Institute Events and Trainings
Institute on Disabilities at Temple University


Augmentative Communication and Empowerment Supports (ACES)

Next ACES session: July 18 through 29, 2016

Download a printable ACES volunteer recruitment flyer

What is "ACES"?

Photo: ACES instructor and student work with devicesAugmentative Communication and Empowerment Supports, or "ACES," is a program for young adults who use communication technology (speech generating devices or "SGD") transitioning from school to work, to help develop and refine their communication, including computer access and use for daily living/job skills.

Developed in 1990 at the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University by Diane N. Bryen, PhD, ACES is staffed by communication professionals and other qualified experienced personnel - including mentors who are SGD users themselves.

Participants attend a 10-day learning experience on the main campus of Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, following up to one year of preparation and planning supports.

ACES Sample Schedule

Download sample schedule

Those who participate in ACES as students should be...

  • Young adults focusing on "transition"
    - School to work, home to community, other
  • Current users of a speech-generating device
    - Able to use device for basic communication needs
    - Variety of devices: 2011 Participants' Systems included:
       Dynavox V & VMax; PRC Vantage Lite, Vanguard, and ECO; Tobii C12; iPads with TouchChat and Predictable apps)
    - For ideas of specific communication goals addressed during ACES, download and read the Sample Goals
  • Able to maintain focus and energy for 10 full days of learning and work
    - Variety of educational or medical diagnoses
    - Stay in dorms on Temple main campus
  • A "local" resident within a 3-hour drive of Philadelphia. Advance contact and follow up for applicants coming from a further distance will be individualized and conducted remotely.
  • Capable of bringing a tutor to support learning and carryover
    - Family member, friend, attendant

UPDATE: The participant interest application period is now closed. If you have any questions about the ACES 2016 participant application deadline, please direct them to

Those who volunteer to work at ACES...

ACES volunteer positions are designed with a focus on both learning and mentoring. The program aims to increase the AAC capacity of current or future professionals.

  • Volunteers (Aides or Counselors)
    - Unique learning experience
    - Orientation and background information provided
    - Undergraduate and graduate students in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) or related fields
  • Interns / Enrolled Students
    - For credit, clinical, or work experience
    _ Undergraduate
  • Professionals
    - Continuing education, additional AAC experience
    - Potential ACT 48 credits or ASHA CEUs
    - Special education teachers, SLPs, ATPs, or related fields

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If you are interested in being a volunteer at ACES, please complete the Volunteer Application, and the job description for the specific position:

ACES Volunteer application (Word)

ACES Volunteer Position description: AIDE (PDF) | Aide position description

ACES Volunteer Position description: COUNSELOR (PDF) | Counselor position description


The ACES program does require a tuition payment for each participant. This covers Professional services (therapy and group classes) for 10 days of instruction, as well as room and board for the 11 days—July 18-29—on campus. The tuition rate for 2016 is set at $2800 per participant.

Download and read about Participant Tuition. (PDF)

**Please note that tuition may be adjusted for changes in curriculum, number of participants, number of meals, or other conditions.**

Funding for the ACES program may be provided through a participant's educational or vocational services (e.g., ODP waiver, OVR), depending on the specific goals of attendance. Please contact ACES staff if you have questions about funding costs, including how ACES may meet a participants' school, work/VR, or waiver service goals/objectives. For additional ideas, please see: ACES 2016—Potential Funding Sources Worksheet (Word document). Participants must secure funding for ACES 2016 by July 18, 2016.

For more information

Download ACES "Frequently Asked Questions"

Contact: Russell Goldstein,, 215-204-9083 or TTY: 215-204-1805.