Mental Health and Students with Complex Communication Needs

Mental Health and Students with Complex Communication Needs: Let’s talk about it! May 8, 2019

Part of the USSAAC Webinar Series

Presenter:  Dr. Kathy Howery, Consultant

Moderator: Betsy Caporale

Materials: Mental Health and Students with Complex Communication Needs: Let’s talk about it! (PowerPoint Presentation, PDF, 3 MB)

Mental health as an area of concern and focusing schools is being recognized around the world. There is a growing understanding that emotionally healthy students are more likely to be successful in school and in life. But what of students who require AAC?

This session raises this issue through stories shared by augmented speakers and connects this to the newly revised Communication Bill of Rights (Brady, et al., 2016).

Stories were gathered as part of a study into the lived experience of speaking through a speech-generating device (Howery, 2017). Although stories of maltreatment, abuse, and ableism were not sought after in the study, such stories emerged both in context of school and larger community experiences. These stories illustrate mental health issues raised in each and how ignoring or neglecting the communication rights of these individuals negatively impacts their mental health and therefore their lives.

Seminar objectives:  To learn –

  • how mental health can be negatively effected by communication challenges,
  • about the impact of having to make one’s voice heard through an SGD may create situations of vulnerability and abuse for students in institutional context, and
  • how the Communication Bill of Rights (Brady et al, 2016) can be used to proactively address potential maltreatment and support mental wellness in children and youth.

CEU information and forms can be found on the USSAAC website at: https://ussaac.org/news-events/webinars/

 

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