2019 SWAAAC Conference

The Colorado Department of Education’s Statewide Assistive technology Augmentative Alternative Communication (SWAAAC) program and Assistive Technology Partners (ATP) hosted the 2019 SWAAAC Summer Conference on June 10th and 11th from 8:00 am - 4:15 pm at the Adams 12 Conference Center. 

Educators, related service providers, administrators, and stakeholders learned about the latest innovations and research in the field of assistive technology. Three exciting, full day workshops featuring nationally renowned trainers explored instructional strategies and assistive technology (AT) interventions to support learning for students with low and high incidence disabilities. In addition to the workshops, participants enjoyed over 30 break-out sessions, an awards ceremony, professional networking and an opportunity to earn graduate credit through Adams State University.

What some have said about the SWAAAC Summer Conference and its sessions:

  • "It was a very valuable and well organized conference."

  • "Very informative and fun!"

  • "Always a wonderful conference!"

  • "Great information that will be useful with the students I work with."

  • "So eye opening and informative.

Featured Full Day Workshops


Putting the Pieces Together! Developing Communication and Literacy for AAC Users
Presented by Maureen Castillo, MA CCC-SLP

You funded the device, understand core and language aided input, but are feeling overwhelmed with providing support for all aspects of communication, including listening, talking, reading and writing!  Does this sound familiar? This session will look at an AAC user’s school day and demonstrate strategies for implementation. Using baseline data, we will use an anchor book as a basis for teaching literacy - reading and writing for a variety of purposes and ways to differentiate instruction for diverse learners in one group. We will focus on five essential components of literacy instruction: shared reading, independent reading, shared writing, independent writing as well as working with letters and words. Extension activities will be explored such as pen pals, centers, writing journals, smart boards, and more to guide you in “Putting it all Together”!  


Supporting Switch Access for Individuals with Complex Bodies in their use of AAC Devices and AT
Presented by Karen Kangas, OTR/L

Access is truly a part of an activity, for children within which consistency will develop, rather than “occur” or “be found.” When access also includes “scanning” we must really know how to teach both. Control of access and scanning, and its mastery come with activity engagement. Activities must support real learning, not simply focus on “access,” “cause and effect” or waiting for the child to perform. This course will focus on the needs of students who present the biggest challenges; those who are non-speaking, non-ambulatory, and whose bodies are complex. Teaching successful strategies will be shared.


Chaos Muppets - Executive Functioning Explored
Presented by Karen Waddill, MA CCC-SLP

Using Dahlia Litwick’s ground breaking publication at Slate.com, we will explore her philosophy that holds every human can be classified according to one simple metric: Every one of us is either a Chaos Muppet or an Order Muppet.  We will use the Unified Theory of Muppets to explore how to evaluate and support the Chaos Muppets in our lives. Many Chaos Muppets come to us with long neurophysiological evaluations and standardized scores from the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function. They have difficulty managing their time, organizing their belongings and regulating themselves. But we just call them Grover, Ernie and Cookie Monster.

Featured Breakout Sessions


  • Let’s Tear Down Reading Barriers!

    • Presented by Lara Rondberg, MSW

  • Role of the School Based  PT/OT in the Wheelchair Service Delivery Process

    • Presented by Kelly Waugh, PT MAPT, ATP 

  • QIAT - 20 Years of Action

    • Presented by Joan Breslin Larson, M.Ed.

  • Make Your Own Assistive Technology!

    • Presented by Chrissy Aurit, OTR,

      Kelsey Etchison, MS OTR/L,

      Lillian Meeker, COTA/L,

      Deana Watson, & Harley Young

  • Supporting All Learners: A Look at Text Complexity

    • Presented by Tiffany Zaugg

  • Switches Galore!

    • Presented by Becca Stenzel, MA OTR/L &

      Erika Brandstatter, M.Ed

  • Boosting Student Performance with AT Consultation: School District Success and Challenges

    • Presented by Chris Gibbons, PhD CCC-SLP &

      Kelly Kuehl, MA, CCC-SLP

  • (Google) Keeping it All Together 

    • Presented by Karen Waddill, MA CCC-SLP


Many thanks to our sponsors!