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Mental Health and Students with Complex Communication Needs: Let’s Talk About it!

May 8, 2019 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Mental health as an area of concern and focusing schools is being recognized around the world.
There is a growing understanding that emotionally healthy students are more likely to be successful
in school and in life. But what of students who require AAC?

This session will raise this issue through stories shared by augmented speakers and connect this to
the newly revised Communication Bill of Rights (Brady, et al., 2016).

Stories were gathered as part of a study into the lived experience of speaking through a speech-
generating device (Howery, 2017). Although stories of maltreatment, abuse, and ableism were not sought after in the study, such stories emerged both in context of school and larger community
experiences. These stories will be shared illustrating mental health issues raised in each and how
ignoring or neglecting the communication rights of these individuals negatively impacts their mental
health and therefore their lives.

Register for Webinar: May 2019 Webinar Registration

PLEASE NOTE: Only the first 100 attendees to log into the webinar will be guaranteed spots.

Files: ASHA CEU Participant FormCertificate of Attendance

Please give us your feedback on this webinar by completing the Participant Survey

About the Presenter:

Kathy Howery, PhD is an educational consultant and a sessional lecturer at several Universities in
Alberta. Her doctoral research sought to understand what it is like for young people with complex
communication needs (CCN) to speak with speech generating devices. Kathy began her career
over thirty years ago finding ways for students with complex needs to share their voices. Most
recently Kathy is working under contract with Alberta Education as part of the Alberta Provincial
Wide Low Incidence Collaborative Supports team with primary responsibility in the area of complex
communication needs.

Moderated By:

Betsy Caporale


  • How mental health can be negatively affected by communication challenges.
  • About how the impact of having to make one’s voice heard through a SGD may create
    situations of vulnerability and abuse for students in institutional context.
  • How the Communication Bill of Rights (Brady et al, 2016) can be used to proactively
    address potential maltreatment and support mental wellness in children and youth who
    use AAC.


  • 5 Minutes: Introduction of Speaker, USSAAC and Topic
  • 50 Minutes: Presentation
  • 5 Minutes: Q & A

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) CEUs in speech-language pathology and audiology are awarded by the ASHA CE Registry upon receipt of the CEU Participant Form from the ASHA Approved CE Provider, USSAAC. CEU Participant Forms are available onsite at Registration. ASHA CEUs are provided to full registrations. This program is offered for .1 ASHA CEUs (Introductory Level, Professional Area). 

ASHA Disclosures:

Presenter and moderator have no financial or non-financial disclosures to


Sarah Blackstone, Betsy Caporale, Gretchen Cole-Lade, Amy Goldman, Amanda
Hettenhausen, Mike Hipple, Richard Hurtig, Stephanie Meehan, Wendy Quach,
Lisa Timm



May 8, 2019
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Event Category:


Kathy Howery

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