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Understanding Communication and Cognition and Students with special needs Alice Hammel, Virginia Commonwealth and James Madison Universities.

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Presentation on theme: "Understanding Communication and Cognition and Students with special needs Alice Hammel, Virginia Commonwealth and James Madison Universities."— Presentation transcript:

1 Understanding Communication and Cognition and Students with special needs Alice Hammel, Virginia Commonwealth and James Madison Universities

2 The Basics of a Label-free Approach Use labels to gain general informationUse labels to gain general information Concentrate on Music Teaching and LearningConcentrate on Music Teaching and Learning

3 Teaching Music to students with autism Follows same approachFollows same approach DomainsDomains

4 Communication The Communication Domain

5 Communication “The ability to receive, send, process, and comprehend concepts of verbal, nonverbal, and graphic symbol systems” (Heflin & Alamo)

6 Communication Process Receive Information Understand and Process Information Commit to Long Term Memory Express Understanding

7 Receptive Language Receptive language refers to the ability of a student to receive and process/decode information. Receptive Language

8 Expressive Language Expressive language is defined as the ability to use symbols of language to express thoughts (Lewis & Doorlag, 2006)

9 Specific challenges Within the Communication Domain

10 Eye contact Gather information Indicate interests and emotions The intent of others can be very confusing

11 Why? Attention has been drawn elsewhere Anxiety related to the expectations of the classroom at the moment Sensory input needs (hypo or hyper) Delay in cognitive processing necessary to comprehend or retain information

12 Joint attention Attending to the interest of others This can be extremely difficult. Some students are not interested in engaging with others, their objects, or situations. An inability to process via eye gaze, theory of mind, or other means can exacerbate joint attention miscues.

13 Accommodation/Modification EXAMPLEs Provide simple and clear instructions. Individual instructions for a specific student can be very helpful.Provide simple and clear instructions. Individual instructions for a specific student can be very helpful. Partner written instructions with other modalities (aural, kinesthetic)Partner written instructions with other modalities (aural, kinesthetic) Establish a communication journal between you, the special education team, and the parents/guardians (if possible).Establish a communication journal between you, the special education team, and the parents/guardians (if possible).

14 Accommodation/Modification EXAMPLEs Utilize digital video and audio recordings for students to take home and practiceUtilize digital video and audio recordings for students to take home and practice Communicate instructions in a multi-modal wayCommunicate instructions in a multi-modal way

15 Alternative Communication

16 The Skoog

17 Other Alternatives Big Mack (able net) Sign Language Clickers

18 Makey makey

19 Social Stories As individual books Using pictures of the student

20 Let’s Make Music I Love My Little Rooster I Love My Little Rooster Ultimate Guitar (hold hand)Ultimate Guitar (hold hand) Find your Family (rhythm/solfege)Find your Family (rhythm/solfege) Hungry CaterpillarHungry Caterpillar

21 Hungry caterpillar

22 Cognition The Cognitive Domain

23 Cognitive Domain The ability of a student to receive, process, and commit information to memoryThe ability of a student to receive, process, and commit information to memory (Davis, Gfeller, and Thaut, 1999)(Davis, Gfeller, and Thaut, 1999)

24 Cognitive Domain Receive through sensory receptors (i.e. ears, eyes, etc.) Understand and process information Commit to long term memory

25 Central Coherence Central Coherence TheoryCentral Coherence Theory Focus on the local rather than the global aspects of an object of interestFocus on the local rather than the global aspects of an object of interest

26 Theory of mind Trouble predicting actions, intent by assuming beliefs or state of mindTrouble predicting actions, intent by assuming beliefs or state of mind Tone of voiceTone of voice Often cannot understand looks, glances, figures of speech, tone of voice, etc.Often cannot understand looks, glances, figures of speech, tone of voice, etc.

27 Executive Function Motor PlanningMotor Planning Multi-step directionsMulti-step directions MegacognitionMegacognition

28 Strategies for Music Teachers (all levels) Observe student in other settings and specifically attend to cognitive issuesObserve student in other settings and specifically attend to cognitive issues Self-assess delivery of material during class/rehearsalSelf-assess delivery of material during class/rehearsal Are there ways to make the cognitive process easier for the studentAre there ways to make the cognitive process easier for the student Discuss and strategize with the special education team and parentsDiscuss and strategize with the special education team and parents

29 Accommodation Modification EXAMPLEs Modify projects, assignments, and exams to include less material but the same expectations (if possible)Modify projects, assignments, and exams to include less material but the same expectations (if possible) Provide peer support for re-directing or simplifying directionsProvide peer support for re-directing or simplifying directions Allow for pull out time with a peer or team teacher to reinforce understandingAllow for pull out time with a peer or team teacher to reinforce understanding

30 Accommodation Modification EXAMPLEs (secondary performance) Have a student perform only what he can contribute to a meaningful performance.Have a student perform only what he can contribute to a meaningful performance. Provide material well in advance.Provide material well in advance. Rehearse a segment and allow a student to practice this exact segment individually before continuing in the piece.Rehearse a segment and allow a student to practice this exact segment individually before continuing in the piece.

31 Elementary Activities to strengthen the cognitive domain Jack in the BoxJack in the Box Lucky StuffLucky Stuff

32 Active Social Engagement

33 Challenges Little interest in objects of people May not play simple interaction games May not laugh or smile in response to positive statements Limited interest in social speech, imitation, and joint attention Lack of social function or understanding of social cues

34 Socialization and Academic Progress Social communication and academic progress are inherently linked We learn by observing others and through witnessing the outcomes of those behaviors

35 Fundamentals of Social Development Social speech Collaborative play Eye contact Joint attention

36 Let’s make music! Pass the Ball We are the Dinosaurs

37 Other Challenges for Students with special needs Language Delays Language Delays Age Appropriate Interests Age Appropriate Interests Difficulty interpreting behaviors and emotions Difficulty interpreting behaviors and emotions Difficulty interpreting facial expressions that include emotion Difficulty interpreting facial expressions that include emotion

38 Socialization Strategies

39 Considerations for lesson planning Imitation Fine motor movements Motor planning Taking turns on instruments Performing partner songs

40 Social Stories As individual books Using pictures of the student modeling appropriate social behavior “Setting up” social scenarios

41 Lets make music! Lucy Locket Great Big House in New Orleans

42 Strategies for Educators Eye ContactEye Contact Appropriate ResponsesAppropriate Responses Joint AttentionJoint Attention

43 Interest Finding interests that connect studentsFinding interests that connect students May not be typical or age appropriateMay not be typical or age appropriate

44 I love to Laugh The Prism ProjectThe Prism Project Theory of Mind (revisited)Theory of Mind (revisited) What is means to be funnyWhat is means to be funny Telling JokesTelling Jokes

45 I love to laugh

46 Other considerations Appropriate AtmosphereAppropriate Atmosphere Reverse Inclusion OpportunitiesReverse Inclusion Opportunities Pairing or “Buddying Up”Pairing or “Buddying Up” Literal Explanation (slang, etc.)Literal Explanation (slang, etc.)

47 Lets Move Up, Up, and Away Bach Movement

48 Reverse Inclusion Students who are neurotypical may be included in music settings with students with autism. Some models of this include: ASSET (Autism Spectrum Support Education and Training)

49 The Prism Project: Hip- Hop Experience

50 Concluding thoughts Alice Hammel


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