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Happenings in AAC

Summer 2020 Newsletter -> SLP News

Hats off to Kathy Beatty

We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge our amazing Clinical Supervisor, AAC Mentor, and AAC Program Coordinator, the beloved Kathy Beatty. Working side by side with her life partner, Chris Beatty (OT/ATP), Kathy has dedicated her decades-long career to supporting children and young adults with complex communication needs. More than just a career, providing service to others is a passion and way of life for Kathy. Her generosity of spirit and time, not just to her students but also her colleagues, will be a lasting gift that will be cherished all the more with the announcement that Kathy intends to retire this August. A well deserved rest, but Kathy, you WILL be desperately missed.


Kathy’s illustrious career started with receiving a Master of Arts in Speech and Language Pathology from Kent State University in Ohio. Many will not be surprised to learn that Kathy was a Musical Theater major in her undergrad, and she has continued to bring that joyful energy to her professional practice. During her 40+ years as an SLP, she has worked as an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) specialist, SLP/CF supervisor, director of therapy services (OT/PT/SLP/APE), and AAC Program Coordinator. Kathy’s focus has been in the areas of AAC/AT and developing language for the severely impaired, autistic and deaf/hard of hearing populations. Her passion is helping every student to find a voice.


Kathy’s extensive career began in Ohio. She worked as a Speech Language Pathologists and AAC Specialist for 20 years with Erie County of Education in Ohio. For the following 5 years, Kathy worked as the Director of Therapy Services at Erie Huron Ottawa Educational Service Center supervising SLPs, OTs, PTs, and Adaptive PE providers. Kathy then transitioned to work for Lorain County Board of Developmental Disabilities as an AAC/AT Specialist, working with students with Autism and/or Medically Fragile for 5 years. California called, and Kathy answered, moving to the Bay Area to join the SPG team as lead AAC Specialist and Senior Clinical Supervisor. Kathy developed SPG’s AAC/AT department and mentorship program, contributing to SPG’s reputation as being the go-to resource for quality AAC/AT therapists, services, and training. On top of all that, Kathy found the time and energy to be a volunteer member of ASHA’s SIG 12 Coordinating Committee. Furthermore, Kathy has been professionally recognized for her work and service in the field of AAC. She was recognized by the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence as a member of a Model Autism Team for communication skills development. In 2015, Kathy received the Outstanding Achievement Award from CSHA District 3.


Kathy’s passion for sharing her knowledge has earned her a reputation of being an engaging and informative trainer! Kathy developed the AAC Mentorship program as a way to help other professionals build capacity in the ever changing field of AAC. Her professional development trainings are eagerly attended. Additionally, Kathy has expertly presented in the areas of AAC, AT, mobile tablets, evidence-based apps, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and social skills across many forums. She and her husband, Chris, co-presented at the ASHA Schools Conference in 2010 on “Having Fun: Promoting Social Interactions Among AAC Users”, promoting their passion to engage AAC users in positive and FUN communicative interactions. The years 2017, 2018, and 2019 were busy years for Kathy, presenting at CSHA and ASHA conventions and additional ASHA-sponsored events on numerous topics around AAC: Legal Issues, Engagement, Communication Partner Training, AAC in Private Practice, etc. Kathy was also invited to speak at the Hawaii Speech-Language Hearing Association (HSHA) on the topic of AAC: Goals, Strategies, and Communication Partner Training.


Though we will sorely miss Kathy, we want to offer congratulations for her well-earned retirement. Kathy’s future plans include becoming immersed again in her lifelong passions: Singing, Theatre, Hiking, Kayaking, and Yoga. She hopes to serve her current community in West Chester, PA by working part-time at the glorious Longwood Gardens and volunteering with various Nature and Sustainability groups. And, of course, to treasure every moment with her beloved family.