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Monday, February 13, 2012

Dual Device Modeling - Thank you, Meher Banajee

At the most recent Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) conference in Orlando, Meher Banajee, Ph. D., CCC-SLP (Louisiana State University), spoke about the extremely important and daunting task of teaching the functional use of speech generating devices. She recommends, and has studied the efficacy of, dual device modeling; using a second device in interaction with the learner in order to model language use in a naturalistic learning environment. (Download handout, HERE)

Dr. Banajee used dual device modeling to teach a learner with Autism Spectrum Disorder to participate in functional greeting, initiating interaction, reciprocal conversation with unfamiliar partners across two volleys, commenting, answering questions about himself and his activities. Her study had some great outcomes (read below)!

I hope that Dr. Banajee won't mind if we share excerpts from her valuable presentation, shared with us via our dedicated colleague and ATIA attendee, Terry Kappe, CCC-SLP.

Excerpt (in blue):
Facilitators traditionally are prone to conduct symbol training as a prerequisite for symbol production training (Gossens’, Crain & Elder, 1992)
Speech language intervention for individuals using speech generating devices has traditionally been conducted in a “skill and drill” fashion
Individuals using speech generating devices are instructed to point to symbols of objects or actions
The clinician maintains a tally of the successful responses.
This training is very different from the manner in which children acquire language
If an individual is to learn to use their speech generating devices to communicate, then they need to see the use of speech generating devices used frequently and interactively
This is referred to as augmented input (Beukelman & Garrett, 1988) or aided language stimulation (Gossens’, Crain & Elder, 1992)
Aided language stimulation or augmented input is a teaching strategy in which the facilitator highlights symbols on the speech generating device of the user while he or she interacts and communicates verbally with the user

 Dual device modeling refers to the teachers' use of a second speech generating device in order to model language use and expansion of utterances for the learner, so that they might learn language in a naturalistic environment that more closely reflects normal language development

        Overall outcomes of Dual Device Modeling (M. Banajee)
      Increase in production of target responses
•      Decreased perseverations on SGD
      Progress in terms of icon recognition and SGD page navigation.
      Reduction in vocal outbursts during individual and group sessions.
•      Increased attention to task.
      Increased vocalizations per session (unexpected, but welcomed outcome)
The use of a second device has not always been viable due to the cost of and funding for traditional speech generating devices.  With the advent of the iPad, dual device modeling is ever more plausible as a teaching strategy. 
 Thank you Dr. Banajee!

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