Supporting Expressive Communication for Autism


Thursday 17th August 2023


9:00am – 3:30pm


The Autism Training Hub, Giant Steps, Gladesville, Sydney



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. Participants will observe different individualised communication systems within some of the classrooms at Giant Steps.

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 also 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.


Presenter – 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.


Presenter – Katherine Halter

Katherine Halter has been a Speech Pathologist at Giant Steps Australia 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.

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

Face-to-face professional learning courses are held in accordance with Covid-19 health regulations. Please note, dates are subject to change dependant on Covid-19 health advice. In the event of a course date changing, all participants will be contacted and registrations will be transferred to the new date.

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.