Department of Education and Training Communication Workshops

Department of Education and Training Communication Workshops

This workshop series is a joint initiative of the Cerebral Palsy Education Centre (CPEC) and the Department of Education and Training (DET) Victoria.  CPEC would like to acknowledge the support of, and funding provided by, the Department of Education & Training.  Both CPEC and DET are committed to providing professional development opportunities for education and health professionals supporting children and young people with complex communication needs.

Throughout term 3, three different  workshops will be presented specifically designed for speech pathologists and teachers working with students with complex communication needs. All three workshops will explore the use of Alternative and Augmentative Communication in the school environment. These workshops are offered at no cost to DET employees. There will be a fee for professionals in private practice.

Registration for these events are necessary and can be completed at the bottom of this page.


Workshop 1: Whole Communication Approach in Schools

Presented by: Helen Tainsh and Melissa Riepsamen, senior Speech Pathologists
Relevant to: speech pathologists, teachers and other professionals working with students with complex communication needs

This workshop will be presented in two different formats, one face-to-face in Melbourne and one via video conference.

Communication is complex and unpredictable. Opportunities to communicate for all people are constantly occurring and we choose the most efficient and effective strategy to communicate in each moment as it occurs. For the student with Complex Communication Needs (CCN), they require a range of different Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) strategies to use at different times. No single strategy will be the most efficient or appropriate for all communication opportunities, therefore a range of communication strategies need to be implemented, taught and always available to the student. This multi-modal approach is known as Whole Communication. As speech pathologists and educators we have to teach and implement these different strategies to a range of students with varying needs. This presents a number of challenges in an already busy school environment. So, how do we balance the needs of all students and work toward autonomous communication for all?

Onsite workshop: Monday 5th August 2019, 9:30am – 4:30pm
Online workshop (two parts): Tuesday 12th November 2019, 2:00pm – 5:00pm & Monday 18th November 2019, 9:00am – 12:00pm – Register here to attend this workshop


Workshop 2: Teaching AAC in Schools – Thursday 5th September 2019, 9:30am – 4:30pm

Presented by: Helen Tainsh and Melissa Riepsamen, senior Speech Pathologists
Relevant to: teachers and therapists who have attended the “Whole Communication Approach in Schools” workshop
Prerequisite: Whole Communication Approach in Schools Workshop

The long term outcome that we should be aiming for in AAC intervention is autonomous communication. Autonomous communication has been defined and explored in previous workshops in the series. In order to ensure communication is self determined and students are communicating by their own intentions, the techniques used to teach communication must support this. The strategies being utilised need to uphold natural communication pragmatics.

This workshop aims to explore the teaching learning practices used to develop autonomous communication. The use aided language stimulation as a technique for teaching AAC will be further discussed and what this could look like in the school environment. Participants will learn more about developing appropriate goals as well strategies and teaching-learning techniques for the long term outcome of autonomous communication.


Workshop 3: Building Communication Communities – Friday 13th September 2019, 9:30am – 4:30pm

Presented by: Helen Tainsh and Haylee Parfett, senior Speech Pathologists
Relevant to: therapists, teachers and leadership teams in specialist schools

The need to develop school communities that support all students to learn to autonomously communicate is well recognised, and specific processes have now been suggested to support the creation of communication accessible school communities. This workshop will outline these factors and provide a forum to explore AAC interventions to support the development of more communication accessible school communities. Experiences gained via school community interventions targeting the knowledge, judgement and skills of school leadership teams, teachers, therapists, support personnel, peers and families will be shared. Educational opportunities that have been found to shift school community understanding of the importance of and possibilities for communication autonomy for students who have complex communication needs will also be demonstrated.
This workshop is suitable for anyone aiming to more effectively support students with complex communication needs in specialist environments.

Register here to attend this workshop