services to families and therapists on the use of technology in the areas of language and communication, accessibility and learning disabilities. She presents on this topics around Argentina through webinars and workshops.

Jodi Melendez

Jodi has a passion for inclusion, literacy, and AAC. Her daughter, Sirlei, has Angelman Syndrome and is an AAC user. Jodi has worked as a speech paraprofessional teaching and supporting special educators, general educators, educational assistants and parents in the implementation of AAC systems for students with complex communication needs. Jodi now works as a special educator/inclusion support coordinator at her local elementary school. She works closely with her students and the general education teachers to ensure access to the curriculum and implementation of AAC systems within the general education classroom.

Angela Sheets
Angela is a graduate of Ball State University with a bachelor's degree in special education. She has taught elementary intense interventions for 18 years. She is passionate about designing access for all students to meet their greatest potential. Sheets is also a parent of a child who has cerebral palsy, who is an assistive tech user. Sheets has co-presented at PATINS, Indiana Principals’ Association, Indiana AAC Summit, ATIA, SXSW.edu and AAC in the Cloud. In addition, she has served two years on the ISTAR Content Review Panel, has had guest posts on the AAC Language Lab and PrAACtical AAC, and is a certified LAMP professional.

Nicole Wingate, MA, CCC-SLP

Nicole is a graduate of Ball State University with a bachelor’s of science degree in speech-language pathology and audiology and master’s in speech-language pathology.  She has worked in the a school setting for 18 years.  She is passionate about optimizing her students’ communication abilities so that they may become competent communicators.  Wingate has co-presented at PATINS, Indiana Principals’ Association, Indiana AAC Summit, OCALICON, ATIA, SXSW.edu and AAC in the Cloud.  Nicole has had guest posts on the AAC Language Lab and PrAACtical AAC, and is a certified LAMP professional.

Rachel Madel, MA, CCC-SLP

Rachel is a speech-language pathologist who owns a private practice in Los Angeles where she specializes in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) to help children with autism. She co-hosts a weekly podcast called “Talking with Tech” that helps guide parents and professionals through the assessment and implementation of AAC.  On her website she provides educational resources, therapy materials, and training videos to help support parents of children with autism.  

Chloe Rothschild

Chloe is a young adult who has PDD-NOS. Chloe is verbal, but uses AAC to supplement verbal language. It has enriched her life. She enjoys using her talent and love for writing to raise awareness about autism. Rothschild is on the PSA for the Autism Society and on OCALI's advisory board. In addition, she writes blogs and operates a public Facebook page, where she shares her story. Finally, she has spoken to various groups of people and at conferences about autism from her perspective.

Lydia Wayman

Lydia  is an autistic advocate, artist, and writer/editor with a B.S. in education and an M.A. in English and nonfiction writing. She has presented at events for students, parents, and youth with disabilities as well as national autism conferences. She has also written about autism in magazines, books, and online publications. Lydia enjoys being creative and mentoring younger autistic friends and supporting families by helping them understand how their kids see the world.

Deidre Dobbels

Deidre is a Speech Language Pathologist specializing in AAC and language development at Barrington CUSD #220. With over 17 years of experience in the public school setting, she has worked with students with a variety of Complex Communication needs. Deidre has created a multi-media Core Vocabulary curriculum, and is author of a Teacher Pay Teacher webstore. She seeks to identify and develop practical and creative resources to increase the use of AAC in the classroom setting.

Kelly Key

Kelly is an Assistive Technology Coordinator at Barrington CUSD #220. Kelly has a background in both special education teaching and administration. She provides consultative and direct intervention for students aged 3-22 helping to increase their access to the curriculum. Kelly has a special interest in Core Vocabulary and championed the Universal Core Approach for Language and Literacy established at Barrington CUSD #220. With Kelly's energetic and engaging nature, she is a highly sought out presenter throughout the United States

Shaun Pearson

Shaun is a Speech-Language Pathologist, trained at McGill University in Montreal and now practice in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Shaun currently works as an Assistive Technology Specialist supporting students with complex communication needs with a primary focus is on building capacity with others therapists, teachers, classroom staffs, and families. Shaun has provided workshops and presentations on various topics both locally and internationally, including ATIA.

Jennifer Cook

Jennifer has been an Instructional Assistant for three years. She is also the Director of Special Needs (adaptive programming) at the Caylor Nickel Foundation Family YMCA. She is a single mom to 3 amazing boys! Her love and passion for special education stems from seeing the milestones, smiles, hugs and potential of all students!

Tristan Dick

Tristan is an instructional assistant at Bluffton Harrison Elementary. She has 2 daughters and is an Army wife. She has 3 years of experience in ABA therapy and in the classroom. She has an associate's degree in medical assisting and planned to continue on to her RN but had a change of heart as she felt God leading her to work with individuals who have special needs. Tristan finds every day of her job to be fun, crazy, and exciting. She believes in endless possibilities for her students.

Josey Kahn

Josey is a proud mother of four boys. She is in her second year as an instructional assistant  at Bluffton Harrison Elementary School. Josey states that working in the classroom can definitely be challenging however, seeing progress towards individual goals and communication is amazing!

Mike Cole, MS, CCC-SLP

Mike is the President of Use Your Words, P.C. established in 2010 specializing in augmentative and alternative communication. He provides services to individuals with complex communication needs and their families in the home, school, and community setting. Prior to this he served a variety of students in self- contained and inclusion school settings as assistive technology specialist in school district 204 in Aurora, IL. In this position Mike provided consultation and training to staff, students, and families with specific emphasis in AAC evaluation and implementation. Additionally, consultation, training, and implementation guidance regarding assistive technology tools to allow access to curriculum including reading, writing, math, communication, and the physical environment was provided. Mike presents locally and nationally regarding topics related to AAC and assistive technology. Past presentation venues include ATIA, Infinitec, AAPPSPA, ISHA, and school district.

Lucas Steuber

Lucas Steuber, MA-T MS CCC/SLP is an applied linguist and Speech-Language Pathologist. After years in private practice Lucas served as clinical director for the AAC app Avaz FreeSpeech, which won Best of CES China in 2016; helped to found AAC Live, a a distance consultation website connecting skilled SLPs with families who do not have access to local specialists; serves in a strategic planning capacity for the Autism Society of America, and co-founded the educational network SpeechScience, where he co-hosts an AAC podcast called Talking With Tech. Lucas is now Global Product Manager for Tobii Dynavox, one of the largest eye gaze hardware and AAC software manufacturers in the world.

Amanda Hartmann
Amanda is a Speech-Language Pathologist with over 20 years experience working in schools and with families, and as a technology consultant. All this has led to a passion for working with children and young adults with disabilities and learning difficulties. She currently runs a busy private practice in Brisbane Australia and works part time with AssistiveWare. She also gives lectures on Augmentative and Alternative Communication at the University of Queensland and loves sharing what she knows about AAC and literacy!

Elisabeth Nuboer
Elisabeth wears both sales and marketing and project management hats at VocaliD. She is a skilled business development professional, with 20 years of experience in language learning software and media domains. She has run direct and channel sales as well as international sales and marketing. Elisabeth holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts. With a lifelong love of language and culture, she is fluent in Dutch and Swedish.

Alyssa Hillary

Alyssa is an Autistic PhD student in the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program at the University of Rhode Island. Among other areas, they study Augmentative and Alternative Communication, both in the form of brain computer interfaces and as used by autistic adults. Alyssa hosted a United States Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication chat (#ussaachat) on AAC in the workplace and uses AAC part time.

Amy Goldman, MS, CCC

Amy is a technical assistance specialist with the national Assistive Technology Act Technical Assistance and Training Center (AT3), where she provides support to state assistive technology (AT) programs in the eastern US.   A lifelong advocate for access to AAC, she serves on the National Joint Committee for the Communication Needs of Persons with Severe Disabilities (NJC).  Previously she chaired ASHA’s Special Interest Group on AAC, and she is currently on the Board of Directors of the US Society for AAC.

Bonnie Mintun

Bonnie Mintun Sp. Ed.  is Training Coordinator and Jamie Crum M.ED is Program Director of CTEC and. Each has spent over 25 years in the world of AAC, through evaluation and training, curriculum and program development, and long term experience with family members who use AAC.

Jamie Crum

Bonnie Mintun Sp. Ed. is Training Coordinator and Jamie Crum M.ED is Program Director of CTEC and. Each has spent over 25 years in the world of AAC, through evaluation and training, curriculum and program development, and long term experience with family members who use AAC.

Erin Sheldon, M ED

Erin is an AT consultant and CEO of Integration Action for Inclusion, Ontario's parent association for school inclusion. She also works for Assistiveware. She presents workshops and conferences across North American and in over a dozen countries, and has written book chapters, articles, online modules, and manuals for educators. She is the mother of a teenager with Angelman syndrome.

Christine Baudin, MS, CCC-SLP

Christine is a Speech-Language Pathologist from Long Island, NY. Christine loves AAC and has specialized in this area for most of her 20+ year career. She has worked in evaluation centers, hospitals, schools, and client homes. Currently, Christine consults for school districts throughout Long Island and sees children and adults privately. She also sees a few children in NYC. Christine is the founder and admin of the Facebook group: AAC for the SLP, a group for professionals, with over 17,000 active members to date.

Chana Feinstein

Chana Feinstein is an SLP specializing in AAC at a nonprofit clinic.