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Using Core Vocabulary to Support Non Verbal Students Barbara Cannon, MS, ATP Grace Edmond, MS, CCC-SLP.

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Presentation on theme: "Using Core Vocabulary to Support Non Verbal Students Barbara Cannon, MS, ATP Grace Edmond, MS, CCC-SLP."— Presentation transcript:

1 Using Core Vocabulary to Support Non Verbal Students Barbara Cannon, MS, ATP Grace Edmond, MS, CCC-SLP

2 …a little about Spotsylvania 31 schools Approx 2,935 SPED students Approx. 75 nonverbal students

3 …the truth about teachers Teachers are stressed There are many demands on their time Turnover is high Training in AAC is minimal

4 …ditto the SLPs SLPs are stressed They have high case loads Turnover is high Training in AAC is minimal

5 Question to consider: How can a county supply all nonverbal students with high quality communication and language supports that grow and move with the student?

6 …. and do it easily, equitably, frugally, and understandably…

7 Core Vocabulary can help that dream come true.

8 The Dream: is usable by any nonverbal student countywide regardless of ability or age is quick and easy for teachers to understand and implement A Countywide System of AAC that: can be used no tech, low tech, or high tech can be simple or complex does not require extensive time to make materials is customizable to meet individual needs is capable of growing as the student gains mastery will follow the student throughout his school career will supply language learning as well as communication. will supply data to prove student learning

9 The Reality No guiding principal for AAC No unified system for supplying AAC devices and training No plan for growth in AAC competence

10 PECS Books Big Macs 1 $8,000 device Cheap Talks …and Lots of nouns 1 verb (want) 1 bathroom symbol Lots of pictures of food Lots of pictures of art supplies Lots of pictures of colors No pronouns, articles, demonstratives or adverbs No idea of how to expand on success… No carry over when kids change schools or grade levels No money to buy devices No time to train

11 Beyond the Holy Trinity of AAC Eat……….. Drink…….. Bathroom…….

12 Lets give em something to talk about….. Browns Stage 1 = MLU of 1.75 Vocabulary most often provided: Browns Stage 3 = MLU of 2.25 Browns Stage 5 = MLU of 4.0 Browns Stages:

13 Age words Between ages to 20 words including name (combine 2 words) Between ages 2 – words (combine noun and verb) Between 3-4 – 1000 words (sentence length 4-5 words) Between words ( ask who and why questions) Typical Language Developmental Milestones

14 and the Big Question is…. If a student has a language age of 4 and a vocabulary of 1,000 words, Will a book of nouns be enough? How about a cheap talk? A schedule board?

15 What is Core Vocabulary? The term core vocabulary is used to describe words which are used frequently and across contexts. * If you want to be understood by everyone in a room, use a core word! Core words are those that are basic to the language and are without the shadings of culture and context.. Core vocabulary tends to be made up of verbs, demonstratives, and pronouns because these words are a small set of words that are unchanging in our language. We all use core vocabulary, all the time, every day, in every environment. 80% of all that we say is made up of basic core words. Lists of core words are used when compiling textbooks, for teaching English as a second language and for facilitating international communication. Baker, Bruce (2000)

16 I love his humor! He cerebrates with great perspicacity!He thinks with vision ! That opinion will cause fisticuffs!Your words will mean war! I enjoy his extreme jocularity! Core is made up of simple words that are easily understood

17 Core (Have General Meaning) Not - So - Core (Have Specific Meaning) Give Big Little Eat House Donate Huge Tiny Dine Home Core is made up of neutral words unshaded by culture or context

18 . Core Have General Meaning Not - So - Core Specific Meaning GiveDonate I give a car. I donate a car. I give a backrub. I donate a backrub? I give a party. I donate a party? I give you my word! I donate you my word? I will give it a good try….I will donate a good try?

19 . Examples of Core Words Benajee List Top Words Used By Toddlers A All done/finished Go Help Here I In Is It Mine More My no Off On out Some That The want What yes/yea you (Benajee, et al., 2003)

20 . Quote: Despite evidence that nouns are not among core vocabulary used by preschoolers… clinicians typically select nouns representing foods and objects as first symbols when designing AAC systems. (Banajee, et. al., 2003)

21 . a about actually after afternoon again ago ah all alright always an and another any anything anyway are around as ask at away back bad be beautiful because been before being better big bit bloody break but buy by cake came can can't car Catholic cause close cold come coming could couldn't couple crew day days dear did didn't differen t do does doesn't doing dollars done don't down dunno eat got gotta had half happened hard has have haven't having he her here he'll he's him his home hour hours house how hundred I if in into is isn't it its it's I'd I'll I'm eight either eleven else end enough er even ever every everyone everything ey fair feel find finished first five for four Friday from get gets getting give go god goes going gone gonna good I've job just keep kids know last left like little live long look looking looks lost lot love lovely lunch made make many married me mean might mind mine minutes mm Monday money months more morning much mum must my name need never new next nice night no not nothing now of off oh ok old on once one ones only or other our out over own oclock past pay people person phone pick place play pretty probably put quite ready really remember right road round said same Saturday say saying says school see seen seven she she'll she's shoes should sit six so some someone something sorry sort start started still straight street stuff sure take talk talking tea tell ten than thanks that that's the their them then there there's these they they're they've thing things think thirty this those though thought three through til time times to today told tomorrow too try trying twelve twenty two um up us used very want wanted wants was wasn't way we week weekend weeks well went were we're we've what what's when where which who who's why will with won won't work working would wouldn't wrong yeah year years yep yes yesterday you your you're you've Composite List of 347 Core Words Compared with Cat in the Hat (139/290) (Comparison made by Chip Clark using the Mealtime Vocabulary List by Susan Balandin and Teresa Iacono, 2000)

22 . Cat in the Hat has roughly 53 Fringe words vs 237 Core. CORE = 82% (Chip Clarke, MS CCC/SLP, Assistive Technology Works, Inc)

23 What is Fringe Vocabulary? Fringe vocabulary is made up of context specific nouns and verbs that are needed depending on context. Permanent Fringe (Big Part of Life) Temporary Fringe (Hardly Ever Used) food car animal person house Saturn planet orbit solar system atmosphere Fringe vocabulary needs vary from person to person and from place to place. Permanent fringe is vocabulary that is an important part of a persons life and will be used often. Temporary fringe is vocabulary that is very situationally specific and infrequently used. (Chip Clarke, MS CCC/SLP, Assistive Technology Works, Inc)

24 Lets look at the word: zoo It could be a permanent fringe word if you are a veterinarian. It could be a temporary fringe word if you are a kid on a field trip. If you want to tell your mom where you went today, zoo is the word that carries the most meaning: I went to theZoo.

25 Fringe Vocabulary Carries Meaning How do you say I went to the zoo without using the word zoo? …. But you cant have every word or the system gets too complex and difficult to navigate. I go bus see many big animal I go bus see animal go bus. Hint: Core possibilities = I go see want big many more stop Permanent Fringe= animal, bus, school

26 Its about efficiency….. Master Page (Environments, Topics & Categories) Circle Time Getting Dressed Days of Week/ Months of Year WeatherWinter Clothes Activities Dressy / Church Zoo Dr. Office Zoo Animals Movies Zoo Food Reptiles Grocery Store Holidays Airplane Hospital Birthdays School Bus (Baker, Bruce 2005)

27 How much work do you want to do to get to the word zoo? Each word counts for an AAC user and must have communicative clout. Can you remember how to get to the word zoo next time?

28 Single Page Design A single page design is one in which all the words you are going to use are on the same page. In a single page design system, growth comes from adding vocabulary to the same page instead of adding new pages. Why would you want a single page design? 1.cognitively simpler. 2.deemphasizes need for memory. 3.faster. 4.maximizes the use of motor patterns.

29 Use of Motor Patterns A single page core vocabulary board allows students to use motor planning instead of visual scanning to find the word they are looking for.

30 Single Page Design More cells not more pages :almost fainted I gave a 4 year old student with autism and xxyy syndrome a 32 Techspeak What the Speech Therapist did: Its a big Mac! Its a Cheap Talk! Its a Dynavox! Its a Tech Talk! Theres room to grow!

31 . Dustins Boards single page design with room to grow Core Fringe

32 . Dustins Boards: adding vocabulary *** add vocabulary as soon as the student proves he can discriminate Between the current concepts on the board

33 . Dustins Boards: adding vocabulary

34 What is the Natural Consequence of: Core Vocabulary on a Single Page using Motor Patterns? You dont have to think because…. The words are ALWAYS where you left them

35 Or you can do this….. Master Page (Environments, Topics & Categories) Circle Time Getting Dressed Days of Week/ Months of Year WeatherWinter Clothes Activities Dressy / Church Zoo Dr. Office Zoo Animals Movies Zoo Food Reptiles Grocery Store Holidays Airplane Hospital Birthdays School Bus (Baker, Bruce 2005)

36 A Little Problem with Levels…

37 Iconicity …life beyond Boardmaker…... In using core vocabulary boards, you rely less on the meaning of pictures and more on the placement of the vocabulary. Instead of scanning for the correct picture, you know from experience that the word you want is where it always was….. How apparent is the relationship between a symbol and its meaning. Iconicity =

38 Game Show: Are you smarter than a nonverbal student?

39 Game Show: Are you smarter than a nonverbal student?

40 For 1 million dollars!!!!! (or a cheap prize) Draw a universally understandable picture for the word: IT

41 Just ask at 4 year old… My TurnHandHandsGrapes ShapeShapesThat oneOne Chip Clarke, MS CCC/SLP, Assistive Technology Works, Inc

42 Is blue ALWAYS a color? Core promotes understanding of multiple meanings. I want a blue crayon He plays the blues. I am feeling blue It came out of the blue! Or…. Its my turn. Turn the page. Turn on the light. Turn around.

43 In pursuit of generative language Core vocabulary supplies a chance for generative language production and gets away from the idea of scripting. With a good vocabulary, students can say what they want to say on a variety of topics in a variety of settings.

44 Context board with specific nouns I want pretzel Iwant popcorn I want drink More pretzel More cookies More drink finished What can you say with the words you have?

45 Core Vocabulary Board Mine What? Stop! Finished Help More that Want more What that? Want what? Want help. Want finish More help More that What that? What mine? What want Stop that! What can you say with the words you have?

46 Core Vocabulary Board What can you say with the words you have? Context board with specific nouns All language uses Requests only

47 Review of Concepts: 1.Core Crosses Contexts, is fast and cognitively simple. 2.Core supports the development of motor patterns through the use of a single page design. 1.Choosing by position de-empasizes the need to scan and read picture meanings that may be obtuse. 4. Core supports language learning by supplying all parts of speech in a simple structure Result: Generative language production.

48 The Things We Use: Word Lists: Gail Van Tatenhove hybrid list: Lists of Beajee, et al. were compared to user language samples and other lists to create a hybrid list.

49 The Things We Use: The Ace Center Book :


51 The Things We Use: Low Tech Books:

52 The Things We Use: Mid Tech Devices with 32 and 128 cells

53 The Things We Use: High Tech Devices –

54 . 3 rd grader with autism: Starting with a low tech book Core Stage 1 Vocabulary: snack

55 . Core Stage 1 Vocabulary:

56 . Kindergarten student: Adapting a low tech book Core Stage 1 Vocabulary: snack

57 . Whats missing?

58 . Kelley – Student with Significant Disabilities and Cortical Blindness Will be learning auditory scanning Core Vocabulary: Go: Stop

59 . What I learned from Kristens teacher: I wanted Core: she wanted Academics

60 . Kristen: The NEW MORE CORE Board Making Compromises

61 . Kristen: Nonverbal TMR who has used sign until now Midtech solution with core vocabulary Academics Notice: 1.Poor attention 2.Poor understanding of picture meanings 3.Poor inclusion

62 . Kristen: Nonverbal TMR who has used sign until now Making it fun with Core and Friends Notice: 1.Increasing Attention 2.Easy understanding of concept placement 3.Good inclusion 4.Greater amount of conversation 5.Much vocab on 1 page. (I-names- happy- tired-play-eat- more)

63 . Frankie: When you need more words – Tech 128

64 . Frankie: Tech 128 Warming up with a fun activity Notice: 1.Easily finds concepts 2.Expands independently on concepts A boy with language

65 . Frankie: Tech 128 A boy with language Notice: 1.Easily finds concepts 2.Expands independently on concepts 3.Easily adapts to using a few words to get the point across

66 . Frankie: Tech 128 A boy with language Notice: 1.Easily finds concepts 2.Expands independently on concepts

67 . Maddie: Fun with Verbs

68 . Maddie: A student with Autism ……Its all about the verbs Mid tech device with two hits for GO Notice: 1.Lots of fun 2.Lots of action for a few cells 3.Good engagement

69 . Autism and the high tech device Vantage Device out of the box

70 . Autism and the high tech device Unity 1.5 – Core + Fringe Single Hit

71 . Maddie : Motor Planning + speech output Her User : Unity 1.5

72 . Maddie : A student with Autism High Tech – simple setup

73 . Joeys Board

74 . Joey: A boy with autism learning language concepts Mid tech device with 32 cells Notice: Learning verb meanings Learning motor patterns Single page design

75 . This time he got it!

76 . What the SLP thought…

77 . Jeffrey: Life and Death Core Auditory scanning – the hardest core there is Notice: How hard this is to do… you must get the most from each word

78 . Jeffrey: Life and Death Core Auditory scanning – custom user PRC Notice: Ability to switch topics easily Really hard to do Each word must pack a punch

79 Core For Written Communication

80 .

81 . What the students wrote: You go shopping. Yesterday I ate Funyons We paid money. Yesterday we ate Skittles They counted with money. I tasted crunchy Cheese-Its Yesterday we bought food. I eat chips. They go shopping. We counted money.

82 . Core In the classroom - Preschool

83 . Core In the classroom

84 . Core and the ASOLs – TTAC Materials

85 . Final Question: How do we sell it to teachers?

86 . Even more basic than the freedom of speech is the freedom to speak…… Stephen Hawking

87 Many thanks to Chip Clark, Gail Vantatenhove, John Holloran, Adrianne Thomas, Birgit Shipman ………………………………….and all the students of Spotsylvania County.

88 . Resources: The Ace Center Communication Book – Vocabulary Lists – Van Tatenhove Barb Cannons TTAC Webshop with materials and a research paper on core vocabulary ?selWebshop=bcannon pm&selAuthor=bcannon Jen Mitchells TTAC materials for supporting ASOL goals using Core vocabulary: contact Jenn - Assistive Technologist Understanding and using Core Vocabulary with devices Chip Clark contact Chip - or by phone: (703)

89 . Handouts for this session are available at:

90 . Research Baker, B., Hill, K. & Devylder, R. (2000). Core Vocabulary is the same across environments. Balandin, Susan, & Iacono, T. The topics of meal break conversations. Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Benajee, M., Dicarlo, C. & Stricklin, B. (2003). Core Vocabulary Determination for Toddlers. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 19, Beukelman, D.(1991). Magic and Cost of Communicative Competence. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 7, pp Beukelman, D., Jones, R. & Rowan, M. (1989). Frequency of Word Usage by Nondisabled Peers in Integrated Preschool Classrooms. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 5, Boose, M. & Stinnett, T. (1999). Indirect Language Stimulation (ILS): AAC Techniques To Promote Communication Competence. Paper presented at the Annual Southeast Augmentative Communication Conference. Cannon, Barbara, A Few Good Words (2005) A Few Good Words: Why Core Vocabulary is Needed to Enhance Communication in Non-verbal Students, Clarke, Chip, MS CCC/SLP, (2006) Getting to the Core of It AAC conference, Blacksburg VA Cross, R., Baker, B., Klotz, L., & Badman, A. Static and dynamic keyboards: Semantic Compaction in worlds. Retrieved June, 2006 from. Goossens', C. (1989). Aided Communication Intervention Before Assessment: A Case Study of a Child with Cerebral Palsy. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 5 (1), 14-26

91 . Research Stubbs, M. (1986). Language Development, Lexical Competence and Nuclear Vocabulary. Kevin Durkin, ed (1986 Language Development in the School Years. Croom Helm Van Tatenhove, Gail (2006). Stop the Madness and Start Communicating. Workshop, Spotsylvania VA. Yorkston, K., Honsinger, M., Dowden, P. & Marriner, N. (1989). Vocabulary selection: A Case Report. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 5, pp Yorkston, K., Dowden, P., Honsinger, M., Marriner, N. & Smith, K. (1988). A comparison of standard and user vocabulary lists. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 4,

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