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Language & Labels Matter
Presuming Competence

Watch your free mini-lesson about how the words we use matter and how presuming competence is the least dangerous assumption we can make about a person.

 Then keep scrolling for an amazing offer!

“I like to call myself nonspeaking because I can communicate by spelling words instead of speaking. Nonverbal implies I do not understand words. How can I communicate with words if I
am nonverbal?"
- Philip R

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Ready to make changes that will let you be a more confident, knowledgeable support for the nonspeaking people in your life?
Unlock both our Language & Labels Matter and Presuming Competence modules!

Presuming Competence Modules Access

$65

65

Access two modules - Language & Labels Matter and Presuming Competence - from our full course.

Valid until canceled

Module 2 - Language & Labels Matter (20 minutes)

Module 3 - Presuming Competence (49 minutes)

Lifetime Access!

a collaboration among

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We believe communication is a basic human right.

What can you expect
from our modules?

Listen to Nonspeaking Presenters

Our team at Communication for Education believes very deeply that any training created to support nonspeaking autistic people needs to be informed by their lived experiences and expertise. From its inception, our course has been designed to include the voices of nonspeakers, both as contributors and content reviewers.

Hear from Powerhouse Professionals

When we developed our training for folks supporting nonspeaking individuals, we knew that we needed to include as many lived experiences as possible, both from nonspeaking autistic individuals themselves and from a diverse group of thought leaders in the disability community. Our work is shaped by some incredibly knowledgeable and experienced professionals as well.

Download Course PDFs and Resources

Each module of our course offers pages of handouts in downloadable PDFs. You'll have access to key concepts from the module, words of wisdom from nonspeakers, and references for the research that supports the module, and lists for further reading from more books and websites.

Learn with our Team

Our core instructional team consists of Dr. Edlyn Peña, Lisa Mihalich Quinn, and Julie Sando. Together the three have trained more than 350 communication partners to serve nonspeaking students in educational, home, social, and community settings.

Ready to learn more about presuming competence and the importance of the language we use?

Module Presenters

Tim Jin, Disability Rights Advocate, Disability Voices United
Justice Killebrew, Nonspeaking Autistic Student
Parisa Khosravi, Former Journalist & News Executive
Payam, Nonspeaking Autistic Student

Language & Labels Matter:
Module Objectives

  • Differentiate between person-first and identity-first language and address why more people are preferring identity-first language

  • Identify the harmful effects of functioning labels

  • Explore the distinction between “nonverbal” and “nonspeaking”

Presuming Competence:
Module Objectives

  • Recognize the differences between age-appropriate education and special education

  • Distinguish between presuming knowledge and presuming competence

  • Interact with students in ways that speak to who they are on the inside

  • Understand that incorrect responses may be a problem of execution (motor and sensory) not a problem of understanding (cognition)

  • Learn how to reframe language from a deficit perspective to a strengths-based perspective

Unlock the Entire Course

Want to learn about more than just this one topic?

All of our full course options offer you:

  • 15 modules packed with in-depth learning

  • example videos of students and communication partners in action

  • over 250 pages of downloadable resources

Our live / hybrid model offers you:

  • 8 weeks of live online classes with course instructors

  • weekly homework tailored to course instruction

  • cohort discussion board

  • feedback on one submitted video

  • What is Communication For Education's online course?
    Our course is a training program for communication partners who work for, and with, students using text-based multimodal AAC in educational settings. We recognize that many students do not participate in traditional school settings, so this training is appropriate for those who support nonspeakers in all educational environments, including homeschool situations and private schools. While our team is based in the United States, we work with schools around the world to train communication partners.
  • What content does the course cover?
    Our course addresses core competencies for educators and related professionals who support text-based multimodal communication of non-speaking autistic individuals. Multimodal communication can include typing on a keyboard or communication device, pointing to letters on a laminated letter board or alphabet board, or pointing to text-based choices. The course will address best practices for developing a partnership between communication partners and autistic individuals by fostering understanding of presumption of competence, apraxia, emotional and physical regulation strategies, and varied communication strategies. You can view our course outline here.
  • What is the Live Course format?
    The course consists of 15 modules in which course instructors provide instruction, examples, and modeling of course competencies. During an 8-week period, participants watch prerecorded modules each week and then participate in weekly live online sessions to receive further instruction and engage in discussion. The live course features monitored homework assignments, an online community discussion group, weekly accountability, and feedback for one video submission.
  • What is the Self-Paced Course format?
    We offer three self-paced options. Lifetime Access allows you access to recorded modules, PDFs, weekly activities, and self-reflections. You can go at your own pace without pressure to finish at a pre-determined date. Lifetime Access Team Training allows 5 individual licenses to access the recorded modules, PDFs, weekly activities, and self-reflections. Your team can go at their own pace. When a team member leaves, you can transfer one license to another user for a small fee. 16-Week Access allows you access to the same recorded modules with weekly activities and self-reflections as our lifetime option, but sets an end date to your access. This option is good for folks who may need a deadline to hold themselves accountable or who are looking for a more budget-conscious option. Utilize the end date to inspire course completion! Self-paced courses do not include access to our live courses, online discussion groups, supervised homework, or video feedback. Join our self-paced classes here.
  • I am a parent / homeschool educator / home support person / work in a private practice. Can I take this training?
    Absolutely! We recognize that there are many different types of educational environments that support nonspeaking autistic students, including home and community settings! Although this course speaks mostly to "in-school" experiences, the principles and instruction can be applied to any learning environment.
  • Do you offer custom training for school systems?
    We do! If a school system has a group of 6 or more participants, we can help set up a custom course section, discussion group and private weekly classes. Having a group composed just of one system allows us to dive more deeply into specific issues impacting you and your students. We invite schools to download our School Info Guide here. If your school wishes to set up a custom 8 week training class or explore alternate training models, please send us an email at info@communicationforeducation.com
  • Who from our school should take this training?
    We have found that having a diverse group of participants can be helpful for a school team to build their institutional capacity to support nonspeaking students in the long term. This group could include anyone directly working with nonspeaking students (EA/paraeducator), special education teachers, general education teachers, OTs, SLPs, etc. We also have had district administrators present in our trainings.
  • What information can I give to our school or district administrators?
    We encourage you to download and share our course info guide, list of professional contributor bios, and the course research reference list to share with your schools and administrators who are looking for more information.
  • Can I earn Continuing Education Credits (CEUs) for these courses?
    Yes! Participants in our live classes who satisfactorily complete all required course components are eligible to apply for two (2) Continuing Education Units (CEUs). A $39 processing fee will apply. Additionally, SLPs who have participated in our past sessions have told us they are able to count the hours from the live classes as Professional Development Hours for ASHA. Unfortunately, we are not able to offer CEUs for participants in our self-paced courses.
  • Can I earn graduate credit for this course?
    We are unable to offer graduate credit for this course. You can earn Continuing Education Credits only.
  • Do you accept alternate funding sources?
    We do our best to accommodate requests to use alternate funding sources (self-determination funding, homeschool vendor programs, outside scholarships, etc.) but cannot guarantee we will be able to accept all forms of payment. To inquire about a specific alternate funding source, please email info@communicationforeducation.com with all details involved for that source (e.g., vendor packets, tax forms, invoicing procedures). We will evaluate the information and be in touch within 3-5 business days.
  • Do you offer group rates?
    We do! We offer group rates for groups of 6 or more. for our live class. We are also able to create custom sections for groups (school systems, home teams, etc.) who are registering 6 or more participants. If you wish to inquire about a custom live class for a group or for group rates in general, please email us at info@communicationforeducation.com
  • Do you accept purchase orders?
    We do accept purchase orders for custom group trainings or for schools wishing to register employees for our general live course sections. Payment must be received in full prior to the course start date. If you wish to register a participant with a purchase order, please send us an email at info@communicationforeducation.com
  • Do you offer scholarships?
    The Autism and Communication Center at Cal Lutheran University is sponsoring 3 grants to fund training for school teams in 2023. These grants are open only to school-based educators with priority going to public schools in the United States. For more information or to apply for the grant, please click here. At this time we do not offer scholarships for individuals taking the course. If our Live Class option is too cost prohibitive, we encourage you to explore our self-paced options that offer recorded content at a more affordable price.
  • Can I book a personal consultation with one of the course instructors?
    Limited personal consultation and individualized coaching is available at this time. You can review openings and book a consult using this link.

Presuming Competence Modules Access

$65

65

Access two modules - Language & Labels Matter and Presuming Competence - from our full course.

Valid until canceled

Module 2 - Language & Labels Matter (20 minutes)

Module 3 - Presuming Competence (49 minutes)

Lifetime Access!

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“I used to spend every day in a self-contained autism classroom and it slowly became torture. The adults who worked with me were so kind, but I was treated like a toddler no matter how many years passed. Finally getting access to appropriate education saved my life.”
- William A

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