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Enhancing communication: what can we do? Dr Glenys Jones Autism Cymru May 2006.

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Presentation on theme: "Enhancing communication: what can we do? Dr Glenys Jones Autism Cymru May 2006."— Presentation transcript:

1 Enhancing communication: what can we do? Dr Glenys Jones Autism Cymru May 2006

2 Carol Gray (2000) ‘We hold more than half the solution’ It’s unfair and misleading to state that those with ASD have a communication impairment Alter our communication, so that they can understand us Teach the person how to communicate and give them a means and incentive to communicate

3 Differences in communication in ASD Difficulties in taking part in early carer-infant dialogue (Hobson, 2002) May not develop speech, or this may be delayed Limited use of non-verbal means Functional, rather than social Often INITIATE far less contact Limited range of communicative functions Sensory issues (Bogdashina, 2003)

4 Our communication Our behaviour can be very difficult to interpret and understand Our social signals and intent via our facial expressions; gesture; intonation; body language may not be noticed or understood

5 Our communication Our words may be taken literally (Welton, 2003) Different intonation can make the same words have different meanings Our rate of speaking might be too fast There are often competing sounds and other stimuli

6 Adults’ language (advice from Potter and Whitaker, 2000) Reduce speech to single words or two word phrases supported by pictures or objects (eg tidy; story;snack) Map single words onto the most meaningful aspect of the situation/activity Use long pauses (10 seconds or more) to allow time to process and respond Use physical prompts for new task– delay use of speech Engage in interactive games, leaving pauses

7 Developing communication: prerequisites Must have a reason Must have the opportunity Must have a system Must feel enabled

8 Three main elements to consider : Means: eg language – spoken, written or signed; gesture, eye contact; facial expression; touch; behaviour; drawings, volume, tone, intonation, email, poetry Reasons: request; negate; affirm; tease; inform; share comment; greet; chat; express choice Opportunities: where:classroom; canteen; home; leisure areas / when: time, duration, frequency/with whom – adults, peers, other staff, parents

9 Communication in ASDs Some (33-50%) do not develop spoken language and so will need to be taught other forms with which to communicate (eg signs;photos; objects) Some with ASDs develop very good spoken language skills, in terms of vocabulary and grammatical structure BUT they need support to communicate effectively

10 Comments made: ‘He never communicates with me.’ ‘He can’t communicate.’ This is highly UNLIKELY as we communicate in many different ways These comments usually mean that the person does not communicate in the ways expected or in ways we notice or can understand

11 Challenging behaviour as communication treat CB as a form of communication Zarkowska has suggested we see CB as a ‘gift’– it prompts us to try to identify what the person is feeling or ‘saying’ Teach an acceptable alternative behaviour to get the same result Communicate with the person in a way which is likely to avoid challenging behaviour

12 Assessment – person and setting Observe when and how s/he communicates and why? Pragmatics profile useful (Dewart and Summers, 1988) Factors which promote communication (eg setting/ activity/ sensory/people) Learn their ‘language’ (Caldwell)

13 Alternative forms to speech Choice of system - need to consider: intelligibility to general public portability and convenience compatibility with cognitive, linguistic, sensory and physical level of functioning usability within present and future environments

14 Types of intervention to enhance communication Interactive work (intensive interaction; musical interaction; Option approach) Developing play and role play (Sherratt and Peter, 2001) Changing parent/staff style (eg Child’s talk, Aldred, 2001) Object,picture, symbol or photo exchange Computers (email; written work) Social stories and Circles of friends

15 Interactive approaches Mimic early infant-carer dialogue Work on social timing Person-centred and enjoyable Shows benefits of human company – basis of friendships Negotiation and turn-taking

16 Create opportunities: Circle of friends/buddies To promote the inclusion of the person in work and play activities To facilitate discussion and negotiation with others Allows adults to gain insights into their understanding

17 Communicate through a Passport My name is Adam. I am happy when….. I don’t like it when teachers…. If I am upset, it helps to…..

18 Email opportunities This avoids face to face contact Can be done when the person feels ready Provides a permanent record Can create a wide network of contacts, with no travel involved

19 Sharing the diagnosis with the child/adult (Jones, 2001): why? Can better understand themselves Can develop their own strategies Can avoid or invite interaction (eg Autscape strategy) Can meet others with ASD

20 Extract from Gunilla Gerland’s book Eye contact Some of us with AS think it is easier to listen if we don’t have to look in the eyes of the person we are listening to. When you don’t look in the eyes of the person you are listening to, they may think you are not listening. It may help if you explain that you are listening even though you are not looking at them

21 Gain the individual’s views: why? A reason to communicate Guides interventions (Bullock, 2005) Can gauge their self esteem (Moran, 2001) Enhances their emotional awareness and vocabulary An indication of how well something is working or not

22 Build self esteem to prevent withdrawal/depression Often can not think of anything they are good at Told many times they are wrong Use applauding stories Put positive statements within Social Stories Create permanent records of success and refer to these

23 Wendy Lawson’s poem: an extract The future ‘My future may not depend on my stock So much as it does upon sources Sources of warmth, sources of care I depend on the nurture to be for me there.’


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