University of Wisconsin–Madison

Communication Aids & Systems (CASC)

WELCOME

CASC clinic patient with therapist

The Waisman Center Clinics provide comprehensive clinical care and support for children with disabilities and their families. The Waisman Center Communication Aids & Systems Clinic (CASC) is a partnership with the UW Rehabilitation Department of the UW Hospital & Clinics (UWHC). The CASC team’s speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists partner with families to provide highly specialized, cutting-edge augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) for children and adults experiencing significant communication difficulties. CASC provides services for people who have a range of disabilities that include: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), spinal cord injuries, aphasia, traumatic brain injuries, cerebral palsy, autism, Rett syndrome, Down syndrome, and multiple disabilities.

Patients served by CASC access a wide array of AAC and computer access technology including: low technology AAC such as communication boards and books; high technology AAC including communication devices with voice output, often referred to as speech generating devices (SGD); equipment that provides adapted access methods for operating AAC and computers (allowing the use of such options as switches, head pointing and eye gaze access); adaptive communication applications for “off the shelf” technology, such as portable tablets and mobile media devices.

YOUR CLINIC VISIT

If you are interested in an appointment, please have your/your child’s primary care provider fill out a referral at uwhealth.org/referral. We will call you to schedule an appointment once we have processed the referral.

  • Prior to your appointment, a packet of materials will be sent to you including directions to the Waisman Center and a parking permit. Park in the designated BLUE visitor and client parking stalls. (See map and directions on back.) Plan to arrive 20 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment. Check in at the clinic reception desk located just beyond the Waisman Center’s main lobby.
  • CASC is located on the third floor of the South Tower at the Waisman Center.
  • You will complete a 90-minute initial evaluation session. Your communication skills and needs will be documented and you will have the opportunity to begin trying AAC and other adaptations that could be helpful for you.
  • CASC staff will generate an evaluation report and a plan of care if follow up services are recommended. CASC documentation will also be sent to your referring physician for signature approval and submitted for prior authorization to insurance if needed.
  • A four-week rental period using an SGD is commonly recommended and patients must return to CASC weekly during rental periods for the needed assessment of progress.
  • If acquisition of an SGD is recommended, CASC will assemble needed supportive documentation and collaborate with SGD venders related to prior authorization processes required to secure insurance funding for SGD.
  • Frequently patients must return to CASC for training to obtain functional use of their AAC system once low or high tech options are put into place.

GOALS OF THE CLINIC TEAM

  • Provide patients who have complex communication and motor needs with viable ways to effectively communicate in order to participate in their health care and in their community, and to support self-determination.
  • Support expressive and receptive language development of children by providing early access to communication.
  • Match patients with appropriate AAC options and teach them how to use them.
  • Provide documentation that is required for prior authorization for AAC services and equipment, including SGD, to assist patients to secure necessary funding.
  • Match patients with needed adaptations for computers and other “off the shelf” technology, such as portable tablets.
  • Partner with patients, families and other team members to efficiently and effectively transfer care to them as feasible.

Clinic Director

Julie Gamradt, MS, CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist

Clinic Team

Catherine Kanter, MS, CF-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist

Kayla Kristensen, CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist

Mary Locast, OTR

Occupational Therapist

Sarah Marshall, MA, CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist

Abygail Marx, MS, CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist

Annette Stone, MA, CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist

Sara Villarreal, OTD

Occupational Therapist