Institute on Disabilities Celebrates ACES Achievement

August 2011

James Earl Davis, Dean, College of Education, welcomes the ACES graduates, family and friends during the July 31 celebration.

The Institute on Disabilities at Temple University in the College of Education celebrated the graduation of its Augmentative Communication and Empowerment Supports program—otherwise known as "ACES."

Developed in 1990, ACES is a program that provides users of communication technology (speech generating devices) with the skills to communicate effectively and to use their voices for self-advocacy.

This year's seven ACES participants were joined at the graduation by friends, family and staff members of the Institute. James Earl Davis, Dean of the College of Education at Temple University, welcomed the crowd of 60 people to The Underground on Temple's Main Campus. He praised not only the participants, but ACES itself for engaging and incorporating Temple students as volunteers and staff.

Amy Goldman, Associate Director of the Institute on Disabilities acted as the host for the event during which she acknowledged the ACES staff and the funders as well as Temple University partners and the supportive family and friends of the participants.

Carrie Leonhart, ACES coordinator, introduced each participant and each was presented with a certificate of achievement. The participants then offered comments about their ACES experience, using newly acquired skills on their communication devices. The speeches were, as always, an emotional portion of the ceremony. They spoke about their great experience on Temple's campus (several mentioned having lunch at the food trucks) as well as sharing time with the Temple student volunteers and with other individuals who use augmentative communication. Several participants shared their dreams of living on their own and of going to college.

The event ended with a performance by Sunadha, a unique troupe of dancers with visual impairment, based in India.

For more information about ACES:

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Institute on Disabilities at Temple University
University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research and Service