A Bit About Us

Communication is Key AAC is a Michigan non-profit organization that believes that every individual has the right to be able to communicate. Our mission is to improve access to communication for those with complex communication needs by increasing training for Speech pathologists, teachers, support staff in schools and the community, and families, and increasing opportunities for those with complex communication needs to meet others with similar needs.

Communication is Key was founded by families who were frustrated with the support (or lack thereof) their children were receiving from local schools and therapy facilities. 

People with complex communication needs have a right to communicate, and a lack of trained staff who can help them learn to communicate effectively is an impediment to achieving their goals. A lack of role models who also use communication methods other than their voices hampers their development as competent communicators as well.

It is our goal to improve services to those with complex communication needs, and their families, in order to help them reach their communication potential.


Julia Dapkus

Executive Director & Founder

Hi, I’m Julia. A warrior mom, advocate, and high school teacher by trade to Isabelle 7, a complex multimodal communicator. Isabelle is an outgoing, smart, opinionated, social, empathetic, joyful, curious little girl who is passionate about her family, dance, swim, and all things messy. She lights up any room, finds any way to have fun, and definitely keeps everyone on their toes! We began our AAC journey around 3.5 years old with the guidance and expertise of a dedicated private SLP who TRULY believed in Isabelle, and we will forever be so grateful for her. Isabelle is a functional Proloquo2Go user. Our journey has been long and exhausting navigating this very unique life. Some days are filled with overwhelming despair and the stress of raising a complex communicator…..and trying to live a balanced “normal” happy life! I met our co- founder Janet virtually on a support group about three years ago. We quickly connected, and I am so thankful, as she has been a great constant source of support, guidance, and a bottomless pit of knowledge. After attending the Talking AAC conference two years in a row together, and realizing we were two of only maybe five parents present in attendance, we finally decided it was time to give other families and ourselves a mutual safe interactive place of support, ideas, networking, and knowledge. With our combined experiences, talents, and education, we quickly formed this group and are really excited at helping other families and staff of complex communicators! When we have family downtime, we love to spend time in Northern Michigan, going out for Isabelle’s favorite hamburger with red onions (true), and fries, as well as dance offs, lots of creative play, and outdoor adventures. Thank you for taking the time to learn about our organization and we have lots of opportunities available for volunteers, fundraising, and sponsorship!

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