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MontCOMM ’23: Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) – Foundation, Framework, and Future

August 18

MontCOMM logo. Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC): Foundation, Framework, and Future. Featuring AAC experts Ashley Larisey and Sarah Gregory for a full day of learning. August 18th, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm, online or in-person in Missoula on the UM campus. OPI, ASHA, and MOTA credits pending. SLPs, OTs, educators, direct support staff, and families are all welcome. SEssions for those fairly new to alternative communciation and those who are more fluent as well. $100 if you need CEUS, $50 if you don't. Write shawna.hanson@mso.umt.edu with questions.

MontCOMM 2023 is a one-day immersion into the world of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), designed to support communicators of all ages. This year, national speakers and AAC/inclusion experts Ashley Larisey and Sarah Gregory focus on learning to apply AAC strategies across communication partners and environments.

The primary mission of MontCOMM has always been to build Montana’s capacity to serve Montanans of all ages who have complex communication needs. Ashley and Sarah will help us move forward on that path by also examining how we can build a self-sustaining #CommunAT.

Course Description:

AAC implementation is most successful when we have a community of knowledge. Let’s examine how we can shift from an expert model to a capacity model that is self-sustaining so that AAC best practices are utilized across communication partners and environments. This full day of learning will provide opportunities to share your own expertise, reflect on the barriers that exist in your organization/practice, and problem-solve among your #CommunAT.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Model evidence-based strategies to support AAC learning
  • Describe two methods to use AAC as an instructional tool to improve access to the general education curriculum
  • List three tools to support literacy and language learning
  • Collaborate with families/caregivers/colleagues to support AAC users across environments

All are welcome! In-person attendees will gather at the University Center Theater on the University of Montana Campus in Missoula.

ASHA, MOTA, and OPI credits for MontComm 2023 are pending.

Register today


Presenter Biographies:

Headshot of woman smiling

Ashley Larisey is a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist and clinical educator. She works with high school students and has a private practice where she provides direct therapy, coaching, and professional development. Ashley is also an adjunct faculty member at St. Xavier University. Ashley has extensive experience working with children and adults who use AAC systems and has presented at local and national conferences on the topics of AAC and literacy.



Headshot of woman smiling.

Sarah Gregory is a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist who works as an assistive technology and inclusive programming consultant in Upstate New York. She specializes in AAC in a public school setting with a focus on inclusion. Sarah has presented on these topics at national and statewide conferences. She shares ideas and strategies for AAC and teletherapy on her YouTube channel, as well as on Twitter and Instagram @SarahGregorySLP.



Young woman with long, thick dark hair smiling.Jordyn Zimmerman is a nonspeaking autistic person who did not have access to AAC until she was 18 years old. She is an AAC advocate and is featured in the 2021 documentary, This Is Not About Me. She presents at conferences and events around the world and is Board Chair of Communication First, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the civil rights of children and adults who “cannot rely on speech alone to be heard and understood.”



Young man smiling, with golden grasses and sunlight behind him.Isaac Baldry is a Montana advocate and AAC user. He is self-employed at Isaac Baldry Consulting and speaks nationally on topics ranging from assistive technology to youth advocacy. He has been a member of the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities’ Consumer Advisory Council since 2008 and also works as Montana’s Region 1 Facilitator for MYTransitions.



Discounts for groups of four or more. Contact shawna.hanson@mso.umt.edu for a PROMO Code prior to registering your group.

If you have questions about MontCOMM 2023, please contact shawna.hanson@mso.umt.edu.

The Shape of the Day:

8:30 – Welcome, CEU Info

8:40 – Coaching, Collaboration, & Community

10:10 – Break


Session 2A: AAC Implementation for School-Aged Individuals (Introductory)
Session 2B: Literacy and AAC: Why Both are Key! (Intermediate)

12:00 – Lunch

1:00 – MT Advocate Isaac Baldry Interviews AAC Advocate (and Subject of the Documentary
“This Is Not About Me”) Jordyn Zimmerman


Session 3A: AAC: Re-Defining Life Skills (Introductory)
Session 3B: AAC Assessment: A Practical Approach to Decision Making (Intermediate)

2:20 – Break

2:30 – Crowd-driven Q&A

3:15 – Wrap-up, CEU Housekeeping


Ms. Larisey and Ms. Gregory will receive a speaking fee for this conference. They have no relevant financial or non-financial disclosures. 


University of Montana University Center