ASA's 37th National Conference on Autism Spectrum Disorders (July 13-15, 2006)

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Thursday, July 13, 2006: 3:15 PM-4:30 PM
Ballroom C
#2132- From Echolalia to Social Cognition: Unique Communication Interventions
The development of functional and social communication is among the greatest challenges when working with students with autism. The fact that DSM-IV includes spoken language and social skill acquisition in each area of its defining criteria for “Autistic Disorder,” highlights the prevalence of these impairments. This presentation will describe two unique, evidenced based, strategies that can support increased communicative competency for students with ASD’s. Step-by-step instruction will be provided to allow ease of implementation in a variety of environments.

Presenter:Arlene Dworkin Kaye, M.S, CCC-SLP, Cheshire Public Schools Cheshire, CT, Speech and Language Pathologist/Behavioral Consultant - Arlene Dworkin Kaye began providing service to people with autism over 30 years ago and continues to do so with great commitment and vigor. As speech-language pathologist and behavior consultant, she brings a unique perspective to her work. Mrs Kaye is the author of "Getting to Know Me: An Autism Primer for anyone who wants to know about Autism Spectrum Disorders", recently published by Pyramid Educational Products. She has been a speaker at the American Speech and Hearing Association National Convention, The Association of Applied Behavior Analysis International Conference, and has provided numerous workshops for educational staff in Connecticut.
The abilities to assign appropriate meaning to pronouns, to attend to and respond to communicative partners, and to develop social understanding, are fundamental to communicative competency. This ability eludes many children with autism. Challenges in areas of reciprocity and theory of mind, as well as confounding behaviors, such as echolalia, all contribute to the cluster of deficits that define this disability. This presentation will describe two treatment strategies that have demonstrated success in facilitating specific communication hurdles for children with ASD's.

The first section of the presentation will describe the use of single voice output devices when working with students who are echolalic. The presentation will include video clips demonstrating efficacy, as well as data collected on the child included in a single subject study. Learners will be able to: „« Identify echolalic behaviors. „« Demonstrate knowledge of research that has been conducted specific to echolalia and autism. „« Demonstrate familiarity with current strategies used to facilitate reduction of echolalia. „« Identify types of single message voice output devices, their cost and manufacturers. „« Identify ways to use single voice output devices, to facilitate reduction of echolalic behaviors displayed by children with autism, by utilizing the eight specific steps of this technique. „« Identify reasons that single voice output devices are uniquely suited to facilitate reduction of echolalia and ways to use them to prompt and fade effectively. „« Identify strategies for generalizing the technique to other skills affected by echolalia. „« Identify ways to use this technique in a variety of environments.

The second half of the workshop will describe an effective way to utilize peers to facilitate social communication. Methods used to access peer involvement, activities included during sessions, and description of the specific "feedback loop" that make this strategy unique, will be outlined. Specific outcome description of a single subject study will be presented. Learners will be able to: „« Define social cognition and social communication. „« Describe areas of social deficit common to students with ASD's. „« Identify significant research supporting the use of peers to facilitate social communication for students with autism. „« Replicate the model, based on the detailed description of each step used during intervention. „« Describe specific outcomes of the single subject study. „« Access literature that provides additional information on social cognition and communication.

Speech and language pathologists, parents, and teachers will gain background knowledge and useful information to support communicative growth for children with ASD's. Attendees will be encouraged to develop novel strategies and to describe these in behavioral terms, thus allowing replication of their techniques. Further, the importance of documentation will be emphasized, in order to establish an evidence base Thoughts specific to future areas of investigation will be suggested.

Before concluding the session, learners will be reminded of how joyful it is to work with people on the "spectrum". The excitement of discovering new strategies which open doors for our children and students cannot be described with words, but is palpable every time a small victory is realized. A brief amount of time for questions will be provided at the end of the presentation.

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