2002 Conference Proceedings

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CALLING ALL AUGMENTED COMMUNICATORS! HELP PLAN A WEST COAST AUGMENTATED COMMUNICATORS' CONFERENCE

Scott Palm
Service Alternatives of Washington
Everett, WA

Randy Horton
North Los Angeles County Regional Center
Sylmar, CA

Ryan Duncanwood
Student/Consultant
Whittier, CA

Kim Vuong
Dayle McIntosh Center
Garden Grove, CA

All people who use augmentative communication are invited to participate in this session. During the two-hour session, we will begin to plan a west-coast augmentative communicators conference similar to the Pittsburgh Employment Conference (PEC). All session chairs and panel members will be people who use AAC.

Scott Palm, an augmentative communicator from Everett, Washington, will serve as moderator for the two-hour session.

During the first talk, Randy Horton will present highlights from the 2001 Pittsburgh Employment Conference (PEC) on videos and in his own words. This is a conference of augmented communicators who come together to discuss issues that are important to us. The theme of the 2001 conference was Attendant Care and Mentoring for Employment. Speaking as a member of the audience, Mr. Horton suggested that the major problem with attendant care, from the employer's point of view, is inadequate pay. Attendants don't make a living wage. He suggested that the conference participants should draft a petition supporting a living wage for attendants. He helped draft the petition and it is now posted on the Internet. Copies of the petition will be available for signing during the session. Mr. Horton will show videos of the town meeting at PEC 2001. Over 70 people who use augmentative communication formed a circle in the banquet room and discussed a wide range of topics, including funding sources for devices and attendant care. Horton also gave one of the major talks at the conference. He discussed the fact that many people who use AAC need spoken and written language teaching to use AAC effectively. He talked about his disastrous history of failure with AAC devices, followed by learning to use AAC during teaching sessions that sharpened his literacy and spoken language skills. He will show highlights from his talk.

Next, Ryan Duncanwood will chair a 45-minute town meeting. In addition to being a consultant and speaker at many conferences, workshops and university classes, Mr. Duncanwood is an avid fan of the Pittsburgh Employment Conference. He has attended PEC for the past five years. One of his favorite PEC highlights is the town meeting. This is where the community comes together to discuss disability rights issues, make suggestions to device manufacturers, discuss money and funding issues, make jokes and get to know each other. This is Duncanwood's chance to chair the first town meeting of augmentative communicators on the west coast. Any person who uses AAC to communicate will be given the microphone during this 45-minute session. The main focus will be planning a west coast conference for 2003, including selecting a theme and suggestions about how to do outreach to people who use or need to use AAC. Any topic of interest to people who use AAC will be welcome during the town meeting. Prepared comments save time and let you fully speak your mind, but you are welcome to tell us anything new that comes up.

After the town meeting, Kim Vuong will chair a panel of people who have used AAC to communicate while employed. Each panel member will talk about personal employment experiences and how to use AAC on the job. Ms. Vuong is currently employed at the Dayle McIntosh Center in Orange County. She is a resource specialist for information about augmentative communication technology. Scott Palm will discuss his employment history, including doing data entry for the Washington State liquor Control Board and working as permanent staff with Congressman John Miller until he retired.


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