Introducing the new ISAAC Executive Board President Tracy Shepherd


ISAAC International is pleased to introduce the new President of the Executive Board, Tracy Shepherd.

a woman crouches near a child who is sitting

Tracy is a speech language pathologist who started practicing clinically in AAC in 1991. She was Clinical Coordinator at the Augmentative Communication Service at Thames Valley Childrens Centre in London, Ontario, Canada until recently. Tracy is now Director of the Centralized Equipment Pool for Augmentative and Alternative Communication in Ontario, Canada (operated by Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital) and also has a role as Clinical Education Coordinator.

Tracy has been a member of ISAAC since 1990 and is a Past President of ISAAC-Canada (2009 – 2013). She held the position of VP without portfolio for the ISAAC International Executive Board from 2014 – 2018, she was President-Elect from 2020-2022 and she co-chaired ISAAC’s 17th Biennial Conference in Toronto, Canada.

“We have ambitious plans for the next two years at ISAAC! First and foremost, I’m looking forward to resuming ISAAC International conferences which have been postponed during the pandemic. There’s nothing like the energy and joy we feel when we get together in person, and the connections we make that move AAC forward. We’re very excited for Conference Cancun in 2023 and Conference Roma in 2024. We’re also in the middle of building a new website, which is a big project!” 

I’d like to welcome new board member and President-Elect, Yonit Hagoel-Karnieli from Israel. I also offer my deepest thanks and appreciation to all of ISAAC’s past presidents who have helped to move the organization forward over the years. As President-Elect, I worked closely with outgoing President Juan Bornman who was a pillar of strength and kindness for ISAAC over the last two very difficult years. Juan held us up and worked alongside all of us as we accomplished some hard things, such as the ISAAC Connect virtual conference last year. We always felt appreciated by Juan as she shared her positivity and inspirational South African proverbs. She will have a lasting impact on the Executive Board and on ISAAC. So thank you Juan!” – Tracy Shepherd

See the full Executive Board here.



screen shot of words and a woman's headshot, smiling

Read the article on the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital website.



Rome, Italy

ISAAC has developed a Request for Proposal (“RFP”) for the purpose of assisting the organization to identify and select an appropriate Conference Management Company / Professional Conference Organizer (“PCO”). This RFP is intended to provide specific information to individual PCO bidders, including background data and scope of work required.

Read the RFP here. 





30 de septiembre del 2022 / September 30, 2022

12:00 hrs, Hora del Este / 12 pm ET

Les hacemos una cordial invitación a la reunión de miembros, la cual tiene como finalidad hacer comunidad, conocernos y apoyarnos en la práctica profesional y/o en la experiencia familiar de la CAA.

We would like to invite you to a Spanish Speaking members reunion. The goals for this meeting are to strengthen our community and create links that promote collaboration among  professional practice  and the family experience around AAC. This meeting will be held primarily in Spanish. 

Registre aquí / Register here

Les pedimos su participación entrando al siguiente enlace o código QR.




  • Entraran a una página en dónde hay un mapa. 
  • En la esquina superior derecha encontraran un círculo rosa, hay que darle click y aparece un lápiz y se abre una pestaña para colocar el nombre de su país.
  • Al seleccionar el país puede agregar una nota escrita, una fotografía o un enlace de internet.
  • Les pedimos coloquen su nombre y una foto que muestre su relación con la CAA, si desea puede poner una breve explicación.


26th Annual Edwin and Esther Prentke
AAC Distinguished Lecture

Prentke AAC Distinguished Lecture Call for Nominations is now Open!

Nominations for The 2023 Prentke AAC Distinguished Lecture are now open and will close on October 15, 2022! Make sure you don’t miss your chance to submit your nomination!

The lecture will be held at the ATIA 2023 Conference in Orlando on Friday, February 2, 2023, from 11:30 am – 12:30 pm EST.

pcr saltillo logo

The winner of this award will receive a $2,000 honorarium and up to an additional $3,000 to cover travel expenses for the recipient to present in person at the conference in Orlando, provided by PRC-Saltillo. The recipient and two guests receive complimentary registrations to ATIA 2023 provided by ATIA. 

Nominators, or sponsors, may nominate anyone who they feel meets the following criteria: 

  • Be a person who uses any AAC device
  • Have public speaking experience and the ability to engage in an interactive question-and-answer session with the audience
  • Have made a unique contribution to the field of AAC or had a unique experience as a person who uses AAC

ATIA is honored to host this exciting presentation by a person who communicates using an AAC device at ATIA 2023 in Orlando, Florida. Nominate yourself, a colleague, or friend today!

Prentke AAC Distinguished Lecture Registration Form



Announcing the 5th International Assistive Technology and AAC conference 


     group of people sitting at a conference


The ATAAC conference will be hosted in Zagreb, Croatia, 29-30 September 2022

The conference can be attended in person or watched online.

Leading AT and AAC experts and manufactures will be presenting information, research and products, sharing experiences and valuable advice on working with children and persons with communication support needs . 

Watch online access lasts for 2 weeks, from the first day of the conference ensuring you have enough time to focus on each and every lecture.

All lectures in other languages will be simultaneously translated into English.

More information can be found on the ATAAC 2022  website.

ISAAC is a partner of ATAAC and supports the growth of AAC community in Southern and Eastern Europe.

ATAAC Zagreb is organised by by E-Glas, Faculty of Engineering, University of Rijeka and Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation, University of Zagreb.


In memoriam: Rick Creech

With sadness, we share the passing of Rick Creech. 

Rick Creech was an educational consultant with the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN), received the 2004 Edwin and Esther Prentke AAC Distinguished Lecture award given by the American Speech-Hearing Association (ASHA), and was an AAC user.

He is remembered for his eloquent advocacy to empower those who, while they may need physical assistance, are capable of becoming productive members of society.  

“Rick was one of the first people I know who wrote about his lived experience as an AAC user, and one of the first to be a full-time, competitively employed user. He used his voice for advocacy for others, locally and nationally, for example in the testimony he provided to the Senate Committee on Aging  Making A Difference For Others – AAC & Speech Devices from PRC (”  – Amy Goldman, President, USSAAC

“Rick Creech was a man of resilience and many accomplishments: author, poet, teacher, advocate, husband, father, son. His words, demeanor, insights, humor and determination tell the story…watch him in action when he testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Aging in 2017.” – Sarah Blackstone, Past-President, USSAAC



Participate in a research study on the Experiences of AAC Technology Users

What is this study about? 

Researcher Caroline Bollen of Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands is looking for participants in a study on ethical aspects of AAC technologies. They are interested in how AAC technologies can promote self-expression and empathy but perhaps also stigmatization. They would like to hear about daily life experiences with AAC and receive possible suggestions for improvement of AAC technologies and their role in today’s society.


Who can be involved? 

Eligible for participation are AAC technology users above 18 years old.


What would I be asked to do?

The study entails individual written interviews that will be conducted digitally and asymmetrically. Answers  to the interview questions can be submitted either via SURFdrive or email. 


Who has approved the research?

This study has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) of Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.


Watch this 5 minute animated video for a more detailed explanation of what you could expect from participation: 


For more information, see: 

Information about the project

Letter of approval

Consent form



If you have questions or are interested in participating, contact Caroline Bollen (


Presentation to UNCRPD committee

Jacob Matthew (Australia) and Beth Moulam (UK) are presenting to the UNCRPD (United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) committee to raise awareness of communication rights.

Monday 15th August

10am – Central European Time

Anyone can watch this session using this link:

This presentation aims to raise awareness to the CRPD committee of the need for countries to develop standards and guidelines to uphold communication rights for all. Key items from the Call to Action will be shared.

For more background see ICRA (International Communication Rights Alliance) documents:

ICRA Policy Statement 

ICRA Call to Action 


Ralf Schlosser, Editor-in-Chief of the AAC Journal, to receive the highest award given by ASHA – the Honors of the Association.


We are pleased to announce that Ralf Schlosser has been recommended by the Committee on Honors and affirmed by the Board of Directors of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) to receive the Honors of the Association. The Honors of the Association is the highest award given by ASHA and is public recognition of his distinguished and exceptional contributions to the field of speech, language, and hearing.  Ralf Schlosser will be formally recognized with a presentation at the Awards Ceremony on Friday, November 18, 2022, at the ASHA Convention in New Orleans, LA.


In memoriam: Jane Odom

It is with deep sadness that we share the passing of Jane Odom, an AAC legend, colleague, and friend to so many the world over. Her excitement around AAC communicators and the teams who support them was unmatched in the field. 

Do you have a great memory of Jane?

Share your stories and pictures on social media using the hashtag #SeeJaneSmile. Let’s flood social media with stories of how she made us laugh, encouraged our creativity, and pushed for equal voices for AAC communicators.

Her legacy will live on through all of us.


ISAAC-TAIWAN online seminar

Chung Shan Medical University and ISAAC-Taiwan will co-host a half-day online seminar “Voice in My Heart.”

Speaker: Tan Xuet Ying, President of ISAAC Singapore 

Topic 1: AAC on people with stroke

Topic 2: AAC on people with muscular atrophy

Date: 2022/7/16 8:30-12:00 

Learn more:刻在心底的聲音_ISAAC.jpg



Estimado miembro de ISAAC:

Les hacemos una cordial invitación a la reunión de miembros, la cual tiene como finalidad hacer comunidad, conocernos y apoyarnos en la práctica profesional y/o en la experiencia familiar de la CAA.


2 de septiembre del 2022

12:00 hrs, Hora del Este

Registre aquí

Les pedimos su participación entrando al siguiente enlace o código QR.



  • Entraran a una página en dónde hay un mapa. 
  • En la esquina superior derecha encontraran un círculo rosa, hay que darle click y aparece un lápiz y se abre una pestaña para colocar el nombre de su país.
  • Al seleccionar el país puede agregar una nota escrita, una fotografía o un enlace de internet.
  • Les pedimos coloquen su nombre y una foto que muestre su relación con la CAA, si desea puede poner una breve explicación.

Gracias y esperamos verlos!!

Flyer Reunioin ISAAC Español



Communication Matters Study Day 2022 UK – Registration Now Open!

Becoming an Aided Communicator (BAC) – Theory, Methods, Findings and Practical Implications

When? Tuesday 21st June 2022, 10am to 4pm (registration at 9.30am)
Where? University of Leeds or Zoom
Who? An international team, led by Prof. Stephen von Tetzchner, University of Oslo, Norway

The focus of this Study Day is on the language and communication opportunities of children and young people who are learning language using aided communication. It may be of interest to anyone involved in supporting the language development of aided communicators who use low-tech and/or high-tech systems. 

The Study Day has two parts, a presentation part (10am-1pm) and a discussion part (2-3.30pm). Many of the project members plan to participate in person. The first part of the Study Day will present ideas and results from the project. Each presentation will involve one lead presenter and several co-presenters. The presentations can be attended in person or on Zoom. The afternoon has parallel sessions. After the parallel sessions, the groups will come together for a 30-minute summary and wrap-up session (3.30-4pm).

Find out more about the BAC Project / Study Day and Register Now!

Download the flyer.

This is Not About Me film


What’s it like to be autistic and non-speaking in a world that’s already made up its mind about you?

This April, which is Autism Acceptance Month, watch the story of Jordyn – an experience shared by so many others. Non-speaking autistic students caught in a system that believes they are unable to understand or learn. 

This is Not About Me has been selected as finalist of the ReelAbility Film festival: NewYork. Read more about the documentary here:  #ThisIsNotAboutMe

This Is Not About Me is available on Apple TV and iTunes for rent or purchase. 




Take the survey

Words matter.

What words do you prefer when talking about AAC and the people that use it?

Assistiveware has created a survey to better understand the disability and AAC terms you like and dislike. The results of the survey will be shared on the AssistiveWare blog ( in May 2022 and possibly in other venues in the future.

Fill in this survey with your preferences.

You can also help by sharing the link to the survey. The more people participate the more comprehensive and valuable the results will be.

The survey closes April 28, 2022.


Death of Jimmy Hill, brother of Katya Hill

ISAAC International is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jimmy Hill, brother of Katya Hill, killed in Ukraine last week. ISAAC International offers sincerest condolences to Katya and her entire family. To learn more about this tragedy, please read this news item from NPR.

Statement on Ukraine

ISAAC International is deeply concerned about the welfare of people who use AAC and their personal/professional networks, particularly during times of natural or man-made disasters. Our ISAAC-Poland chapter has, for the past five months and prior to the start of hostilities, been engaging with key people in Ukraine providing support, and they will continue to do so for as long as possible. They are also engaged with other Polish NGOs assisting refugees, and we are in communication to determine what support can be offered. 


In memoriam: David R. Beukelman 

January 13, 1943 – February 5, 2022



David “Dave” passed away on February 5, 2022. Dave was born to Cora and Verne Beukelman of Harrison, South Dakota on January 13, 1943. He attended a one-room country school, graduated from Corsica High School, attended Northwestern College in Orange City, IA before graduating from Western Michigan University with a degree in speech language pathology. In 1964, he married Helen DeWaard, and they had three children: Julie (Jim) Johnson of Pella, Iowa, Jeff (Cynthia) Beukelman of Lincoln, Nebraska, and Jonathan (Jami) Beukelman of Denver, Colorado. He had nine grandchildren (Brannon, Seth, Cecily Johnson, Sierra, Drew, McKinley Beukelman, Luke, Graham, Audrey Beukelman) and two great grandchildren (Merrick and Marlowe Johnson).

David received masters and doctorate degrees from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He worked at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and then took a position as Director of Communication Disorders at the University of Washington Hospital. After 10 years, he took a job at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln and the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha.  From 1985 to 2020 he was also a clinical researcher collaborator at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital. Throughout his career, he specialized in providing services to people with neurological conditions that interfered with their ability to communicate effectively. He helped initiate the field of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and designed communication materials and devices for children and adults who couldn’t speak the ability to communicate with others. He was an intellect with a humble heart bent toward serving others. Dave loved Lincoln, the Huskers, his church, volunteering at the Lied Center, and giving big hugs to his grandkids. 

He was preceded in death by his parents, Verne and Cora Beukelman, and his father and mother-in-law, Corstiaan and Kathryn DeWaard, and his brother Roy Beukelman.

Read the obituary: Roper & Sons Funeral Home.

Celebration of Life Gathering: February 11, 5-7pm, Roper & Sons Funeral Home.

Memorial Service: February 12, 1130am, Hope Community Church.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation, Assistive Technology Center, and Hope Community Church. Livestream and condolences online at


“The passing of Dr. Beukelman marks another chapter of bereavement in the AAC community’s farewell to a generation of outstanding scholars, researchers, clinicians and above all, people-people who have bequeathed us a rich and vibrant discipline. We will remember Dr. Beukelman for his sharp intellect, his integrity and his compassion that inspired a whole generation of students. Life does not always deliver the ending that we hoped for, but we know that Dr. Beukelman’s story was a beautiful chapter in the book of AAC.” – Dr. Juan Bornman, President, International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC) 2020-2022

We anticipate sharing much more about David’s contribution and legacy in the coming days and weeks. 

From left to right: Chih-Kang Yang, ISAAC-Taiwan; Kristy Weissling, ISAAC-US (USSAAC); Miechelle McKelvey, ISAAC-US (USSAAC); Dr. David Beukelman; Kathryn Garrett, ISAAC-US (USSAAC); Wendy Quach, ISAAC-US (USSAAC)


Return to Ireland and Celebration of Barbara Collier’s Contribution to the Field of AAC

Barbara Collier, Executive Director, Communication Disabilities Access Canada (CDAC), arrived in Canada in 1979. In February of 2022, she and Bill are leaving Canada and making a big move to Ireland, 43 years later! Though Barbara is not leaving the field of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and the work of CDAC completely, she has decided to move ‘home’.  

Barbara’s family, friends, students, colleagues and project supporters came together to celebrate  Barbara’s contributions to the field of AAC and the impact she had on their lives.




Casting Call!

Here’s an exciting opportunity to be part of a major movie adaptation of the best-selling young adult novel Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper. The movie’s producers are casting for a young female, aged 11-14, with cerebral palsy, for the lead role of “Melody”.

The movie is being produced by people who have made some wonderful movies and given them heart, elegance, and insight. You will certainly know some of them.

Read the release to learn more. 

And please share!



Call for Papers

The Joint International Conference on Digital Inclusion, Assistive Technology & Accessibility – ICCHP-AAATE 2022 is being held July 11-15 in Lecco, Italy. Organizers are seeking contributions from around the world for a special thematic session on “Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Emerging Trends, Opportunities and Innovations.” Details about the STS can be found at

Contributions to a STS have to be submitted using the standard submission procedures  of ICCHP-AAATE. When submitting a contribution please make sure to select the right STS from the drop-down list “Special Thematic Session”. Contributions to a STS are evaluated by the Programme Committee of ICCHP-AAATE and by the chair(s) of the STS. Please contact the STS chair(s) for discussing your contribution and potential involvement in the session. Submission Deadlines for Contributions to STSs: February, 6, 2022 for publishing in Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science, March 3, 2022 for publishing in the Open Access Compendium.”

Season’s Greetings from the ISAAC International Executive Board 

The ISAAC International Executive Board has created this lovely end-of-year video. Here they are, from around the world, celebrating the ISAAC community’s accomplishments in 2021 and sending all of you best wishes for a 2022 full of warmth, love and happiness.  


The ISAAC Story

ISAAC supports the use of AAC around the world through the sharing of ideas and information. Events such as International AAC Awareness Month, our biennial conference, The ISAAC Communicator (formerly ISAAC E-News) and regular email alerts, keep ISAAC international members well-informed about our organization and activities worldwide.

A blast from the past ISAAC Story 2008 was created by the Friends of ISAAC in celebration of the 25th Anniversary of ISAAC:



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