Below are links to information about the importance of communication (receptive and expressive) in educating students with extensive learning needs. See also the extensive list of Communication Resources found in our South Dakota AAC CoP section. 

  • Dear Colleague Letter – explains federal regulations regarding schools’ obligations to meet the communication needs of students: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This also includes “Frequently Asked Questions on Effective Communication for Students with Hearing, Vision, or Speech Disabilities in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools,” found on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) website.
  • Downloadable Picture Symbols –  a website designed to support students with special needs; there is free teacher and parent material, which includes downloadable picture symbols (though few are academic) educational supplies, games and resources
  • Dynamic Learning Maps™ Self-Directed Learning Modules – include various self-directed learning modules, some of which are specific to communication issues (e.g., Module 8: Symbols; Module 11: Speaking and Listening; Module 12: Writing: Text Types and Purposes) as well as other topics regarding the education of students with extensive learning needs
  • Free Boardmaker Boards – collection of free Boardmaker boards; excellent if you already have Boardmaker; not all of the links work though
  • National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) – a resource regarding “specialized formats of curricular content that can be used by and with students who are unable to read or use standard print materials; specialized formats include braille, audio, large print, and digital text”
  • National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) Communication Modules – include nine professional development modules regarding various aspects of receptive and expressive communication for students with extensive learning needs, developed by NCSC partners and accessible on NCSC’s Wiki
  • National Joint Committee’s Communication Bill of Rights – a list of the basic communication rights of all people, as set forth by the NJC in 1992; links to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website.
  • Proloquo2Go – widely-used symbol-based AAC for use on Apple devices, developed by AssistiveWare
  • Tactile and Symbol Directory – from Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired; this site offers information on developing and using tactile symbols
  • UDL Tech Toolkit – excellent collection of resources to help achieve UDL; includes math manipulatives, graphic organizers, writing tools, text-to-speech and much more