Strategies for facilitating spontaneous communication with students diagnosed with autism.
PresentedbyVickyRoy,Ph.D. CCC-SLP andAmy Cameron, MA.CCC-SLP
16thInternationalConference on Autism, Intellectual Disability & Developmental DisabilitiesJanuary 23, 2015
Participants will:Better understand the process that leads to prompt dependency in nonverbal, low verbal, and “response only” verbal students.Recognizethe importance of their own communication use and the impactthat it has onthe communication of their students.Learn threespecific strategies to facilitate spontaneous, independent contributions during reciprocal communication with their students.
Traditional Communication Therapy Goals Focus on:
Clinical Practice: Areas of concern
Prompt DependencyLimited Spontaneous CommunicationLimited Reciprocity
How did we get here?
Language and Cognition are inter-relatedThemajority of what is SAID to many children with the label of autism is in an attempt to GET the child to respond, not to allow the child to generate their own input.Focuson isolated, measurable goalsImperative (Directive) Communication vs. Declarative (Experience Sharing) Communication
Static VS Dynamic
Contextually dependentUnclearGrey areasIntegratedEvolvingEmotionalCollaborative
Abilities included in reciprocal communication
EngagementCompetencyAttention/focusExperience matchingCuriosityTolerance for breakdowns/repairingSocial referencingReading contextUnderstanding
InhibitionIdeationFormulationAuditory processingArticulationCo-regulationCo-ordinationCollaborationSelf Regulation
TRUE Reciprocal Conversation
Joint attentionMutual topic with central coherence (ability to derive overall meaning from a mass of details)An unspoken “agreement” on the topic with flexibility around novel ideasIndividual contributions that are unique and related and integrated with partner’s ideasBack and forth participation, timing, monitoring, adjusting and repairingShifting attention based on the movement of the conversationAbility to integrate all of the above
The purpose or meaning behind why people are communicating with othersThe“why”behind communication, language functionsWhat kind of communicative environment are we creating?People with Special Needs, especially individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders often have limited communicative intentMore importantly, these same students are exposed to limited communicative intent(Primary purpose for communicating with a student with autism is to GET…)
As a Speaker, we expect and rely on feedback from our Listener. So much so that when we do not receive it, we will“make it easier”for the child by using Questions, Commands and Prompts.We create an “imperative environment”.We facilitate a dependency on prompting.
Recognize Your Intent
Keep the goal in mind,Be aware that what you say is influencing the BRAINExpect your job to be challenging because you might receive little feedback initiallyDeclarative vs ImperativeGetting something vs creating opportunityDirecting vs Communicating/Collaborating
Questions with definite answersCommands with actions that can be deemed“right or wrong”Prompts or fill in the blank statementsAll requireminimal thought and inputfrom the ListenerAll have the intent ofGETTINGthe child to respond
Experience Sharing/Declarative Communication
Early communication functions that are non-directive are things like:Making actual choicesExpressing opinionsCalling for attentionNoticing thingsCommenting
Take an assessment of YOUR communication
What is the child doing?What are YOU doing?How is your language impacting the child’s opportunity to grow as a reciprocal communicatorHow are you feeling about this interaction – check your own regulation
Must have systematic opportunities for STUDENTS to make progress as thinkersHow to thinkvsHow to know
Identify a time frame or a specific activity where you will practice creating thinking and sharing opportunities for your studentsWhat percentage of the child’s day can be devoted to thinking opportunities?
Decrease the amount of talking, specifically the amount of questions and commands you use.By asking a questions and giving commands, you ONLY provide an opportunity for your students to RESPOND.Comment, think out loud, invite, notice, share, expand, make real decisions
SLOW DOWNGive your child time to think, organize themselves and make a contribution.Pause for a minimum of 5 seconds before scaffolding, repeating, or rephrasing.Use the “anticipatory gaze” and “pregnant pausing”
Implications for Future Research
Amy Cameron, MS, CCC-SLPPathways Treatment CenterApex, [email protected]
Vicky Poston Roy, PhD, CCC-SLPInteractive Communication, LLCBaton Rouge LA, [email protected][email protected]