121: AAC Doesn’t Have To Be Scary with Kate Thomson

AAC Doesn't Have To Be Scary with Kate Thomson



How do you feel about AAC devices? 

If you think everything surrounding AAC is a little scary, you’re not alone! Many SLPs feel this way, but it doesn't have to be scary! AAC devices can benefit our students in so many ways, you just have to understand it and be patient. 

In this episode of SLP Coffee Talk, I sat down with Kate Thomson to dive into the topic of AAC and what you need to know about using these devices to help your students reach their speech goals. 

Kate is a go-getter who established the first SpeechEase clinic in Townsville two days a week while still working full-time in her government job. She saw a huge need for speech therapy services in Mackay when the NDIS started and began providing services there on the weekends until there was enough demand to open a second clinic. Kate is also Branch Chair for the Queensland Branch of Speech Pathology Australia and regularly provides supervision and mentorship to early career and senior Speech Pathologists. 

As a speechie, Kate loved helping unlock a clients’ communication abilities using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) so they could show the world who they are and what they know.


In This Episode You’ll Discover:

  • Challenges of working with AAC clients
  • How AAC inspires students to try more complex forms of communication
  • Advice for using low tech vs. high tech in speech
  • How to determine the best system or device for your student
  • Activities to help students get used to using their devices


As Kate says, if you’re feeling nervous about working with AAC, the best thing you can do is lean in. Our profession is not doing a great job currently of supporting nonverbal students. We need more education around AAC so that we can better embrace these devices and help our students use them. They can open so many doors of communication for students and it’s an amazing thing to see! 

You’ll never get better with AAC if you don’t use AAC. If you are looking to learn more or get some mentoring around AAC, make sure you reach out to Kate by visiting her website or connecting with her on Instagram—all linked below!


AAC Doesn't Have To Be Scary with Kate Thomson


Joke of the Week:

Q: What kind of music are balloons scared of? 

A: Pop music. 


Resources Mentioned: 

Check out the SpeechEase website

Follow Kate on Instagram


Where We Can Connect: 

Listen on Your Favorite Podcast Platform

Follow to the Podcast

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Follow Hallie on Pinterest 


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