Communication Skills Chapter 11
Why do students need to communicate? • Students need to be able to express their wants and needs • Students need to be able to express their frustrations • Students need to communicate to socialize The importance of communication with students with low incidence disabilities is that they be able to know how to communicate effectively and independently as much as possible.
Components of Communication • Form- a way to communicate • Speech, facial expressions, body language, objects, gestures, assistive technology, etc. • Function- a purpose or reason to communicate • Requesting an object or activity, rejecting an object or activity, etc. • Content- something to communicate about • Finding things to talk about beyond basic needs and wants • Social component- something to communicate with • Communicating with teachers, peers with and without disabilities, family, etc.
Assessment of Communication • Can be assessed as both expressive (output) and receptive (input) communication. • Best assessment is when the student is in a natural environment, motivated, assisted to interact. • An Ecological Assessment analyzes the communicative requirements of the natural environment for a given student, determines what the student is currently doing in this environment and identifies what skills are lacking. • Involves observational data collected within natural routines and environments. • Example on page 535 in textbook
Other important input in Assessment • Parent/Guardian and Family observations can provide great information regarding the students communication practices and habits. • When and where they occur, frequency, and communication breakdowns • Can share preferences of topics child wants to communicate about
Recommended Practices in Communication Intervention • Teaching within Natural Environments • Intervention occurs where the student spends most of their time • Enhancing Communicative Opportunities • Students with low incidence and multiple disabilities need several opportunities to practice skills. • Offer Choices • Value of choice making enhances communication skills such as allowing the student to pick a type of food. • Creating the Need to Communicate • Suggest something to a student you know they would reject.
Recommended Practices Con’t • Responsive Communication Partners • Ensure the presence of a communication partner who will be an enthusiastic in responding • Recognizing Reasons to Communicate Other than Requesting • Don’t limit communication to just requests and needs (I want this/ What do you need?, Etc.)
Systematic Instruction • Students are taught to use specific communication skills for different communication purposes through direct and systematic instruction. • Most-to-Least prompting strategy: teacher employs a considerable amount of physical prompting such as tapping a should to prompt a raised hand. The prompting would be gradually faded out as student begins to demonstrate the desire behavior. • Least –to-Most prompting strategy: The process of increasing prompts from a few, to more frequent prompts. For example, if a student doesn’t respond to the first prompts, the teacher increases the frequency, minimizes choices, helps student pick an option.
Systematic Instruction Con’t • Enhancing the Social and Physical Environment • Accommodations can be made to the natural environment to enhance communication skill development • Social Environment Accommodations • Placing the student with disabilities close to responsive and interactive peers (typically without disabilities). • While providing support, do not hinder potential social interactions. • Physical Environment Accommodations • Keeping desired objects just out of reach so the student is forced to request it.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication Devices • 1997 mandate in the reauthorization of IDEA made it easier for team members to recommend augmentative and alternative communication devices (ACDs) a.k.a. augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) • ACDs can range from a simple, low-tech Velcro board holding two items at a time, to something more complex like an iPad with dynamic displays and speech output.
Low-Tech • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKQdMH7Wiok
Higher-tech • http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=Tp2ROyyyqjo
ACDs/AACs Con’t • All students have the right to the best means to communicate. • Different types of symbols can be used for different students; the individual’s abilities, needs, interests, and preferences determine the types of symbols used, displayed, and selected to convey messages. • Consistency is important: if a child uses a blue cup to signify drink, the symbol in the ACD/AAC should also be blue. • Can be in English and family’s native tongue. • There are a great number of options for customizing the individual student’s technology.
Even MORE ACDs/AACs • Get the family involved in being trained to use the ACDs/AACs and all decision making surrounding the technology. • Differences in culture, values, and desired goals. • Use a variety of communication techniques • Technology, gestures, sign language, verbalizations, etc. • Facilitated Communication (FC)- a controversial approach to teaching communication skills • Combines physical and emotional support with the use of an AAC device. • The controversy surrounds the authorship of the message however, as it is largely influenced by facilitator. • Ideally, the facilitator does not move the student’s hand and influence their message
Final Thoughts on Communication • Early intervention is vastly important • Without access to conventional means of communication that are effective, student will likely develop a system of communication that would be effective, yet not preferred. • Example on page 553. • Collaboration is key in the development of communication. • Integrative Service Delivery- allows students to receive therapy, such as speech language therapy, but not miss classroom activities • Example on page 555.