ACES 2018

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“I want to attend Lehigh University and …work at Warner Brothers.”

“My dream is to go to school at Wichita State University, live in dorms with five friends and fly to visit New York City.”

“My dream is to one day live with a buddy in an apartment in Colorado Springs, CO.

I plan on having lots of friends and working as a [national news] writer ….”

These are the voices of past ACES participants.  They all came to Temple to participate in ACES, Temple’s Augmentative Communication and Empowerment Supports summer institute.

ACES takes place every other year and it is time to start planning for participation in ACES 2018. The philosophy underlying ACES is communication through total immersion. Participants and tutors use their speech-generating devices all day long. Activities are centered on improving communicative competence and independence throughout the two week experience. This includes continuing to learn the “language” of their devices, as well as maintenance, and customization of their user interfaces.

ACES is presented by Pennsylvania’s Initiative on Assistive Technology (PIAT), a program of the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University. It is for young adults who use communication technology (speech generating devices). ACES helps to develop and refine their skills for effective communication and self advocacy at home, school, work and in the community.

The focus of ACES is the transition to adulthood. The aim of the 12 day institute is to empower these young adults to advocate for themselves. Over the course of two weeks, they develop a vision for the future and an action plan. This may entail planning for employment, for independent living with supports, or continuing on to higher education.

Interested? Do you know an AAC user who could benefit?  Send an email to or contact Russel Goldstein at


Kathryn Helland

Kathryn is a certified speech-language pathologist and works with children and adults with complex communication needs. She has been with the TechOWL team since 2015 and is currently working on her doctorate. She would like to examine how to best support AAC users in higher education.

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