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Communication and Literacy: You Can’t Have One Without the Other!

Communication and Literacy: You Can’t Have One Without the Other!. Nancy Steele, NCBD Louisiana Literacy Institute Baton Rouge, LA December 2009. What is Literacy?. Literacy is the ability to read, write, and understand written language. Literacy begins at birth and

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Communication and Literacy: You Can’t Have One Without the Other!

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  1. Communication and Literacy: You Can’t Have One Without the Other! Nancy Steele, NCBD Louisiana Literacy Institute Baton Rouge, LA December 2009

  2. What is Literacy? Literacy is the ability to read, write, and understand written language. Literacy begins at birth and continues throughout life. Literacy exists on a continuum from emergent to independent.

  3. What is Literacy? Literacy… is for fulfillment, happiness and personal benefit. Literacy... means far more than learning how to read and write…The aim is to transmit... knowledge and promote social participation.   UNESCO Institute for Education Hamburg, Germany

  4. What is Literacy? Based on belief that all children can be and are becoming literate Founded on experiences and concepts . . starting from day one Emphasizes communication and social interaction

  5. Where does that leave our students?

  6. Words We Live By… • There are no pre-requisites for literacy instruction. • Every activity and skill feeds every other activity and skill (reading, writing, communication, etc.). • The least dangerous assumption is that every student benefits from literacy instruction everyday.

  7. Barriers To Literacy Attitudes Low Expectations Limited Opportunities Limited Means of Accessing Literacy Limited Time The Age Factor

  8. Literacy Impacts Quality of Life Self-Esteem Self-Determination Independence Information Gathering Organization Learning Entertainment

  9. Literacy Development Children’s abilities to listen, speak, read and write are interrelated and develop at the same time Interrelated modes of communication (listening, speaking, reading and writing) are highly dependent on concept development

  10. Receptive Communication/ Listening Reading Writing Expressive Communication/ Augmentative Communication Oral and Written Language Development (Koppenhaver, Coleman, Kalman & Yoder, 1991; adapted from Teale & Sulzby, 1989)

  11. Many other skills are involved with developing literacy. Spatial memory Awareness of body Use of body Refined hand grasp Matching/sequencing

  12. The development of literacy is founded upon our experiences…beginning at birth.

  13. Development of Literacy Literacy exists along a continuum Based on belief that all children can become and are becoming literate Includes strong emphasis on communication

  14. But . . . literacy begins with communication! So . . .

  15. The path to literacy requires establishing communication and connecting meaning to objects, events and people in our world.

  16. Literacy and Communication Listen (or watch signs; use other senses to take in information Speak (using words, signs or augmentative communication) Read (print, large type or Braille) Write (handwriting, Braille and/or the use of a computer, typewriter, word processor or other assistive technology

  17. We have to have a foundation of concepts developed before literacy can occur.

  18. Types of Concepts How the world works (routines, what things are used for, cause and effect) How the physical environment is arranged and how to navigate it (orientation and mobility) Where things come from (the natural world and its cycles and laws) How things are sequenced (time, order of activities) (Miles & McLetchie, Developing Concepts With Children Who are Deaf-Blind, Sept,2004)

  19. What is Communication? Communicationis the ability to meaningfully exchange needs, wants, thoughts, feelings and ideas Communication requires a SENDER and a RECEIVER Communicationalso begins at birth Communicationalso exists on a continuum

  20. Types of Communication Child = Receiver Communication Partner = Sender Child = Sender Communication Partner = Receiver Receptive – The INPUT component of an exchange    Expressive – The OUTPUT component of an exchange   

  21. Communication Is…… Interaction A way to reach out to others A social act The exchange of a message A back and forth between 2 or more people Connection

  22. Ground Rules for Communication • All persons are communicative !!! • Communication begins at birth • Our responses to persons with disabilities can helpORhindercommunication development

  23. What is NOT necessary to communicate? • Object permanence • Cause-effect • Imitation • Matching • Intentional communication • Speech • AT equipment

  24. Ways to Communicate Without Symbols • Vocalizations including crying, screaming, cooing, laughing • Body movements including stiffening or relaxing, moving head, arms or legs, squirming • Challenging Behaviors including tantruming, biting, hitting, eye poking • Gestures including pointing, pushing away • Touching objects or persons • Facial expressions including grimacing, smiling

  25. What IS Necessary to Communicate? Someone to talk to Something to talk about A way to talk to each other

  26. Strategies to Promote Communication Skills • Make the most of the child’s available senses • Contrast, bright colors, good lighting • Exaggerated, sounds, consistent words for activities • Use enjoyable games, repetition and routines • Learn to take turns, have a conversation • Predictability builds sense of control • Provides opportunities for the child to request or anticipate From: Making the Most of Early Communication, Deborah Chen

  27. Strategies to Promote Communication Skills • Provide systematic and direct instruction • Use touch cues, object cues, gestures, adapted signs • Interrupt familiar routines to get the child to request • Interpret the child’s behaviors and act on them

  28. Conversations • Conversational interaction precedes language • Elements of a good conversation • Mutual respect • Emotional and physical comfort • Topics of mutual interest • Comfortable pacing • Equal participation from Remarkable Conversations by Barbara Miles

  29. Characteristics of Environments That Encourage Communication • Establish an environment that respects the unique needs of the child with deafblindness • Establish an environment that is responsive to any communicative attempts • Provide opportunities for choice making • Create a need to communicate • Provide a communication system that the child can use and that a broad community can take part in

  30. Examples of a Respectful Environment • A child is always addressed with her name sign when someone approaches her • Everyone identifies themselves to a child each time they begin an interaction with her • A caregiver lets an infant know she is about to change his diaper by letting him touch the new diaper before beginning • A child is asked to choose who he wants to sit with at lunch

  31. Examples of a Responsive Environment • A teacher assistant supports a young child from behind so she can feel her body stiffen or relax and know when she likes/dislikes an activity • A teacher notices a young child move her hands in response to the sound of a bell and offers her the bell • A child’s favorite toy is always found in the same place in her crib

  32. Opportunities for Choice Making • Use naturally occurring events of the day and motivating choices • Present choices so the child understands what the choices are • Know what response you are looking for – can the child do it, can you tell what the child wants

  33. Create a Need to Communicate • Incomplete parts to an activity – missing one shoe when getting dressed, • Give only small amounts of desired object so child has to request more • Pause during a favorite activity so the child has to request more • Make a mistake on purpose – put socks on hands,

  34. Communication System Widely Understood and Used Does the child have a consistent way to • identify people in his environment? • identify places in his environment? • identify activities in his environment? • request what he wants? • refuse what he doesn’t want • ask questions • make choices

  35. Elements of Communication Sender Receiver Means of expression form Topic function From: First Things First, Charity Rowland, Philip Schweigert, 2004

  36. Forms of Communication - How Children Communicate • Behavior • Body movements • Early sounds • Facial expressions • Simple gestures • Concrete symbols • Abstract symbols • Combining abstract symbols

  37. Stages of Communication • Pre-intentional Communication • Pre-symbolic/Intentional Communication • Symbolic Communication

  38. Pre-Intentional Communication • May be purposeful behavior • Not aware they effect what others do • We interpret the behavior From: First Things First, Rowland & Schweigert, 2004 and Promoting Learning Through Active Intervention, Chen, 2000

  39. Pre-Symbolic/Intentional Communication Behaviors are intended to communicate • Conventional behaviors • Pointing, nodding or shaking head, waving bye-bye • Non-conventional behaviors • Biting, tugging at people, whining, screaming, pouting

  40. Symbolic Communication Tangible symbols have some connection to the object they stand for • Pictures or objects Abstract symbols have no physical connection to the object they stand for • Speech, Sign, Print or Braille words

  41. Functions of Communication – Why Children Communicate • Protest, refuse, reject object, stop disliked activity • Request objects • Request action • Greeting “bye” “hi” “mama” • Attention seeking • Request for social routine, familiar game • Request for comfort • Comment on object (points to flower and says pretty) • Comment on action (“uh-oh” or “ fall down” ) • Request for information about an object or event

  42. Activity-Based ProgrammingEmbedded Skill Instruction

  43. Activity-Based Instruction Intervention or teaching begins with chronologically age-appropriate activities, routines, tasks and materials Identify activities, routines and tasks FIRST !!! Look at the daily schedule of activities that other children this age are engaged in (0-21) across environments Interview the family and gather information about the child’s daily schedule and environments (0-3) Identify the child’s preferences

  44. REMEMBER !!!!! The activities, tasks and routines are the CONTEXT for instruction Critical skills are EMBEDDED into the daily activities, tasks and routines

  45. COMPONENTS of an ACTIVITY 1. INITIATION communicating a need, desire, intent to engage in activity; respond to cues to perform an activity 2. PREPARATION gather materials needed for activity; go to location for activity

  46. COMPONENTS of an ACTIVITY 3.CORE central part of activity (usually the focus of instruction) 4. TERMINATION signal for end of activity; put away materials; clean up area; (necessary to disengage physically, mentally and emotionally)

  47. Transitions • It is sometimes hard for students to end one activity and move to another • When a lot of behavior problems occur

  48. REMEMBER !!!! A critical skill is NOT necessarily the activity itself or a step of the activity A critical skill is a behavior that is required to complete an activity/task/routine or part of an activity/task/routine


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