The Southern California Augmentative and Alternative Communication Network...

...is a support group for professional development, problem solving, leadership, mentoring, and training in the use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) to develop communication in non-speaking and minimally verbal individuals in the Southern California Region.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

PODD Pondering - Day 1

The 3-day PODD training in San Marcos with Linda Burkhart has started off with a bang!
Some points worth pondering from the first day of PODD training:

When we speak to infants, there is not an expectation that they will speak back.  We model/input language all day, everyday with babies for 12 months before we expect them to express/output spoken language themselves.  Spoken language development occurs in a context of immersion and meaningful interaction and following many, many, many exposures to the patterns of our native tongue.

How much modeling/input of aided language systems do we provide for our aided communicators before we expect them to express/output in this mode? All day, every day? One day? 12 minutes let alone 12 months?  Modeling the use of any communication system in meaningful interactions is a key component to user success.  Furthermore, how you teach and use the system is how they will learn to use it. If your system is arranged and demonstrated solely as a dictionary of vocabulary - that is how the user will use it. If you model the system system in a variety of pragmatic functions (commenting, sharing information, directing the actions of others), sharing generative thoughts, and using both core and fringe vocabulary - that is how your user will understand that the system is to be used.  It may be worth significantly reducing your expectation of expressive output and increasing your provision of aided communication modeling.
  • Speech input --> SPEAKING USER --> Speech output 
    • (no problem)
  • Speech input --> NON-SPEAKING USER --> Aided output 
    • (PROBLEM)
  • Aided input --> NON-SPEAKING USER --> Aided output 
    • (when speech is not available, providing this path to language development is essential)

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