The Southern California Augmentative and Alternative Communication Network... 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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Sunday, January 27, 2013

"All Behavior is Communication" ASHA Community Discussion

From an interesting thread on the SIG 12 discussion board...
Hi everyone,
I work for an organization that serves people with significant multiple disabilities, across the lifespan. In the past couple of years, particularly with the rise in behavior analysis among the ASD population, I hear folks throw around the phrase "All behavior is communication" on a near daily basis. While I understand and agree with the heart of the message (Our most significantly challenged clients, with siginificant behavior needs, often use their behavior to get their needs met etc.), I'm not sure that I am in complete agreement with this sentiment. (I cringe at use of the words "all", "always", "never", etc.)
I wanted to get some feedback from this group, particularly since this term is often followed by a sentiment expressing the idea that giving a client a communication device will immediately and signifcantly decrease their behaviors. Am too sensitive and over-analytical? I have tried to respond to this through educating those around me, but I feel my message ("behavior" is a broad term and serves a range of purposes which may or may not always include communication. Not all "behavior" can be "cured" by a communication device) is not getting across. Anyone have any ideas? Can I promote the use of a more appropriate phrase? I know there are many schools of thought on the matter, and people tend to get fired up about it. Should I just let it go?
Hillsborough, NH
Read responses...CLICK HERE

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