AAC/CoP for South Dakota Schools

The mission of the South Dakota Augmentative and Alternative Communication/Community of Practice (AAC/CoP) is to support students with complex communication needs (CCN) and students with significant cognitive disabilities (SCD) who need augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems and strategies in order to access, participate in, and demonstrate learning. We will achieve this by developing resources and creating a support network for multi-disciplinary educational teams in South Dakota. The network and resources will provide information, education, and problem-solving related to AAC and instructional implementation of standards and other individualized goals in South Dakota classrooms. Ultimately, the goal is for all students with CCN and SCD in South Dakota schools to have working and supported instructional and AAC systems and strategies in place from pre-kindergarten through graduation and to support those students in their language development and learning as they grow and transition.

SD AAC/CoP Helpline

The helpline is designed to assist teachers in meeting the instructional and assessment needs of students with significant cognitive disabilities, as is required to make prograss in the general curriculum and demonstrate achievement throught alternate assessment.

Using this helpline, you can expect the AAC/CoP Helpline Workgroup members to:

  • answer your questions reguarding alternate assessment and instructions
  • work with you to develop you own unique and appropriate answers to questions about specific students and/or situations
  • provide resources regarding instruction and assessment
  • provide ongoing support as needed
Need Help from the SD AAC/CoP?

While the Helpline strives to provide the most accurate, up-to-date information possible, we do not guarantee that any answer is completely without error. Answers and information given through the Helpline should not be considered to be endorsed by the South Dakota Department of Education. The South Dakota Department of Education, ACERI Partners, or any AAC/CoP member shall not be responsible or liable for any loss or damage of any kind incurred as the result of actions based upon the advice given via the Helpline. Before following any advice from the Helpline, users should check within their school and district to ensure no policies and procedures are violated.

The AAC/CoP Helpline Workgrop is manned by AAC/CoP members (teachers, administrators, related service providers who have demonstrated high level instructional and leadership skills) who assisted and mentored by South Dakota Department of Education personnel and the ACERI Partners consultants.

If you need more South Dakota specific information or resources about Communication, Instruction, Assessment, or the AAC/CoP, please visit the SD Materials and Resources webpage at http://aceripartners.com/

SPRING of Augmentative and Alternative Communication and Community of Practice (AAC/COP) LibGuide.

COMING SOON – AAC/COP LibGuide will provide communication and instructional resources and materials for teams as they support students in reaching their maximum potential.


Communication is any act by which one person gives to or receives from another person information about that person's needs, desires, perceptions, knowledge, or effective states. Communication may be intentional or unintentional, may involve conventional or unconventional signals, may take linguistic or nonlinguistic forms, and may occur through spoken or other modes.Thus, all persons do communicate in some way; however, the effectiveness and efficiency of this communication vary with a number of individual and environmental factors. Further, some individuals with severe disabilities develop unconventional and socially inappropriate means to communicate, including aggressive acts toward themselves and others. It is the responsibility of all persons who interact with individuals with severe disabilities to recognize the communication acts produced by those individuals and to seek ways to promote the effectiveness of communication by and with those individuals. (See more)

Augmentative & Alternative Communication:
(AAC) refers to an area of research, clinical, and educational practice. AAC involves attempts to study and when necessary compensate for temporary or permanent impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions of individuals with severe disorders of speech-language production and/or comprehension, including spoken and written modes of communication. (See more)
Materials and Resources webpage at http://aceripartners.com/

Current Members
Brittany Kielhold, Rapid City Brenda Bernard, Sioux Falls
Heather Hinners, Sioux Falls Tiffany Trask, Rapid City
Rose Moehring, Center for Disabilities Mary Skinner-Alexander, Sioux Falls
Becky Whitlock, Sioux Falls Amy Engel, Todd County
Shelly Bohy, LifeScape Erin Stabnow, LifeScape
Nicole Freeman, Sioux Falls Tammi Waltjer Haverly, LifeScape
Melissa Hill, Aberdeen Dawn Leenderts, Brandon Valley
Sara Hansen, Wagner Elizabeth Hanson, USD
Megan Wiessner, LifeScape Casey Walker, BHSSC
Roxane Dyk, Mt. Vernon Dylan Briest, Brandon Valley
Laura Bergeleen, Core Coop Elsbeth Falk, Rapid City