AAC

  • Introduction to AAC and Literacy
  • SLHS 427
  • PART ONE
  • Literacy and AAC: An Overview
  • The literacy experiences of children who use AAC are both the same and different from the experiences of typically developing children
  • Literacy skills are essential in the lives of all citizens
  • They may be even more important to individuals who use AAC
  • Literacy skills provide individuals with
  • The opportunity to initiate topics
  • Develop ideas
  • Provide clarification
  • Communicate independently
  • Interact with a diverse audience
  • Express ideas, thoughts, and feelings
  • Other Facts
  • Despite the evidence that suggests that individuals who have complex communication needs (CCNs) are able to develop strong literacy skills, the typical outcomes for these individuals are far from encouraging.
  • Factors that Affect Literacy Learning
  • Learning to read and write requires the integration of knowledge and skills across a variety of domains, including
  • Orthographic processing
  • Phonological processing
  • Context processing
  • Meaning processing
  • Good Readers:
  • Are able to recognize letters and letter sequences automatically
  • Are able to recognize sound patterns, manipulate sounds easily, and map sounds to letters (and vice versa) rapidly
  • Are able to access word meanings quickly and use context and world knowledge to help with unfamiliar words
  • Able to integrate these skills with ease to derive meaning from the text or to encode meaning into text
  • Poor Readers
  • May have weak knowledge of letter patterns
  • May struggle to recognize letters and letter sequences
  • May have difficulty with auditory discrimination and phonological awareness activities
  • More likely to have limited vocabulary knowledge
  • Must devote more attention and resources to basic word recognition and decoding/encoding activities
  • This leaves fewer resources to construct the meaning of text and monitor their comprehension
  • Factors that affect literacy development in children with CCNs can be divided into two basic categories
  • INTRINSIC – within the person
  • EXTRINSIC – external to the person
  • Intrinsic Factors
  • Visual impairments:
  • Hearing impairments:
  • Motor impairments:
  • Cognitive impairments:
  • Language impairments:
  • Speech impairments:
  • Lack of experiences:
  • A history of limited participation:
  • Challenges in literacy learning may be further complicated by health problems.
  • Extrinsic Factors
  • Literacy development is affected by a wide range of extrinsic factors related to the environment
  • Literacy learning does not occur in isolation – rather it is deeply embedded within a series of interrelated contexts including
  • Physical context
  • Functional context
  • Social context
  • Language context
  • Cultural context
  • The physical and functional contexts for literacy learning
  • Children with CCN are reported to have less frequent access to reading materials and significantly less access to writing materials than their peers without disabilities
  • The social context for literacy learning
  • Not only do children who rely on AAC have fewer literacy experiences than their peers without disabilities, but the quality of these experiences also differs.
  • The social context for literacy learning
  • Individuals with CCN often have limited (or no) access to their AAC during literacy activities – this means
  • The social context is also influenced by the language context – including the language available to the individual who relies on AAC and the language used by partners during literacy activities.
  • The language context for literacy learning
  • Definition:
  • Typical Development
  • Differences:
  • The cultural context for literacy learning
  • One possible explanation for the reduced emphasis on literacy experiences and instruction for individuals with CCNs may be found in parental and teacher expectations.

.

  • Fostering emergent literacy skills
  • Process of developing literacy skills begins very early
  • Stage of emergent literacy is the development of literacy skills prior to learning conventional literacy skills
  • Storybook readings play an important role in a child’s development of language skills.
  • Storybook reading
  • Displaced talk
  • The stage before the development of conventional literacy is called the STAGE OF EMERGENT LITERACY
  • During this stage, children acquire the knowledge and skills that form the underpinnings for the later development of later reading and writing skills. Specifically, they:
  • Build language skills
  • Begin to make connections between spoken and written language
  • Learn the basic conventions of print
  • Early storybook reading experiences play an important role in a child’s development of language skills (and thus is a very important component of emergent literacy development)
  • The nature of storybook reading is different for children with CCN as compared to their typically developing peers.
  • Parents of children who use AAC often choose the book to be read and tend to choose different books each time
  • Different books = different experience
  • Repeated readings
  • Develop comprehension skills
  • Make inferences or anticipate events or story lines
  • Practice retelling (or narrating)
  • Participate in “pretend reading”
  • Repeated readings:
  • Physical contact with book:
  • Limits on development:
  • Intervention: Emergent Level
  • Providing access to appropriate AAC for emergent literacy activities
  • AAC users should always have access to their AAC.

Access to AAC can be done in these ways:

  • Incorporating manual signs and gestures into reading
  • Using objects to communicate choices during stories
  • Providing simple switches programmed with repeated storylines
  • Providing low-tech communication boards with appropriate and context-related vocab
  • Providing SGDs programmed with appropriate vocab

Adapt books to facilitate and support communicative interactions during story time.

  • Present the vocabulary on the device for easier interaction with the story
  • Traditional grid displays
  • Circular layout
  • Visual scenes
  • Teaching interaction strategies to literate partners
  • Providing access to AAC is not enough
  • Reading to students and discussing text serves a number of purposes
  • Builds world knowledge
  • Scaffolds cognitive development
  • Introduces more advanced language concepts, sentence structures, and written genres
  • Promotes more advanced comprehension and inference skills
  • Illustrates the pleasure of reading which increases motivation for reading instruction
  • Teaching interaction strategies to literate partners
  • Select appropriate books
  • Introduce the topic of the book
  • Introduce new vocab as required
  • Read the text of the book
  • Use time delay (“wait expectancy”)
  • Ask appropriate questions
  • Model use of AAC and speech
  • Respond to communicative attempts
  • Encourage the learner to tell the story
  • Providing independent access to reading materials
  • Strategies
  • Easy to access to books
  • Offering book choices during free time
  • Offering opportunity to request favorite books
  • Allow easy page turning
  • Incorporate text into daily routine
  • Introduce books on tape
  • Building narrative skills
  • Vocabulary and sentence structures
  • Narrative skills
  • Building narrative skills
  • Functional vocabulary versus reading/literacy vocabulary
  • Semantic, syntactic skills, and narrative skills
  • Increase opportunities
  • Building emergent writing skills
  • Children with CCN need to engage in early writing activities
  • Lack of access
  • Motor impairments
  • Needed adaptations
  • Computer technology!
  • Individuals with CCN require numerous opportunities to engage in writing activities scaffolded by literate adults or children
  • “Writing” secret messages
  • Drawing pictures and writing stories
  • Making signs for a pretend store
  • Making birthday cards
  • Writing letters or emails
  • Phonological Awareness
  • Introduced to phonological awareness and letter sounds in preschool, childcare programs, education software, and television shows
  • Many children are introduced to rhyming and sound blending
  • Introducing these skills early in fun activities will especially benefit children with CCN