May 20, 2021

Celebrating Better Speech and Hearing Month

May is Better Speech and Hearing Month, a perfect time to reflect on a few ways Grant Wood Area Education Agency’s staff work collaboratively to engage all students in quality learning. Celebrating Better Speech and Hearing Month | Grant Wood A E A Pride

Grant Wood AEA’s Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) team is composed of SLPs from all the agency’s regions. “We develop processes and resources that help our SLPs assess and provide interventions to students with complex communication needs,” shares Jessica Krob, AAC resource team lead. “When these students use AAC systems, they have a voice in the classroom with their peers.”

Kelli Robertson, accessibility lead at Grant Wood AEA, echoes this idea. “An ancillary benefit of our work is helping peers to understand that we all communicate differently and we all learn differently, and that's okay” shares Roberston. She goes on to explain that helping students achieve accessibility in social interactions, through communication, and during learning experiences helps enhance student engagement and outcomes by providing more learner equity across school environments. “The best way to do this is by helping students see how they all share commonalities -- favorite movies, favorite activities, things they like/don't like, feelings, etc. -- and that any communication and learning differences are better understood and accepted.”

Last month, Grant Wood AEA hosted its annual Building Bridges Accessible and Assistive Technology conference. One of the sessions presented by the AAC team during the conference, “Building Blocks to AAC,” highlighted a variety of different tools, resources, and strategies that help eliminate communication barriers for all students.

Jessica reminds our staff that better speech and hearing is a collaborative effort. “The AAC team primarily supports SLPs but that’s not to say there aren’t complex kids who also have hearing impairments or other impairments, so it definitely has to be a team approach with supporting our complex learners.”

Join us in celebrating all of Grant Wood AEA’s audiologists, audiometrists, speech-language pathologists, and others who help ensure learning is accessible for all of our learners! 

AAC Team Photo: Back row: Jessica Krob, Heidi Primrose, Sarah Ries, Jacayla Milledge
Front row: Maggie Slaymaker, Lynda Lanus, Jamie Zearley