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The Role of Assistive Technology AT in Literacy for Students with Severe Cognitive Delays SCD

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Title: The Role of Assistive Technology AT in Literacy for Students with Severe Cognitive Delays SCD


1
The Role of Assistive Technology (AT) in Literacy
for Students with Severe Cognitive Delays (SCD)
  • Patricia Ourand, MS, CCC-SLP
  • Associated Speech Language Services, Inc.
  • Baltimore, MD

2
Who are these students?
  • Individuals who have been identified through
    cognitive assessment.
  • They include those who appear to have
  • a limited attention span, and/or
  • little motivation, and/or
  • a lack of focus, and/or
  • little interest in books or reading

3
Varying degrees of skills and deficits
  • Cognitive
  • Linguistic
  • Sensory
  • Motor

4
Why address literacy …
  • Literacy skills will increase and improve the
    quality of life for all, and perhaps more
    distinctively, those individuals who use AAC.
  • Sturm (2003)

5
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
  • Federal legislation mandates/ supports the
    practice that persons with severe disabilities
    have the rights of everyone else

6
No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
  • With full access obtained through IDEA, NCLB
    requires that all students grades 3-8 and grade
    10 are assessed in the regular content curriculum
    for reading and math.
  • For students with SCD this is accomplished
    through an alternate assessment.
  • Each state will have its own alternate assessment.

7
Where weve been …
  • The literature and best practices have focused
    the content on functional life skills, which has
    included functional academics, to the point that
    the student could benefit.

8
Where we are going …
  • This shift from a functional life skills focus to
    one on academics (e.g., phonemic awareness,
    general reading processes, vocabulary,
    informational text and literary text) is
    challenging.
  • This requirement forces educators and others to
    look at what literacy means for these students

9
What is literacy?
  • Being literate can have many definitions.
    Broadly defined, literacy means that an
    individual is working to be able to
  • listen,
  • speak,
  • read,
  • write, and/or
  • think about
  • what has been heard, spoken, read, or written.

10
What is Literacy?
  • To some, it is a requirement that whatever is
    written must be related to the alphabet.
  • To others, the choices and preferences may
    include any type of visual depiction or
    caricature that the individual is able to produce
    in order to convey/read information on paper.

11
What is Literacy?
  • To some, it means proficient reading.
  • To others, it includes a range of behaviors such
    as listening, recognizing, identifying and
    understanding limited concepts.

12
What is Literacy?
  • To others, it includes the ability to recognize
    functional visual images, such as the Golden
    Arches (e.g., McDonalds).

13
What is literacy for students with SCD?
  • Partial Participation a valid method for
    interacting across areas of life participation
    (e.g., cooking, hygiene, social, recreation)
  • realize that even some modicum of involvement or
    participation, as opposed to independence,
    constitutes literacy.

14
What is Literacy?
  • All agree that literacy for all students
  • applies to individuals of all ages
  • expands opportunities across environments
  • develops at different rates for individuals and
    with different outcomes
  • occurs along a continuum

15
Stages of Literacy
16
Pre-Emergent
  • Low-to-early symbolic levels
  • Not showing typical signs of being ready for
    reading
  • Limited interest in books or signage in the
    environment

17
Pre-Emergent
  • Requires significant structure, prompting, and
    reinforcement for listening, recognizing,
    identifying and understanding
  • support learning concepts about basic print
    processing (e.g., left-to-right, top-to-bottom).

18
Emergent
  • Emergent symbolic level
  • Listening for enjoyment
  • Gaining information from listening to and
    participating in reading activities
  • Exploring prerequisites including labeling,
    sequencing, letter knowledge, speech-to-print
    awareness

19
Transitional
  • Typically developing readers will progress
    through this stage quickly,
  • Students with significant cognitive disabilities
    will often remain in this phase for an extended
    period of time, and may not progress to
    conventional reading.

20
Conventional
  • Reads and processes print

21
(No Transcript)
22
When do literacy activities begin?
  • From birth we are all in various levels of
    transition with regard to literacy.
  • For those who are very low functioning
    developmentally, including those with limited
    world experiences and behaviors that interrupt
    learning, this process will begin with play, but
    must progress to more age appropriate activities.

23
Remember!
  • students with severe-to-profound multiple
    disabilities, will likely require significant
    adaptations with regard to temporal expectations,
    materials development, supports, etc.

24
Characteristics of Pre-emergent and emergent
reading materials
  • The use of predictable books assists with this
    phase of literacy. Such materials include
  • Chain or circular stories which intermingle
    aspects of the plot so that the book ending
    relates back to the beginning.
  • Cumulative stories that add a new event while
    continuing to repeat previous happenings in the
    story.

25
  • Familiar sequences that are thematic, such as
    days of the week, numbers and other recognizable
    sequences.
  • Pattern stories that repeat scenes with
    variations
  • Questions and answer stories in which the same or
    similar questions are repeated throughout the
    story
  • Visual schedules and calendar activities

26
Visual Representation Systems
  • can also assist with leisure activities, daily
    living, and vocational skills for students with
    intellectual, visual or multiple disabilities.

27
Remember!
  • The goal of all literacy activities is to insure
    repetition and motivation to enhance learning and
    skill development.

28
What is AT/AAC
  • A range of ideas, techniques, strategies and/or
    devices that supports the natural communication
    abilities of an individual.
  • No technology
  • Low technology
  • High technology

29
Techniques to consider
  • No technology
  • Gestural systems
  • Gross gestures
  • Formal gestures
  • Sign Language
  • Amer-Ind
  • SEE (Pidgeon Sign)
  • ASL

30
Meeting the communication goals of individuals
and their communication partners is a puzzle …
31
Solving the puzzle
2
1
3
4
32
Problem …
  • Many professionals in fields such as … speech
    pathology have been trained to use
    norm-referenced tests designed to compare an
    individuals abilities to those of same-age
    peers. These professionals may be frustrated
    when they attempt to evaluate persons who require
    AAC systems, because they cannot administer the
    norm-referenced tests in a standardized manner
  • Beukelman Mirenda
  • AAC Management …

33
Considerations …
  • Abilities/ deficits of end user
  • Cognitive (e.g., learning (curve), memory)
  • Linguistic (e.g., direction following,
    vocabulary)
  • Sensory, (e.g., visual and auditory acuity,
    visual tracking, visual field) and
  • Motor (e.g., fine motor, gross motor,
    consistency, ability to initiate, maintain, and
    release)

34
More considerations …
  • The Personality
  • Judgment
  • Patience
  • Persistence
  • Learning styles

35
Still more considerations
  • Ease of use
  • Cognitive/perceptual load
  • Learning curve
  • Ease of maintenance/repair
  • Aesthetics
  • Cost

36
Other considerations
  • Tastes, smells, textures, colors
  • Cultural factors
  • Religious or philosophical factors (e.g., Family,
    clan, or tribal elders ideas, opinions,
    suggestions)

37
Going Nuts Over the AAC Assessment? Consider
the P-E-C-A-N-S Approach
38
P-E-C-A-N-S …
  • … provides an acronym as a reminder list of
    critical variables regarding essential human
    factors in AAC.

39
  • The acronym P-E-C-A-N-S stands for
  • Preferences Expectations Capabilities
  • Attitudes Needs Supports
  • …as these pertain to the individual and to other
    communication partners in his/her natural and
    customary environment(s).

40
The PECANS Model
  • These factors can be addressed and investigated
    in any order, but they must be addressed and
    considered for all AAC and AT, across cultures
    and individuals.

41
Preferences
  • PREFERENCES What communication methods,
    partners, settings, postures/ positions, topics,
    proxemics, chronemics, etc. are preferred?
  • __________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________
    ____________________________________________

42
Expectations
  • EXPECTATIONS What does the individual expect of
    communication for him/herself? What do others
    expect?
  • __________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________
    _______________

43
Capabilities
  • CAPABILITIES What can the communicator do for
    him/herself with others with tools, strategies
    and/or techniques?
  • __________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________
    ________________________________

44
Attitudes
  • ATTITUDES What do others/client think of
    communication, setting, etc.?
  • __________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________
    _____________________________________________

45
Needs
  • NEEDS What must the individual communicate?
    How, when, who, where, what?
  • __________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________
    ________________________________

46
Communication Needs
  • Describe the individuals specific needs
  • communicative content (e.g., medical needs,
    social interaction, peer/family interactions)
  • communication contexts (e.g., face-to-face/ 11,
    small group, phone)
  • types of partners (e.g., familiar, unfamiliar)
    and
  • environments (e.g., home, school, community,
    work).

47
Supports
  • SUPPORTS What people, services, devices,
    service animals, settings bolster communication?
  • __________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________
    ________________________________

48
What is the role of AT in the process of literacy?
49
  • Quenneville (2001) takes the approach that
    technology is analgous to a prosthetic in that it
    replaces an ability that is either missing or
    impaired.
  • Others have used, and some say overused, the
    adage that AT levels the playing field.
    Perhaps, it is more accurate to suggest that
    technology allows the individual with a
    disability onto the playing field.

50
  • These activities can incorporate strategies and
    techniques along the continuum from simple
    non-electronic ideas to high-technology AAC
    devices

51
Low Technology with students
  • books with sensory adaptations and other supports
    used to stimulate interest and participation in
    the process of listening and reading.

52
Low Technology Students
  • picture exchange activities during various times,
    storybook reading and literacy games throughout
    the day
  • simple digitized speech output devices, supported
    with pictures and text, during morning meeting
    or Circle Time activities

53
Low Technology, continued
  • Choice board for Recreation/leisure choices
  • Signage/ icons throughout the building
  • Special events and activities prepared with icons
  • Adapted recipes during cooking activities
  • Communication boards for field trips

54
AT and AAC
  • Support language development and literacy for
    students with SCD.

55
Low Technology
  • The low tech strategies should be considered
    even if a student has a higher technology
    solution for general communication.
  • Such strategies may help to improve rate,
    performance, behaviors and attention, which all
    lead to improved literacy skills.

56
Creating Adapted Books
  • How to adapt textbooks, biographies, poetry and
    fiction … not only a storybook

57
Grade level adapted texts (NCLB)
  • Rewrite text (e.g., length and vocabulary)
  • Use book photos/ icons as needed
  • Limit pages- establish length that is appropriate
    for students
  • Make the title clear (e.g, location, color,
    contrast, size)
  • Use a universal The End (e.g,. text and/or icon)

58
High Technology Adult use of technology to
create literacy materials for students with SCD
  • The use mainstream technologies such as
  • digital cameras
  • scanners
  • laptop and tablet computers
  • touch screens
  • can be readily employed to create both hard copy
    and electronic books and enrichment activities on
    paper and on the computer.

59
High Technology
  • access to literacy activities on the computer or
    even with adapted books can support learning of a
    multiplicity of concepts including
  • categorization
  • association
  • which will ultimatly help to support the
    effective development of other skills (e.g. the
    use of dynamic display communication systems).

60
High Technology
  • highlight text for reading (e.g., using screen
    reading software)
  • change background color, contrasting and other
    visual supports
  • using multiple formats
  • computer,
  • paperback and/or
  • audio books

61
Logistics and Considerations
  • Paper
  • Color
  • Type
  • Size
  • Making materials durable
  • Laminating
  • Paper Protectors

62
Logistics and Considerations
  • Binding
  • How (e.g. rings, binding)
  • Where (portrait or landscape)
  • Other issues (e.g., page fluffers)

63
A Literacy Bill of Rights
  • These basic rights include, but must not be
    limited to the right to
  • numerous and varied opportunities to learn to
    read and write
  • accessible text for individuals with print
    disabilities that is meaningful, as well as
    culturally and linguistically sensitive to the
    individual
  • engage in a variety of interactions with partners
    while experiencing literacy activities which
    include reading, writing and/or listening

64
A Literacy Bill of Rights
  • choices as presented through a variety of visual
    language systems
  • ongoing educational activities that allow for
    literacy opportunities
  • professionals in the fields of education,
    rehabilitation and vocation who are knowledgeable
    in methods and principles of literacy instruction
  • process print in a variety of modes (e.g.,
    educational, vocational, social and functional)
  • the expectation of literacy
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