Independence in Assistive TechnologyCindy Cavanagh, CCC-SLP, ATP Teresa Wyant, CCC-SLP, ATPccavanagh@email@example.com
Some general considerations • Whatever your title, consider yourselves the facilitators of learning. • Roles and relationships between teachers and teacher’s aides vary. • Our job at the end of the day is to know that we created environments in which students have had the greatest opportunities to act independently in their environments.
Review of the packet • You, the people, in the student’s environment - a reflection • What does “student independence” mean to you? • Project the goal • Making the case for independent experiences • Some thoughts on general independence
Review of the packet – cont. • The order of events – a timeline • AT and the order of events – another timeline • Things that must be true • Facilitator behaviors and skills • Determine if the student has the skill or not. • If he has the skill, why doesn’t he use it? • If he has the skill and doesn’t use it, what can I do? • Student Skill issues • Followup plan
1. The People in the Student’s Environment • Each person has specific roles. • We can all create an environment rich in independent experiences. • The role of facilitating independent experiences can belong to anyone. • Teams will benefit from acting from a common base of knowledge and beliefs regarding independence.
1. (cont.) Reflection • Complete the first three columns in the reflection. • Mark your first response. • The reflection is for your own personal use only. • Keep the reflection page for completion of the fourth column at the end of the session.
2. Independence – the word • What does the word, independence, mean to you? • Record your synonyms for the word and share those with your team. • Record your thoughts or feelings when you hear the word and share those with your team. • As a team, develop a definition for the word, independence. • As a team, list five things that one of your student does independently according to your definition of “independence.”
3. The Goal: When we have done our job well, the child will think in one of these ways: • “Wheeeeee! I can do it myself!” OR • “Get your hands off me! I can do it myself!” • Complete the speech bubbles with words you might say when you did something yourself.
4. These things are true about Independent Experiences • Students learn from experience. • If the student has experiences, that student can learn. • If a student does NOT have experiences, that students cannot learn. • If someone else has the experience, THAT PERSON may learn, but the student does not. • If the student has the experience, that student can learn.
Reasons: • Doing it for students creates passivity. • Doing it alone builds competence and high personal expectations. • Unnatural prompts creates a continued need for unnatural prompts. • Doing things independently can be more dignified. • It is more age appropriate to do things without assistance. • Learning can occur when the student does things independently. • Independent opportunities are opportunities for assessment. • Success breeds success and increased independence breeds more natural interactions in the environment.
The Goody The Payoff The Gold The ___ What I want the student to do. The natural indicator 6. Order of Events
6. (cont.) Order of events • Find the timeline cutout and worksheet in your pages. • Listen to the examples and identify the clear natural indicator, the anticipated student behavior and the reinforcement.
The Goody The Payoff The Gold The ___ What I want the student to do. The natural indicator • AT and order of events
At and Independence • AT is not the goal. • The goal is “what we want the student to do.” • AT can be introduced to provide a way for the student to do something or to do something more effectively.
I want a door prize. Demonstrate that point, please. Identify #1, #2, #3 and the AT in each of the following examples. Use your cutout timeline to help you.
The Goody The Payoff The Gold The ___ What I want the student to do. The natural indicator Do it ! Do it! • AT and order of events and • the appearance of the “Do it! Do it!”
I want a door prize. Demonstrate that point, please. Using the same examples, insert the “Do it! Do it!” item.
8. Things that must be true before I do it myself. • I have to want to do it myself. • I have to know how to do it. (candy example) • I must recognize the natural indicator. • I have to have time to understand that I am supposed to do it. • If I use something to do it, that things has to be available and working at the time of the natural indicator. • I have to be uninterrupted. • I have to “not get it right” sometimes. • I need time to assess the situation and see how I did. • I have to have a chance to fix it myself. • I have to get it right a lot of times. • I should be provided with the natural consequences of doing it myself.
8. Things that must be true before I do it myself. The Famous Candy Example Getting candy from the “jar.”
9. Facilitator Behaviors and Skills Know the answer to this question: Does the student have the skill? I don’t have the skill. I have the skill.
Know which circle is true. • You must know this before proceeding toward independent behavior. • There is a relationship between acquisition and independence (learn through doing). • If independence does not occur in the presence of an available skill, we can change the environment (not the student) to increase independence. I have the skill. I don’t have the skill.
Facilitator Behaviors and Skills“If I have the skill, why don’t I do it?” • I’m nervous. • I’m not motivated to do it. • I’m tired, sick or otherwise physically unable. • I don’t know that I’m supposed to do it. • I don’t realize that I have the skill to do it myself. • I’ve never done it alone. • I’ve never been given enough time to try it by myself. • I don’t have the right tools to do it myself. • I learned it, but I lost it because I never got to practice it. • I don’t want to.
Facilitator Behaviors and Skills What people say about these students: Yes, but it’s Inconsistent. He just doesn’t Want to. She chooses not to do it. I have the skill.
“I have the skill.” • Identify whether the student can do it himself. If he CAN, then proceed to #2. • Determine why the student is not doing it independently, then proceed to #3. • Create a situation in which the next most likely thing to occur is that the student will do it.
To do this: • Create natural consequences that are noticeable. • Avoid bribes (with unnatural language). Three volunteers can describe a bribe they have offered! • Limit verbal input from the time of the natural indicator to completion. • Avoid physical manipulation of the student’s body. • Avoid enticements with extraneous language. • Avoid loud voices to encourage responses. • Avoid anything that resembles “punishment.” • Create a safe environment in which to try new things. • Provide time to recognize the natural indicator, to consider a response, to assess the response accuracy, to change the response and to experience the natural consequence. • Establish a strong connection between the behavior and the natural consequence.
Student Skill IssuesThe student does not have the skill.What do people say about this student?
What people say about these students: It’s way above him. She’s always going to need help. It’s too hard. I do NOT have the skill.
“I do not have the skill.” • Identify whether the student can do it himself. If he can’t, then proceed to #2. • Determine why the student has not learned the skill. • Create a situation in which the next most likely thing to occur is that the student will learn the skill.
What can I do to facilitate skill development? • Teach the skills in the natural context in which they will be used. • Consider the skill level and determine whether it is amenable to progression along a hierarchy of skill development rather than to a progression along a hierarchy of independence development. • Consider guidelines for modification and continuation of skill development support.
What can I do to facilitate skill development? • If I do something to support skill development and it does not help, I should not keep doing it …
Ahhhh … and keep doing it and keep doing it and keep doing it and keep doing it and keep doing it and keep doing it and keep doing it and keep doing it and keep doing it and keep doing it and keep doing it and keep doing it and keep doing it and keep doing it and keep doing it and keep doing it and keep doing it and keep doing it and …
What can I do to facilitate skill development? • If I do something to support skill development and it helps, I should let the student try it alone the next time. The student may not need continued support.
What can I do to facilitate skill development? • If I do something to support the skill development and it helps, but the student still cannot do it alone: • I can provide the support again, but I should think about how to reduce that support. • I can seamlessly reduce support. • I can systematically and continually reduce support. • I can always provide only the level of support that the student needs to learn unless I am assessing or using a nonsupported trial to encourage the student to self-assess. • I can continually look for opportunities for the student to successfully do it alone.
11. Followup • Complete final column in Reflection. • Complete the followup log with a coach or partner from your team or from this workshop.
Summary • Provide good experiences for skill learning and use. • Believe that students should be independent. • Understand the timelines and how we can interfere or support learning. • Consider the level of support needed and how it should be altered for students who have and for students who do not have the skill. • Complete your followup plan.
Time to summarize • First, a bow from the cast: Let’s do it again, soon. Really. It’s been a pleasure, really. I sense my days are Numbered.
One last activity • Identify the desired behavior of participants, the natural indicator and the payoff/Goody in the following: Are you ready?