Angelman Syndrome, Apraxia, Anxiety, and AAC
This talk focuses on the Angelman Syndrome community, discussing communication and behaviour. Communication is vital for individuals with complex communication needs and should be taught and rewarded. Common behaviours in Angelman Syndrome include hair pulling, biting, and disregarding safety, which often serve a purpose and can be addressed by understanding the need behind them. Anxiety and apraxia are common in Angelman Syndrome and can contribute to challenging behaviours. Visual supports can be used to support individuals with Angelman Syndrome, providing information or direction visually. The Communication Bill of Rights can be used to support positive behaviour and ensure individuals’ communication needs are met. Aided language displays can be used as visual supports for positive behaviour support and anxiety intervention. Strategies for supporting communication and reducing anxiety include using visual supports, teaching children how to identify and express emotions, and using AAC devices and systems to support communication about emotions and self-regulation.
In this talk titled “I Can Have Safe Hands, Apraxia, Anxiety, and Augmentative and Alternative Communication,” we will be focusing on the Angelman Syndrome community and discussing important topics related to communication and behaviour.
Importance of Teaching Communication
- Communication is crucial for individuals with complex communication needs.
- Communication should be offered, modeled, taught, and rewarded.
- All behavior is communication, and understanding the function behind the behavior is essential.
Common Behavioral Occurrences in Angelman Syndrome
- Hair pulling, biting, throwing items, disregarding safety, sleep-related behaviors, fear, sensory issues, mouthing of self, non-compliance, and dropping to the floor are common behavioral occurrences.
- These behaviors often serve a purpose and can be addressed by determining the need behind them and teaching a better way to communicate.
Anxiety and Apraxia in Angelman Syndrome
- Anxiety and apraxia are common in Angelman Syndrome and can contribute to challenging behaviors.
- Anxiety is characterized by worry, nervousness, or unease, while anxiety disorder involves excessive uneasiness and apprehension.
- Apraxia refers to the inability or dysfunction of performing intentional motor movements despite understanding and wanting to do them.
- Anxiety and apraxia can increase each other and should be considered when addressing behaviors.
Visual Supports for Communication
- Visual supports, such as visual schedules and communication boards, can be used to support individuals with Angelman Syndrome.
- Visual supports provide information or direction visually and can serve as communication and teaching tools.
- Visual supports should be specific, taught, rehearsed, and consistent with the individual’s AAC system.
Communication Bill of Rights
- The Communication Bill of Rights can be used to support positive behavior and ensure individuals’ communication needs are met.
- Receptive language should be considered, and communication should be clear, understandable, and at an appropriate rate.
Aided Language Displays
- Aided language displays can be used as visual supports for positive behavior support and anxiety intervention.
- Specific visual supports can be created for specific situations or communication needs.
- Visual supports can be used to communicate feelings, needs, and requests.
Strategies for Supporting Communication and Reducing Anxiety
- Use visual supports, such as visual schedules and visual timers, to support communication and reduce anxiety.
- Create a book of mastered skills as a way to celebrate achievements and provide support.
- Use visual supports as a means of communication when a child is unable to use verbal or written communication.
- Teach children how to identify and express emotions in themselves and others.
- Use descriptive feedback and modeling to teach appropriate behavior and self-regulation.
- Create simple books that show pictures of the child expressing different emotions.
- Teach and model self-soothing techniques, such as deep breathing and self-talk.
- Observe and identify situations in which the child is calm and replicate those conditions in other situations.
- Use AAC devices and systems to support communication about emotions and self-regulation.
- Use social stories to teach and prepare children for specific activities or events.
- Work with a team of professionals, including special education teachers and occupational therapists, to develop and implement strategies.
- Use a combination of low-tech and high-tech AAC systems, depending on the child’s needs and abilities.
- Teach and model self-talk and self-regulation as important skills for independence.
- Provide messages in AAC devices that address specific triggers and needs during times of anxiety or upset.
- Use AAC devices to communicate about specific triggers and needs, such as the need for space or a timeout.
- Use descriptive feedback and modeling to address negative behaviors and provide alternative communication options.
- Use social stories and videos to teach and prepare children for specific situations or events.
- Plan and prepare ahead of time for anxiety-provoking situations, such as hospital visits or eating out at restaurants.
- Use visual supports, sensory items, and other tools to create a supportive environment during anxiety-provoking situations.
- Use eye contact, common words and sounds, and other strategies to support communication during anxiety-provoking situations.
- Teach cooperation instead of compliance and encourage children to be themselves.
- Title: Angelman Syndrome, Apraxia, Anxiety, and AAC
- Author(s): Kate Ahern
- Author(s)’ affiliation: None
- Publication date: 2022-11-01
- Collection: Angelman Academy