FAQ

FAQ

What is the mission of the AB-AAC?


  • To provide the opportunity for practitioners to specify the nature of the evidence-based AAC clinical practice they deliver.
  • To offer resources for Board Certified Speech Language Pathologist Specialists' life-long learning.
  • To administer an efficient certification program for specialists in the clinical practice for augmentative and alternativecommunication (AAC).




What is the timeline for the start of AAC Specialty Certification


  • Clinical Practice Analysis and assessment mechanism study: April 2020 - July 2021
  • Promotion of advanced level AAC offerings & ethics course on website: June 2020
  • Application process starts: January 2023
  • First awarded Board Certified-AAC SLPs: April 2023




How will AAC Specialty Certification benefit me as an SLP not exclusively seeing clients who rely on AAC?


  • You can identify an AAC mentor who is board certified to increase your knowledge and skills if you choose.
  • You can quickly identify higher-level training opportunities related to AAC clinical practices and AAC ethics.
  • You have additional AAC resources to seek information on specific AAC clinical practices.
  • You can quickly and easily find AAC specialists to contact to answer your questions about AAC or to make a referral for a more complex or complicated client or situation.




I'm excited about AAC Specialty Certification.  What can I do now?


BE PREPARED! GET ON OUR MAILING LIST! VOLUNTEER!

  • Start to build your resume or CV to document your AAC clinical work experience and effort.
  • Join our mailing list & complete a volunteer application: email us at info@aacspecialist.org
  • Stay excited and stand up for the privilege to have your AAC knowledge and skills recognized. You worked hard to acquire your advanced level clinical practices and to provide best practices to your clients and families.




How will AAC Specialty Certification benefit my clients and their families who need AAC?


Clients and families with complex communication needs frequently request services from specialists as do many of us seeking quality health care services. Specialty certification provides the following:

  • Allows for complex patients to quickly and easily find providers who are highly skilled in AAC assessment and treatment.
  • Saves precious time for clients and families who go through a trial-and error process to identify AAC intervention, but still have not been fully informed of all their options.
  • Saves money for clients and families who may have selected an AAC intervention and then abandoned treatment, because the AAC intervention failed to meet expectations.
  • Increases client and family cofidence and satisfaction in their AAC services knowing that they are working with a specialist who is aware of best practices in their clinical services and can fully inform them of all their options.




Who will be able to apply to become board certified in AAC?


AAC specialty certification is for speech language pathologists who are ASHA-certified members seeking clinical recognition for achieving advanced level AAC knowledge and skills. You are eligible for AAC specialty certification if you are:

  • ASHA CCC-SLP with current certification
  • A Clinical Practitioner certifying a work effort in AAC clinical services, years of experience and continuing education
  • A Master Clinician certifying a work effort in AAC clinical services as well as clinical supervision and/or administrative AAC services, years of experience with teaching/presenting and continuing education.




Why Now?


This is an exciting time for the growth of specialty certification for ASHA Member! ASHA members have participated in surveys such as:

Special Interest Group 12 Augmentative and Alternative Communication. (2016, January 13th). SIG 12 Clinical Specialty Certification in AAC Survey. [Data Set].

Council for Clinical Certification for Audiology and Speech Language Pathology (CFCC). (2019, October 30th.) Specialty Certification in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). [Data Set].

Showing that SLPs who provide AAC clinical services strongly support specialty certification and an ATIA survey in 2011 with results published in 2017 supporting continuing specialized training in AAC and assistive technology.

Assistive technology Industry Association. (2017). The Critical Need for Knowledge and Usage of AT and AAC Among Speech-Language Pathologists. [Data Set]. Retrieved from https://www.atia.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/ATIA-SLP-Survey-2011.pdf

ASHA’s peer review survey was sent to nearly 18,000 ASHA certified members who were affiliated with SIG 12 or self-identified as having expertise in the area of AAC and concluded on October 30, 2018. Results concluded that an overwhelming 82.9% of respondents agreed that there should be clinical specialty certification in AAC.




How did work on AAC Specialty Certification Start?


At the July 2016, SIG 12 coordinating committee meeting at the ASHA national office (in response to repeated affiliates' request to pursue certification), members reviewed supporting evidence, available funding, and procedural processes for establishing specialty certification for AAC. The SIG 12 coordinating committee voted unanimous approval to move forward, which led to the formation of an independent petitioning group. The petitioning group consisted of several SIG-12 members who completed the Stage I application. Petitioning group members submitting grants to ASHA to establish specialty certification consisted of Meher Banajee, Kathy Beatty, Ovetta Harris, Katya Hill, Christine Hurtubise, Michael O'Leary, and Nicole Tripp. As members rotated off, new members were included; Mike Cole and Jennifer Cristiano. All AB-AAC members will qualify and meet specialty certification requirements when enacted being held to the same standards as all applicants.
(Important note: The work toward establishing specialty certification is not a function of SIG 12).




Next Steps?


  • Visit AAC Specialist.org for updates on the AAC Specialty Certification.
  • Join the over 100 volunteers who have completed a volunteer application.
  • Start your plan for building your AAC clinical services and CE activities.




How will AAC Specialty Certification benefit an SLP wanting to be Board Certified?


  • Concrete guidelines for the types of AAC clinical practices a provider should possess when considered a specialist.
  • Increased confidence in identifying the practices that make an SLP an AAC specialist.
  • Holding specialty certification will allow clients/patients to easily identify a CCC-SLP who has achieved third-party recognition as having specialized knowledge and skill in the area of AAC.
  • A community of highly qualified AAC providers that can enhance the dissemination of resources and trainings to generalists in the field.
  • A quick way to identify advanced trainings related to AAC that are directly related to AAC clinical practices and AAC ethics.
  • Increased marketability for job seekers or career recognition and advancement for those gearing their practice towards AAC.




How does Specialty Certification benefit our clients and families?


  • Allows for complex patients to quickly and easily find providers who are highly skilled in AAC assessment and treatment.
  • Saves precious time for clients and families who go through a trial-and error process to identify AAC intervention, but still have not been fully informed of all their options.
  • Saves money for clients and families who may have selected an AAC intervention and then abandoned treatment, because the AAC intervention failed to meet expectations.
  • Increases client and family confidence and satisfaction in their AAC services knowing that they are working with a specialist who is aware of best practices in their clinical services and can fully inform them of all their options




What is the need for specialty certification?


  • Undertrained SLPs may not identify a client as a candidate for AAC strategies or technology (Creer et al, 2016).
  • Undertrained SLPs may delay the recommendation for AAC services and prolong the delivery of traditional speech therapy perpetuating the myth that use of an AAC system with impede development of natural speech (Romski and Sevcik, 2005; Romski et al., 2015).
  • SLPs with minimal training may rely too heavily on an AAC manufacturer’s representative (sales person) in the assessment process to select an AAC system.
  • Undertrained SLPs may depend only on one AAC manufacturer to demonstrate and trial an AAC product line to select a speech generating device (SGD) for funding. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) expects a minimum of three (3) products to represent a fair range of SGD options.
  • Undertrained SLPs may depend on an AAC manufacturer’s representative to assist in writing the SGD Funding Request to submit for insurance coverage.
  • Undertrained SLPs may modify the assessment and trial process to exclude viable SGDs that might provide the most effective communication due to beneficiary coverage policies, because recommending an SGD with a higher likelihood of denial would require time for the appeal process that is not billable.




Clarification regarding support for Senate Bill 1836


Clarification was requested regarding a slide presented by the AB-AAC at ATIA 2020 during the town hall meeting regarding ASHA’s support for Senate Bill 1836 the Access to Free Speech for All Act (AFSFA). ASHA states that they neither support nor oppose senate bill 1836 at this time.




What is the latest update regarding progress toward AB-AAC certification?


The COVID-19 pandemic brought about unprecedented changes to everyone’s life.

Since the start of the Pandemic, like many of you, our members worked and continue to work long hours to maintain our clinical services with added safety, protections, and tele-AAC following recommendations of the CDC, our universities and hospitals, and information from ASHA. We continue to wish everyone health and wellness as we all cope through this time.

Current updates:

  • The work on Developing Assessment Mechanisms has started and is projected to be completed in 2 years. The kick-off effort involves the volunteer Ad Hoc committee working on the Clinical Practice Analysis Study.
  • Other Ad Hoc Committees are working on various volunteer tasks
  • SLPs interested in getting on the mailing database and/or serving as a volunteer are encouraged to e-mail info@aacspecialist.org.