About Augmentative Communication

The High Desert Education Service District’s augmentative communication team partners with parents, educators and community agencies to address a variety of communication needs including training, alternative access to curriculum, adapted learning materials and computerized communication systems and devices.


A High Desert Education Service District Evaluation Team is available to provide screenings and evaluations free of charge for children who have special needs or disabilities. Evaluations include an observation of the child in a comfortable setting, in-depth interviews with family members and a standardized assessment of a child’s development areas of concern.  A written report, including planning suggestions, is prepared and shared with families.


Augmentative communication services are available to children who:

  • Are at risk for developing speech (lack oral-motor imitation, have sucking/swallowing problems, retain primitive oral reflex patterns or have severe mental retardation, autism and severe motor speech disorders)
  • Are at risk for losing speech (have progressive neurologial disorders, such as myotonic dystrophy or a progressive hearing loss)
  • Do not presently have adequate speech (have a receptive/expressive language gap or unintelligible speech)


For school age children referrals for an evaluation are made by a student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) team, their district’s special education office, or their 504 Team. For children Birth to Five referrals are made through their early intervention or early childhood special education team.

Benefits of Augmentative Communication

  • Increased vocalizations, verbalizations, articulation, comprehension, interpersonal interactions, creative use of language, attention span, and self-esteem
  • Decreased disruptive and aggressive behavior, self-stimulation, and frustration

Areas Served

Services are provided to students in Deschutes, Crook, Jefferson, Harney, Wheeler, Gilliam, and Sherman counties.

Contact Information

High Desert Education Service District
Bend Education Center, Room 202
520 NW Wall St.
Bend, OR 97701
Phone: 541-693-5700
Toll Free: 1-866-910-2833
Fax: 541-693-5701

Ann Fleck

Aug Com Specialist


The High Desert Education Service District provides augmentative communication services to children birth-21 years of age who have not developed adequate speech to access their educational environment. In addition to computerized communication devices, the program offers training in techniques other than speech to support education. These techniques include facial expressions, gestures, sign language, eye gaze, pictures and initial-letter curing.