Online Course: Supporting Expressive Communication for Autism


Tuesday 21st November 2023 – Tuesday 12th December 2023






This course is a blended learning experience with 2 parts.

Part 1: Self-paced learning via an online course

Part 2: Virtual face-to-face experience via Microsoft Teams

Course Description

Individuals with autism and an intellectual delay often present with complex communication difficulties. The use of multi-modal and individualised communication supports are often used to develop and extend their communication abilities across a range of learning.  Understanding how individuals with autism learn language and process information is critical in the design and implementation of communication supports, including Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC).

During the course, different types of expressive communication systems (including AAC) and/or strategies to develop expressive communication (which may include non-speech and/or speech and language development) will be included. A planning matrix that supports assessment of communication and AAC will be introduced and used to explore appropriate strategies and/or types of AAC for individuals with autism and an intellectual delay.

This course focuses on exploring some of the potential barriers and relevant strategies to successfully implement a communication system for your client/s or child.

This course is relevant to speech pathologists and students, teachers, support staff, child care educators, and other professionals from health and social services working with individuals with autism and an intellectual delay.

Completing this course will contribute to 7.5 hours of teacher directed professional development 1.1.2, 3.1.2, 3.5.2 from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation in NSW.

Participants will be invited to a closed Microsoft Teams group for the duration of the course where they can post questions. Participants will be invited to attend a virtual face-to-face 90-minute workshop at the conclusion of the course.


Program Design – Rachel Bowen

Rachael Bowen is a speech pathologist and teacher who has over 15 years’ experience working with young people with autism in educational settings. Rachael has a special interest in developing the functional communication needs of young people with autism. Rachael has been working on a number of special interest initiatives including establishing The Autism Hub, an information and resource sharing platform, and investigating the literacy profiles of minimally verbal children with autism including considerations for practice alongside Griffith University. Disseminating knowledge and practical strategies is a critical part of both of these projects so others working with individuals with autism are able to apply best practice frameworks and strategies that have a solid theoretical basis. Rachael has been involved in delivering professional learning for parents, teachers, and other professionals in a range of settings.


Workshop Facilitator – Katherine Halter

Katherine Halter has been a Speech Pathologist at Giant Steps Sydney since 2017. Katherine is passionate about supporting people with disability and has experience in providing individualised assessment and intervention for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual Disability including designing a variety of Alternative and Augmentative Communication systems to suit individual communication needs. She has worked alongside teachers to integrate these strategies and supports into teaching and learning experiences. Katherine enjoys working in a dynamic team environment with multiple professionals to provide a holistic approach to targeting communication and comprehension. Katherine has a passion for supporting carers and members of the wider community to understand and implement strategies and supports that promote generalisation of skills across contexts.


Workshop Facilitator – Jennifer Winstone

Jennifer Winstone has been a speech pathologist for close to 10 years in both private practice and schools. Joining Giant Steps in 2015, her experience spans a broad age group from preschoolers, to school-aged children and adults with autism and an intellectual disability. Jennifer has a deep understanding of how to develop and implement individualised communication supports and systems, ensuring evidence based practice. She is a strong advocate for professional collaboration within the educational setting, in particular, on how therapists best navigate the decision making process of Alternative and Augmentative Communication systems, assessment and ongoing intervention. Jennifer passionately promotes the need for understanding the learning profiles of those with autism and how adults make appropriate adjustments to support their learning. This allows these individuals to stay motivated and successfully engage and learn from a range of social partners within a range of contexts.

For course enquiries or to be included on our mailing list please contact

The Autism Hub Professional Learning courses aim to increase participants’ knowledge and confidence to best support the learning of autistic children and adults. Proudly supported by Future Generation Australia.