Communication Skills Across Classes & Subjects Greetings & Farewells Age-appropriate vocabulary, mannerisms May not necessarily need a Speech Generated Device (SGD) Asking for Attention/Help Comments of Approval & Rejection Social Closeness Observe what typical students do to achieve this E.g., admiring another’s hairstyle, telling secrets Communicative Skills specific to a class or an activity
Middle School Activities Unstructured, highly social time now found during nutrition breaks, hall transitions, changing for PE, extracurricular activities The way teachers conduct their classes will determine the extent, amount, & type of communication interactions possible Think of ways to facilitate opportunities for students to work on communication
Students with limited communication skills need to be taught a broad array of communicative functions…more than just requests
Rejecting or protesting.. ”No” Anticipate possible rejections Watch for the behaviors that lead to unconventional rejections Provide students with appropriate ways of expressing “No” May be shaking head, pushing items away, using signs, device, etc.
Gaining attention 3 steps: Selecting a listener Increasing proximity to listener Obtaining listener’s attention (e.g., Saying others name, establishing eye contact) Actively teach students alternative and more appropriate behavior for obtaining attention. How might you teach a student to gain someone’s attention in a socially acceptable manner? Think of setting up a situation and strategies already taught in this course (e.g. prompting levels, time- delay, etc.)
Gaining attention example Difficult to teach gaining attention when attention has already been gained. Get a third party involved Ex: Student needs paper You tell him that you do not have paper He must ask another teacher/person (may need to prompt after 5 seconds) Other person “ignores” student until uses appropriate behavior to gain attention You model getting that person’s attention If student does not follow model (prompt) Person does not help student until appropriate behavior used.
Greetings, farewells, social niceties How would you teach? Shape behaviors by modeling Direct students attention to others engaged in similar behaviors Make sure AAC devices are readily available Least-to-most prompting strategy may NOT be most effective because greetings & farewells occur quickly Physically shape response quickly & directly
Commenting How would you teach this? Need creative ways of expressing thoughts & opinions Picture system that allow her to say, “I like that,” Or “I think it needs more stuff”, etc. Model Time delay Physical prompt Recommend a comment Ask student to confirm or deny (Yes or No)
Social Closeness: Tease, joke, etc. How would you teach this? Encourage students to bring items of interest from home Program an option on device to say, “See what I’ve Got” Jointly exploring an item with partner Conversational partner trained to make comments, questions Target student prompted to continue conversation
Asking for Information How would you teach this? Prompt to raise hand Use device to generic ask questions “Where did you say you got that?; Can I get a closer look?”, etc.
Confirming or denying How would you teach this? Conversation partners need to remember to give students this opportunity. Indicate whether they were understood correctly by saying “Yes or No”, noddding, etc.
Teaching students conversational skills How would you teach this? Example? Emphasize initiation…not common for students with disabilities Have another person be the partner as you teach initiation. Ensure student has a reason to initiate interaction..wants something, etc. Has some means with which to initiate an interaction Has easy access to potential communication partners Model, prompt, fade
Maintaining Interaction How would you teach this? Example? Falls on shoulders of communication partner Provide communicative aides beyond Yes/No…conversation books, boards, boxes of items. Things that can be used to direct partner’s attention…conversation piece Teach taking turns
Terminating the Conversation How would you teach how to do this appropriately? Teach conversational partners to prompt termination behaviors…e.g., “see ya, gotta go” Students would need a device or means to make these statements Teach to respond to farewells Again least-to-most may not be the best prompting here…use most to least
Teaching students to generalize communication skills How would you do this?
In-Class Activity On back of your entry activity you have a case study Work with a partner to identify ways student can or could communicate during these activities.
More Rx on Intervention Use of Communication Dictionary for students with very unique communication needs (Mirenda, 2005) Requesting is the most frequently used and easily learned by students with severed disabilities (Carter, 2003; Snell et al., 2006) Teasing, joking, age-appropriate behavior is difficult to teach without symbolic communication, use of conversation books (Hunt et al., 1997)
Eliciting Communicative Behavior Facilitate communication & teach partners to: –Increase proximity to student –Position self at eye level –Look expectantly to encourage participation –Accept student’s current modes of communication –Wait for student to initiate/respond –Less directive –Ensure student has way to express self
Communicating should be motivating to students Home environment, past experiences, cultural values, learning styles, & perceived importance of communicating influence the learning process Communication intervention should not be stressful, but where student sees benefit..meaningful in natural environments
Creating the Need to Practice Skills Could refrain from giving student materials that they need for an activity until they request them. Include giving too little of something so the student must ask for more Giving different item than what was requested, so student must correct Giving most of items but leaving out an item in order to prompt the student to request missing item
Motivating the student to communicate Team must be careful that student is empowered to control as many aspects of day and recognize their control. Accepting approximations Pay attention to their facial & gestural responses and make comments. –“Don’t worry that was just Stephanie’s book”---when student startled by sound of banging
Offering choices to motivate students Encourage choice-making Based on preference assessment Choices should be easy so student does not need to deliberate too long If student does not make a choice, find more interesting items.
Enhancing social environment Limit lecture and independent seat work Use cooperative learning, small groups, & partner learning
Make communicating fun Students need to see immediate pay off for communication Engage in interesting & unusual acts to facilitate engaging in joint attention with their partner (Jones & Carr, 2004) –E.g., try to put adult shoe or coat on student at the end of the day Don’t make communication seem like work. Continuous pointing can get boring....think of other things to do!
Considerations prior to direct intervention Physical ability of student—positioning, vision, hearing Modeling behavior- provide a lot of exposure to desired communication models---have peers use device to model. Prompting- consider level needed & plan for fading Reinforce desired behavior- know what student likes…function of their behavior…remember functional communication training?
Introducing New Symbols Pair new symbol with the actual item, person, or activity When student attempts to communicate using a previous method (e.g., reaching for an object), the new symbol should be placed so that it is front of or next to the object. Considerations for adding new symbols: visual abilities, auditory skills, memory, cognitive skills
More Rx on Intervention Pivotal Response Training (Koegel et al., 1998) used for teaching requesting information/ asking questions. Teaching students ways to deal with “communication breakdowns” is a critical communication goal (Cress, 2002) Teach students to repeat initial efforts, or respond to yes/no suggestions by partners..”Did you mean..?” Train conversational partners to follow the lead of student, respond immediately, and expand on responses (Dennis, 2002; Kaiser & Grim, 2006)