Formal assessment tools are not usually appropriate Standardized tests normed on typically developing children with intact sensory and motor systems Children are also expected to have adequate fine motor skills so that they can touch, point, and/or manipulate objects or pictures reliably Lack of world knowledge
Sensory Challenges Auditory Hearing Loss Difficulty filtering background noise from foreground auditory information
What forms of communication does the student understand? Gestures Cues from the environment Speech Manual signs Signs, logos, pictures Printed material
Separate objects or pictures Enlarge pictures Use different response methods: Yes/No Same/different Numbers Use assisted scanning
Some points about Yes/No responses Typically developing children don’t reliably answer yes/no questions before 30 months of age By about 18 months, they recognize a yes/no question, but usually respond in the affirmative because that’s what is usually expected for the response
Typically developing children first hear “no” in terms of prohibiting an action. Children with severe disabilities usually hear the word “no” much less There are different types of yes/no questions: Acceptance/rejection: in the present Confirmation/denial: in the past Knowledge testing
Children with severe disabilities are often asked rhetorical questions, for which a response is not really expected Example: Do you want me to stop feeding you?
Use response methods that the student can control volitionally: Head turning Eye movements Body movements/gestures
Observe the student : with a variety of people In a variety of environments
What to assess? Direction Following Auditory Sequencing Auditory Memory
Skill Expected by Look at the window. Close your eyes. End of Kindergarten Look at the book, then look at the window End of grade 1 Look up, then open your mouth, then look at the book End of grade 2 Open your mouth, then look at the book, then look up, then look at the brush End of grade 3
Make sure that student’s physical needs are met - e.g., wheelchair tray on to increase stabilization
Following directions within the students physical and sensory abilities Teach vocabulary and concepts in natural contexts Use Visual Supports Ask student to “show” you or to “look at” something Teach yes/no responding Ask “What,” “Who,” “Where” questions
Teaching augmentative or alternative communication skills is comparable to foreign language immersion
Model and pause, model and pause, model and pause ….
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