Supporting Early Language Development with DIR and AAC

Monday, Apr 3, 2023 7:30pm – 9:00pm
Live on Zoom


$ 120.00

Supporting Early Language Development with DIR and AAC

Tanna Neufeld, MS, CCC-SLP and Heidi Hosick, MS CCC-A/SLP

Starting Monday, April 3, 2023 at 1:00 pm Eastern Time

Scheduled Dates: 4/3, 4/10, 4/17, 4/24

4 sessions | 1.5 hours per session | Weekly

Online via Zoom


This four-part course for all skill levels will provide a framework to help attendees support the development of language and communication skills with AAC for children at the earliest stages of communication learning, through a DIRⓇ lens. Students will be encouraged to think about how the relationship-the “R” in DIRⓇ-encourages both the communicator and the communication partner to embrace a multi-modal system of communication tools and strategies that prioritizes connection. Thinking in terms of early, functional communication skills, this series will look at how partners can interweave AAC from an early age or stage to support ongoing language development for children at risk for significant, long-term communication challenges. This series will begin at the earliest stages of emotional and communication development, offering practical strategies to enhance communicative intent, shape non-symbolic communication, and immerse emerging communicators in rich language models during regulated moments. Learners will then explore strategies to recognize engagement in children who are learning to engage, and to build upon that engagement “sweet spot” when identifying key moments within which to provide aided language stimulation with AAC. As students shift their focus to more integration of symbol-based AAC for children progressing toward purposeful, two-way communication, strategies that strengthen the quality and quantity of communication exchanges using all forms of communication will be explored. This series will conclude by offering case-based, interactive discussions within which attendees can apply what they have learned thus far in the series and learn additional strategies to expand on initial connections and successes with their communicators.

Learning Objectives

Describe the role of non-symbolic forms of AAC across the early language development period.

Discuss three strategies for establishing and maintaining a child’s engagement with multimodal, aided language modeling.

Describe two-way to build upon a successful interaction to expand language.

Who should attend?

Anyone interested in exploring how to support children who communicate with AAC tools and strategies, using a DIR lens. This includes speech and language professionals, other rehabilitation professionals, educators, and caregivers.

Heidi Hosick Joyce is a licensed Speech- Language Pathologist and Audiologist with over 30 years of clinical experience working with individuals with developmental disabilities. She received her M.S. in Audiology and Speech Language Pathology from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Heidi completed the Professional Level 1 Certificate in December of 2016 and has mentored with Profectum faculty since that time. Co-Founder at Team Autism Memphis. A specialty practice with an emphasis on SPD, feeding, AAC and ASD with a developmental approach to intervention and parent support.Heidi’s clinical model focuses on an interdisciplinary developmental approach looking at the whole child while coaching families and paraprofessionals to maximize carryover of treatment plans. Heidi is passionate about empowering families to understand different models of treatment and finding what best meets their family’s relationships and interactions. Her specialty training in AAC and autism spectrum disorder treatments is enhanced with this team approach. Heidi is also PROMPT trained and holds certification from Hanen. Team Autism Memphis (TAM) was founded by Nancy Massey and Heidi Hosick Joyce in 2016. Heidi also founded Independent Therapy Network in 1997 providing services to adults in Tennessee with developmental disabilities through Home and Community Based Waivers (HCBW) and Employment Choices First Waiver. TAM is a specialty practice supporting individuals and their families with an emphasis on Sensory Processing Disorders, feeding, Augmentative and Alternative Communication and autism spectrum disorders. TAM offers an integrated intervention approach across all disciplines looking at individual profiles of each child and family. TAMÕs treatment is directed by the DIR and the Foundational Capacities for Development (FCD’s™) model. Our clinicians receive on-going training and mentoring from Profectum Academy faculty to continue to expand their skills and knowledge base.

Tannalynn Neufeld is a speech therapist with over 15 years of experience working with complex communicators. She has presented nationwide on AAC and other topics related to complex communication via professional and parent development workshops, including her work at The AAC Academy, an online, AAC learning hub for professionals and partners. Tanna is the founder and director of, a nonprofit organization driven to improve global access to AAC through education, advocacy, awareness, and action. Her child and family support philosophy pulls from a wide range of sound models, including DIR and Hanen approaches.