Naima Bhana

Naima BhanaSpecial Education (Pennsylvania State University)

Background: Prior to starting my doctoral program I worked as a research assistant at the Florida Center for Reading Research and as K-2 teacher of students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and developmental disabilities in Florida. The combination of my past experiences as well as my own diverse background has inspired me to focus on developing literacy based activities which can be delivered by an individual’s natural communication partner.

Current Interests: My research interests in AAC include developing workshops and interventions that can be implemented by an individual’s natural communication partner (parents, teachers, paraprofessionals, peers, siblings). My background as a teacher and previous research experiences have also fostered my passion for interventions that target the early literacy stage of instruction for individuals with complex communication needs. I am also interested in promoting and expanding the current tools available to deliver AAC services for racial and ethnic minorities.

Dissertation Chair: Dr David McNaughton

ThinkTank Presentation Topic: Conversations with Panamanian Parents Regarding their Children with Disabilities and AAC

Discussion Topics:

  • Recruitment of English Language Learners (ELL) parents and caregivers

    • Best practices and ideas for targeting this population in the USA

  • We know that access to the home language increases an individual’s participation within the family, nevertheless parents and caregivers may sometimes push for the AAC to be in English rather than in the home language. How can we be respectful of parent’s wishes while also providing access to the home language?
  • Working with families in other countries
    • Systems change can be defined as addressing the root causes of social challenges. In the case of AAC, this would mean researching and addressing the barriers to education and implementation of AAC. How do we support “system change” regarding uptake and effective use of AAC? What AAC areas should we address first?

Additional Information:

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