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Language Competence: Don't Settle for a Piece of the Pie


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Presentation for the More Than Gadgets Conference, Perth 2011

Published in: Health & Medicine, Technology
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Language Competence: Don't Settle for a Piece of the Pie

  1. 1. Language Competence Don’t Settle for a Piece of the Pie
  2. 2. Jane Farrall Speech Pathologist AAC Support Services Manager
  3. 3. Introduction to Language Competence • Language (linguistic) Competence • Receptive and expressive language • Learning and using • Vocabulary • Sentence structure • Pre-programmed messages 3
  4. 4. Introduction to Language Competence • Examples of Linguistic Competence (SET-BC, 2008) • Communicate preferences and interests using patterned phrases • I want... • I like... • I am... • Communicate requests for school or personal objects • I need my walker. • I need a drink. • Ask and answer basic questions (scripted, prestored) • My name is Sarah. What is your name? • I went to the movies. What did you do on the weekend?) • What’s that? 4
  5. 5. Introduction to Language Competence • Communicate requests and comments using simple generative sentences • “I + want+ book” • “Dad + like(s) + pizza” • Construct simple grammatical sentences using present and past tense (then future tense, then complex and compound sentences) • Use descriptive language • Funny • Big-little • Happy-sad 5 •(SET-BC, 2008)
  6. 6. Introduction to Language Competence • Participate in familiar, real-life situations using scripted patterns and/or generative language • Ordering food in a restaurant • Participating in circle routine in school • Playing a card game • Complete written and oral components of grade level assignments independently • Write an essay • Give a presentation • Participate in small group • Understand and discuss linguistic structures and forms and how this relates to their communication system • Verbs and verb tenses may be entered separately 6 (SET-BC, 2008)
  7. 7. Introduction to Language Competence • Part of a larger concept called communicative competence • “The ability to communicate functionally in natural environments to meet daily communication needs” (Light, 1989) • A baseline level of success in a communicative opportunity based on the demands of that situation • Composed of 4 parts—linguistic, operational, social, and strategic7
  8. 8. Introduction to Language Competence • Linguistic Competence • Receptive and expressive language • Learning and using • Vocabulary • Sentence structure • Pre-programmed messages 8
  9. 9. Introduction to Language Competence • Operational Competence • Skills related to the maintenance and operation of the AAC system • Accessing the system (e.g.., touch, scanning, etc) • Positioning the system • Adjusting the volume • Charging the device • Programming the device • Troubleshooting common technical problems, etc. 9
  10. 10. Introduction to Language Competence • Social Competence • Skills needed to communicate effectively and in socially appropriate ways to: • Interact with others • Gain attention • Introduce a topic • Change a topic • Make comments • Ask questions • Communicate about a variety of topics • Use a variety of communicative functions 10
  11. 11. Introduction to Language Competence • Strategic Competence • Strategies to overcome or minimize the functional limitations of AAC • Slower rate • “Computerized” speech • Strategies to prevent or repair communication breakdowns • AAC user doesn’t understand • Communication partner doesn’t understand 11
  12. 12. Introduction to Language Competence • Communicative competence is NOT • An ending point • An indication of “perfect” communication skills 12
  13. 13. Introduction to Language Competence • Part of language competence is being able to communicate for different reasons • Preferences and interests • Requests for school or personal objects • Ask and answer basic questions 13
  14. 14. Introduction to Language Competence • Communicative functions (Light, 1988) • Social closeness • “Can I tell you a story?” • “Let’s get together for coffee” • “Kiss please” • Social etiquette • “Please” • “Sorry” • “I really appreciate all of your help” 14
  15. 15. Introduction to Language Competence • Communicative functions (Light, 1988; con’t) • Information transfer • “My children went to the beach this summer” • “Two plus two equals 4” • “Big truck” • Wants and needs • “I need my glasses” • “I would like to wear the red dress with the pink tights” • “More juice”15
  16. 16. Introduction to Language Competence • Communicative functions—additional • Internal Dialogue • “Remember the library book” • “First I have to listen to the story, then I can swing.” 16
  17. 17. Introduction to Language Competence 17
  18. 18. Introduction to Language Competence • So, if language competence refers to… • Receptive and expressive language • Communicate functionally in the natural environment • Variety of functions 18
  19. 19. Elements of Language—Part One • Lieven, E., Behrens, H., Speares, J., Tomasello, M. (2003). Early syntactic creativity: A usage based approach. Journal of Child Language, 30, 333-370. • Those of us who speak construct our utterances by combining rote-learning forms/memorized chunks/strings of words and phrases with variable slots into which we insert appropriate categories of words/phrases. • We need consider how to provide AAC users access to these language forms with variable slots across the age ranges in addition to the ability to construct language word-by-word or letter-by-letter. 19
  20. 20. Elements of Language—Part One • Clendon, S. (2006). The language of beginning writers: Implications for children with complex communication needs. Unpublished dissertation. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC. • Rote language forms and memorized “chunks” may comprise as much as 70% of the language produced by verbal communicators • Formulaic sequences include: • idioms (e.g.., that’s the way the cookie crumbles) • sentence frames and builders with open slots (e.g., Could you pass the ____?) • standard situational utterances (e.g.., “Can I help you?” or “What are you getting?”) 20
  21. 21. Elements of Language—Part One • What does this mean? • We as verbal communicators use language “chunks” to communicate • In routine situations • Routine messages in ANY situation • Efficiently • Successfully • AAC users should have access to the same language “chunks”! 21
  22. 22. Elements of Language—Part One • Language use vocabulary includes • Elements that encourage successful day-to- day interaction. Makes use of preprogrammed words, phrases, and sentences for a variety of different contexts. Three types of messages: • Quickfires • My phrases • Common constructions 22
  23. 23. Elements of Language—Part One • Quickfires • Short, quick messages that allow for timely interaction • A part of many different conversations • Messages that serve multiple functions • Express opinion • Provide direction • Social interaction • Social etiquette • Interaction management 23
  24. 24. Elements of Language—Part One • My Phrases • Complete thoughts that have a specific purpose and may be used in multiple different conversations • Various categories of formulaic sequences (Wray, 1998) • Greetings • Comments • Questions • Sayings • Standard situational utterances (e.g.., Can I help you?) 24
  25. 25. Elements of Language—Part One • Common Constructions • Messages that are typically or frequently said by individuals in a certain context • Not necessarily appropriate in other contexts • Can be both phrases and sentences • Can have variable elements 25
  26. 26. Elements of Language—Part Two • Bedrosian, J., Hoag, L., & McCoy, K. (2003). Relevance and speed of message delivery trade-offs in augmentative and alternative communication. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 46, 800 – 817. • Subjects in this study (sales clerks) preferred a precise and 100% relevant message, even if it took longer (1.5 min) to produce • “Message relevance had the most positive impact on attitudes toward the AAC users and their communication” 26
  27. 27. Elements of Language—Part Two • Clendon, S. (2006). The language of beginning writers: Implications for children with complex communication needs. Unpublished dissertation. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC. • Creative language systems allow the freedom to say what is unexpected • They also prevent speech from sounding too repetitive and clichéd 27
  28. 28. Elements of Language—Part Two • What does this mean? • We as verbal communicators sometimes access single words and put them together to meet our needs • Communicating in new contexts (not routine) • Being highly accurate (precise or detailed) • Successfully • AAC users should have access to the same individual words (or spelling)! 28
  29. 29. Elements of Language—Part Two • Language structure vocabulary includes • Elements that facilitate the development and use of higher level language and literacy skills. These elements allow access to grammatical components and the creation of novel messages. Three components of language structure are: • Word lists • Keyboards • Core word strategies29
  30. 30. Elements of Language—Part Two • Word Lists • Single words that fit into a category (food, drink, action) • Can be used alone, but typically used with other messages for description or clarification • Can be used in conjunction with core words 30
  31. 31. Elements of Language—Part Two • Keyboards • Promote participation in literacy activities • Allow spelling of any words (within abilities) • Utilize word and phrase prediction 31
  32. 32. Elements of Language—Part Two • Core Word Strategies • Single words to combine to create phrases and sentences • Tools to learn/use grammatical skills • Do not require literacy skills to use 32
  33. 33. Balance of Language Elements 33
  34. 34. Balance of Language Elements 34 •Language Use • Quickfires • My phrases • Common constructions •Language Structure • Word lists • Keyboards • Core word strategies
  35. 35. Balance of Language Elements • Rick Hoyt • With father, Dick Hoyt • Marathon runner • Triathlete • AAC user • Has Cerebral Palsy • 35
  36. 36. • “Letters appear on a small screen at Rick's eye level. He twitches his head to move the cursor through the letters, double-twitching when he wants to select one. Each twitch requires a concentrated effort. As he works, his arm waves spasmodically, occasionally getting caught in the computer wires. He is asked, "Do you ever have a bad race?" Rick considers for several moments, then sets to work. He scans down the letters, each twitch of his head accompanied by a small electronic beep, like a bird chirping. Y, he types. Then, three minutes later, E, and, after a similar interval, S. The next question comes, but Rick isn't finished with the first one. W...three minutes...H...three minutes...E...three minutes, and so on for a half hour. Rick communicates no sense of frustration or impatience. "Yes, when the weather is too cold..." finally appears on the screen. The reply is read aloud, but Rick still isn't finished. The twitches and chirps continue. And then the full reply sounds through the voice synthesizer. "Yes," the disembodied electronic voice says after several more long minutes, "when the weather is too cold and the women are too covered up." Rick laughs, his face twisting into a grin, his shoulders shaking. Forty-five minutes after the first question, the next one comes. 36 • ag_hoyt.html
  37. 37. Balance of Language Elements 37 • Justin Birch • Active in his community • Presents at national conferences • AAC user • Had a brain aneurysm • http://www.dynavoxtec etails.aspx?id=74
  38. 38. Balance of Language Elements 38
  39. 39. Balance of Language Elements Quickfires My Phrases Common Constructions WordLists Keyboards CoreWord Strategy
  40. 40. Balance of Language Elements • Todman, J., Alm, N., Higginbotham, J. & File, P. (2008). Whole utterance approaches in AAC. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 24:3, 235 — 254 • A word construction strategy can compliment pre- stored messages in less anticipated situations or when specificity is critical • Need to move between pre-programmed utterances and the ability to construct specific novel messages when needed • Caution: remember that devices should be designed to promote social interaction rather than just generate speech40
  41. 41. Balance of Language Elements • Wray (1998): We need to use formulaic language to support efficient conversations and “save” our creative language for when we must be precise • Blockberger & Sutton (2003): Providing sentences, phrases, and single words is the best approach given “what we know now” 41
  42. 42. Balance of Language Elements • Emergent Communicators
  43. 43. Balance of Language Elements • Context Dependent Communicators
  44. 44. Balance of Language Elements • Independent Communicators
  45. 45. Teaching Language Elements • Introduction to language competence • Why do we communicate? • How do we communicate? • All communicators • Individuals with complex communication needs • Balance of language elements • Teaching language elements • Tools 45
  46. 46. Teaching Language Elements • Teaching strategies • Positive communication environment • Partner augmented input • Sabotage 46
  47. 47. Teaching Language Elements • Positive Communication Environment • Expectations and communication partner behavior make a huge difference! • Positive environments foster communication in many different ways. 47
  48. 48. Teaching Language Elements Creating a Positive Communication Environment 48
  49. 49. • Aided Language Stimulation (ALS) • Pointing to pictures while you are talking • With no expectation for the AAC user to point to pictures 49 Teaching Language Elements
  50. 50. Teaching Language Elements • Benefits of ALS (references on resource page) • Natural receptive language training • Variety of communicative functions such as questions, comments, greetings, requests, etc. • Hear a wide variety of available vocabulary • An immersion approach • How to communicate (what to say) • When to communicate • Why to communicate • Demonstrates that AAC is acceptable • Can lead to AAC users using their device! 50
  51. 51. Teaching Language Elements 51 • “The average 18 month old child has been exposed to 4,380 hours of oral language at a rate of 8 hours/day from birth. • A child who has a communication system and receives speech/language therapy two times per week for 20-30 minutes sessions will reach this same amount of language exposure in 84 years.” •(Jane Korsten, recorded at: c/consider.php)
  52. 52. Teaching Language Elements • Sabotage • Sabotage requires a communicative response • Sabotage changes the way an activity typically happens 52
  53. 53. Teaching Language Elements Sabotage Worksheet 53
  54. 54. 54
  55. 55. 55 •Teaching Vocabulary in InterAACT Learning Path
  56. 56. Teaching Language Elements • Examples • Introduction to language elements • Lesson plans • Brainstorming 56
  57. 57. Teaching Language Elements 57 Introduction to Language Elements Quickfires: Big Impact! Little Words! Turn computer speakers on while watching video.
  58. 58. Teaching Language Elements • Introduction Video • Role Play • Locating Quickfires • Choral Practice • Errorless Practice • Yes/No • Twenty Questions • Specific Quickfires (Bingo) • Combining Quickfires • Initiating • Specific Functions (Sorting) • Role Play • Scripting • Real Life 58 Lesson Plans
  59. 59. Wrap-Up • Language Competence • “The ability to communicate functionally in natural environments to meet daily communication needs” (Light, 1989) 59 Information Transfer “This” “is” “my” “brother” (Core Words) “His name is Sebastian.” (Common Constructions) “S” “E” “B” “A” “S” “T” “I” “A” “N” (Keyboard) “Brother” “Easter” “Eggs” (Word Lists) “Look” “Mine” “More” “There” (Quickfires) “I love to do this.” (My Phrases)
  60. 60. Wrap-Up 60 Wants and Needs “Let’s” “go” “to” “the” “pool” (Core Words) “I want a glass of wine.” (Common Constructions) “C” “O” “C” “T” “A” “I” “L” (Keyboard)“You” “Me” “Pool” “Drink” (Word Lists) “You know” “OK” (Quickfires) “I’m thirsty.” (My Phrases)
  61. 61. Wrap-Up • “AAC treatment philosophy stresses the functional value of communication and the use of any strategies and technologies to achieve successful communication.” (Ansel & Wienrich, 2002) 61