Upcoming and Current Events

Live webinar series

Complex Access and Communication: A 3-Part Approach for Emerging Communicators

The University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) and the Assistive Technology lab at Community Vision presents a three-part webinar series.

This webinar series will provide continuing education for professionals and caregivers to strengthen their skill set in utilizing augmentative and alternative communication methods. Webinar attendees will learn new techniques for supporting communication skills for individuals with complex communication needs.

Session 1: March 12th

When children or adults with complex communication needs (CCN) are not able to use their fingers for direct access to AAC systems, we need to consider alternative access modes. This session is an overview of alternative access for AAC. It will lay the foundation for the innovative 3-part approach for emerging communicators presented in Sessions 2 and 3.

Session 1 materials:

Session 2: April 9th

Children with complex motor or sensory needs, who would benefit from AAC, have many challenges. Knowing where to begin and how to progress can be daunting. A three-step approach to building tools, which teases apart Participation, Access, and Language (PAL) will be discussed. We will discuss the rationale for the PAL approach and demonstrate the process through case studies, exploring how each of the three areas of PAL were addressed with each child. Examples will be provided of how the three areas, when given time to develop, can come together in a comprehensive, multi-modal AAC system.

Session 3: May 14th

Building upon the 3-part approach outlined in Session 1, we will look at specific tools and strategies in each of the PAL areas. A handout for organizing tools will be discussed in the context of a brief case study.


The School of Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.


Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 3 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. (Please note that credits are only available for participation in the live webinars.)

Presenter bios

Kim Elliott, M.S., CCC-SLP, ATP

Kim received a Bachelor’s of Fine Art from York University in Toronto, Canada and completed her graduate degree in Speech Language Pathology from Portland State University. She worked on the Assistive Technology Team at Randall Children’s Hospital. She also worked with adults at OHSU serving clients with ALS, Parkinson’s, Stroke, neurodegenerative diseases, and with developmental disabilities. Along with two colleagues, she began Assistive Technology NW (ATNW), a private practice where she focused on developing communication supports for children and adults with complex communication needs in a variety of community-based settings. She is now Co-Director of the Community Vision AT Lab in SE Portland. She teaches the graduate AAC course as adjunct faculty at Portland State University. She is also trained as a teacher of “Danceability,” a dance/movement approach that includes people of all abilities.

Carrie Luse, M.S.R., OT/L, ATP

Carrie graduated from the Medical University of South Carolina in 2001 with a Masters in Occupational Therapy. Her education was primarily interdisciplinary, learning alongside physical therapy and speech language pathology students. Carrie is a certified Assistive Technology Professional (ATP) and specializes in communication access, seating & mobility, and sensory integration. Her true passion is working with and learning from people with complex communication, mobility, and medical needs. She worked for almost ten years at the Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel in Portland, Oregon and was part of multiple interdisciplinary clinic teams. Carrie has served children and adults through her private practice at Assistive Technology NW, as well as consulting at the Providence Neurodevelopmental Center for Children and The Child Center.  Carrie teaches AT courses at Pacific University and guest lectures at Portland State University. Carrie is now co-directing the AT Lab at Community Vision. Carrie presents regionally and nationally on a variety of topics.

For questions or accommodations, please contact us at stapleta@ohsu.edu or (503) 418-1061