Webinar Series

The Agosci webinar series is designed to promote skills and knowledge about AAC across all sectors of the Australian community.   All webinars are free to attend for Agosci members only.  

To attend a future webinar, please log-in to your Agosci account and proceed to the members only page to register.

To view past webinars, please log-in to your Agosci account and proceed to the members only section to view recordings. Past webinars are online within 48 hours of the view date.

Disclaimer:  the information presented in the webinars is the personal opinion of the presenter.


AGOSCI is counting down to our National Tour with Dr Kathy Howery!

We will bring you more webinars later in 2020.

In the interim, we'd love to see you at our National Tour workshops all around Australia in April/May!

For more information, visit our National Tour webpage here


1. Janelle Sampson - What is AAC, and what does it look like?  

Presented 17th February 2017. The first thing to know about AAC is what it should look like. Without knowing where you are heading, it’s often hard to prioritise the multitude of individualised considerations that you will need to make as you start or continue along the learning curve. It’s important to know what real and functional communication with AAC looks like, and also what it doesn’t look like. 

This first seminar in our series of ‘An Introduction to AAC’ will provide participants with examples and stories highlighting the use of augmentative and/or alternative modes for interaction, conversation, learning and participation. It will introduce participants to the variety of ways the messages can be conveyed from different types of technology or non-technology, to various access methods and environments. Without knowing what it looks like, how can we start a journey ourselves, or recommend appropriate supports for our clients. To quote Stephen Covey who wrote ‘7 habits of highly effective people’, we must begin with the end in mind.

The seminar will also discuss some simple strategies to get started, and the role of various players within that process i.e. The person using AAC, family, educators, peers and other service providers. 

2. Cathy Binger - Towards Cohesive Language Development in AAC.

This is a live recording of Cathy's keynote address at the 2017 AGOSCI conference.

Viewing tip - easiest to view on a large screen and good speakers.

3. Fiona Given - Being Part of the AACtion

July 2017. Fiona Given shares her keynote address from the AGOSCI 2017 conference about experience as an AAC user. She speaks frankly of the barriers experienced by multi-modal communicators in Australian society, as well as insight into what the future holds for AAC communicators.

4. Nick Bradbury - How I Became an AAC Communicator

September 2017. Nick Bradbury is a man in his 30’s who started his AAC journey as a child. He has established himself as an independent communicator through switch scanning (via his right knee). Nick shares with us his progression with communication devices and talks about his struggles and triumphs. He talks about what it means to achieve communicative competence, and will provide opportunities to answer questions. 

5. Barbara Solarsh and Georgia Burn (Scope) - Championing Communication Access for All

October 2017. Scope Australia have been leading Australia in their projects to promote communication access for people with complex communication needs. Barbara Solarsh (Communication Access Coordinator) and Georgia Burn (Communication Access Consultant) speak to us about the work that Scope’s Communication and Inclusion Resource Centre and the Victorian Communication Access Network (CAN) has done over the last 8 years, including the Communication Access Symbol accreditation process which has now been awarded to over 200 Victorian businesses. With ambitions to spread these initiatives throughout Australia, Barb and Georgia will be available to discuss the process of awarding the Communication Access Symbol, how people with complex communication needs can get involved, and will discuss what the future holds for communication access in Australia, as well as your questions about communication access.

6. Gail Bennell - AAC and the NDIS - Surfing the Waves of Change

Thursday November 16th 2017. 

With the NDIS getting into full swing across Australia, we are seeing change not only to the way things in disability are being done but also changes within the way the scheme itself is run. Gail Bennell is a speech pathologist, private practice coach and video podcaster who has worked with participants within the NDIS roll out in 3 states since 2013. She will discuss the NDIS Assistive Technology (including AAC) framework, the challenges of providing services in a rapidly changing environment, and the ways that participants and providers can survive (and thrive) in the waves of change. 

7. Siobhan Daley - Achieving Functional Communication Through Minspeak

Thu, March 15th, 2018 7:30 PM AEDT

Siobhan Daley is boccia athlete, an aspiring speech pathology student and an AAC user. She shares with us her journey in learning Minspeak and discussing the successes, challenges and technical aspects on how this method has worked for her and what has helped her in becoming proficient in this language.

8. Janelle Sampson - Assessment and AAC - Where do we start? What am I looking for?

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018 7:00 PM AEST

Where do we start when it comes to assessing people with Complex Communication Needs for the most appropriate AAC solution? Janelle Sampson has over 25 years experience as a Speech Pathologist and currently runs Two Way Street, a busy private practice in South Australia. She will present on considerations for assessment with regards to client/family centred practice and also within the context of AAC requirements. Participants will learn about the assessment process and outcome measurement approaches, as well as have the opportunity to post questions and discuss assessment challenges with Janelle.

9. Dr Jane Remington-Gurney - Communication assistants: What strategies do they use in conversation with people who have Down syndrome, Rett syndrome or Cerebral Palsy?

Tuesday, September 4th 2018 5:30 PM AEST


We know that the people supporting individuals with complex communication needs (CCN) play an invaluable role in enabling them to communicate and have their voices heard in community. However, conversation is more than just communicating and often elusive to people with CCN. 

In my PhD study, Conversations Without Speech: A qualitative investigation of the strategies used by adult communication assistants in Queensland, the person without a reported disability was the focal point. In the peer reviewed literature this person is referred to as a communication partner irrespective of their knowledge and skills in AAC; and is noted to be ‘often unrecognised and/or unsupported’ (Kent-Walsh et al., 2015). In my research I sought participation from adults in Queensland who already had some knowledge and skill in AAC and I referred to these people as communication assistants. Participants supported individuals with Down syndrome, Rett syndrome or Cerebral Palsy. This enables a broad spectrum of strategies to be identified across the sensory, motor and cognitive-linguistic domains. Data was collected from a survey, written narrative analysis, and observational analysis of filmed dyadic conversations. 
In the webinar I aim to share with you some of the findings of this research. In particular, the glossary of seventy three conversation strategies and seven styles of conversation that were identified. I hope that the information will be provocative and provide some new tools and considerations for when we participate in or examine closely, conversations without speech. 

Learning Objectives: 

- To learn the 7 styles of conversation with people with CCN & associated conversation strategies identified through Janes research 
- To learn new tools & considerations for when we participate in and examine conversations without speech 
- To learn coding strategies that may be considered in interactions for people with CCN 


  1. Pre-study: the questions that lay unanswered and evoked the research.

  2. Study design: including the choice of Dynamic Systems Theory as the over arching meta theory; the application of the dance metaphor and considerations when disseminating information to potential participants.

  3. Data collection and analysis: this section will focus on phase two where new notations and

    coding were used in the transcription process.

  4. The findings: systems, strategies and styles that may impact on how we design and deliver

    communication partner training.

  5. Your questions. 

10. What’s in a Voice? An overview of message banking and voice banking

Tue, Dec 11, 2018 7:00 PM AEST (8:00pm VIC/NSW/ACT/TAS, 7:00pm QLD, 7:30pm SA, 6:30pm NT, 5:00pm WA)
Presented by Peta Booth, Speech Pathologist from LifeTec Australia 

Our voices are intrinsically linked to our identity. Many individuals are born without the ability to harness their voice, whilst others may lose their voice due to numerous reasons, including degenerative conditions (e.g. MND), or as the result of surgery (e.g. Laryngectomy). Message banking is an increasingly known strategy to support people to record ‘legacy messages’ which can be integrated into their speech generating devices. Voice Banking is an ever emerging technology that enables people to create bespoke synthetic voices which closely represent an individual’s vocal characteristics. 

The aim of this webinar is to explore message banking and voice banking, and discuss: what are these processes? Who is it for? How do you do it? What else should I consider, and be aware of, prior to embarking on the journey of banking a voice. 

Learning Objectives: 
Participants will - 
• develop an understanding about message banking and voice banking 
• be aware of the typical processes involved in message and voice banking (including the variety of voice banking services) 
• be aware of other considerations when considering message banking and/or voice banking 
• know where to go to seek more information about message banking and voice banking 
• know where to seek support for these processes 

11. Understanding Parent Rejection and Abandonment of AAC Systems

Presented by Alison Moorcroft

Thursday, March 14, 2019  7:00 PM for a 7:15pm start AEST  (8:00pm VIC/NSW/ACT/TAS; 7:00pm QLD; 7:30pm SA; 6:30pm NT; 5:00pm WA)


In this one hour webinar, participants will be provided with an overview of the research evidence for why AAC systems are rejected or abandoned by parents of children with complex communication needs. Participants will also learn evidence-based strategies that, when incorporated into clinical practice, may support parents to accept and use the AAC systems they introduce. 

About the presenter:

Alison is a speech pathologist with experience introducing AAC systems to children and adults with complex communication needs across the public and private sectors. In 2016, she commenced her PhD at The University of Queensland aiming to understand why some parents reject or abandon the AAC systems introduced to their children. 

12. Using AAC to give evidence in court and tribunal hearings

Presented by Fiona Given

Wednesday, April 10, 2019  7:30pm AEST 


This webinar will focus on using AAC to give evidence in court and tribunal hearings.

Fiona Given uses AAC and is a general member of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal. She has heard a number of cases involving people who used AAC and has published in the area. The aim of this webinar is to demonstrate that AAC is a legitimate way to give evidence in courts and tribunals. 

13. Implementing music therapy and AAC in a lower resourced setting

Wednesday May 8th 2019


Kylie Hinde and Farhin Chowdhury share their unique experience of teacher and parent training at Foundation for Autism Research and Education (FARE) in Bangladesh (February, 2019). This involved providing workshops combining music therapy and aided language input. Both returning to Bangladesh, Kylie and Farhin explore how they adapted their own practices and clinical skills, navigating the Bangladeshi cultural context.

About the presenters:

Kylie is a Registered Music Therapist (neurological) and provisional psychologist working in Brisbane in the areas of early intervention, autism, cross-culture and research. Kylie lived and worked in Bangladesh in 2011-2012, and with parents and therapists developed an early intervention manual and CD. In research, Kylie is currently examining the importance of mental health in persons with disability.

Farhin is a Speech Pathologist from Melbourne. She was born in Bangladesh and migrated to Australia with her family in 1998. Farhin works in special education and private practice with children and adults with moderate-to-severe intellectual disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorder.

14. Online therapy: making the most of technology to support AAC users and people with complex communication needs. 

June 5th 2019  7pm AEST  Presented by Edward Johnson

Content overview:

The webinar will present some of the evidence for individualised and family-centred online therapy, including the perspectives and experiences of some families, AAC users, and people with CCN who have accessed online therapy. Case studies will be used to walk participants through the process of delivering best practice online therapy.

Learning objectives: 
Participants will learn about:

1. The emerging clinical evidence in this area

2. Client and family experiences

3. Clinical case studies

4. How to provide best practice therapeutic supports via online therapy

About the Presenter:

Ed Johnson is an accidental speech pathologist, rural generalist, and PhD candidate. He has practiced across rural and remote communities for the last 8 years. Ed is a Co-Founder of Umbo, SARRAH Director, and sits on the Clinical Council at the Western NSW Primary Health Network.

Ed’s research focuses on access and choice to person-centred allied health supports in rural and remote Australia. His research has shown that it is possible to deliver therapy online with people with complex communication needs and build community capacity at the same time.

Ed is keen to learn from people with disabilities about how allied health can support them to live the life that they want, and would like to support them to advocate on their terms, especially in rural and remote areas.

In doing this, Ed is inspired and motivated by the words of everybody’s favourite Czech existential anarchist, Franz Kafka, who said: "Start with what is right rather than what is accepted.”

15. Finding your way with AAC AT provision in the NDIS:
 A joint collaboration between AGOSCI and Speech Pathology Australia

Friday 12th July, 2019  1:30-3:00pm AEST

Webinar Series (3 webinars in total): Learning Aim

The aim of the webinar series is to:

  • Familiarise AGOSCI and SPA educators and clinicians with the administrative processes under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) including the clinical Assistive Technology (AT) assessment. (webinar one - July 12th)
  • Provide introductory information about evidence based, person centered and capacity building approaches to provision of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) AT Technology within the NDIS (webinar two - date TBC)
  • Provide a guided learning experience around completion of the NDIS AT Assessment template against the reasonable and necessary criteria of the NDIS Act (webinar three - date TBC).

Webinar 1 (July 12, 2019): Learning Aim

The aim of Webinar #1 is to update AGOSCI and SPA educators and clinicians on the progress and status of the NDIS roll-out, current administrative processes for AAC AT provision and the role of families, parents and carers including the use of de-identified case examples.

Webinar 1: Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of the webinar participants will be able to:

  • Discuss the progress and status of the NDIS rollout with regard to AAC AT provision;
  • Identify current and likely future administrative processes for AAC AT provision; and
Examine case studies discussing client, participant and provider understanding and requirements and treatment goals

About the Speakers

Cathy Olsson: B.App.Sci(Speech Pathology), MSPA, CPSP

Catherine (Cathy) Olsson has provided speech pathology supports to people with disabilities, their families and supports since graduating, including 28 years as Professional Lead with Novita Children’s Services, and 4 years as Clinical Lead for Speech Pathology with Disability Services, the South Australian Government therapy service provider. Cathy is passionate about the speech pathology profession, and has a range of interests including exploration of the concept of participation for people with Complex Communication Needs, and Clinical Governance and allied health service provision. Since early in 2014, Cathy has been focused on understanding the NDIS and the implications of the scheme for the delivery of speech pathology supports and outcomes for people with communication and oral eating and drinking difficulties. It is possible that she knows as much (or more) about the NDIS, than anyone else on the planet!

Jessica Moll: BSpPath, MSPA, CPSP

Jessica’s experience has been in supporting children and adults with a range of developmental needs across community and educational contexts since graduating in 2010.  She has a keen interest in supporting people with complex communication needs and has worked exclusively in Augmentative and Alternative Communication since joining the LifeTec team in 2017.  Jessica works clinically as a speech pathologist, as well as in the role of the AAC Service Coordinator. 

LifeTec is a social enterprise that provides dedicated assistive technology (AT) services. Our aim is to enable people of all ages and abilities to actively engage in home, work, school and community life. Established in 1981, LifeTec has a team of health professionals including occupational therapists, speech pathologists and physiotherapists who have a passion for AT.  LifeTec offers a dedicated AAC Service across Queensland and into Northern NSW, and has worked in the NDIS space since the QLD rollout commenced in 2016.  LifeTec’s AAC service team comprises of five speech pathologists who provide assessment, prescription and training services for AAC users of all ages and backgrounds.  

16. Augmentative and Alternative Communication and Literacy

Presented by Ashley Harling (CPSP)

Wednesday 31st July

Webinar Overview

Up to 90% of students with complex communication needs (CCN) enter adulthood without functional literacy skills. This contributes to <5% of those people being employed. Literacy is a  critical skill allowing us to participate and contribute in our literate society. Recently Ashley presented at the DSF conference talking about the unique challenges experienced by people with complex communication needs (CCN). Within the context of considering AAC and literacy, this presentation will discuss the unique barriers and risks experienced by individuals with CCN, the impact of our presumptions, and how we can support development.

About the Presenter:

Ashley Harling is a certified practicing speech pathologist and is passionate about communication access for all. Ashley has been working with the the Independent Living Centre (ILC) of WA in since June 2018, and is working closely with schools to support the implementation of AAC within the education setting. Prior to joining the ILC, Ashley worked in both Australia and the UK with government departments and non-for-profit disability organisations who focused services on children and adults with complex communication needs at home, school, and within their community. She regularly delivers training and coaching on communication and AAC technology to carers, health professionals, and educators.

17. "How do I need to be in order to be with you?":  Supporting adults with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities

Presented by Sheridan Forster

Wednesday 7th August 7pm AEST

Webinar Overview

In research and practice a crisis in companionship is being recognised for adults with profound intellectual disabilities (PIMD). For many people, engagment with another person throughout the day, outside of their needs based care, can be measured in seconds or minutes. Rarely is this companionship measured in hours.

Many academics, practitioners, and parents now recognise that what is needed for adults with PIMD is not being treated just like everyone else, but being engaged with in a way that meets that individual’s needs. Changing a culture that constantly falls back on “just talking” to the person, missing the mark of the multisensory modalities needed for expression and the deep attentiveness required to understand and scaffold the communication a person with PIMD, is a massive challenge.

In this podcast, Sheridan will introduce some of the research that describes communicative environments of people with PIMD, the strategies which are growing to be best practice, and acknowledges the complex issues of ethics and practice when  a shared language may not currently be verbal or visual.

About the Presenter

Dr Sheridan Forster has worked as a speech pathologist, researcher, and lecturer in the past, specialising in adults with intellectual disabilities. A twenty year exploration of what communication might mean with people with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities has been the spark of fire that keeps her exploring, questioning and settling on supports needed by this population and those that support them. A recent injury and health shift has helped her better understand what it might be like to only understand one word in a sentence delivered to her, the fluctuations in processing and expressive abilities that happen minute by minute, and appreciate that we all need to be gazed upon with a lense that ponders “how do I need to be in order to be with you?”.

18. Encouraging the promotion of long-term AAC use: learning from social identity theory

Presented by Ruyi Tong      September 25th 2019

Webinar Overview

This webinar explores factors that may influence outcomes of AAC interventions over time, by drawing on principles from social identity theory.

Key learning outcomes

1) Understand social identity theory and how it may provide a framework for designing AAC interventions.

2) Identify different AAC intervention outcomes that may promote and limit long-term AAC use.

3) Understand different ways of empowering new and existing AAC users to use AAC longitudinally.

About the Presenter

Ruyi is an advanced speech pathologist, lecturer and doctoral candidate based in Perth, Western Australia. Ruyi has been working with individuals with diverse communication needs over the past 13.5 years. Three AAC-related career highlights over the past five years are working with educators to develop a consistent approach of implementing school-wide AAC use within one special education school in Perth; teaching final-year healthcare students culturally-appropriate ways of using English and Mandarin-based AAC systems as clinical facilitator and country co-ordinator for students on interprofessional practice placements in China, and working collaboratively within multidisciplinary teams to deliver client-centred AAC interventions within an NDIS environment.

19. I Have A Dream For Communication - AGOSCI Conference Keynote Presentation 2019

Presented by Joey Harrall - Released to AGOSCI Members in October 2019

About the Presenter:

Joey Harrall is 19 years old and he has cerebral palsy because of that he can’t walk or speak but he doesn’t think that he is unlucky with having a disability. He lives with his lovely brother, beautiful sister in law and five bright and funny nephews in Western Australia. He presented for the first time at ISAAC in 2018 and he started to help the Variety Motor Mouth camp by giving speeches and mentoring the parents and the kids. He has a dream to own his own mentoring business someday because he has a dream to help people to find their voice in this fast pace world. In his downtime, he likes trying to fix computers, playing with his family and of course sleeping.

20. SPA x AGOSCI: Considerations for AAC Assessment in the World of NDIS

November 8th, 2019     1:30pm-3:00pm AEDT

AGOSCI (in collaboration with LifeTec Queensland) and Speech Pathology Australia are pleased to bring you Part 2 of this 3 Part Webinar Series on AAC and the NDIS. 

Webinar 2 (November 8th, 2019): Learning Aim

The aim of this webinar series is to provide an overview of assessment considerations for provision of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) AT Technology within the NDIS. Webinar 2 focuses on the guidelines for AAC assessment, and the ‘journey’ of Assessment, feature matching and trialing of AT, with reference to the NDIS ‘reasonable and necessary’ criteria and the NDIS Assistive Technology Template.

Webinar 2 Learning Objectives:

  • Be aware of the clinical guidelines for AAC assessment, as a certified practicing speech pathologist in Australia

  • Identify your scope of practice and pathways to find further support or information on AAC assessment

  • Describe the role of the speech pathologist in conducting AAC assessments and clinical trials under the NDIS

  • Locate the AT Assessment Template and be aware of how this may impact assessment and information gathering
Your Presenters:

Cathy Olsson: B.App.Sci(Speech Pathology), MSPA, CPSP

 Jessica Moll: BSpPath, MSPA, CPSP

21. Moving beyond object requesting for AAC users with ASD: What does the research say?

November 20th, 2019 - Presented by Kristy Logan

This webinar will present the key findings from Kristy’s PhD research, which has explored how AAC interventions are used to develop symbolic communication for functions other than making object requests in children with ASD. The webinar will focus on three main areas:

1. AAC intervention ingredients according to research: creating communication environments, evidence-based teaching strategies, reinforcing communication, and identifying the dosage of therapy required

2. Aided enhanced milieu teaching (AEMT) as a naturalistic intervention to develop symbolic and social communication skills in children with ASD

3. Strategies for supporting parents to implement AEMT with their child with ASD

About the presenter:

Kristy Logan has worked as a speech pathologist for children with autism spectrum disorder for the past 17 years. She has worked in a range of settings including disability, education, health, and private practice. Kristy’s PhD research has focused on developing social communication skills in children with ASD who use AAC.

22. SPA x AGOSCI: Considerations for AAC Assessment in the World of NDIS (Webinar #3)

December 4th, 2019    5pm AEDT

AGOSCI (in collaboration with LifeTec Queensland) and Speech Pathology Australia are pleased to bring you the final part of this 3 Part Webinar Series on AAC and the NDIS. 

Webinar 3 (December 4th, 2019): Learning Aim

The aim of this webinar series is to provide an overview of assessment considerations for provision of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) AT Technology within the NDIS. Webinar 3 focuses on the NDIS AT application template, and discusses the NDIS ‘reasonable and necessary’ criteria.

Webinar 3 Learning Objectives:

  • Be familiar with content and structure of the NDIS AT Assessment  Template
  • To see examples of the documentation of AAC AT assessment and trial processes using the NDIS AT Assessment Template
  • Be aware of how to link assessment and trial outcomes and aided AAC features to the NDIS reasonable and necessary criteria when requesting AAC AT provision through the NDIS

Your Presenters:

Cathy Olsson: B.App.Sci(Speech Pathology), MSPA, CPSP

 Jessica Moll: BSpPath, MSPA, CPSP

23. International perspectives on Easy English and Easy Read: What do we need to know?

12th February, 2020 - Presented by Cathy Basterfield

Webinar Overview:
Accessible written information is being developed in Australia and internationally. This has been occurring in different parts of the world for over 20 years now. There are various labels used including Easy English, Easy Read or Easy to Read in the English-speaking world.

This webinar will present a review of national and international perspectives on developing accessible written content with and for people with literacy that does not meet day to day reading needs. A review of current practices, recently published research with content and discussion from - IASSIDD 2019 (August 2019), PLAIN International 2019 (September) and Clear (KLAARA) International (September 2019) will be presented.

This webinar provides an up to date analysis on what we need to know to be advocating and developing quality accessible written information in Australia.

About the Presenter:

Cathy Basterfield is an experienced Speech Pathologist, with more than 30 years’ experience working with people with Complex Communication Needs. She has been developing, training and advocating for Easy English for the last 15 years.

Cathy was awarded a Victorian Government Ethel Temby scholarship for an investigative study into international trends and accreditation for Easy English writing and publications in 2011.

Cathy was involved in the development of the first guidelines for writing Easy English in Australia. In 2014, the Victorian State Government commissioned her to develop Easy English: How to comply with the Victorian Government Accessible Communication Guidelines, which is available on their intranet.

Based in Melbourne, Cathy owns and operates Access Easy English. She works across all states in Australia working with government, non government agencies and businesses in their implementation of Easy English.

ABN 74 607 243 620
AO A0022584B

AGOSCI all rights reserved © 2018
Web Design and Management by Rycom Technology

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software