Which Way to Autonomous Communication? Aided Language Stimulation Towards Autonomous Communication
This talk discusses the importance of viewing Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) systems as language, not just pictures. Aided language input is highlighted as an effective teaching strategy, with evidence from families and individuals with Angelman Syndrome. The unique developmental trajectory of children with Angelman Syndrome is discussed, emphasising the need for aided language learning environments. Strategies for effective AAC modelling are discussed, including the importance of fluency, child-focused modelling, and encouraging attention. AAC is emphasised as the child’s voice, not work, and strategies for children with autism and visual impairments are considered. The importance of who is modelling is discussed, with children more motivated by siblings and peers. The talk also covers strategic feedback, describing the environment, and modelling with high-tech and low-tech devices. The journey to successful AAC use is discussed, emphasising the importance of strong foundations in AAC interventions.
In this talk, we discussed the importance of viewing Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) systems as language, rather than just a collection of pictures. We also emphasized the need to base AAC teaching on what is known about spoken language development.
Aided Language Input
We highlighted the effectiveness of aided language input as a strategy for teaching AAC. Anecdotal evidence from families and individuals with Angelman Syndrome provided valuable insights into the benefits of this approach.
Language Development in Typically Developing Children
We discussed how typically developing children learn language through immersion in a language-rich environment. We emphasized that learning a language takes time and is influenced by the quality of the language environment.
Unique Developmental Trajectory of Children with Angelman Syndrome
Children with Angelman Syndrome have a different developmental trajectory compared to typically developing children. We highlighted the importance of creating aided language learning environments to support AAC use in these children.
Strategies for Effective Modeling
Building fluency in AAC is crucial for effective modeling. We discussed how different strategies may be needed for children with attention issues or visual impairments. We emphasized that modeling should be based on what matters to the child and should include kid talk. Attention should be encouraged but not demanded during modeling.
AAC as the Child’s Voice
We emphasized that AAC should be seen as the child’s voice, not as work. Repetition and video modeling can be helpful for memory retrieval. We also discussed how strategies for children with autism may be applicable to children with Angelman Syndrome. Visual considerations, such as Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI), may impact AAC use.
Strategies for Encouraging Attention during Modeling
We provided strategies for encouraging attention during modeling, including bringing AAC closer, modeling even if the child is not attending, and talking about what the child is interested in. We highlighted that children with Angelman Syndrome may appear to not be attending but are still processing information. Modeling should continue even if the child does not appear to be looking.
Importance of Modeling and Who is Modeling
We emphasized the importance of modeling in AAC and highlighted that who is modeling matters. Children are more motivated by siblings and peers modeling than adults. We discussed the concept of modeling on the run, which requires getting close to the child and saying meaningful things. We also emphasized that babbling is a part of the communication process and should be responded to.
Strategic Feedback and Describing the Environment
We highlighted the importance of strategic feedback in modeling, focusing on commenting and making statements. Modeling should describe what is happening around the child and recognize opportunities to model language. We discussed how different methods may be needed for children with motor control challenges. Modeling should follow the operational procedures of the child’s communication system. Self-talk and recapping the message are important in modeling.
Modeling with High-Tech and Low-Tech Devices
We discussed how high-tech devices should be modeled in a similar way to low-tech devices. Modeling should include a range of functions, patterns, and settings. We also emphasized the power of modeling by peers in AAC.
Building Fluency in Modeling
We highlighted that it takes time to build fluency in modeling and that it’s okay to make mistakes. We discussed how autonomous communication enables meaningful communication and that the time it takes for a child to start using AAC varies. We emphasized that success in AAC is more like an iceberg, with a lot of work happening behind the scenes.
Understanding the Journey to Successful AAC Use
We emphasized the importance of understanding the journey someone took to successfully use AAC when observing them. Strong foundations in AAC interventions lead to better long-term outcomes. AAC interventions should focus on autonomy, accessibility, motivation, attitude, confidence, resilience, and the value of AAC as the child’s voice.
- Title: Which Way to Autonomous Communication? Aided Language Stimulation Towards Autonomous Communication
- Author(s): Linda Burkhart, Gayle Porter
- Author(s)’ affiliation: None
- Publication date: 2015-12-05
- Collection: 2015 FAST Science Summit