The Art of AAC: Creating Visual Supports to Inspire Communication and Participation During Arts Instruction

The Art of AAC: Creating Visual Supports to Inspire Communication and Participation During Arts Instruction, presented on November 24, 2015, provided the principles of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) to support and differentiate arts instruction for individuals with complex communication needs. The increase in inclusive practices means that more teachers trained for general education instruction now serve students with more involved special needs. Teachers of the arts often do not receive training in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). This presentation showed participants how to choose and create visual supports to increase access and communication during arts instruction. Participants learned how to identify their students’ levels of language development, as well as how and why they communicate. Participants also learned what types of AAC supports are effective for each language level and communicative function. Finally, participants of this Webinar were taken through the process of building some basic visual supports for their arts instruction.

Click on the play button below to watch a free recording of the Webinar. (You will be prompted to enter your email address and contact information prior to viewing the Webinar.)

Video Photo



Lisa Pierce Goldstein croppedLisa Pierce-Goldstein is a speech language pathologist and autism consultant for Boston Public Schools, a guest lecturer at Boston Conservatory’s program for Teaching Music to Students with Autism and a classically trained singer. She has spent the last decade adapting arts programs for students with disabilities. Contact:



Aubrey Rubin is a speech and language pathologist for the Boston Public Aubrey RubinSchools. She has worked for Boston Public since graduating from the MGH Institute of Health Professions in 2005. Aubrey has worked in a variety of schools within the system, but has always specialized in working with students on the autism spectrum. Currently she is working at the Mattahunt School and is an autism and pragmatic language specialist and consultant within the district. Contact:

Summary of Discussion Topics:

  • AAC: Augmentative and Alternative Communication
  • Complex Communication Needs:
    • Challenges with:
      • Cognitive Language
      • Speech Motor Production
      • Social Pragmatic Skills\
  • Levels of Communication:
    • Pre-Intentional Communication
    • Intentional Communication
    • Symbolic Communication
  • Functions of Communication:
    • Protesting and Refusing
    • Organization and Transitions
    • Requesting
    • Directives
    • Commenting
    • Questions
    • Social Pragmatics
  • Environmental Supports:
    • Labels
    • Visual Sequences
    • Classroom Visual Schedule
    • Choice Boards and Boxes
  • Instructional Supports:
    • Adapted books
    • Topic Boards
    • Core Vocabulary Boards
    • Quizzes
    • Song Sheets
    • Scene and Element Cues
  • Behavioral Supports:
    • Scripts
    • Social Stories
    • Individualized Student Schedules
    • Checklists
    • Countdown Boards
    • First Then Boards
    • If you don’t have a boardmaker…draw it, cut it, click it, snap it, ask for it!

Links and Resources:

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