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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Making Phrases. Can You Modify It?

         I'm just back from a week off in which I did not do nearly enough relaxing.  Nor did I get to my computer - I left it at home!  

          I've been talking about expanding "utterance" length in aac users, which is much like what you do with verbal students.  What you do to develop language is not different.  Only the mode of input (adding use of the aac system when you speak) and mode of output (the student using his or her aac system to respond) are different.  

         One other consideration is the level of decontextualization and egocentrism.  For many students - particularly those with developmental disabilities - generalization is difficult and providing activities that have little personal meaning or context is not effective.  So providing intervention in natural situations is important.  
         If you can't be in the midst of naturally occurring events, create them.  Many SLPs create role model situations, have "pretend" birthday or tea parties, and find other ways to create a realistic context for intervention.

So, back to our target: increased symbol sequences.

         Creating 2-3 word phrases with adjectives adds to the meaning of the communication significantly.  Again, keep in mind that our goal in communication with students using aac is not significantly different from our goal in developing language skills with other students.  We’re looking at teaching the students how to generate language responses for communication. 

At the 2-word level of language development, forms and functions include requesting with want, get, or find, what, where, and why.  Also negation increases with with no, all gone, away, and stop.  And then there is association or attribution, describing or specifying by using adjectives. Big, little, that, this, and color words come into use to help the listener understand. 
         Students can also begin to answer questions in context, using 1-3 symbol sequences:

At the 3 word level, students are expanding their noun phrases with adjectives and other modifiers and demonstratives.  "I want big." "Put it down." "It big blue."  "Want you stop."  "I want more."

         We'll talk some more next week about strategies.  I should be back in work mode by then - I hope!

Have a good week, and keep on talking!

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