IHD Continues to Provide Augmentative Communication Services to DDD Clients

Network Partner Updates
DDNN Winter 2016/17
Institute for Human Development (IHD)
Northern Arizona University

AZ Department of Economic Security Division of Developmental DisabilitiesAugmentative communication devices offer a “voice” for individuals who cannot speak or speak clearly enough for other people to understand what they are saying.  Some devices are simple with limited message choices, but many are highly sophisticated and offer true communication independence.  Determining the best device requires expertise and experience on the part of skilled clinicians who work in collaboration with the client and their family.  IHD has been providing comprehensive Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Evaluations to children and adults with significant speech impairments for more than 15 years.  IHD recently entered into a new agreement with the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) to continue to provide AAC evaluations throughout Arizona.  As part of this new contract, IHD will now also deliver the initial set-up and training to support the client’s successful use of his or her new device.

Debbie Mariage, who has been with the project for several years, has been promoted to program coordinator.  Lesley Iacona, M.Ed. CCC-SLP and Nikkol Anderson, MA, OTR/L, ATP are the lead therapists for the northern Arizona evaluation team. Jill Pleasant, MA, OTR/L is the Project Director.  NAU recently established evaluation teams in central and southern Arizona to meet the growing demand for this highly specialized service.

In addition to IHD, there other four other agencies that have contracts with DDD to provide these services.   As part of the process, DDD clients and their families select the contractor serving the county in which they reside.