Communication Center is a Proven Success

Published on Mon, June 23, 2014

The Scranton Area Augmentative-Alternative Communication (AAC) Center at Marywood and St. Joseph's Center has been serving individuals with severe communication deficits since 2011. Since its inception, Bruce Wisenburn, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders at Marywood, and Cheryl King, therapist at St. Joseph's Center, have served as co-directors of the AAC Center.

The Scranton Area Foundation, the Margaret Briggs Foundation, and Marywood alumni fund the AAC Center. Students also benefit from the center. Eight graduate students from the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department participate in a six-week AAC practicum at St. Joseph's Center, using the center's materials and equipment.

The AAC Center has a wide variety of high tech (involving speech synthesis), medium tech (using digitized recordings), and low tech (paper-based) systems. In addition, the center has various accessible toys and games that encourage those with special needs to interact and initiate behaviors.

This past year, noted Dr. Wiseburn, a graduate student had the chance to give a mother of a child with Autistic Spectrum Disorder a step in the right direction for her child—an experience the student described as unbelievable. He said this was achieved through the use of a Dynavox-T-10, a portable speech-generating communication tablet, which was supported by the funds from the Scranton Area Foundation.

Dr. Wisenburn said, "The Dynavox T-10 system allows people who have difficulty speaking to select what they want to say, and the tablet will speak it out for them. This has proven to be a considerable asset to the Center, clients, and Marywood University students."

Dr. Wisenburn also has used the equipment in his AAC class and for clinical discussions. As a result, the graduate students have learned about the latest AAC options for a wide variety of cases for children and adults.

"The support of the donors to the AAC Center has been outstanding," said Dr. Wisenburn. "It has allowed us to serve individuals with significant communication deficits."

For more information on the Scranton Area Augmentative-Alternative Communication Center, contact Dr. Bruce Wisenburn at (570) 348-6299 ext. 2226 or