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ENHANCING COMMUNICATION SKILLS FOR STUDENTS WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS ASD IN THE GENERAL EDUCAT

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Title: ENHANCING COMMUNICATION SKILLS FOR STUDENTS WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS ASD IN THE GENERAL EDUCAT


1
  • ENHANCING COMMUNICATION SKILLS FOR STUDENTS WITH
    AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS (ASD) IN THE GENERAL
    EDUCATION CLASSROOM
  • Module 3
  • Lesson 1
  • Receptive Language Skills

2
  • Outline
  • Lesson 1
  • Overview of Communication and Language Skills
  • Receptive Language
  • Characteristics
  • Strategies for the Classroom
  • Lesson 2
  • Expressive Language
  • Characteristics
  • Strategies for the Classroom
  • Lesson 3
  • Augmentative Communication (AAC) Strategies for
    the Classroom
  • Overview
  • AAC Options

3
OVERVIEW OF COMMUNICATION AND LANGUAGE SKILLS
4
Introduction and Definitions
  • Individuals with ASD have varying degrees of
    impairment in communication skills. The
    communication characteristics they manifest can
    vary along a continuum ranging from mild to
    severe.
  • Communication involves the ability to comprehend
    language, express language, and use language to
    interact with others. Typically developing
    persons learn to comprehend and use verbal and
    nonverbal language to communicate.
  • Students with ASD commonly have deficits in these
    areas of communication. Their challenges in
    social interactions and behavior also affect
    their ability to communicate and relate to others
    in everyday activities.
  • These communication characteristics pose
    important implications for instruction,
    suggesting that certain content and instructional
    approaches may be more effective than others.

5
Students with ASD have impairments in
communication (at least one of the following)
  • Delayed or absent spoken language this is
    usually not accompanied by attempts to compensate
    with other forms of communication such as
    pointing or gestures
  • Marked impairment in language used for social
    interaction, such as the ability to initiate and
    sustain conversation when speech is present
  • Stereotyped and repetitive use of language or
    idiosyncratic language
  • Lack of varied and appropriate imitative or
    pretend play
  • adapted from Paul,
    2007

6
Communication and language characteristics
commonly seen include
  • Lack of joint attention - students with ASD often
    do not communicate in order to share focus and
    interact with others.
  • This results in delays and differences in
    language development in children with ASD.
  • Students with ASD use language most often to
    communicate wants and needs (by requesting or
    protesting) (Paul, 2007 ASHA, 2006).

7
Characteristics (continued)
  • Students with ASD exhibit difficulty with
    specific language and related cognitive skills,
    such as
  • Understanding and using verbal and nonverbal
    communication
  • Literacy skills
  • The ability to problem solve and self monitor
    goal-directed behavior
  • Higher level or symbolic play (ASHA, 2006).

8
Characteristics (continued)
  • Students with ASD often show differences and
    delays in receptive and expressive language,
    particularly related to
  • Semantics (content or meaning). This involves
  • knowledge of vocabulary
  • ability to express and understand concepts about
    objects and events, and relations among these
    objects and events, and
  • Pragmatics (language used for social
    communication). This involves using language for
    various purposes or communicative intents (e.g.,
    to comment, ask, direct, converse). Pragmatics
    also involves discourse skills (turn-taking,
    topic maintenance, topic change), and the
    flexibility to modify speech for different
    listeners and social situations (Paul, 2007
    ASHA, 2006).

9
Characteristics (continued)
  • When speech is present, a relative strength is
    usually expressive language form (this includes
    grammar/syntax, morphology, and sound
    production/phonology). So a student may use
    sentence structures and grammar at a higher level
    than their understanding of the words used.
  • Form (syntax, morphology, and phonology) refers
    to grammar or sentence components such as nouns,
    verbs, the basic noun phrase and verb phrase and
    sentence types, and the ability to produce sounds
    in words (Paul, 2007).

10
Characteristics (continued)
  • Expressive language often includes immediate or
    delayed echolalia .
  • Speech usually has unusual intonation, pitch,
    rate, rhythm, volume, and other differences
    (Paul, 2007).

11
Characteristics (continued)
  • Nonverbal students with ASD
  • may not develop speech, or may develop speech at
    a slower rate than peers ,
  • typically do not spontaneously replace speech
    with communicative gestures and pointing, and
  • use fewer conventional gestures and pointing than
    typically developing peers (Paul, 2007).

12
RECEPTIVE LANGUAGE
13
  • Students with ASD may have substantial delays in
    receptive language ability (Beukelman Mirenda,
    2005). They may compensate with strengths in
    other areas such as visual memory.
  • Potential classroom application
  • Use the students strengths such as visual skills
    for instruction. For example, when giving an
    assignment, include visual/pictured information,
    such as to depict math or vocabulary concepts.
  • Include tasks that are successful for students
    with ASD. For example, they may do better on
    tasks that require rote memorization, such as
    counting.
  • Target receptive joint attention, comprehension,
    and responsiveness by stressing key words and
    slowing your rate of speech using simple,
    routine, repetitive language and including
    activities and items of interest to the student
    to encourage him to look or attend (Paul, 2007).

14
Receptive (and expressive) vocabulary is
frequently restricted to nouns or object labels
  • Other word forms (such as action words or verbs,
    modifiers such as adjectives, and adverbs)
    develop later in children with ASD. Words other
    than nouns require an ability to determine and
    interpret anothers focus of attention and
    intention (ASHA, 2006).
  • Potential classroom application When talking to
    students with ASD, to help them comprehend, it
    may help to stress key words (e.g., Teacher
    instructs, Get your pencil out, stressing the
    word pencil, pointing to a pencil). Use visuals
    to teach other word forms such as verbs,
    adjectives, and adverbs. Stress these words in
    several activities, including activities of
    interest to the student.

15
Students with ASD may not understand the
conventional meaning of words or phrases but may
instead hear a word or chunk of language (ASHA,
2006).
  • Potential classroom application Stress key words
    (e.g., outside, the teacher says Throw the
    ball) when needed to help the student attend to
    the key word and not phrase. Use the key word in
    several activities, with several items, etc., to
    promote generalization. Try slower or deliberate
    rate of speech to help with auditory processing
    of information.

16
Students with ASD show literalness in their
understanding of language (Paul, 2007 ASHA,
2006).
  • They may have trouble understanding that words
    have synonyms or multiple meanings, or that there
    can be different interpretations of the same
    words in different contexts such as jokes. This
    may also affect their ability to apply
    information learned in one situation to another.
  • Potential classroom application Use visuals for
    teaching words or concepts that are not concrete
    teach specific words and concepts in several
    activities, as they apply to various situations,
    to help with generalization.

17
Students with ASD have difficulty understanding
the nonverbal communication of others (ASHA,
2006).
  • This may include facial expressions, gestures,
    eye gaze, or body postures of others, and taking
    the perspective of others, such as to understand
    how others think and feel (Beukelman Mirenda,
    2005).
  • Potential classroom application When giving
    instructions or discussing a lesson, demonstrate
    or model task requirements, give specific or
    concrete information, use short repetitive
    language and predictable routines when possible
    to facilitate comprehension.

18
They may not respond as well in tasks requiring
typical interpersonal interaction (Paul, 2007)
  • Example The student with ASD may not do as well
    when asked to answer classroom activity
    questions, directed to go to another person to
    get or deliver something, or directed to imitate
    someone (gesturally or vocally). They may have
    difficulty understanding various communicative
    intents of others.
  • Potential classroom application To encourage
    participation in tasks that require interactions,
    helpful strategies may include involving a
    favorite activity (to promote joint attention),
    repetition and modeling, having a favorite
    activity naturally happen next as reinforcement,
    and including visual cues. Expand students
    understanding of communicative intents (such as
    when someone asks a question, shows, etc.).

19
  • Students with ASD may show differences in related
    skills such as sensory processing abilities,
    which affect their responsiveness. This might
    include over or under-responding or delayed
    response times (ASHA, 2006).
  • Potential classroom application
  • Review classroom schedules or task sequence so
    students know what to expect prepare them for
    changes that may happen, and try to reduce
    sensory issues students may have (e.g., may not
    respond as well to certain textured foods, toys,
    materials, etc.).
  • Practice target skills in a variety of activities
    and situations.
  • Use simple input language (key words), and pause
    or provide a little extra time (time delay) to
    help students process information and respond .

20
  • As language comprehension improves, students with
    ASD may continue to need help to understand and
    know what to do, especially in new situations
    they may perseverate by continuing to use the
    old strategies in new situations (ASHA, 2006).
  • Potential classroom application Continue to
    teach specific words and concepts in new
    situations,/settings to help with
    generalization, continue visual prompts (which
    can promote greater independence), with plans to
    systematically fade prompts.

21
Summary Ways to adapt activities to promote
receptive language skills
  • Teach in usually occurring activities and
    situations -- Teach specific skills in several
    activities, as they apply to various situations,
    allowing many opportunities to practice and to
    help with generalization. Include activities and
    items of interest and predictable routines to
    promote participation and learning. Include tasks
    that are usually successful for them example
    they may do better on tasks that require rote
    memorization, such as counting.
  • Use students strengths, such as visual skills,
    during instruction with students with ASD --
    Example when giving an assignment, include
    visuals such as to picture concepts, word forms
    such as verbs, adverbs, and adjectives concepts
    or words that are not concrete, and steps in a
    task.
  • continued on next slide

22
Summary Ways to adapt activities to promote
receptive language skills
  • When giving instructions or discussing a lesson
    with students with ASD, use strategies to help
    them process information, attend to key words,
    and comprehend -- It may be helpful to stress
    important words in several activities, beginning
    with activities of interest to the student. Try
    slower or deliberate rate of speech, pause or
    provide a little extra time (time delay) and use
    simple input and routine, repetitive language
    (as in theme-based lessons) to help students
    process information. Visuals also promote
    comprehension.
  • Encourage participation and interaction in tasks
    -- Helpful strategies may include involving a
    favorite activity (for joint attention),
    repetition and modeling, having a favorite
    activity naturally happen next as reinforcement,
    and visual cues.
  • Specific teaching strategies may depend on the
    students language level and other needs --
    Collaborate with your speech-language therapist
    and other team members to individualize
    instruction that addresses students specific
    receptive language needs.

23
MORE STRATEGIES FOR THE CLASSROOM
24
  • Effective systematic instruction in the general
    education classroom includes naturalistic
    instruction.
  • Naturalistic instruction to promote receptive
    language skills and participation involves
    structuring the environment, and adapting methods
    and activities to promote receptive language
    skills and increase participation.
  • The next few slides describe some of the
    naturalistic instructional procedures recommended
    for use in classrooms and other settings to
    promote receptive language in students with ASD
    (Noonan McCormick, 2006). Note that there is
    considerable overlap among these strategies. Use
    the strategies, or steps within strategies, alone
    or in combination with other techniques.

25
  • Responsive interaction strategies (following the
    students lead) these promote a students joint
    attention, balanced communication,
    responsiveness, and engagement with others and
    the environment in a conversational way (Noonan
    and McCormick, 2006 Landa, 2007).
  • Specifically, the teacher follows the students
    attention focus or lead, imitates or balances
    turns to maintain the activity or topic, talks
    about what the student is doing or about the
    activity, responds to all of the students
    verbal and nonverbal communication and matches
    the language complexity of the students
    language.
  • She then tries to get the student to respond to
    or imitate her, to expand his skills.
  • continued on next slide

26
  • Responsive interaction strategies (continued)
  • Example Teaching comprehension of nouns and
    verbs using this strategy (with a student who
    sometimes says single words and is not responding
    to interactions from the teacher or others)
  • Today, the student is playing with his favorite
    toy dog. The teacher brings out another toy dog
    and holds it too, imitating what the student does
    and saying what the student is doing each time
    (e.g., dog, holding dog, dog up, etc.). She
    then makes the dog run and says dog run and
    laughs, hoping to facilitate the student doing
    the same thing. The teacher slowly brings in
    other actions in the same way.
  • Imitation acknowledges the students act and
    invites a response from him.

27
  • Environmental arrangement strategies these
    promote students communication, and are easy to
    include throughout the day. To facilitate
    receptive language, use any of the strategies
    below, and then immediately provide the material
    or activity when the student responds. These
    strategies should increase the likelihood that
    the student will want to attend, process, and
    respond
  • Provide interesting materials and activities
  • Place desired materials in sight but out of reach
  • Offer small portions of needed or desired
    materials
  • Provide many choice-making opportunities, setting
    up situations in which students need assistance,
    and
  • Create unexpected situations.
  • continued on next slide

28
  • Environmental arrangement strategies (continued)
  • Example Tom is nonverbal, loves puzzles and play
    dough. Students in class are to request the
    items they want for a project. The teacher asks
    him what he wants to use for his project, and he
    does not answer the question. The teacher then
    shows him two possibilities play dough or
    crayons, and asks, Do you want play dough or
    crayons? Tom responds by reaching for the play
    dough. The teacher is able to say, Oh you want
    play dough and helps him point. Tom then gets
    the play dough for his project.
  • In this case, including materials of interest and
    a choice-making setup encourage Tom to learn to
    answer the question (to follow the task
    direction).

29
  • Modeling this can be used to teach turn-taking,
    imitation, basic vocabulary, and conversational
    skills within activities.
  • Begin with an appropriate teaching opportunity
    (e.g., the student is doing something he likes,
    there is something that he wants) and establish
    joint attention first. Provide a model to
    encourage imitation. Use this technique when it
    is appropriate for the student to receive the
    item or activity he wants. See next slide for
    additional information and example.
  • continued on next slide

30
  • Modeling (continued) Steps and example
  • Step 1 Establish joint attention Sue is to
    get a bin for a class project that involves
    something she likes - pudding. The teacher gets
    beside her and also looks at the bins (each bin
    has a key word printed and pictured).
  • Step 2 Present a verbal model that labels or
    describes the focus of interest - The teacher
    says, Pudding, youre making pudding, and
    touches the recipe that shows a picture /word for
    pudding.
  • Step 3 When the student imitates the model,
    acknowledge and expand his/her response and
    provide access to the material or activity - Sue
    touches the picture for pudding. The teacher
    says, Yes, youre making pudding, touches the
    recipe again, and says, Lets find the pudding
    box. Make pudding.
  • Step 4 If the student does not imitate or
    respond appropriately, repeat the model. If the
    student again does not respond correctly, provide
    corrective feedback and help him access the
    material or activity - In this case, the teacher
    could help her match the picture/word for pudding
    on the recipe to the one on the correct bin that
    will have the pudding ingredients

31
  • Incidental Teaching the goal of incidental
    teaching is to expand the students language or
    conversation in an activity of interest. This
    strategy differs from the others in that it is
    used after the student has produced a verbal or
    nonverbal request.
  • Example Matt likes to write on the chalkboard
    and has communicated this interest. Every day
    when he comes to class, he goes up to the board
    and writes his name for the attendance activity.
    Each week, the teacher uses that activity to add
    a new verb to the directions she gives him to
    work on his goal to expand his comprehension of
    verbs. The first week - the instruction was to
    erase the board (to get ready for the activity).
    The second week - the instruction was to write
    (actually, copy) his name. The third week - Matt
    was to give the chalk to the next student, etc.
    Any naturalistic or other instructional strategy
    could be used here to encourage Matts
    comprehension and participation.

32
  • Embed instructional episodes for classroom goals
    in regularly occurring activities. The 2 main
    steps involved include
  • Step One Select activities and arrange the
    environment in which you plan to embed teaching
    episodes for academic goals and objectives.
  • Step Two - Decide how the targeted skills will be
    taught. It is the teachers responsibility to
    ensure that antecedents for producing desired
    responses occur throughout the day (e.g., by
    providing choices, modeling, or other teaching
    techniques such as prompting/fading prompts,
    etc.).
  • The next two slides include more information
    about each step.

33
  • Step 1 Select activities and arrange
    the
  • environment (adapted from Noonan
    McCormick, 2006 from Bricker Norstad, 1990
    Landa, 2007)
  • Select activities that group similar objectives
    for different students. Example telling stories
    with props is an activity that lends itself to
    teaching identifying objects by their function
    (receptively, such as by pointing or sorting).
  • Select activities that group different objectives
    for the same student. Example Joe has 3
    objectives that can be taught during snack
    preparation a language objective (comprehending
    adjectives), cognitive/pre-linguistic objective
    (matching colors and shapes), and fine
    motor/self-care objective (carrying out direction
    to pour).
  • Select activities that can be adapted for varying
    age and skill levels. Example an activity such
    as Yes, you can, which teaches children to help
    with simple tasks, can easily be adapted to
    different ages and skill levels Jen is assigned
    tasks that are equally important but simplified
    (i.e., directions are given to her using key
    words or phrases) to help her understand tasks
    better.
    continued on next slide

34
  • Select activities that require minimal adult
    direction and assistance. Example most
    independent-play activities and some clean-up
    routines require minimal direct assistance from
    adults, once they begin.
  • Select activities that provide many opportunities
    for student initiations. Example the activity
    Up, up, and away requires children to name a
    peer and then pass a balloon to that peer each
    game provides many opportunities for children to
    initiate to peers. In the area of receptive
    language, the student has many opportunities to
    respond appropriately to peer initiations and can
    begin to understand how and what happens when he
    initiates interactions.
  • Select activities that are motivating and
    interesting. Routines/activities that are fun and
    inherently reinforcing are more likely to keep
    students engaged and therefore learning in any
    skill area.
  • continued on next slide

35
  • Select activities that involve play. Play or
    games can be a platform for social engagement.
    For young and older students, play is a context
    in which communication exchanges are made and
    language can be learned and practiced.
  • Design activities in which modeling can be used
    and the students imitation skills can be
    facilitated and practiced. Example Students are
    to put their colored pencils away in a box but
    Tom needs help. The teacher begins to put them in
    the box and then gives Tom the box and encourages
    him to do the same with the rest.
  • Arrange physical space in the classroom to
    promote student learning. Examples To promote
    comprehension of adjectives, the classroom may
    have adjective words and pictures in the room
    that the teacher can use as prompts. To teach
    math, the room can have a grocery store
    configuration to make the activity more
    interesting, etc. Also see slide 24.
  • continued on next slide

36
  • Step 2 Decide how the targeted skills will be
    taught.
  • An instructional plan or matrix can be organized
    to include
  • Activity or occasion for instruction e.g., art
    class-- student likes to color
  • Schedule- e.g., 200 art class, 100 free play
    can include art
  • Physical positioning or materials- e.g.,
    materials will be in a bin labeled art with
    picture symbol for art have word and picture
    prompts nearby
  • Intervention strategies- e.g., for student
    objective to show understanding of three action
    verbs (color, cut, and paste) always ensure
    joint attention student is offered choices,
    teacher will model and use visual prompts
  • continued on next slide

37
  • The instructional plan, continued
  • Student Response e.g., student will follow
    instructions to pick a picture to color, use
    scissors to cut it out, and glue stick to paste
    on construction paper teach each step one at a
    time
  • Consequence for correct response- e.g., verbal
    acknowledgement and reinforcement (say, Color,
    red and give student color of choice)
  • Consequence for incorrect response- e.g., teacher
    will model correct action, include visuals

38
SUMMARY Ways to promote receptive language
across classroom activities, using naturalistic
instruction
  • Follow the students lead
  • Make environmental arrangements
  • Model communication skills and request
    that the student imitate
  • Continually expand the students
    communication skills by elaborating
  • on what they like or say
  • Plan learning opportunities in regularly
    occurring activities-- create a
  • matrix or list of students
    communication goals and classroom
  • activities to show where and how
    instruction can be implemented
  • Collaborate with team members, including
    speech-language therapist,
  • to address students specific language
    needs
  • Use naturalistic strategies above, with other
    teaching techniques, to
  • promote language. Examples
  • Use time delay or pause, and then model
    and request imitation
  • Include extra prompts or cues to help
    students understand and to
  • expand language skills gradually reduce
    prompts and cues over
  • time

39
Module 3 Lesson 1 Activity
  • Look at the example for using responsive teaching
    strategies following the childs lead on slide
    23. In this example, what could the teacher
    target next as she teaches comprehension of nouns
    and verbs?
  • Using the example on slide 25 for using
    environmental arrangement strategies, describe
    how other environmental strategies could be used?
  • On slide 27, an example of modeling is given.
    When the student brings the bin of ingredients
    back to her seat to follow the pictured steps,
    what are some more key words that the teacher
    could add and model, to promote Sues
    comprehension and follow-through?
  • In the incidental teaching example in slide 28 to
    expand a students skills, any naturalistic or
    other instructional technique could be used to
    encourage Matts comprehension and participation.
    Describe what this might look like for each
    verb.

40
References
  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
    (2006). Principles for Speech-Language
    Pathologists in Diagnosis, Assessment, and
    Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders Across the
    Life Span Technical Report. Available from
    222.asha.org/policy.
  • Beukelman, D.R., Mirenda, P. (2005).
    Augmentative and Alternative Communication
    Supporting children adults with complex
    communication needs (3rd ed.). Baltimore, MD
    Brookes Publishing.
  • Landa, R. (2007). Early communication development
    and intervention for children with autism. Mental
    Retardation and Developmental Disabilities
    Research Reviews, 13, 16-25.
  • Noonan, M.J., McCormick, L. (2006). Young
    children with disabilities in natural
    environments. Baltimore, MD Brookes Publishing.
  • Paul, R. (2007). Language disorders from infancy
    through adolescence (3rd ed.). St. Louis,
    Missouri Mosby Elsevier.
  • Wetherby, A.M., Prizant, B.M. (Eds.). (2000).
    Autism spectrum disorders A transactional
    developmental perspective (Vol. 9). Baltimore,
    MD Brookes Publishing.
  • Woods, J.J., Wetherby, A.M. (2003). Early
    identification of and intervention for infants
    and toddlers who are at risk for autism spectrum
    disorder. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services
    in Schools, 34, 180-193.
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