5 ר‡ל ˘ - י ˜ ון ‡ייז ˙ נ ˘ 2022 LITERACY AND AAC-theore�cal and prac�cal considera�ons Nitzan Cohen Usually, students with complex communica�on needs do not learn reading and wri�ng like their peers, by the phone�c approach. It seems that the reason for this is the (mis)concep�on that nonspeaking students cannot be literate. Nowadays, it is well documented, that being unable to speak isn't necessarily withholding literacy development. Being able to read and write, allows AAC users to reach the same goals as their peers (leisure ac�vi�es, learning, employment, and social connec�ons), but for them, literacy is also a way to communicate independently and to develop language capaci�es. Literacy is freedom! Without it, AAC user will have to communicate via graphical symbols programmed beforehand by others. In this case, the dependency on the communica�on partner is vast. Using the alphabet le�ers will make it possible to express any message freely. Reading and wri�ng became even more important with the arrival of social media pla�orms. Although the online social world opened many opportuni�es people, it worsened the disadvantages of the non-literate people. More than ever, it is important to be a competent reader! This review considers the variables that influence learning reading and wri�ng amongst AAC users. Assessment models and interven�on strategies are presented with many demonstra�ons and prac�cal ideas. "Join-In" the Conversa�on Communica�ng with symbols on popular web communica�on networks Sharon Shaham Social networks and apps for communica�on such as Facebook and WhatsApp have become widely used for communica�on and for sharing experiences. For AAC speakers, these pla�orms can create opportuni�es that are not available during face-to-face interac�ons. AAC speakers who use these applica�ons, indicate that during face-to-face conversa�ons they may use more telegraphic language or even abstain from communica�on due to factors such as the �me it takes to generate messages and background noise. These difficul�es are heightened during group interac�ons. When interac�ng on social networks and communica�on pla�orms, people can take the �me they need to review the messages posted and to compose their own, in a quiet environment. It enables AAC speakers to interact with others and join various group conversa�ons (e.g., family, friend, work groups on WhatsApp and similar apps) with less of the obstacles and distrac�ons that are present during face-to-face interac�ons. There may also be limita�ons and disadvantages to communica�on over digital pla�orms, but the ability to select this method of interac�on as needed or desired, is important to AAC speakers as it is for the general popula�on. "Join-In", by d-bur LTD, was created with the goal of providing a pla�orm for AAC speakers that facilitates par�cipa�on in digital life and enhances access to the most popular apps on the web including Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, YouTube and many more. It is designed to meet a wide range of sensory, cogni�ve, and physical access needs and works as an add-on to popular AAC pla�orms such as Grid 3, Communicator 5 and other leading AAC so�ware. A freestanding Join-In Pro version will also soon enter the Israeli and interna�onal markets. During the past year, a feature enabling symbol users to send their messages exactly in the format they are generated on their devices – that is – text with symbols as well as to receive symbolated text messages, has been added following requests from the AAC community. This feature facilitates fuller par�cipa�on of AAC symbol users in the digital life experiences, even if they are s�ll non-literate.