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For this discussion question, assume that you are a teacher for a class of students who are heterogeneously grouped (e.g., cognitive impairments of varying degrees, some are ambulatory while others have limited mobility skills, some are verbal and others nonverbal). You know that several of your students do not currently receive speech/language services. However, you are enrolled in an AAC class and have been learning about options. The idea of enhancing presymbolic communication is new to you and you know that you could use this newly gained knowledge with some of your students. In your review of student files you find that several of the students, primarily those who appear to be lower functioning and nonverbal, have never received any type of language/communication programming. The teaching assistants, who have taught in the class for years, tell you that it was determined by past professionals that these students do not and would never communicate and thus communication programming was unnecessary. You discover that the aides/assistants, as well as other professionals in the school (e.g., teachers, occupational therapist, physical therapist), continue to hold this view and think you are unrealistic to think of these particular students as having communicative behaviors.
In order to demonstrate for these assistants and others, you select Julie and want to show how Julie is actually communicating within a typical class routine. In this routine you also explain to the assistants and others how you can use various strategies to expand or facilitate the display of other communicative behaviors. Within the following routine —
(a) Identify two places in the routine where Julie appears to be attempting, perhaps in unconventional ways, to communicate with others and
(b) Discuss two specific strategies that can be used to EXPAND PRESYMBOLIC COMMUNICATION; be sure to state two different locations in the routine these strategies could be incorporated.
Please note that there are various places in the routine where communication is occurring and multiple places in which strategies can be incorporated. However, I am only requesting that you discuss two examples of attempts to communicate and two examples of where strategies can be used (and what those strategies are) to enhance presymbolic communication.
The routine is as follows:
Julie is in the classroom and it is just about time for recess.
The bell rings and Billy, a peer, pushes Julie’s wheelchair to within a few feet of her calendar (as the teaching assistant had directed the peer.)
Julie is not quite close enough to reach her calendar. Luke, the teaching assistant, comes over to the calendar (or anticipation shelf) and says, “Finished with ______________” and makes a signal for finished. “Now it is time for recess.”
Billy, Julie’s friend comes and takes Julie to the coat rack and gets his coat.
Billy helps Julie get her coat from her hook and helps her put it on.
Luke comes over and tells Billy that he wants Julie to wear her boots, because it is damp outside and she may want to get out of her chair. Luke turns to Julie and says “Boots” while pointing to her boots.
Luke brings Julie’s boots to her. He wants her to help with the boots. He holds a boot out for Julie to put her foot into it. Once she puts her foot in, he drops the boot so it hangs on her foot.
They do the same thing with the other boot and then she is ready to go outside. She must wait while Luke helps other students. However, Julie really likes recess and is impatient to go outside. She keeps looking at the door.
Once they go outside, Billy pushes Julie close to the elevated sandbox and stops her chair close to the sandbox.
Luke comes over.
Billy finds some cars in the sandbox. He picks one up and runs it over the sand making car noises and crashes it into the wall of the box saying “Crash!” Julie laughs when the car crashes.
Billy repeats the show.
Luke joins in now. He takes a car and aims it at Julie and crashes it into the wall right in front of her. Billy follows Luke’s actions.
Luke leaves his car with his hand on it right in front of Julie and pauses.
Later, after much play in the sandbox…
They continue playing until the bell rings. Billy starts to go to Julie’s chair to push her into the classroom. Julie cries while Billy pushes her back into school.
Please be sure that you focus on strategies relevant to PRESYMBOLIC COMMUNICATION. Please avoid duplication of responses.
This discussion will close on Monday, October 19 at 9:00 pm. Please be sure to respond early and frequently. To earn maximum credit, please post your initial response no later than Thursday, October 15 so that the remainder of the discussion period can be used for interactive discussion. Remember to spread your responses to others across days as reflected in the rubric.