About Me

Hello, I’m Heather Roach, an educational consultant who is passionate about helping others. I am known for my creative and outside-the-box thinking,  My goal is to support individuals who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and their families in innovative ways.

I closely collaborate with families, educators, and therapists, employing multiple strategies to ensure inclusive support. Working with AAC is both enjoyable and exciting for me, and I constantly seek new ways to empower individuals and their families. Whether it’s through eye gaze technology or other innovative approaches, I strive to provide effective and engaging solutions.

My experience as an educator and mom to an AAC user has provided me with a unique perspective and a wealth of knowledge that I use to support others. In particular, I specialize in supporting AAC through all aspects of an individual’s life. I work closely with families, and teams to assess individuals’ communication needs and determine the most suitable AAC system for each person. By considering factors such as access methods, communication goals, motor skills and positioning, I ensure that AAC interventions are tailored to meet each individual’s unique needs.

I also emphasize the importance of building collaboration through a transdisciplinary approach. By working together with professionals from different disciplines, such as therapists, educators, medical professionals and equipment providers, I foster a holistic and comprehensive support system. This transdisciplinary approach allows for a more integrated and coordinated effort, promoting effective communication strategies across various settings for the individual and their family. This approach helps to design goals for everyday activities that foster communication in all areas, recognizing its importance for success and participation in life. 

Hi, I’m Heather Roach, an educational consultant who is passionate about helping others. I am known for my creative and outside-the-box thinking, always looking for new ways to support and engage students. As a resourceful consultant, I work closely with other educators and therapists to develop curriculum and provide additional support to teachers, schools, and other families. I am deeply committed to helping therapists, parents, and teachers, using multiple strategies to ensure everyone is supported and included. One of my favorite tools is Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), which I find both enjoyable and exciting to work with. Whether it’s using eye gaze technology or other innovative approaches, I am always finding new ways to connect with and empower students. My experience as a former educator and mom has provided me with a unique perspective and a wealth of knowledge that I use to help schools and organizations create positive and effective learning environments.

About Me

My Education, Certifications, and Training

  • Masters of Arts in Teaching +30 Graduate Hours in Special Education – Fontbonne University
  • Missouri Career Professional Certificate (CPC) in Elementary 1-6 
  • Missouri CPC in Special Education Mild/Moderate Cross-Categorical Disabilities K-12
  • 78 Certified Contact Hours of Pragmatic Organization Dynamic Display (PODD) Training with Gayle Porter, Linda Burkhart & Kelly Fonner
  • Two Day Introduction to PODD, Two Day Alternative Access & Alternative Presentation, PODD Five Day Advanced Workshop, Speech Generating Device PODD training
  • 32.5 Certified Contact Hours of Teaching Movements for Communication: Accessing AAC for Children Who have Complex Communication Needs with Claire Cotter, Gayle Porter & Linda Burkhart June 2023 

My Bio

In 2017, my passion for teaching took on a deeply personal meaning when my two-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that impacts her speech and mobility. This diagnosis fueled my enthusiasm for exploring Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC). Through extensive exploration and experimentation, we tested various tech-free systems, communication books, light tech devices, eye gaze boards, and high-tech devices to support multi-modal communication. Through this process, I acquired a comprehensive understanding of dynamic displays, vocabulary sets, and language systems available. I also familiarized myself with picture symbol sets and text-based systems, as well as the wide array of tools and assistive technology that can be effectively combined to support everyday communication needs for individuals who benefit from AAC.

Within a year of our daughter’s diagnosis, we embraced the use of a Pragmatic Organization Dynamic Display (PODD) communication book with partner-assisted visual scanning (PAVS) in conjunction with a PODD page set on a Tobii I-12, an eye-controlled Windows device. To further enhance her communication capabilities, we have now incorporated the TD Pilot, an eye-controlled communication device for iPad, which provides a wide array of features, including her PODD page set, learning tools, games, and numerous other functionalities. Alongside the utilization of PODD, we consistently rely on eye-pointing techniques for various communication needs in both academic tasks and daily activities such as selecting outfits, meal choices, and play. The versatility in non-electronic and electronic options enables us to seamlessly integrate communication support into every aspect of our daughter’s life, effectively accommodating our busy lifestyle.

With 15 years of combined professional experience in teaching and a deeply personal journey as a parent, I have developed a diverse range of expertise in various roles within both special and general education settings. Throughout my career, I have worked as a paraprofessional, self-contained teacher, resource teacher, and collaborative teacher in a CWC (class within a class) environment in schools within the St. Louis area. My teaching experience also extended to a more personal level as I took on the responsibility of homeschooling both of our children, as well as two other children, from August 2020 to May 2022.  During this period, I was able to thoroughly examine Early Learning Standards, the Common Core State Standards Initiative and additional National Standards for preschool through 3rd grade. This allowed me to make necessary modifications to the curriculum to ensure full accessibility for my daughter. These hands-on experiences of modifying a complete curriculum from start to finish have equipped me with invaluable insights and the ability to support her current educational team. Additionally, I am passionate about extending this support to other families and individuals who use AAC. 

As an educational consultant, my dedication lies in providing guidance and assistance to help individuals, families, and educators navigate unique communication needs and create inclusive learning environments with a transdisciplinary approach. I have the privilege of supporting families in implementing AAC strategies and fostering effective team collaboration. Working closely with families, clinicians, and local schools, I offer guidance and expertise on best practices in AAC implementation within both classroom and home environments. This includes conducting workshops, offering consulting services, and facilitating in-person sessions.

My primary goal is to empower families, educators, and therapists to work collaboratively in implementing AAC strategies that enhance communication and learning opportunities that can grow with the individual. Through a supportive network and ongoing guidance, I strive to ensure that every individual has the opportunity to reach their full potential. My commitment is to make a positive difference in the lives of individuals who use AAC and their families. I strongly believe in the significance of individualized education and the transformative power of communication. My passion lies in helping all individuals, regardless of their abilities, unlock their full potential.