Connect 2 EducateAAC and iPads in the classroomFiona Barron, Malkara Specialist SchoolJane Farrall, Jane Farrall Consulting
#AGOSCI2013¤ #AGOSCI2013 is the conference hashtag¤ We’d love to see some live tweeting J
Malkara Specialist School¤ Malkara is a specialist school in the ACT;¤ Over 100 students, from early childhood through to Yr 6;¤ The majority of students attending Malkara havecomplex communication needs;¤ Historically, AAC systems have not been well used/supported in the school;¤ Additionally, not every student has been provided withan AAC system.
Proloquo2Go Group 2011¤ A Proloquo2Go group was run in Term 2, 2011 by CathyHurman from Therapy ACT with 7 students from Yrs 4 – 6;¤ Most of the students in the group had an iPad withProloquo2Go at home or school, but used it very little;¤ It was felt the group had good outcomes, and anattempt was made to continue it in terms 3 & 4 but asstudents were from 3 different classrooms it onlyhappened a few times.
Proloquo2Go Class 2012In 2012, 6 students whohad a recommendation touse an iPad withProloquo2Go from atherapist were placed inthe same classroom.
Proloquo2Go Class 2012¤ All students were in Grade 5 or 6;¤ iPads funded by Therapy ACT OR families OR Malkara;¤ Initially Cathy Hurman from Therapy ACT provided greatsupport with ideas in setting the communication pagesup.
The Students 2012¤ 6 students with complex communication needs;¤ 1 student has a few words/vocalisations;¤ 3 students have more words but are very unclear even tofamiliar communication partners;¤ 1 student is an elective mute and doesn’t speak atschool;¤ 1 student has a progressive neurological condition.
The Beginning: Programming iPadsEach iPad was programmedindividually with a Malkara homepage with common categories andalso individual information under“about me” and “news”, based onProloquo2Go v1 page set.Survey forms were sent home to getinformation to program such as:family members, pets, friends, usualweekend activities, special activities,favourite activities at home, someusual dinners, usual breakfast foods,favourite foods etc.
Morning CircleFirst two weeks using justone iPad and used only inMorning Circle.Used the iPad one at atime to answer questions. Itwas very structured andtime consuming.No apps other thanProloquo2Go.
Morning CircleAfter two weeks the students movedto individual iPads;We had to teach some politeconversation rules!Morning circle was very repetitive butgave students (and staff) confidenceand skills in navigating categories;Students enjoyed asking andanswering questions and telling news;NB We aren’t recommending startinglike this – just letting you know how itstarted!
Literacy Term 1¤ Questions for Guided Reading were programmed into the mainiPad. Students are given opportunities to answer questions orcomment about the book.¤ The keyboard in Proloquo2Go was used for:¤ Sound activities, such as ‘What’s a word that starts with m?”;¤ Typing ‘word family’ words. For example, type ‘cat’, now type‘mat’ etc;¤ Learning to spell common words. For example ‘up’ and ‘is’;¤ Typing words to search for books on Tar Heel Reader.
Other classroom uses¤ Numeracy – especially what comes ‘before’ and ‘after’ numbers,simple addition etc.;¤ Drawing or colouring in – asking a friend for a different coloured texta;¤ Mealtime – useful for one student in particular to ask for food to be cutup etc.;¤ Theme work – for example selecting the healthy foods from a page ofpictures of healthy and not so healthy foods;¤ Choosing activities in free time.
Other usesUsing Proloquo2Go in thecanteen to buy items andalso to serve others whenwe work there every secondweek.Plus others, such as using theiPad for recreation for astudent who can’t gooutside at lunch
Successes with Proloquo2Go v1Reduced challengingbehaviour as studentsdevelopedcommunication skills.
Issues with Proloquo2Go v1¤ Phrase based communication wasn’t improving linguisticcompetence;¤ Students mostly limited to communicating in situationsthat had scripts;¤ Students were mostly responding rather than initiating(partly due to vocabulary and partly lack of modeling).
Proloquo2Go 2.0¤ Just as we began to worry about providing morecomprehensive vocabulary we heard aboutProloquo2Go 2.0 and the Core Vocabulary page set;¤ On the day it was released, we downloaded it, updatedthe iPads to it;¤ The next day we started modeling!¤ Fiona did some customisation for individual students.
Proloquo2Go 2.0 Core Vocabulary¤ Page set with core (high frequency) words and fringewords that works across the day;¤ Students can communicate initially with key words (ifneeded) and then transition to include little words;¤ Can change number of rows and columns for differentstudents language, access and vision requirements.
Modeling¤ Or Aided Language Stimulation (Harris and Reichle,2004);¤ Connected iPad to interactive whiteboard to model toclass;¤ Extra iPads for staff to practice familiarising withvocabulary;¤ Staff began participating in classroom using theProloquo2Go as their communication system at times (nospeech).
Term 3 2013¤ Students began combining between 2 to 7 icons;¤ Students initiating lots more;¤ Wider school community began seeing students as morecompetent communicators.
Explicit instructionDuring Term 4 began arange of activities aimedat increasing range ofvocabulary for students;Played barrier games,read books aloud, did lotsof sabotage, increasedour expectations;Started using levels ofcuing.
Ideas for supporting core vocabulary¤ Lots of core vocabulary information at PraAACtical AAC,including a great post last week from Robin Parkerhttp://praacticalaac.org/strategy/more-on-core-words/¤ AAC Bootcamp poster from Lauren Enders (who also hasawesome resources on Pinterest)https://www.dropbox.com/s/43i758fqjtfxzon/AAC%20BOOT%20CAMP%20POSTER%202.pdf¤ AAC Core vocabulary Pinterest Board by CarolannCormierhttp://pinterest.com/cmcormier/aac-core-vocabulary/
Challenges¤ Difficulties with iPads owned by families – updating and othercontent;¤ Many of the early challenges have been resolved through iOSupdates, particularly Guided Access;¤ Backups and voice downloads on school internet;¤ Getting students (and staff) to ensure iPads are taken everywhere!Have bought new cases for portability (e.g. iBackflip SomersaultSlim) and lanyards which have helped!
Successes with Proloquo2Go v2 (andaided language input)¤ All students from the class now have a core vocabulary page set in Proloquo2Gothat they can use in a range of situations and with different communicationpartners. They have moved from no AAC, to phrase/situation based, to real andflexible communication;¤ Students initiate AND respond;¤ All students showed improvements in linguistic competence, social competence,strategic competence and operational competence;¤ All students can combine key words to be understood. Four of the studentstypically use between one and three words per utterance;¤ One student is composing sentences with some little words, averaging 5 words perutterance;¤ One student is composing grammatically correct sentences of up to 12 words.
2013¤ Three students have gone to secondary school andtaken iPads with Proloquo2Go with them;¤ Three students have moved to another class at Malkara.Still using their devices throughout the day;¤ AAC is the school focus for 2013 – so lots more happeningeverywhere through the school. This was partly inspiredby the success of this project;¤ Starting again with a new group of students but with a lotmore experience and a stronger understanding of wherewe need to go!