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Selecting Vocabulary Targets for Complex Communicators

Webinar Length (Hours):



Christopher R. Bugaj, MA, CCC-SLP


Selecting Vocabulary Targets for Complex Communicators

For children with complex communication needs, being strategic about selecting appropriate vocabulary targets is essential. A set of 300 to 400 words compromises 75 to 80% of the words we use in English. These words are vital for teaching children with limited language. In this 1-hour webinar, participants learn to differentiate between core words and fringe words as well as how to strategically balance the targeting of both in accordance with the typical developmental progression of language. This course is included with the Functional Communication Webinar Package.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe the difference between core and fringe vocabulary.
  2. Provide examples of how a single core word can be used to target at least three communicative functions beyond requesting.
  3. List at least three core word resources to access and plan core word activities.

Course Information

  • Target Audience: introductory-level SLPs, intermediate- to advanced-level OTs, teachers, parents, and other professionals addressing communication
    Note: While many professionals may benefit from the course content, we can only guarantee acceptance of continuing education credit as described in the following CEU section.
  • Course Instructors:  Rachel Madel, MA, CCC-SLP. and Christopher R. Bugaj, MA, CCC-SLP
  • View Agenda
  • CE Broker course code: 20-676017

Continuing Education Units (CEUs)

AOTA-Approved Provider Program Sensational Brain LLC is an AOTA Approved Provider of professional development. Approved Provider #8215. This course is approved for 0.1 AOTA CEU or 1 contact hour under this Classification Code: Category 2, OT Process: Intervention. The assignment of AOTA CEUs does not imply endorsement of specific content, products, or clinical procedures by AOTA.


Photo of Sensational Brain Speaker Rachel Madel

Rachel Madel, MA, CCC-SLP, is a Los Angeles-based parent coach and autism expert who is dedicated to helping autism parents learn how to connect and communicate with their child. She co-hosts a weekly podcast called “Talking with Tech” that helps guide parents and professionals on utilizing technology to support communication. Her work has been featured in Autism Parenting Magazine, Speech Science, Practical AAC, Xceptional Ed, and ChildNEXUS. She is the founder of a digital media company that provides educational resources, therapy materials, and training videos to help support parents of children with autism.


  • Financial: Rachel Madel receives a speaking fee from Sensational Brain LLC. She is the owner of Speech Therapy Inc. and sells online resources through her blog at Rachel receives advertising revenue from the AAC podcast Talking with Tech and income from CEU courses sold through
  • Nonfinancial: Rachel is a member of ASHA, SIG 12, CSHA, and an app consultant for EQTainment and Moment AR.


Christopher R. Bugaj, MA, CCC-SLP, is a founding member of the Assistive Technology Team for Loudoun County Public Schools. Chris is the coauthor of The Practical (and Fun) Guide to Assistive Technology in Public Schools published by the International Society on Technology in Education (ISTE). Chris hosts The A.T.TIPSCAST (, a multi‐award winning podcast featuring strategies to design educational experiences. Chris is the creator of ATEval2Go (, an app for iPads that helps professionals perform technology assessments. Chris has presented over 300 sessions at local, regional, state, national, and international events, including TEDx, each listed at His latest book The New Assistive Tech: Make Learning Awesome for All (, also published by ISTE, is available for order now!


  • Financial: Christopher Bugaj receives a speaking fee from Sensational Brain LLC as well as proceeds from the sale of his books. Chris co-hosts the AAC podcast Talking with Tech. Chris receives royalties for the sale of his book The New Assistive Tech: Make Learning Awesome for All! and other authored works. You can see all of Chris’s disclosures for any endeavor at
  • Nonfinancial: No relevant nonfinancial relationship exists.

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