Breaking the ICE Canada 2017 Conference
Independence Community and Empowerment
October 28 & 29, 2017
Novotel Toronto, North York

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The Breaking the ICE Canada conference cannot happen without the generous donations of sponsors.

For the Breaking the ICE Canada Conference to continue, we need your help as this is a project undertaken by individuals who use AAC who, in most cases have limited funds. Sponsorships support delivery of the program including the Presenters, attendant care, meals, consumer bursaries and associated costs required to make the Breaking the ICE Canada Conference a reality.

For more information about levels of sponsorship and the sponsorship form see the links below.

Sponsors for 2017 Conference



ISAAC Canada




Harmonize For Speech.

Ideas For Independent Living Services



Visit the Tobii Dynavox website

Motion Specialties

Visit the The Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy website

Access Apartments

Visit the Prentke Romich Company Website


Website Design and Development

Web and Software Developer



2017 Sponsorship Information

March of Dimes Canada - 2017 Conference Host

March of Dimes is a community-based rehabilitation and advocacy charity for people with physical disabilities. Our goal is to enhance the independence and community participation of people with physical disabilities every day through a wide range of programs and services across the country.

Our Vision: To create a society inclusive of people with physical disabilites

Our Mission: To maximize the impendence, personal empowerment and community participation of people with physical disabilities.

Visit the March of Dimes website for more information.



Marlowe Horn - a young woman who uses AAC

When I took on the gratifying responsibility of being conference co-chair for ICE 2007, I gained the knowledge of the many difficult decisions and time required to host a national conference.

An excellent event at ICE is our Town Hall discussion, which has pre-selected topics posted for conference attendees to organize their responses on their devices. I think the topics are very important to get everyone who uses assistive devices thinking and communicating in turn before the whole group.

We at ICE are proud of the opportunities and experiences we offer to alternative communicators at our conference.

Heather Horn - mother

The Canadian ICE Conference is a unique opportunity for AAC users, their families and friends to come together every two years to share ideas, listen to personal stories, problem solve on everyday communication and other issues, develop friendships and take time out for some fun in Toronto.

It is a wonderful event for AAC users to socialize, to learn and be empowered, to return to their communities knowing that they can access resources and supports to plan their own futures with more confidence having seen and heard what others before them have accomplished. It is truly inspiring for all who attend.

Danielle Franklin - DynaVox Rep

Being a vendor in Ontario is very unique to anywhere else in the world. So often, I work with clinicians to help them better understand our devices, who in turn work with their clients. Not often do I get the opportunity to interact with the people who use DynaVox devices.

The ICE conference was an extraordinary chance for me to see firsthand how my job improves other people's quality of life. More than that; not only does my job give people a voice, the ICE Conference gives people with Cerebral Palsy the chance to be heard. It gave me such a sense of pride in what I do, it left me speechless!

Liam Steep - a young boy who uses AAC

My name is Liam Steep.

I am nine years old . I have a tube.

I can eat with it. I love the ICE Conference. I liked meeting the people they have C P and I have CP too. I talk with my vantage and letter board . Everybody talked with different devices. That made me feel happy.

I liked the band Train Wreck and the artist.

Get more money to make the ICE Conference happen again .

Robin Hurd - parent of twin boys who use AAC

My family attended the ICE conference in 2007. It was a wonderful experience for us all! My youngest sons use power wheelchairs and AAC devices to communicate. There are no other children in their school who communicate like them. At ICE, they had the chance to be with other children who also communicate using AAC devices. My sons were delighted! They used their communication systems to ask the other children to go swimming with them and to sit at their table for meals. These are things that speaking children normally do. However, for children who use AAC, it's a very special opportunity to converse with another child who talks like you do.

At ICE my sons heard adults who use AAC telling their stories, meeting new friends and even participating in a band in spite of their physical disabilities! ICE was a magical time for them. One the last evening, a dance took place. During the dance, the children enjoyed time together once again. Joshua, one of my sons, proposed to the girl he had been friends with all weekend!

ICE gives families a chance to meet people of all ages who communicate like they do and the families that support them. Families of children who cannot speak can wonder: "How can we ever have a happy, normal life without speech?" ICE provides the chance to meet others without speech who have found the answer to that question. It allows children who don't speak to interact with others like them. And families go home from the weekend with wonderful memories and a new hope for their child's future.

Sandy Dodgson - Speech Language Pathologist working in the area of AAC

It is with pleasure that I share my reflections of the 2007 ICE Conference. As a speech/language pathologist, I have many favourable impressions to share. Let me begin with describing how the 2007 ICE Conference was truly a unique learning opportunity.

Having been in the field of augmentative/alternative communication (AAC) for close to thirty years, I have attended numerous conferences, workshops and seminars. As AAC is such a diverse and dynamic field, there is a constant need to learn. Many of the conferences focus on research findings, service delivery issues and "state-of-the art" technology. As a clinician, one often becomes engrossed in small-detail, highly-specific or technical information. While it is important to keep abreast of these pockets of knowledge, it is easy to lose sight of the "big picture" --- namely facilitating effective communication for those who use AAC. The 2007 ICE Conference was a refreshing and empowering contrast to the traditional AAC conferences in that the essence of communication was paramount. This was evident by the fact that the planning, organization, format and flow of the conference were largely driven by people who use adapted communication. The content of the sessions was based on real-life experiences, challenges and joys encountered by AAC users, rather than on academic, research or technology-driven sources of knowledge. Communication, interaction and exchange were the cornerstones of the ICE Conference. Essentially, all participants at the conference, regardless of whether or not they were AAC users, were immersed in the real-life of AAC. Opportunities for growth were everywhere and the impact of this "immersion-style" learning has been widespread. Highlights, for me, were the Town Hall meeting (a period during which only AAC users could communicate) and the sessions involving family members of AAC users. I found myself sitting back, actively listening and trying to absorb as much as possible the many insights, achievements and gems of wisdom. In many instances, I took note of critical ingredients and mentally translated them to various students of my caseload. One year later, I am proud to say that I have adopted new directions in my clinical practice. The insights which I gained from the ICE Conference have made a difference in the quality of life for many of my students, their families and teachers. Being a part of the ICE Conference rejuvenated my passion and strengthened my interest in the field of AAC. Looking back, if there is one thing that I would do differently, it would be to insist that my colleagues attend this conference, as I believe that they too would feel invigorated afterwards. I would also urge my students and their families to attend, so that they might reap the collective benefits of friendship and advocacy.

In reflecting over the years, the field of AAC has come a long way since its embryonic stages. The ICE Conference is both a tribute to and a celebration of the varied accomplishments of AAC users, particularly as they interface with the broader speaking community. This momentum should never be lost!

Nola Millin - a person who uses AAC and co-chair of the Town Hall meeting

As an AAC User I feel the ICE Conference is very beneficial. First, this conference is unique because it brings AAC Users together. AAC Users are often overlooked by society and sometimes by other people who have various types of disabilities because we use different means to communicate. AAC Users are not always given adequate time to prepare and deliver our messages. The ICE Conference is a place where an AAC User is encouraged and is welcomed to be an equal participate.

Secondly, the ICE Conference is run primarily by AAC Users. Not only do we participate but many of the Presenters at the conference are people who use AAC. By having a conference that features AAC Users, people who are new and/or inexperienced at using AAC have an incredible opportunity to see how AAC has enhanced the lives of individuals. It's a chance for seasoned users to share our triumphs, failures, and various stories in using AAC with other people. One of the events at this conference is what is referred to as a "Town Hall" Meeting, which is an open discussion where only people using AAC are allowed to participate. There isn't a price one can put on the wisdom and advice AAC Users can give to each other.

There are many conferences devoted to the AAC field but they are usually run by professionals who talk about AAC. The ICE Conference doesn't just talk about AAC but it's a time where individuals who use AAC are in charge. To my knowledge ICE is the only conference of this kind in Canada. The other conference that is like ICE is held in the United States.

I have been very enriched having attended and presented at the ICE Conference. People who use AAC need to have at least one conference that is completely devoted to allowing AAC Users be heard. ICE is such that conference!

Miriam and Ann Running - a person who uses AAC and her mother

Miriam - The ICE Conference is an opportunity to hear presentations by or about AAC users who are living their lives in a productive and meaningful way.

Their accomplishments in the workforce, the Arts and in advocacy or volunteer roles was most inspiring.

Having time to mingle with them and with our old friends and mentors is a highlight of the conference for me.

Ann - I love the ICE Conference because it is for non-speaking people only. We all love being at the hotel and having time to see friends from out of town, and being able to talk with them.

The presentations are interesting and helpful.

Fax: 416-789-7807
If you have any questions about attendant services please contact Eva Miodonski at Tel: 416-789-7806 Ext. 225 or Cell: 647-222-2503.

Getting to the Conference
The NOVOTEL TORONTO (North York)is fully accessible. It is also accessible via public transportation from Union Station in Toronto.
If you are coming from out-of-town and would like to access Toronto’s accessible transit system (Wheel-Trans) there are several options:
  • Any customers who are registered with other paratransit agencies in Ontario will be provided with a visitor registration number upon prior request.
  • The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) will also give individuals attending the BTI Conference temporary access to Wheel-Trans Services for up to two weeks, upon prior request.
  • To arrange for these special requests, you need to contact Wheel-Trans customer service at 416-393-4111 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. several weeks before arriving in Toronto.
  • For more information about Wheel-Trans, visit Wheel-Trans and for more information about the Toronto Transit Commission (TTCD), visit TTC.
  • Limited funding support for travel is available for people who use AAC. The amount available will depend on the number of applications received.

Please contact Alexis Dixon at March of Dimes Canada to request funding for your travel:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 416.425.3463 x 7756 |Toll-free 1-800-263-3463 x 7756