ASA's 37th National Conference on Autism Spectrum Disorders (July 13-15, 2006)
|Saturday, July 15, 2006: 8:15 AM-9:30 AM|
|Narragansett Ballroom A|
|#2184- Total Communication: Experience From a Center-Based ABA Early Childhood Program|
|Total communication (the simultaneous use of spoken and sign language) is a well- accepted methodology for teaching language and communication skills to young nonverbal children with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. This presentation will outline individual case studies of preschool students attending a center-based ABA program. The presentation will describe communication intervention and outcome using a total communication approach. Videotaped examples will be used to demonstrate students’communication development, and language learning processes. |
|Presenters:|| - Aletta Sinoff is the Assistant Director in the Early Childhood Division at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Autism. She has a Ph.D. in Speech/Language Pathology, and she has practised as a Speech/Language Pathologist working with young language-impaired children for over fifteen years. She recently became a board certified behavior analyst. From its inception three years ago, she has run the early childhood program at the Cleveland Clinic Center for autism, serving toddlers and preschoolers in an intensive ABA, center-based year round program.
- Ms. Sinclair is nationally known for her achievements and service to individuals with autism and has over 25 years of experience utilizing intensive behavioral intervention with children who have pervasive developmental disorders. Her background includes directorships with the Eden Family of Services, both in Princeton, N.J., and Ft. Myers, FL where she was responsible for clinical program development. Ms. Sinclair has presented at the 2002 ABA Conference, Toronto, ON, 2003 ABA Conference, San Francisco, CA, 2004 ABA Conference, Boston, MA, 2005 ABA Conference, Chicago, IL, 2002 ASA Conference, Indianapolis, IN, 2003 ASA Conference, Pittsburgh, PA, 2004 ASA Conference, Seattle, WA
- Ms. Factora is a Classroom Behavior Therapist in the Early Childhood program at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Autism. Her experience spans 6 years, working with young and school-age children diagnosed with ASD in ABA home- and center-based programs. Currently she works with toddlers and preschoolers providing intensive teaching and parent training.
- Ms. Powell is a Speech/Language Pathologist in the Early Childhood program, at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Autism. Her experience includes working with preschool and school-age children with developmental disabilities and language impairment. Currently, she serves toddlers and preschoolers in an intensive center-based ABA program, and she designs and conducts group instruction to facilitate social communication in young children with autism.
Teaching young children with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder to communicate continues to be a significant clinical challenge for speech/language pathologists working with this population. For those children who do not demonstrate verbal skills by age three years, speech/language pathologists and educators are obligated to draw from other methods to facilitate language learning and communication as quickly as possible, in order to maximize the “window of opportunity” for language learning.
Total communication (the simultaneous use of spoken and sign language) is a well-accepted methodology used to teach language and communication skills to young children with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder who are nonverbal or minimally verbal. Studies have demonstrated that this approach facilitates spoken language acquisition in some children, while others may gain sign communication skills in the absence of spoken language acquisition. A review of the research to date suggests that the efficacy of a total communication approach for children with autism, lies predominantly in facilitating the acquisition of beginning vocabulary comprehension and expression. Beyond this, there is scant information on language learning in young children with autism, such as acquisition beyond the single word level, and the functional use of language (pragmatics).
This presentation will present individual case studies of preschool students, age three to five years, who receive intensive early intervention at an intensive ABA center-based preschool program, and who receive total communication teaching to facilitate their language development.
The presentation will focus on both the process of language and communication teaching that is employed, and the outcome of the students. The use of additional visual strategies and techniques, will be outlined and portrayed in videotaped segments. The strengths and limitations of using a total communication approach will be delineated. Outcome will be examined and described, including measures of language acquisition and communication, and generalization and maintenance of skills. Outcome will be discussed in relation to a variety of student measures and characteristics, for example: presenting features at the time of entry to the program, results of periodic language and functional assessments and students' learning rate and profile in particular domains such as motor and verbal imitation, and joint attention. Videotaped examples of teaching and of students' performance during individual and group instruction and in functional communication contexts will be presented. These examples will be used to illustrate teaching adaptations and modifications, and qualitative characteristics of individual students' learning processes. The impact of motor skill performance, and the role of imitation, among other areas, will also be discussed.
This presentation will contribute to the knowledge base and clinical understanding that speech/language pathologists bring to the task of teaching young, severely impaired children with autism to communicate. The importance of this base of knowledge is underscored by the narrow window of time afforded by early intervention. Through this presentation, speech/language pathologists, educators and parents will come away with a more comprehensive understanding of how to implement a total communication approach, suggested modifications, and reasonable expectations for outcome, including outcome in the domain of functional communication. Factors included in this base of understanding refer to the importance of teaching prerequisite skills, other areas of instructional emphasis, and the influence of language learning processes. This clinical knowledge will assist speech/language pathologists in developing appropriate goals and implementing effective early intervention for young, non-verbal or minimally verbal children with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
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