In Memoriam


In Memoriam: Leila Nunes


With sadness, we share the passing of Leila Nunes.

Leila was born in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), graduated in Psychology from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (1970), master’s degree in Special Education from George Peabody College, USA (1977) and doctorate (PhD) in Special Education from Vanderbilt University (1985).

She worked at the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar) and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) until 1993. In 1993 she joined the Postgraduate Program in Education (PROPEd) at the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ) as a professor. In 2002 she became a Full Professor with experience in Special Education and Psychology, working in human development, language and communication, social interaction, Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), education of people with disabilities and intra-subject research methodology. She founded the Technology Laboratory and Alternative Communication (LATECA) in 1995, where she carried out numerous research in the field of AAC.

Leila has been a member of ISAAC since 1998 and has participated in numerous conferences in different countries, presenting research results and contributing to the dissemination of AAC.

In 2004 she organized Research Symposium at the ISAAC Conference in Natal (Brazil), where she took the initiative to organize the group of Brazilian professionals and researchers in AAC. In 2005 Leila organized the 1st Brazilian Congress of AAC in Rio de Janeiro, beginning the formation of the ISAAC Brazilian chapter, which was officially consolidated in 2010 (Barcelona ISAAC-Conference). In 2006, she invited researchers in Brazil to participate in an international research coordinated by Dr. Stephen von Tetzchner, carried out by 16 countries, on language development in AAC users.

Leila Nunes brought together researchers, professionals, family members and AAC users in different events, research, initial and continuing teacher training and shared her knowledge in different spheres. Her legacy includes a vast international and Brazilian publication of articles, books, book chapters, conferences and active participation in different scientific associations. She guided a huge number of masters, doctors and post-doctors, becoming a researcher of excellence in various research agencies (CNPq, CAPES, FAPESP and FAPERJ).

Leila leaves 5 children and 7 grandchildren, always praised by her as being her best production in life. A friendly, sensitive, human person with extreme kindness and professionalism, she will always be remembered and referenced by everyone. AAC is grateful for her existence.



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In Memoriam:  Rosemary Crossley

“It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that the Anne McDonald Centre Committee of Management announce the death yesterday of its Director and co-founder, Rosemary Crossley. Dr. Rosemary Crossley, AM, PhD, died on 10/5/2023. She was 78 years old. She became famous as a therapist with and advocate for people with little or no functional speech…Crossley’s life work of teaching, researching, and advocating for people with little or no functional speech has improved the lives of thousands of the most vulnerable people in many countries and over five decades. Her sharp intellect and wicked good humour will be missed. The world has lost an important voice speaking out for the rights of people with disabilities..”

Read the full release here.


In Memoriam: Judith Heumann

March 14, 2023

Rehabilitation International Mourns the Passing of Judith Heumann, Disability Rights Activist.

“It is with great sadness that we have learned of the death of Judith Heumann a champion for the rights of disabled people and widely known as “the mother” of disability rights.”

Read the condolence letter from Rehabilitation International President, Mme. Haidi.



In Memoriam: Dr. David Yoder

July 16, 1932 – February 2, 2023


From the UNC obituary:

“David Yoder, Chair Emeritus of the Department of Health Sciences, UNC, led a long and distinguished career as a servant leader in multiple fields including communication sciences and disorders, augmentative and alternative communication, allied health, and literacy….David was repeatedly recognized for his leadership throughout his career….He served as the first president of the United States Society of Augmentative and Alternative Communication and the first journal editor for the journal, Augmentative and Alternative Communication….Dr. Yoder authored many professional articles and book chapters in the area of language disorders and literacy with special needs populations. He co-edited six books and presented more than 600 research papers, professional workshops and consultancies nationally and internationally.”

Read the full UNC obituary here.


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



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.