În 1997, avea loc în Ungaria, prima Conferință Regională de Comunicare Augmentativă și Alternativă, pentru Europa Centrală și de Est. De atunci, din 2 în 2 ani, fără intrerupere, diferite țări au organizat această conferință oferind posibilitatea cât mai multor persoane să afle despre AAC și cât mai multor specialiști să facă schimb de experiență. În 2017, România are onoarea sa organizeze a 11-a Conferință Regională de Comunicare Augmentativă și Alternativă, pentru Europa Centrală și de Est, o ediție aniversară, cu ocazia împlinirii celor 20 de ani de la inaugurare.
Această Conferință este un prilej de a reuni într-un context academic și multicultural atât specialiști din țările cu îndelungată tradiție în utilizarea AAC cât și profesioniști care sunt la început de drum în implementarea acestei strategii, cu scopul de a oferi șanse egale în comunicare, persoanelor non-verbale (persoane cu paralizii cerebrale, autism, deficiențe mintale severe, afazie, alalie, etc). Pe lângă specialiști, sunt așteptați să participe la conferință utilizatori de comunicare augmentativă si altrenativă, parinții acestora, studenți, profesori, reprezentanți ai autorităților educaționale și ai ONG-urilor.
În programul Conferinței se vor regăsi prezentări în plen ale keynote speakerilor, prezentări pe secțiuni, workshop-uri, sesiune de postere, și expoziție de tehnologie asistivă și dispozitive si soft-uri de comunicare augmentativă și alternativă.
In 1997, the first Eastern and Central European Regional Augmentative and Alternative Communication Conference took place in Hungary. Since then, every 2 years, different countries have organized Regional Conferences for enabling more people to learn about AAC and many specialists to exchange their experiences. In 2017, Romania will be honored to organize the 11th Eastern and Central European Regional Augmentative and Alternative Communication Conference, an anniversary edition celebrating 20 years from the beginning.
This conference represents an opportunity to bring together in an academic and multicultural context both specialists from countries with a long tradition in using AAC and professionals who have just started out implementing this strategy, in order to provide equal opportunities in communication for all disadvantaged persons. Besides the specialists, at the conference are expected to participate AAC users and their parents, students, teachers, representatives of educational authorities and NGOs that are interested in special education .
Conference program will include plenary presentations of keynote speakers, parallel presentations, workshops, poster session, and an exhibition of AT-AAC devices and software.
   Obiectivele conferintei vizeaza:
– realizarea unui schimb de experienta cu celelalte tari din zona Central si Est Europeana, privitor la utlimele inovatii in domeniul Comunicarii Augmentative si Alternative;
– largirea arealului de implementare a Comunicarii Augmentative si Alternative, prin invitarea cat mai multor participanti din tari in care sistemul nu este cunoscut inca;
– oferirea unui aport semnificativ dezvoltarii implementarii Comunicarii Augmentative si Alternative in regiunea Est si Central Europeana, prin invitarea unor Keynotes Speakers din USA, UK, Norvegia, Suedia, Finlanda, Germany, Australia, Cipru, Portugalia.

Estimam ca impactul conferintei va fi considerabil prin dezvoltarea cercetarii aplicative in domeniul educatiei speciale ( cu prioritate al terapiei limbajului si comunicarii), prin cresterea calitatii actului educational din scolile speciale si scolile inclusive, precum si pentru dezvoltarea calitatii vietii persoanelor cu dizabilitati grave de comunicare din Romania.

The objectives of the conference :
– An exchange of experience with other countries in Eastern and Central European region, regarding innovations in augmentative and alternative communication;
– Broadening of implementation of augmentative and alternative communication, by including many participants from countries where AAC is not in general use, or widely understood
– Providing a significant contribution to the implementation of augmentative and alternative communication development in Eastern and Central European region, by inviting Keynotes Speakers.

We estimate that the impact of the conference will be considerable, by developing applied research in special education (priority therapy, language and communication), by increasing the quality of education in special schools and inclusive schools and to improve the quality of life for people with complex communication support needs in Romania and other Eastern and Central European countries .

Venue of the Conference:


University of Bucharest
Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences
Department of Special Education
Address: no.90, Panduri street, district 6, Bucharest


Aldona Mysakowska-Adamczyk

has been speech and language therapist for nearly thirty years, of which almost twenty she dedicated to AAC, working with people of various ages, mostly youngsters. As one of very few certified Hanen speech therapists in Poland, she works with parents and teachers on supporting children communication and language development. Co-operating with NGOs all over Poland, she have conducted numerous workshops on AAC/AT..
In the years 2006-2012 Aldona was on Board of Mówić bez słów (Speak without Words), a nationwide AAC society, where she oversaw international relations and served as vice-president. With a view to uniting AAC groups in Europe in 2011 she was actively involved in co-organizing in Warsaw the VIII Eastern and Central European AAC Conference. Aldona is an active member of ISAAC, currently in position of chair of the Council. A passionate of making connections and collaborating, she has visited AAC centres worldwide (Croatia, Czech Republic, India, Singapore, Russia, UK, Canada and USA) to develop an international perspective and study cultural background influences on the development of AAC systems, thus trying to better understand the differences while at the same time discovering how much all human beings have in common.


Dorothy Fraser,

from Scotland, is a member of ISAAC BUILD committee, editor of Communication Support World Network ( CSWN ) newsletter and Senior Representative to Eastern and Central Europe for Central Coast Children’s Foundation, an American NGO.
Her role within these organizations is to promote AAC awareness and use in emerging AAC nations by sharing information internationally.
Since 2003 Dorothy has been actively involved in international and national projects, increasing collaborations and developing resources within several European emerging AAC countries. Her aim is to enhance communication skills for people of all ages with complex communication support needs and other communication vulnerable people in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
She has presented at many international AAC conferences and provides training in main stream and special education and healthcare on request from professionals in universities, inspectorates, teacher training centres, schools, hospitals, hospices and local authorities.


Ruth McMorran,

from UK, has over 30 years’ experience working in the field of special education. She has most recently been working as a Specialist Advisory Teacher for ICT (Information Communication Technology), AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) and VI (Vision Impairment); supporting children and young people and assessing their needs. In this post she provided resources to support pupils’ communication and increase their access to the curriculum; embracing a multi-disciplinary approach, working with professionals from education, social care and health. Ruth has worked in a range of settings – schools, family homes, children’s centres, NHS (National Health Service) clinics and a children’s hospice- providing support for children and their families.
Ruth is an associate practitioner with ‘Sense’- a charity supporting children and young people who are deafblind or have multi-sensory impairments (MSI).
Ruth is co-chair of the board of trustees of Communication Matters (ISAAC UK) and takes an interest in the broader field of AAC, undertaking activities such as delivering study days, roadshows, fund raising and lobbying. She chairs the abstracts committee and leads on conference programme planning. Ruth represents Communication Matters at ISAAC and is a member of the ISAAC Council. She is actively involved in a current collaboration between Communication Matters and ISAAC BUILD committee, which responds to requests from professionals who are developing AAC in emerging AAC nations.


Magnus Magnusson,

started in 1970 with a BA of English Language, Uppsala University and then, in 1974 – MA of Speech Pathology, Karolinska Institute. In 2007 was guest professor in Swedish at AGTU and from 2010 NARFU at Universities in Archangelsk. From 2014, Magnus Magnusson is professor of Swedish, NARFU, Archangelsk. For the Swedish Institute, in the national and international projects, he cooperated with Pomor State University, Archangelsk, Russia 2006-2010. And then, from 2007 for the Swedish Institute and the Swedish East European Committee he is cooperating with Dragomanov University in Kyiv, Ukraine 2007 and with Maksim Tank University, Minsk, Belarus. From 2010 he is cooperating with NARFU/Northern Arctic Regional Federal University, Archangelsk, Russia.
Some of his papers includes: in 2004, with Jane Brodin wrote Videotelephony & Disability 1993-2003. In 2005 Creativity through Participation and in 2006 Inclusion of Young Persons in Outdoor Education. In 2009 Magnus Magnusson with Frank Lyons wrote Inclusive arts provision in higher education – learning from the ShareMusic model. CHALLENGE AND CHANGE IN THE HIGHER EDUCATION LEARNING ENVIRONMENT: PROCESS AND PRACTICE Conference proceedings 2006, University of Ulster and in 2010, he wrote with Liya Kalinnikova Magnusson: TOUCH for 7th East European Conference on AAC July, Archangelsk, Pomor State University. Also in 2012 they presented a paper intitulated Family support in the Archangelsk area, in the International Methodological Conference on Social Work, Sydney, Australia and in 2015 he wrote The language in use – linguistic form and linguistic norms in Polikarpov, (editor) Sammebnad von Linguistisches Konferenz, Safu.


Liya Kalinnikova Magnusson,

is PhD in special education, Senior lecturer of the Academy of Education and Economics, High School of Gävle, Sweden. From 2015, also she is affiliated researcher of UCRS. She started in 1979 as special teacher and speech therapist and has a long background in this feld.
Liya K. Magnusson wrote in 2017 Parental attitutes to inclusive education in societies of economical polarisation in Journal Psychology and Special Education and in 2016 “One step ahead and two steps back”: meeting special education and inclusive challenges in the context of poverty (case study in the context of Republic of Moldova) in Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs. In 2015 she wrote Critical factors of the poverty structure in families upbringing children with disabilities (pre-understanding situation in the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine) and then, AAC: ethics of unique communicative context. Sotsial’no Psihologichni Problemi Tiflopedagogiki [Social-Psychological Problems of Typhlopedagogy] From 2014 every year, she participated with papers at conferences. In 2017, together with Magnus Magnusson wrote Challenges Arising From the “Red” and the “White” Special Education Legacy at the 15th Biennial International Association of Special Education (IASE) Conference : Addressing the Exceptional Needs of the Whole Child and Young Adult: Embracing the Future.


Sofia L. Kalman,

I have dedicated 35 years of my professional life to augmentative and alternative communication (AAC, 30 of which as the moving force behind the Hungarian Bliss Foundation (HBF) founded in 1987. I was the director of the HBF for 25 years, and in 1997 I developed the idea of the ECER AAC international conference series. I was trained as a medical doctor specializing in pediatrics, which offered a rather broad basis for my work. After I spent long years on the field of AAC I realized that in order to understand better the challenges of the field I needed to complement my knowledge. Thus I studied for a PhD in psychology and became a habilitated professor in linguistics, but the most surprising and rewarding discoveries came when I started to study law. I realized that no matter how well AAC tools and methods serve people with severe disabilities and special communication needs, as long as our societies and legal systems are not ready to integrate the disabled population, AAC cannot hope to achieve its original aims. It was during this time of realization in 1996 that I became director of De juRe Alapítvány (Foundation), founded by the Californian non-profit organization, Disability Rights Advocates. I have been teaching future special teachers about AAC since 1988, and in my courses I never fail to emphasize the importance of valuing communication not only as a part of the curricula in special education, but as a human rights issue as well. I have written more than ten books, several book chapters and countless papers and other publications related to AAC, all advancing the understanding of nonverbality in its full complexity, its effects on the families, the advantages offered by IT, and the necessity to raise awareness in our societies about disabled people with special communication needs.


Stephen von Tetzchner, professor

Department of psychology, University of Oslo
P.O.Box 1094 Blindern, NO-0317 Oslo, Norway
Address: Oslo, Norway
Telephone: +47 22560611/91363982

Stephen von Tetzchner, Ph.D. is Professor of Developmental Psychology at the Department of Psychology, University of Oslo, Norway. Dr. von Tetzchner has worked both academically and clinically with children with a range of disabilities, including children with intellectual disability, autism and Asperger syndrome. His research includes issues related to normal and atypical development in general, and communication and language development in particular, including the development of children who fail to acquire spoken language in the normal manner and may need intervention with a non-vocal form of language. He has published textbooks on developmental psychology, language development, augmentative and alternative communication, rehabilitation, challenging behavior and Asperger syndrome.


Maurice Grinberg

Maurice Grinberg is associate professor in the Department of Cognitive Science and Psychology and in the Research Center for Cognitive Science at New Bulgarian University. His research interests include judgment and decision making in social and moral dilemmas, mind perception in robots and transhumans, eye-tracking and bio-signal recording technologies, cognitive technologies, behavioural science, experimental philosophy, and e-learning.

Maurice Grinberg is co-founder of ASSIST – Assistive technologies – an NGO promoting and disseminating high-tech AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) technologies in Bulgaria with a focus on eye-control for computer access and communication for people with severe physical disabilities.

ASSIST – Assistive technologies received the second prize of the Bulgarian Ministry of Labor and Social Policy for social innovation in support of social economics for 2016. In the same year, ASSIST – Assistive technologies initiated a large-scale national campaign “Hello! It’s me!” for raising awareness, training specialists, and consulting people with disabilities and their families about the potential of high-tech AAC, involving hundreds of people and extensive media coverage.

Maurice Grinberg has more than 100 publications and has taken part as expert in several large international ICT projects in the field of cognitive science, web-based agents, e-learning, and semantic Web. Since 2006, he is the director of HiLab – Usability research at NBU, which is the first lab in Bulgaria to use eye-tracking technology in research and business projects.

website: assistfoundation.eu


Dr. Vicki R Casella, Executive Director

has been involved in the education of children and adults with special needs for over 50 years.  Her professional experience includes classroom and clinical teaching, public and private school administration, and university teaching and administration.  While a professor in the Special Education Department at San Francisco State University, Dr. Casella initiated the first adaptive technology academic courses in the United States.  Her areas of expertise were focused in teacher preparation in deaf/hard of hearing, learning and multiple disabilities.  For the past 15 years she has served as the Executive Director of The Bridge School, a special school dedicated to ensuring that children with severe physical impairments and complex communication needs develop the education and communication the skills they need to become active participants in their communities and that the effective strategies employed at The Bridge School are disseminated throughout the national and international community.

Doug Watt

Doug Watt

has worked for leading software company Widgit as Business Development Manager for four years and is responsible for activities and global development.

He has a 15 year background in education, specialising in working with children with emotional and behavioural challenges, before transferring to become a Head Teacher within the secure prison estate in the UK.  He is passionate about bringing AAC and visual communication solutions to more people across multiple sectors.


Magnus Sundelin

works for the world leading AAC company Tobii Dynavox as Territory account manager for Baltics, Eastern and Central Europe.
He has a nine year background in technology, educational and AAC sales. Access to technologies, education, giving people a voice and independence is his main interests in the AAC world.


 Kaveh Vefagh

has worked with Assistive Technology and AAC at Tobii Dynavox for six years and is responsible for activities and development in the EMEA region (Europe, Middle-East, South Asia and Africa).
He is passionate about bringing AAC and eyegaze technology awareness to all corners of the world and to allow more people to fulfill their potential and live their lives to the fullest.



* 25 years of experience in educational work with persons with mental and movement disabilities (such as celebral palsy in Conductive Education System) as well as work with children who have difficulties with communication, thus require AAC.

* Member of ISAAC and “Mówić bez Słów” association, chairwoman between 2009 and 2015

* Teacher with a diploma, an expert of the Ministry of National Education

* Organizer of the 3rd Countrywide Conference on Augmentive Communication Methods, Cracow 2005, and the 7th Conference of Eastern and Central European Countries “Let’s talk together” in Warsaw, 2011.

* The main founder and organizer of the conference: Usage of AAC to support communication with persons with speech problems in Zamość, 2009

* Organizer of countrywide training conferences hosted by the “Mówić bez Słów” association in Warsaw: I am – I feel – I touch – I communicate November 2010, High technology and… now you’re talking February 2012, Hear our voice – AAC in religion April 2012, AAC in Autism – from childhood to adulthood March 2013, From disability to activity – selection of proper seating, devices and communication aids and preparing a friendly environment for children with disabilities April 2014, Towards independent communication – experiences of Polish AAC users, October 2014

* Speaker at conferences devoted to augmentative communication methods and therapy for children with disability in Poland, Ukraine and Romania

* Host of workshops for adult AAC users, August 2012

* Lecturer of the subject “Computerized enhancement of re-education process” – College of Management and Administration in Zamość

* Speaker at qualification courses on oligophrenopedagogy, child therapy and autism

* Lecturer at numerous courses on augmentive and alternative communication methods

* Supervisor of classes for nonverbal children conducted using AAC methods in Poland, Ukraine, Russia

* Since year 2000 volunteer at Ukrainian facilities for disabled children in: Lviv, Bila Tserkvya, Kamianets-Podilskyi, Chervonohrad, Lutsk – supervision of classes, consulting children with disabilities and hosting courses and in 2016 in Russia: St. Petersburg, Perm

* Initiatior and main organizer of concerts to celebrate International AAC Awareness Month; the concerts have been integrating environments of nonverbal children’s families throughout the Lublin Region since 2007

* Intern at Percy Hedley School in Newcastle, UK in 2004 and 2014

* Translated a religion handbook for children with disabilities into pictures in 2014

* Reviewer of the PCS version of the elementary school books for 1st and 2nd grade published by the Ministry of Education


 Alina Smyczek

* Special Ed teacher and SLP, for 21 years works in Set of Special Schools No 11 for multidisabled children In Cracow (Poland) using AAC and AT; leader of AAC team at workplace,

* For 18 years shares AAC/AT knowledge and experiences creating and leading workshops and university courses, including 3-semestral AAC-centered postgraduate study.

* Serves in area of Poland, has been cooperated with teachers and therapists from Romania Russia, Ukraine and Denmark.

* Member-Establisher of Polish national AAC Association „Speaking without Words”, chairman of the Board for 6 years, focused on building systematic solutions regarding AAC service in the country,

* Member of Polish Ministry of Education commitees working on standards In Early Intervention (2007-2008) and in Special Education System (2008-2011) determined to include there elements of AAC service,

* ISAAC member since 1999, participant of ISAAC Conferences: Odense 2002, Montreal 2008, Barcelona 2010, Lisboa 2014, Toronto 2016

* Winner and participant of “Teacher In Residence” Program focused on AAC/AT, intern at The Bridge School, California (1999-2000).

* Participant or organizer of Regional AAC Conferences of Eastern and Central Europe (Organization: Kwidzyn 2001, Warsaw 2011; Participation: Slovakia – Zvolen, Czech – Prague, Hungary – Budapest)

* Loves to chat with students using AAC and help them to uncover language, loves to help teachers, therapists and parents to uncover AAC and AT.


Theodoros Kyprianidis

Based on current literature and during my 14 years experience in the field of AT I have noticed that one of the main barriers in the successful implementation of AT is lack of awareness, knowledge and skills, especially amongst professionals. In many cases professionals do have the equipment and software in their hands but have no idea how to use it and help their customers.

During the workshop first will introduce to participants the basics of AAC software and hardware solutions, followed by the introduction to a particular AAC Software – Grid3.

Finally, at the practical part we will demonstrate to the participants how to develop an AAC system using this software.

Grid 3 software empowers people with disabilities across the world to communicate, control their environment and control their computer. You can use Grid 3 with every type of access, from eye gaze and switch technology to touch and pointing devices. Though Grid 3 has not been localized in Romanian Language it can be implemented and used by Romanian natives effectively

Otojoy Staff Portraits (2015-10-21)

Maggie Mahoney

Maggie Mahoney (BSBE, ATP) is an assistive technology practitioner specializing in AAC and alternative access.  Her passion for this industry began in university where she learned how technology could be used to bridge the independence gap for people with disabilities.  After a rewarding career in the clinical sector as a Rehabilitation Engineer she transitioned to the commercial side of the AT industry.  For over the last 10+ years Maggie has worked with many of the leading AT and AAC companies in both the US and Europe.  She currently works for Smarbox Assistive Technology and supports the European market.

This session will offer an overview of the family of products and resources available from Smartbox Assistive Technology; including Look to Learn and Grid 3 for education, communication and independence.

Pre-AAC Pathway (Look to Learn, Interactive Learning, First WordsAAC Pathway (Communication Grids)
Independence Pathway (Communication, Computer Access and Environmental controls)


Jarosław Urbański

Jarosław Urbański is the founder and President of Harpo – a limited liability company in Poznań, Poland, since 1985. Harpo performs R&D activities, produces and distributes equipment for disabled persons, providing training and advice.
Jarosław Urbański led many R&D projects leading to development of commercially
successful products for persons with various disabilities. His expertise is in the field of special needs and ways of helping those, who are threatened by their disability to be excluded from society. His fields of activity are:
 –  promoting and enabling Braille literacy by means of smart electronic devices;
 –  development of special devices and materials for blind to use tactile graphics;
 –  promoting augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) in Poland and other countries in Eastern Europe;
 – promoting and bringing knowledge on needs of disabled people to R&D projects
funded by the EU in other fields that disabilities;
 – promoting active long living by elderly people by working in R&D projects in the
Jarosław Urbański is a member of ISAAC – International Society of Augmentative and Alternative Communication.
He graduated with Master of Science degree in Electronics Engineering from the Technical
University of Gdańsk in 1985. Later, in 1999, he graduated Master of Science at Purdue
University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA in Management and Business Administration

Harpo is a limited liability company established in 1985. It has been delivering solutions for visually and print impaired people since 1988. Harpo is a recognised research centre for assistive technology. Many of the projects lead by Harpo were contracted by the Polish State Committee for Scientific Research and Ministry of Science. Most of these projects concluded with new products produced by Harpo. Many of the products are distributed worldwide.

Thanks to Harpo’s own research they were able to develop many successful products for blind and profoundly disabled people and also a network of international partners to distribute the equipment. On top of its own developments the company has been bringing products from developed countries to Polish customers. At present Harpo is a leader on the market of electronic and computer equipment for the disabled in Poland.

11th ECER AAC  Conference Program – PDF format

Tuesday 4, July


Registration (8.00 – 9.00)
Opening Session (9.00 – 11.00), Stoian amphitheater
Chair: Professor Florin Verza, Vicedean of Psychology and Educational Sciences Faculty, University of Bucharest
– Representative of MEN
– Representatives of University of Bucharest and of Psychology and Educational Sciences Faculty

History of ECER AAC

Professor Magnus Magnusson, PhD

Professor Liya Kalinnikova Magnusson, PhD

Professor Sofia Kalman, PhD

Coffee break (11.00 – 11.45)

Artistic moments – dance teams from special schools (children with special needs and volunteers from high schools)  

Plenary session (11.45-13.45), Radulescu Motru amphitheater
Chair: Professor Doru Vlad Popovici, Professor Florin Verza

Keynote speakers: Doru Vlad PopoviciAldona Mysakowska-Adamczyk, Dorothy Fraser, Ruth McMorran

Lunch and Visiting Poster session and Exhibition hall (13.45 – 15.00)
Workshops (15.00 – 17.30)


  Chair: Assistant Professor Emilia Oprisan, Special Education Teacher Madalina Constantin

Radulescu Motru amphitheater

Chair: Senior Lecturer Valentina Vartic, Special Education Teacher Nicoleta Radu

Stoian amphitheater

15.00-15.30 NEWTON project – a new approach in STEM learning process – Marilena Bratu, Phd, Flori Stoica and SIVECO
15.40-16.25 Signalong – communicating through signsVicki Pearson, Nicoleta Ionescu, Silvia Scarlat Teacher’s communication competencies  between aspirations  and realities – Verginia Cretu


16.45-17.30 The technology in our access methods and the Tobii Dynavox Eye Gaze Learning Curve – Kaveh Vefagh Adult Users of AAC with Severe Physical Impairments Discuss the Impact of their Communication Systems on their Educational Success and Social Engagement – Vicki Casella, Carmen Valcu


  • Meeting of ECE AAC Countries Representatives (17.30 – 19.30)

Looking back 40 years

Magnus Magnusson, PhD

The idea of AAC is a fairly recent one in the international scientific environment. This presentation will try to give a historic review of some main key points in its history, starting in Sweden and other places where you could say that the birthplace of the concept was coined. We will be introduced to names, ideas and projects, some of which still are very much alive and some who should be remembered more than they are. Hopefully the presentation will give some ideas for further development of AAC in our different countries.

Building resources for AAC education: connections over the world

Liya Kalinnikova Magnusson, PhD

Education in the field of AAC for some ECER AAC networking countries remains a rather difficult resource to get access to, especially for the newest participants at this networking conference  (from different reasons). However, the community of professionals that operate through various AAC technologies and approaches is growing. The number of children/adults and their social entourage, who have received experience of using AAC support, and have contributed to its development is increasing as well. More and more researchers from interdisciplinary fields are involved in the development of AAC theory. This paper is analyzing the dynamics of the development of the AAC educational resources in some of the ECER AAC networking countries and discussing experiences/efforts of promoting and building these resources.

Teaching, learning, sharing = COMMUNICATING

Sophia L. Kalman, MD, PhD, DML

Geographical regions tend to share many traditions both in culture and education. As a result of the often difficult histories of our region certain approaches and techniques are more relevant here than in other parts of the world.Thus our experiences might be not only easily shared, but we can effortlessly learn from each other as well.

That was the basis of initiating the Eastern and Central European Regional AAC Conferences in 1997 in Budapest (Hungary), not daring to hope that in 20 years we’d celebrate the 11th occasion of these meetings. More and more countries,  participants, families and exhibitors proved that this was an exciting and important event for all of us working in this region for people with special communication needs. In this opening remark we can follow not only these ever growing numbers, but also the thematic development of the ECER AAC Conference Series. No matter whether somebody comes from an emerging AAC country or has already done some significant work in the AAC arena, everybody might benefit from our common wisdom.

AAC in Romania – present and future

Doru Vlad Popovici, PhD; Tudorache Loredana Adriana, PhD

This presentation aims to illustrate the role and the level of AAC development in Romania, but also what AAC perspective is. AAC is a guarantor for respecting the rights of people with special needs who have affected communication by multiple types of disability that occurred at some point in their development. Raising awareness of the communities, the responsible central and local authorities, as well as families and specialists, but also a strong partnership with other specialists and institutions from abroad are important interventions to increase level of information on AAC and AT in Romania.

International Society of Augmentative and  Alternative  Communication  as a platform  for international collaboration

Aldona Mysakowska- Adamczyk

This presentation will offer an overview of the role, structure and main activities of the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC).

ISAAC is an international membership organization working to improve the lives of children and adults who use AAC. ISAAC’s vision is that AAC will be recognized, valued and used throughout the world. ISAAC’s mission is to promote the best possible communication for people with complex communication needs. The organization’s activities are supported by its members through standing committees and working groups that focus on specific responsibilities. The LEAD committee, led by people who use AAC, addresses their needs and interests. The BUILD committee promotes the use of AAC in emerging countries. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, official journal of ISAAC, publishes scientific articles related to the field of AAC. ISAAC conference, a world gathering of people who use AAC, their families, practitioners, researchers, vendors and all other interested in AAC, is held every two years in a different location around the world.

Anyone interested in participating in any ISAAC activities is welcome to join. Everyone who has ideas for activities or projects is invited to inspire other ISAAC members by sharing and collaborating.

 Practical ways to spread AAC awareness, use and understanding in emerging AAC nations

Dorothy Fraser

The presentation is based on Dorothy’s collaboration with AAC professionals in many European countries who are looking for ways to overcome barriers and develop AAC relevant to their local culture and economy. She will demonstrate, through national and international examples, practical methods of sharing information and material to expand AAC awareness and use in education, healthcare and society.

 Working together: Communication Matters (ISAAC UK) and BUILD European Subcommittee work in partnership to support European AAC Developing Nations

Ruth McMorran

This presentation will demonstrate the value of working together as a team. It will provide an illustration of a successful model of international partnership within the AAC community.

Communication Matters’ Board of Trustees and ISAAC BUILD committee members have established a positive working partnership.

Together we have formed connections with European AAC developing nations

  • to support the increasing awareness about communication and AAC;
  • to advance the use of AAC and assistive technology knowledge and skills in ways that benefit people with complex communication needs.

The presentation will demonstrate the value of developing partnerships:

  • Strengthening existing projects established by ISAAC BUILD and extending links to other nations in partnership with the ISAAC chapter;
  • Building on these links – connecting with professionals with knowledge of working in each country and connecting with local therapists, teachers and people who use AAC (pwuAAC) at their request.

 NEWTON project – a new approach in STEM learning process

  1. Gabriel Miro Muntean, PhD, dr. Marilena Bratu, Flori Stoica, head of Special School Sf. Maria and SIVECO

NEWTON is a large-scale, pan-European project aimed at developing, integrating and disseminating TEL methods and tools in order to create a novel way of delivering STEM which not only enhances the learner’s experience but also improves learning outcomes. It is aimed at both the students themselves but also the educators – the teachers, lecturers and so on who have to engage with the class and deliver the content.

NEWTON have a number of targets: first of all, intend to introduce novel aspects into the learning process such as multimodal content delivery and multisensorial media distribution – i.e. haptics and smells, not just audiovisual stimuli –  as well as state-of-the-art technology, e.g. augmented reality and gamification in real life and virtual labs.

 Adult Users of AAC with Severe Physical Impairments Discuss the Impact of their Communication Systems on their Educational Success and Social Engagement

Vicki Casella, Carmen Valcu

This presentation will describe my experiences and interactions with a group of adult users of AAC. You will have an opportunity to hear from these adults how they communicate and the impact that having an effective communication has on their lives. Most of these adults were students at The Bridge School from an early age.

Once they had an effective communication system, they went on to complete their education in fully inclusive classrooms in general education programs. Now, as adults, they work to raise awareness of the importance of early intervention and support for education and communication for people with severe physical impairments and complex communication needs. A major goal of the BCTAC group is to promote self-determination and self-advocacy for individuals with special needs. The video presentation will contain not only moments of their social life events and meetings, such as their role as mentors in The Bridge School’s selfdetermination curriculum, but also bits of their day to day existence.

Signalong – communicating through signs

Vicki Pearson, Nicoleta Ionescu, Silvia Scarlat

The right to communication is essential for all, so it is crucial to use all the methods by which the isolation of people with disabilities can be diminished. One of the advantages of the Signalong system is that it can be used in parallel with other communication methods and can be adapted to each person’s ability to understand.

The technology in our access methods and the Tobii Dynavox Eye Gaze Learning Curve

Kaveh Vefagh

Eye Gaze technology in AAC

This presentation will focus on eyegaze technology as an interaction and access method in AAC. We will look at how the technology works and how you can maximize the chance for success using various software for teaching eyegaze to reach maximum success. We will also look at eye tracking and how that can be used as a method to understand and develop user’s ability in their AAC journey.

Wednesday 5, July

Registration (8.30 – 9.00)
Plenary session (9.00 – 11.00), Radulescu Motru amphitheater

Chair: Senior Lecturer Cristian Buica–Belciu, Junior Lecturer  Loredana Adriana Tudorache, Special Education Teacher Daniela Cara
– Keynote speakers: Stephen von Tetzchner, Sofia L. Kalman, Liya Kalinnikova Magnusson, Agnieszka Pilch

Coffee break (11.00 – 11.30)

Parallel Sessions (11.30 – 13.30)

  Scientific Research  in  AAC

Chair: Senior Lecturer  Ruxandra Folostina, Special Education Teacher Madalina Constantin

Stoian amphitheater

Good practices  in  AAC

Chair: Junior Lecturer  Sabina Stan, Special Education Teacher Nicoleta Radu

Radulescu Motru amphitheater



Kristine Stadskleiv

Assessment of cognition in children using Augmenative and Alternative Communication

Kate McCallum; Fil MaIntyre

AAC Hacking – Sometimes it’s the little things that make the difference.



Brigitta Miksztai-Réthey

Matching person and technology through offering different information and communication technology (ICT) solutions for individuals with severe speech and physical impairments (SSPI)

Sally Featon; Kate McCallum

“Come on world:”Sign Out Loud”

12.10-12.30 Yvonne Lynch; Juliet Goldbart; Janice Murray

Clinical decision making in symbol communication aid assessments for children: a systematic review

Joe Reddington; Kate McCallum

The Open Voice Factory



Stijn Deckers

Vocabulary selection in AAC in individuals with intellectual and/or multiple disabilities: Applicability of core vocabulary?

Grace Law; Catrin Williams

Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) for Adults with Learning Disabilities.



Darie Croitoriu

When high-tech AAC becomes personal

Ruth McMorran; Catherine Harris

Communication Access in the UK 



Michele Della Ventura; Emilian Erman Mahmut

Prototype application for screening of dyslalia in the early school age (6-10-year-olds)

Mascha Legel

My Film, My Story, Film as Observable Communication


Lunch and Visiting Poster session and Exhibition hall (13.30 – 14.30)

Workshops (14.30 – 16.10)

  Chair: Junior Lecturer Aneta Feldman, Special Education Teacher Madalina Constantin

 Stoian amphitheater

Chair: Assistant Professor Roxana Urea, Special Education Teacher Daniela Cara

Radulescu Motru amphitheater

14.30- 15.15 The road to literacy within AAC – using visual scenes and symbol communication to reach literacy and independence – Magnus Sundelin (Tobii) Addressing the Communication and Educational Goals of Children with Severe Physical Impairments and Complex Communication Needs through the use of AAC and Assistive Technology – Vicki Casella, Carmen Valcu
15.25- 16.10 WidgitImproving Communication and Participation in Mental Health & Social Justice Settings using Visual Support – Doug Watt


  • City Tour (17.30) and Traditional Dinner (18.30)

Designing case studies of augmentative and alternative communication practice

Professor Stephen von Tetzchner , PhD

Individual children can show a variation in development not otherwise found in the group, both of typical and atypical development. Descriptions of individual developmental trajectories can therefore supplement knowledge of development based on group studies. Clinical descriptions of individual children are called case studies. One advantage of such studies is that they can go into greater depth and provide insight into the processes underlying the atypical development, also in a scientific sense. A case study is thus a strategy for investigating a particular phenomenon within a life context using multiple sources of evidence. Case studies typically include both qualitative and quantitative information, but most of the data tends to be qualitative. They allow for the inclusion of rich contextual information typical of real intervention situations and are often used as a method of record keeping to document diagnostic and interventional practices. Individual case studies may be particularly useful in documenting the development of augmentative and alternative communication, because they allow for diversity and individual learning strategies. The typical bottom-up approach of case studies may provide knowledge about the applicability of strategies for promoting AAC that are not always seen in larger studies, which tend to have a more top-down approach. Case studies are also useful for practitioners, because they represent a model for observing intervention and progress, and for documenting and reporting the development of children who are developing alternative means of communication.

Presence and Lack of Standard Protocols in AAC – Needs vs. Contradictions

Sophia L. Kalman, MD, PhD, DML

Chief AAC advisor for the Hungarian Bliss Foundation

  1. Prof. of ELTE University, Budapest

It has been more than 10 years now that researchers encouraged introducing evidence-based practice (EBP) instead of the usual “experience-based” or “routine-based” AAC practices.  There is a significant body of literature dealing with the relevant questions and conditions of EBP emphasizing that EBP really means an integration process of the best and most actual research evidences with the most successful clinical practices and the relevant stakeholders’ opinions and view points. EBP was a promising phenomenon in the AAC arena since it offered an opportunity for developing standard protocols. Talking about standards in a field where individual decision making is a must in every segment of it – type, level, goals, means, tools, practices, strategies, background etc. – is a controversial issue, but nonetheless very important. EBP served as a tool for the birth of papers describing best practices in classrooms, in choosing technical equipment, working for integration etc., but best practices are still not equal with standard protocols. Diagnostic procedures have a special place since there are hundreds of them using very similar approaches and methods, but emphasizing the inappropriateness of the available standards and the importance of the individualization. There are other areas of AAC with certain internationally accepted standards regarding terminology, aims of AAC intervention, importance of partners’ training, etc., but there are still some white spots. This presentation concentrates on two of these white spots, both of them dealing with teaching and training issues.

A very thorough search of the Internet and other available sources couldn’t come up with well-defined standards either for future AAC instructors or for future lecturers in AAC teachers’ education. College students would like to learn how to teach AAC: if somebody will teach math or reading skills will learn the didactic steps of the teaching process. With AAC in most cases one can offer only a few hints and tips and suggest that the student should read, watch and listen a lot, and whatever she picked up should be adapted to her client’s needs using her own creativity. The usual course material – AAC taxonomy, technical background, questions of positioning, significance of choice making, boards, pointing, conditions for effective communication etc. – won’t answer their question of how to implement their knowledge. It is not easier in the case of future lecturers either who will be in the position to teach the future AAC instructors. The future lecturers also could well use some standards to base their courses on focusing on issues like how to prepare their students for teaching communication strategies, working with families, how to build a multimodal communication system, how to deal with technical aids in the classroom, how to work successfully on implementing and generalizing the use of AAC outside of the school environment, and many other practical aspects of teaching AAC which their students will definitely face.

Certainly the educational and teaching standards are always influenced by national, local, educational, linguistic etc. traditions and requirements, but still, on both level – teachers’ training and trainers’ training – some well-defined standards incorporating EBP results would mean a more reliable and consistent, internationally shared knowledge.

Costs of AAC: methodology of time, space, tools and values 

Liya Kalinnikova Magnusson, PhD

Despite AAC being many-faced/interdisciplinary scientifically and practically with its own about 40 years history, it is dominantly seen through the methodology of  communication as a central phenomenon and, specifically, the development/implementation of “communicative instruments” for those who have special communicative needs.

At the same time methodology of ACC has its cost dimension, which has its fundamental presence in each AAC case in the forms of time, space, individual tools and values. Special needs require support/help and demand for external resources. Environmental response, hopefully provided by a welfare system, becomes a natural and important substitutional societal effort for those with special needs (children and adults). The AAC-effort in its cost dimension has its multilevel structure, where macro-, mezo- and micro- levels are representing specific “life world contexts”, and are often leading families of AAC users to social and economic impoverishment. Such issues of support as service accessibility, quality, regularity, etc. are key aspects of this support and are costly for many societies internationally. AAC, as a communicative tool (low or high technology), comes with a price even though its form might be unclear.


All the ECER AAC networking countries have ratified main international documents regarding the rights of children and people with disabilities, professional ethics for establishing national platforms of values toward those who need extra societal resources for human being existence etc, stressing AAC needs. What solutions could be found to diminish the gap between the “declaration” and its “implementation”?   The presentation is aiming to focus on the discussion around this question.

 Why do non-verbal people want to be open about their sexuality?

Agnieszka Pilch

In Poland the subject of sexuality of people with disabilities is neglected. In our country there are many adults with cerebral palsy, who didn’t have an opportunity to learn about this subject at school.The purpose of this speech presentation is to show the development and outcomes of a collaborative project between young adults with complex communication support needs and professionals, to overcome barriers to knowledge about this essential area of life. Background information In 2012, as part of an international collaboration between a UK therapist specializing in AAC and Polish AAC professionals, the therapist was invited to a self- help environmental house for informal discussions with a group of young adults with complex communication support needs and their care assistants. During the meeting sexuality was identified as a main topic of interest by the residents. This then became the theme of a locally organized structured project. Young adults who use AAC living in the Self-help Environmental House requested a meeting with a sexologist, supported by AAC. That meeting resulted in a collaborative project that revolved around preparing films and workshop resources, which are now used at courses on sexuality of people with disabilities. The workshops were focused on body and physiology, hygiene, expressing emotions, sexual behaviours, maternity and sexual violence. In the speech I will present and discuss the main target groups of the project as well as the views of the persons concerned, adults with disabilities, on sexual education for people with complex communication needs. We will also show support resources that were prepared together with young adults using AAC. The key questions the AAC users were asked during the workshops were – Do AAC users with motoric disabilities want to talk about sexuality? ; Why is it important for them; Are they able to use proper resources to communicate and ask questions connected to sexuality?; Are we capable of discussing this subject? The AAC users looked for answers to questions that had bothered them for a long time. The main conclusions were: In order to teach persons with complex disability about sexuality we need time, open-minded people and conviction that it is important for people with complex disabilities and communication support needs. The staff that work with them should possess knowledge of sexuality and problems that people with complex disability have, as well as the ability to communicate using AAC. The results of the workshops attended by the AAC users were presented at a country-wide conference.

AAC Hacking – Sometimes it’s the little things that make the difference

Kate McCallum, Fil MaIntyre

. As said by Beukelman & Mirenda 1998, “Everyone can communicate. Everyone does communicate.”
In order to make access to communication as easy and functional as possible, we often hack, put together bespoke items to facilitate access to AAC. In some cases we are doing the same hack time and time again. Other hacks are quite unique and bespoke. We will share a range of solutions we have put in place to help resolve some of the problems faced by our students who use AAC, their families and our staff to support the everyday use of AAC.
We will share ideas and demonstrate practical solutions including lo cost communication book, mounts, colour coding systems for all chargers and low cost sensory stories.
In sharing ideas and good practice at conference I hoped to help make life easier for one or two individuals who use AAC and their support team.

Come on World “Sign Out Loud”

Kate McCallum, Sally Featon

Each year since 2013, we have presented ‘Sign Out Loud’ (SOL) at Communication Matters conference UK. The feedback we received was amazing & we’re currently delivering SOL throughout the UK & presented at ISAAC 2016.

This paper will be a practical session, aimed at sharing with the audience how we have inspired our college community to embrace Makaton & transfer skills learnt in SOL into the classroom & beyond.

Used in 43 countries, Makaton supports people who have difficulties with both expressive & receptive language. Many people who use high-tech AAC use sign as a way to support their communication when the aid is not available to them.

We encourage a fun, lively but relaxed approach to learning Makaton. Through the use of songs which are chosen by SOL members & repeated weekly, people who attend report feeling the repetition of the signs in songs really helps them learn.
SOL has been embraced by hundreds of people, we would like to share the success with ECEAAC2017.

Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) for Adults with Learning Disabilities.

Catrin Williams, Grace Law

Grace and Catrin are speech and language therapists working in the UK NHS, working with adults with learning disabilities. Up to 90% of people with learning disabilities have communication difficulties (RCSLT, 2013). This can mean individuals are misunderstood, experience failure and exclusion from events, activities and relationships.

Grace and Catrin presented at the 2016 Communication Matters annual conference on their group therapy programme. An article discussing this intervention will feature in the February 2017 issue of the ‘Bulletin’ (RCSLT). The presentation will outline their AAC pathway, assessment, low tech, high tech and therapeutic intervention. The pathway ensures everyone referred follows the same route through assessment, implementation and discharge. Therapeutic intervention can be direct sessions, indirect sessions with carers, staff training or group therapy. They will also outline the challenges faced in implementing AAC and the future outlook for their team.

 The Open Voice Factory

Kate McCallum, Joe Reddington

The Open Voice Factory converts communication boards into communication devices. Anyone can create an aid by editing a PowerPoint template to add their own pages or utterances. When you upload your template to the factory, it will create a working communication aid for you.The resulting programs run on any platform, from tablets to laptops to phones, without installation or complex setup.
Everything we make is free. That’s free as in ‘don’t pay for it’ and free as in speech.
We’ll be showing off The Open Voice Factory with CommuniKate and outline a vision of where we want to go next.

The Open Voice Factory is a nonprofit community project rather than a product: we understand that providing communication aids is less than half the battle. So after the demos we’ll be asking people for the changes that the want to see within the fields of AAC, and we’ll try to connect those people with people who can make the change.

Communication Access in the UK 

Ruth McMorran, Catherine Harris

Communication Matters (CM) is a small charity which punches above its weight. We are the UK chapter of ISAAC with a membership of 400. We have an office in Leeds, 2 paid staff and 12 voluntary trustees. Our website is key to communications and the go to place for information about AAC. We facilitate and organize an Annual Conference, Roadshows, Study days, resources and signposting. We have representation on key UK policy bodies.

The trustees of CM were made aware about the concept of a national symbol for communication access in 2013 when there was parallel presentation at the CM annual conference from the Scope (Victoria) team. Denise West and Brett Reynolds were then invited as our keynote speakers at the 2015 CM Conference to share how the project has been rolled out in Victoria state Australia. Since then we have continued to have regular contact with them as we have investigated how we could initiate a similar project in the UK.

The CM trustees felt that, if we wanted it to have maximum impact and sustainability, then we would need to work in collaboration with other key organisations. In 2016, we initiated meetings with various other UK charities to share the vision. Communication Matters, the Stroke association and Royal College Speech Language Therapists organised a Stakeholders meeting to which over 60 organisations were invited and which included representation from government.

My Film, My Story, Film as Observable Communication

Mascha Legel

For children with no or limited speech storytelling can be a complex process. If children have a speech production problem, they experience obstacles in being effective communicators and expressing themselves. There are multiple options to facilitate their storytelling competencies such as the use of (a combination of) AAC modes by the children and their communicative partners, and specific training in storytelling and language comprehension. With assistance of film, the possibilities of AAC and storytelling can be combined: “Film as Observable Communication (FaOC)”.

FaOC can facilitate communication since it can:
– Be used as a technical AAC tool
– Assist interaction with communication partners
– Be used to train narrative skills and language comprehension

In 2013 the project “My Film, My Story” was started at several regular and special education schools. This project is collaboration between AAC- users and their family, school-environment and speech-and language pathologists (SLP’s). Within this project, which is based on the idea “Film as Observable Communication (FaOC)”, children are taught how they can make film and how they can use film as a tool for storytelling and communication. With FaOC the children make their own film and become the director of their story.

The aim of this presentation is to provide insight in how to use film in storytelling as assisting tool for AAC. We hope that the participants can experience the enjoyment and effectiveness of film in Storytelling. You don’t need to be a professional filmmaker to use film in AAC.

Assessment of cognition in children using Augmenative and Alternative Communication

Kristine Stadskleiv

Children using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) need communication aids tailored to their individual needs. This implies taking challenges and strengths of the individual child into consideration, and is dependent upon a thorough assessment of each individual child.
The objective is to present 1) a framework (the “AAC pyramid”) for identification, assessment and follow-up of children needing AAC and 2) a method for reliable assessment of cognition in severely speech and motor impaired children.

The results presented will illustrate that children using AAC are at risk of having cognitive challenges, but also that there is great variation within the group needing AAC. Furthermore, the results underline the importance of a comprehensive individual assessment of children needing AAC, and illustrate how this can be accomplished by adapting response mode.

Clinical decision making in symbol communication aid assessments for children: a systematic review

Yvonne Lynch, Janice Murray, Juliet Goldbart

Children who are non-speaking may benefit from symbol communication aids. Identifying the most effective communication aid for individual children is a complex decision making process. This presentation will provide an overview of the ‘’Identifying appropriate symbol communication aids for children who are non-speaking: enhancing clinical decision making’ (HS&DR: 14/70/153) project. The results of a systematic review conducted as part of the project will also be presented. The aim of the review was to identify, appraise and synthesise the literature related to how clinicians make decisions in symbol communication aid assessments for children with disabilities. Following a comprehensive search strategy and screening process, all studies meeting the inclusion criteria were quality appraised and a data extraction procedure was carried out. The search procedures and review findings will be presented with recommendations for future clinical practice and research.

Matching person and technology through offering different information and communication technology (ICT) solutions for individuals with severe speech and physical impairments (SSPI)

Brigitta Miksztai-Réthey
Finding the best assistive technology for every individual user demanding assistive technology (AT) solutions for operating a computer is a complex question of different disciplines. Researchers have been exploring the potential of technology since the 1980s. Not much later, low-cost webcam-based eye tracking and head-tracking solutions appeared.

We chose two from the often used head and eye gaze controlled solutions in Hungary: a low-cost (webcam based alternative mouse, called MouSense) and a professional one (Tobii Dynavox PCEye Mini). The main question of the present study was to measure the difference in operation time for a user requiring assistive technology to operate a computer.

 Vocabulary selection in AAC in individuals with intellectual and/or multiple disabilities: Applicability of core vocabulary?

Stijn Deckers

Clinicians need to apply a structured and scientific approach to Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) interventions aimed at improving quality of life through achieving the most effective communication possible for individuals who rely on AAC. However, AAC support teams rarely have sufficient knowledge and experience to select vocabulary for functional use for specific contexts and activities (Beukelman & Mirenda, 2013). Which words should be selected and included in the vocabulary of the AAC system?

Language sample collection and analysis is an historically used evidence-based practice (Aitchison, 2003) for selecting vocabulary for AAC systems (Kovacs & Hill, 2015). For vocabulary selection, there appears to be a certain set of words that can be widely used in a range of communicative settings (Banajee, DiCarlo, & Stricklin, 2003). These words, core vocabulary, can maximize the potential for spontaneous language generation in spoken, signed, graphic, and/or written (output) modalities (Hill, Kovacs, & Shin, 2015). Although a significant research base shows core vocabulary to be comparable in several populations, clinicians in the clinical practice often wonder how this compares to students with severe intellectual or multiple disabilities. It is often questioned whether or not core vocabulary determined in typically developing children is applicable to AAC intervention in these students. This lecture will provide an answer to this question, based on very recent research.

When high-tech AAC becomes personal

Darie Croitoriu

In this paper I attempt to show my research concerning the implementation of an AAC system to a severely disabled person. The text shall first lay out the way in which the concept of interior language linked to the operational construct of symbolic function, understood as a condition for starting an AAC based intervention, has been assessed. This shall be followed by a presentation of the steps undertaken in building a high-tech communication board operated through a camera guided mouse.
This research also paid attention to more psychological aspects of the AAC implementing processes, such as the therapeutic relational scaffold, rendered through phenomenological psychology, not excluding thus the researcher’s personality from the equation. Besides the epistemological aspects, this analysis shall also point to the ethical and the praxiological ones that might interfere with broader themes, such as the need for a proper inter-institutional management of AAC in Romania.


Prototype application for screening of dyslalia in the early school age (6-10-year-olds)

Emilian Erman Mahmut; Michele Della Ventura


The purpose of this paper is to present a method for the assessment of dyslalia, based on the information quantification concept (Shannon and Weaver Theory), through the calculation of the entropy. It is an empirical method that generates output expressed in numbers, which may be analyzed: data derived from a process of segmentation and comparison between the sound spectrum of a word pronounced by a person affected by dyslalia and the sound spectrum of the same word pronounced correctly. The representation of the output by means of an isometric diagram allows for a better and easier interpretation of the results.

The algorithm was initially devised to analyze the entropy of music scores. Music and language share vibration as a way to transmit messages, a finite set (aggregate) of minimal instrumental components (notes and phonemes) for the selection of the message from the infinite sound continuum, and they use the same brain systems and mechanisms for the elaboration of the message.


Addressing the Communication and Educational Goals of Children with Severe Physical Impairments and Complex Communication Needs through the use of AAC and Assistive Technology

Vicki Casella, Carmen Vâlcu

In addition to having a sound educational curriculum and a systematic approach to developing communication skills, a successful program addressing the needs of children with severe physical and communication impairments must employ a wide range of tools, materials and strategies to achieve their purpose. This 90 minute workshop will illustrate and discuss successful strategies in use at The Bridge School.

The Bridge School philosophy embodies a total commitment to respecting each child as a unique individual with strengths, personal desires and the right to a quality education, an effective communication system, and the support necessary to participate in the community of their choice. Our educational program implements a standards-based curriculum on a systematic basis with all children and sets expectations based on the individual strengths of each child and then provides the support they need to succeed. Our programs empower children to thrive in an accessible environment that enables them to explore, make independent decisions, expand their imagination, direct their own learning, physically manipulate objects and materials and interact with other people. We provide the resources necessary to ensure that there are multiple options available to promote participation in different environments and with a variety of individuals. We developed a collaborative working relationship among staff and families to encourage the open exchange of information, develop trust and respect among the stakeholders, provide a coordinated intervention program for the children and to clearly reflect a holistic rather than fragmented view of each child. This workshop includes video and digital examples of intervention strategies, materials, tools and assistive technology in use at The Bridge School with a description of how each contribute to the students’ success.

Improving Communicaton and Participation in Mental Health & Social Justice Settings using Visual Support.

Doug Watt
Techniques to aid communication and understanding, by using visual support and cues, have been used in various settings including Speech and Language Therapy and Education for many years now. They are utilised as a support mechanism and indeed an access point for service users and consequently, provide a means of empowering the user as well as engendering independence, self-confidence and self-esteem. Outside these environments, however, many of these crucial techniques have been overlooked, primarily due to a lack of knowledge of their existence and a lack of tailored resources to meet specific client needs. In this presentation, I aim to demonstrate the powerful effect of using visual support, in the form of symbols, to improve the service user experience in a variety of sectors, particularly within mental health settings and custodial / social justice environments.

Thursday 6, July


Registration (8.30 – 9.00)
Plenary Session (9.00 – 11.15) – AAC user’s presentations, Radulescu Motru amphitheatrum

Chair: Senior Lecturer Valentina Vartic, Special Education Teacher Madalina Constantin

– Keynote speaker: Alina Smyczek 

  • Elina Ino (Finland)
  • Nicoleta Ionescu, Silvia Scarlat
  • Vladut Stamate

Coffee break (11.15 – 11.30)

Parallel Sessions (11.30 – 13.30)

   AAC in East and Central Europe – local development   and best practices

Chair: Senior Lecturer Viorel Agheana, Special Education Teacher Daniela Cara

Radulescu Motru amphitheatrum


AAC in East and Central Europe – Assisstive Technologies and the  future challenges  

Chair: Junior Lecturer  Loredana Adriana Tudorache, Special Education Teacher Nicoleta Radu

Stoian amphitheatrum



 Brigitta Miksztai-Réthey

Family support on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) for raising communication skills of children with Angelman Syndrome – preliminary case study with 6 families

Marian Padure

Educational, professional and social inclusion of students with visual impairment: local solutions to a global perspective




Victoria Maximciuc

Differences about sources of nonverbal communication for children with medium, severe mental disability and associated with autistic spectrum disorder in primary school age

Mircea Bucur

Matematicus: simple language for transcribing mathematical formulas for blind people.



Ioana L. Serban

Specific techniques for developing communication skills in the context of hearing disability

Evgeniya Hristova; Maurice Grinberg

Eye Gaze Assistive Technologies in Bulgaria: Best Practices and Case Studies



Irina Tekotskaya; Anna Artamonova

Individuals with complex communicational needs in Russian society: on the path of change

Katerina Mavrou

From AAC to Literacy & Digital Literacy: A Case study




Gabriela Suplatova; Monika Sulcova; Martina Kukumbergova

Slovakia and AAC field: Our journey within past 5 years

Laurentiu Soitu

Assistive Technology Centers in special schools for children with hearing impairements



Ioana Tufar

Investigating the Effectiveness of an Intervention Program on Communication Skills Based on Gestures and Symbols

Cristina Balas-Baconschi

AAC for children with ASD

Mihaela Ungureanu

Romanian National Strategy for Assisstive Technology, can be a real way to accessibility?


Lunch and Visiting Poster session and Exhibition hall (13.30-15.00)

Workshops (15.00-17.00)

  Chair: Senior Lecturer Ruxandra Folostina, Special Education Teacher Madalina Constantin

Ctin Radulescu Motru amphitheatrum

Chair: Senior Lecturer Valentina Vartic, Special Education Teacher Nicoleta Radu

Stoian amphiteatrum

15.00-16.00 Educational & Practical Workshop on AAC Systems and Communication Software by Able Tech RomaniaTheodoros Kyprianidis and Maggie Mahoney Possibilities and limitations of learning to use mobile devices as tools with children with multiple disabilities – Brigitta Miksztai-Réthey
16.00-16.45 Harpo – AAC Devices – from low to high tech: choice and benefits

Presentation by Jarosław Urbański

Implementing AAC to support language development in early intervention -Anna Walkiewicz; Aldona Mysakowska-Adamczyk


  • Closing Ceremony organized by ActiveWatch (17.00 -19.00)
  • Festive dinner for all participants


 Investigating the Effectiveness of an Intervention Program on Communication Skills Based on Gestures and Symbols

Ioana Tufar

In the literature there are only few studies that have investigated the effectiveness of communication intervention programs that use gesture sign language and symbols, so we conducted a study that aimed to analyze the effectiveness of using a program based on gestures and symbols in some cases of children with multiple disabilities. Initially, we conducted a pilot study to refine the list of gestures and symbols on which the Hands Speaking Intervention Program is based and to clarify the intervention principles applied in this program. The intervention program was elaborated to develop the communication of the children enrolled in the study, following the consultation of the specialized literature and taking into account the practical aspects observed during the time when I was a teacher in deafblind students. The results of the investigation revealed that the intervention program proved effective, significantly improved expressive and receptive communication through gestures and symbols in children with multiple disabilities, especially in the post-intervention phase. The magnitude of the effects of the intervention on the variables reported was high, which means that this type of intervention had a strong effect on the development of expressive and receptive communication.

Setting educational goals to improve communications competencies of AAC users at special school

Alina C. Smyczek

Startpoint of presentation is communicative competence of AAC users described by Janice Light and David McNaughton (1989, 2014). Their concept can be saw like excellent framework to set educational goals on the teaching process pathway. Aquisition of AAC skills needs to be optymally planed. Concret goals seted for each student are critical for creating best communication and educational environment by each member of teachers/therapists team. During presentation a few case studies will be introduced. AAC users with different communication systems and skills will be described with their AAC goals. Video ilustration will be provided. All examples come from students and team of Set of Special Schools No 11 in Cracow, Poland.

AAC for children with ASD

Cristina Balas-Baconschi

Alternative and augmentative communication consists of introducing means to improve communication skills and participation in social life, being used as methods of expressing needs, thoughts, feelings in order to relate the individual to the family, friends, society. Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (TSA) who could benefit from these means are those who have marked difficulties in understanding or using verbal language and who, although introduced into development programs in this area, encounter real barriers to achieving a level close to the normal one in this regard.

The paper proposes an analysis of the most popular means of alternative and augmentative communication, the non-assisted, non-technology and electronic ones, and the way in which the most appropriate of these means is chosen for children with TSA.

Differences about sources of  nonverbal communication for children with medium, severe mental disability and associated with autistic spectrum disorder in primary school age

Victoria Maximciuc

One of the vital competencies is the ability to communicate, which can be done verbally and non-verbally. People with severe and severe mental disabilities are experiencing major difficulties in language development. Special educational needs require the introduction of special courses to train these people: “Language and Alternative Communication”.

 Specific techniques for developing communication skills in the context of hearing disability

Ioana Serban, PhD

Developing the communication skills of children with hearing disabilities is a continuous challenge and an inexhaustible research topic in the field. There are many aspects illustrating the acquisition of communication skills in the context of auditory loss, amplification or compensation. The literature contains a series of studies on the development of listening skills, the advantages of oral methods, the specificity of total and simultaneous communication, or the access to meaning through the mimic-gestual language, the dactyl alphabet and the labio-reading.

 This paper presents the interaction between three micro-components of communication methods and intervention techniques: reading on syllables – Meixner’s approach, discovery of the meaning of words through images – WidgitSimWriter application and poetic expression through Haiku poetry – the verb-tonal method. Each of these methods or approaches contributes to improving the school performance of children with auditory disabilities – on different levels depending on their intellectual level, auditive potential and socio-emotional skills. The combination of the three strategies created a natural approach to discovering the significance of the literary text – to which children with hearing disabilities have access with great difficulty. Thus, following Meixner’s approach and the WidgitSimWriter application, Haiku’s lyrical lyrics make it possible to express poetically children with hearing disabilities and language disorders.

 Family support on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) for raising communication skills of children with Angelman Syndrome – preliminary case study with 6 families

Brigitta Miksztai-Réthey

Angelman Syndrome (AS) is a genetic disorder caused by lack of expression of the UBE3A gene on the 15th chromosome. AS exhibit a broad range of difficulties, including speech and communication impairment and none or minimal use of words. Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) tools are widely used in AS for raising communication skills. We explored (1) the usage of AAC at home, and (2) family-support to raising communication skills of six children with AS.

Results: Number of interactions increased significantly with parents. During the training period and according to this sample a notable development was perceptible in children’s targeted social and communicative skills’ and behaviours’ quantity and quality in several dimensions. Each child started using the targeted AAC-form at home, and two thirds in his/her institution too. Efficiency seem depends on intensity of training. Parents need more support to continue.

Conclusions: AAC is a promising opportunity to developing social and communicative skills in the group of AS. Adaptation and development of evidence-based methodologies and objective measurements of intervention effectiveness and the protocol of home-training seem highly desirable. Our results can potentially serve as a basis for an elaboration of a future research agenda for a better understanding of forms of support families need in applying AAC efficiently in everyday life.

Individuals with complex communicational needs in Russian society: on the path of change

Anna Artamonova, Irina Tekotskaya

It was the medical based philosophy of understanding disability that has by and large determined the attitude toward individuals with complex communicational needs in Russia. This was manifested in the assumption that inability to use oral speech would be seen as an impassable barrier for getting access to education as well as taking part in any other form of participation in the life of society. This approach has resulted in developing a system of correctional schools, and specialized correctional programs, based on one principle – teaching oral communication. Children with severe and multiple developmental conditions, who need individual approach, would be excluded from learning process and society in general; the majority of these children would be isolated to reside on a permanent basis in social welfare institutions.

During the last decade our country has been witnessing the shaping of a stable trend toward changing the perception of individual with complex communicational needs. This became possible thanks to ratification of  the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, along with legislative changes reflected in the bills ‘On education’ and ‘On the principles of social services’ and other regulatory acts. However, the shaping of tolerance toward speech-impaired individuals together with the social approach to seeing disability both in the professional environment and in the society in general, is primary and plays the key role in the above changes. In our contribution, we offer to analyze these above changes in greater detail, outline the emerging obstacles and briefly discuss possible strategies both for overcoming these obstacles and promoting ACC in our country.

 Slovakia and AAC field: Our journey within  past 5 years

Martina Kukumbergova, Gabriela Suplatova, Monika Sulcova

AAC field in Slovakia is still limping compared to surrounding countries like Hungary, Czech Republic or Poland. However, it has a potential to grow. Sadly, it is developing separately, if it is in schools or different country areas. As a result no one knows about the activities, successes or news of their other colleagues. Maybe an umbrella organization that would group proffesionals and spread AAC across the country would be a suitable solution. Our school for children with multiple disabilities is one of many providing AAC, especially supporting students with profound disabilities. Due to this condition, we find that GoTalk app for iPad is a good tool to help us arouse interest in our passive students to communicate and we are slowly incorporating it into education process as well. There are many challenges on the way, one being – how to change parents minds into participating, train teachers to model and use Communication devices on regular base etc. Our school just started the AAC journey, but since most of us believe in it, we think we can contribute to the change. Slowly and with support of skilled proffesionals from surrounding countries we can provide AAC services to our children and adults at the level they need.

Educational, professional and social inclusion of students with visual impairment: local solutions to a global perspective

Marian M. Padure

The impact and importance of assistive technologies (AT) in the lives of people with disabilities have been highlighted by various qualitative research and studies. The transition of young people with visual impairment (VI) from high school to university shows that sometimes they present adjustment difficulties. These difficulties refer to a low level of information and environment accessibility. The use of AT/ICT in education provides us with new teaching and learning models and supports the development and implementation of effective methods that assures equal and real opportunities to education and information. The study analyzes (1) experiences of VI people regarding education, labor market and social inclusion; (2) the possibilities to increase the level of inclusion using AT/ICT; (3) the level of collaboration between high school-academic–labor market, regarding educational and vocational guidance for VI. The research group included high school students in their final year of studies, students from university and graduates. Preliminary data suggest that (1) it is necessary to develop and implement an integrated model of guidance for educational and career profile for young VI people, according to their needs, skills, expectations and available jobs at local and national level; (2) develop a network of effective communication between schools and academic, to identify the individual particularity for education, academic needs and interest of VI students; (3) the need to increase the level of accessibility for information and physical environment. Using universal design models and accessibility guidelines (ex. UD, UDL, W3C, WAI, UN), we can provide specific solutions for education and social inclusion for VI people. Assistive technology is an active partner of educational and professional inclusion of VI people, economic, social policy and legislative factor being taken into consideration.

Matematicus: simple language for transcribing mathematical formulas for blind people

Mircea Bucur

The Matematicus language allows the transcription of any mathematical formula to be read with a voice synthesizer by non-viewers. Also, by the way it was built, it allows strangers to write easily, with the simplest text editor, any mathematical formula.

The intuitive character of the language allows for the understanding of the transcribed formulas with its help from the first reading.

For a visitor who knows the mathematical symbols, a study of several hours is sufficient to learn to read or write in Matematicus.

 Eye Gaze Assistive Technologies in Bulgaria: Best Practices and Case Studies

Evgeniya Hristova,PhD and Maurice Grinberg, PhD

Eye gaze assistive technology is a powerful and widely used high-tech augmentative and alternative communication method. It provides means for children and adults with complex needs (people with severe physical disabilities who cannot speak or use their hands) to use a computer or laptop and specialized software. Until 2015, those technologies were not used in Bulgaria. Now, due to the activities of “ASSIST – Assistive technologies” foundation they are known among the professionals working with children with special needs. They are used at home or at special education school. We want to share the best practices and the experience in Bulgaria with eye gaze assistive technologies. Several examples of using eye gaze are presented: computer access, art performances and public presentations by an adult user with CP; communication and games by a 6 yo child with CP; attention training for a 7 year old child with a genetic disorder.

From AAC to Literacy & Digital Literacy: A Case study

Katerina Mavrou, PhD

This paper aims to present the journey from the use of augmentative and alterative communication (AAC), to literacy and digital literacy, through the case study of G, a young man diagnosed with cerebral palsy (spastic quadriplegia), with no additional sensory or intellectual disabilities. Due to his physical disabilities and profound difficulties in verbal communication, he attended a special education unit in the mainstream primary and secondary school. Until the age of 16 his educators could not define, neither his intellectual nor his cognitive abilities. His evaluation reports always mentioned a good level of understanding, with no literacy skills. G was referred to the Ministry of Education for assistive technology assessment. He has never used any AAC in the past and the only way of communication was with his eye movement, responding to YES/NO questions, mostly understood the mother.

This first assessment concluded to the use of a laptop computer with switch access, which however, proved to be ineffective and did not meet G’s communicative needs and abilities. This resulted to a new long-term assessment process in close collaboration with the family and professionals, which resulted to the use of eye gaze for access and a synthesised voice AAC software supported with Widgit symbols. A coordinated effort led by G himself with the involvement of family and school staff had a key role in G becoming a very effective user of his AAC device for both communication and access. As he very quickly got familiar with eye-gaze, the team developed the first communication grids containing short phrases for everyday needs and basic social interaction, which were represented both in symbols and written text. In a very short time, G moved to independent phrases and words forming sentences by reading the symbols, and then to customized symbol supported word prediction. He then moved to the use of non-symbolized known words and finally to the use of an onscreen keyboard. The eye-control as an access method and the AAC symbol supported software provided a very good experience in accessing other computer applications through his device, and acquiring a better understanding of the digital world. As a result starting from access to Windows Media Player and listening to music, G is today using email, social media, skype and the internet on a daily basis! As this case was also part of a longitudinal study on the challenges and prospects of AT introduction, other issues of policy and practice will also be discussed during the presentation, as the results of the particular study.

 Possibilities and limitations of learning to use mobile devices as tools with children with multiple disabilities – workshop

Brigitta Miksztai-Réthey

Finding the best assistive technology for every individual user demanding assistive technology (AT) solutions for operating mobile devices is a complex question of different disciplines. From the aspects of needs and possibilities besides the preferences, motion state and the development of ICT are among the most important influence factors. Finding the best matching equipment is one of the key questions, but for children with multiple disabilities that learning process of learning to use a chosen device is often a long-term goal, and a big team of professionals are needed to reach it. To acquire the use of mobile devices often a lot of applications and a lot of creative gamification ideas are needed.
It is already a great task to find pedagogically appropriate games, but in most cases these are only tests or games interesting only for toddlers or children with lower intellectual abilities. The first part of the workshop is about how to find applications, and how to quality check them for usability as a learning game for this population. The second part is about the possibility and benefits of making own personalised content for pupils. The Scratch program (for PC) and Scratch Junior application (available for iOS and Android), was created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In the workshop, some easy to use, easy to make exercises will be shown.

 Implementing AAC to support language development in early intervention

Aldona Mysakowska-Adamczyk, Anna Walkiewicz

Language is an integral part of learning and social functioning for all children and is considered necessary for personal fulfilment, development and active citizenship. The literature on typically developing children strongly suggests that early experiences are critical for later language development. With early access to appropriate AAC technologies and services, young children with significant communication disabilities get a chance to build the language and communication skills that they require to achieve their full potential and maximize outcomes.

Implementing AAC to support language development is a team effort aimed to create a broad and rich language environment at an appropriate developmental level and to make language communication happen every day in every situation with different communication partners. Parents are involved in the process of team planning, implementing and evaluating intervention. As the primary communication partners of the child with speech impairment, parents have significant impact on the use and functionality of the communication modes and tools other than speech in family daily life. Access to functional language for children who can’t speak depends on providing AAC aids early and also how language is represented and organized in communication boards, books or VOCAs. Supporting early literacy skills for children who require AAC seems to be an important part of early intervention programs.
This presentation will describe and show the way of implementing Augmentative and Alternative Communication intervention based on developmental language therapy program provided by The Early Intervention Team at School Complex no.109 in Warsaw, one of the leading nationwide AAC centers. Photographs and short video clips will be presented to illustrate the practice with learners who use AAC on different levels.

 Educational & Practical Workshop on AAC Systems and Communication Software

Theodoros Kyprianidis

Based on current literature and on long experience in the field of Assistive Technology (AT) it has been evidenced that one of the main barriers to the successful implementation of AT is lack of awareness, knowledge and skills, especially amongst professionals. In many cases professionals do have the equipment and software in their hands but have no idea how to use it and help their clients and students.

This presentation is a workshop on AT and Augmentative and Alternative (AAC) Communication tools and their role to the lives of people with disabilities. More specifically, during the workshop we will first introduce participants to the basics of AAC software and hardware solutions.

This will be followed by the introduction to particular AT solutions that will offer an overview of the family of products and resources available from Smartbox Assistive Technology; including Look to Learn and Grid 3 for education, communication and independence. Specifically the workshop will cover the following areas:

(a) Pre-AAC Pathway (examples of Look to Learn, Interactive Learning, First Words),

(b) AAC Pathway (how to develop Communication Grids) and

(b) Independence Pathway (Communication, Computer Access and Environmental controls).

The main focus of the workshop will be on (i) The Grid 3, a well-known and internationally awarded AAC Software, which empowers people with disabilities across the world to communicate, control their environment and control their computer. You can use Grid 3 with every type of access, from eye gaze and switch technology to touch and pointing devices. Though Grid 3 has not been localized in Romanian Language it can be implemented and used by Romanian native speakers effectively. And (i) “Look to learn”, which is a motivating and fun way to get started with eye-gaze technology. Every activity in the software has been developed in consultation with teachers and therapists to improve access and choice making skills. During the workshop participants will have the opportunity to learn about ideas and ways of how to develop an AAC system using the Grid 3 software.

Call for papers

– Plenary presentation ( 30 min)
– Parallel presentation ( 20 min)
– Workshop ( 60 min or 120 min)
– Poster presentatin
– Exhibition of AAC / AT equipment

Important dates

– Start of registration and submission of abstracts – November 2016
– Final deadline for submission of abstract –March 20, 2017
– The accepted abstracts and papers for the conference will be announced until March 31, 2017
– Submission of papers for ISBN publication – March 20, 2017

Abstract details

– Title
– Authors (including affiliations and emails)
– 3-5 keywords
– Max. 2000 characters

Abstracts will be selected by the scientific committee of the conference. Based on the accepted abstracts, papers will be produced and included in an ISBN publication.

Submit abstracts for presentations and posters in English or in Romanian to: https://cmt3.research.microsoft.com

Papers for ISBN publication in English or Romanian:

– Title
– Authors (including affiliations and email addresses )
– 3 – 5 keywords
– max. 10000 characters
– For scientific research papers include: theoretical framework, research questions, objectives, methodology and results
– For good practice papers include: general description of the context, objectives, main activities / tools / methods and results / conclusions.

Resources from students:

           We hereby inform you that the registration for 11th ECER AAC have been closed because the maximum number of participants has been reached. Thank you all for your interest and your contribution to the development of this event!
           We hope that AAC will have a more important place on everybody’s agenda – specialists, parents, authorities – through 11th ECER AAC.




The proof of payment of registration fee will be attached in the registration form  here…

For more information (for example: hotels and airport transfer): AAC_Conference@comunicare-augmentativa.ro

For AAC Conference Romania, Facebook page – Click Here

   Academica Guest House is located in Student Complex Mihail Kogălnicanu, Blvd. Mihail Kogălniceanu, nr. 36-46, near the Romanian National Opera, at 15 minutes from the old center of Bucharest and within a convenient distance of area attractions: Cismigiu Garden, National Military Club, Military Technical Academy, Parliament House.
    Academica Guest House has four floors and offers 42 rooms (32 single rooms, 8 double rooms – twin and 2 triple rooms) equipped with air conditioning, fridge, TV and a private bathroom. Each room includes modern communication facilities and free WiFi Internet access. On request single rooms can be set up under double (twin).
On the ground floor are: the lounge (there is a computer connected to the internet), dining room and reception desk. Services as information about public transportation, ordering a taxi, fax or photocopying a document are offered free by the reception staff.
The accommodation is near underground station Eroilor (200m) and is served by public transportation as: 61,66,69,70,85,90,91,92,122,137,138,268,336,601. Link to Bucharest North railway station can be done very quickly by metro or public transport lines: 85 or 123. For  Henri Coanda International Airport, the public transport lines are: 780 (from Bucharest North railway station) and 783 (from Union Square subway station – the second station Eroilor).