Workshop PurposeThis presentation will focus on meeting individuals with Rett Syndrome where they are and using high expectations and skilled interventions to achieve learning and a high quality of life for all students. We will talk about using assistive technology as a means to meet the communicative, academic and social needs of girls with Rett Syndrome. Most of all we will look at how we allow girls with Rett Syndrome to lead the way in their own learning and growing up by expecting great things of them and for them.
The Least Dangerous Assumption"The least dangerous assumption is the premise that (in the absence of evidence) we believe we not yet found a way to make it so a child or adult with a disability "can" instead of believing he or she "cant."AKA"Presume Competence"Donnellan, Anne, (1984) "The Criterion of the Least Dangerous Assumption" Behavioral Disorders, v9 n2 p141-50 Feb 1984 (print copy not available).Rossetti, Zach and Tashie, Carol (2002) "Outing the prejudice: Making the least dangerous assumption." The Communicator: Newsletter of the Autism National Committee, 2002. downloaded from inclusivelife.files.wordpress.com/2007/09/least-dangerous-assumption.pdf on June 30 2010.
What does living theleast dangerousassumption look like?
The starting point doesnt determine thedestination!Focus on who your students are becoming, not what they are doing o it is the process not product o every interaction of the possibility of being the A-HA moment
Teach Intentionality by AssumingIntentionalityGive the gift of assuming intentionality in communication o because even if you are wrong in your assumption you will teach intentionality by responding as if the action was intentional (pure application of behavior analysis there)
Look Beyond LimitationsSee strengths o what can they do o how can you shape what they can do o how can you better understand why they do what they do within the assumption of competence
Allow Wait Time• Wait. Then wait more. o Patience makes things possible (allow processing time) o Rushing is no path to discovering abilitiesb
Be Mindful and Thoughtful• Puzzle out possibilities o think critically about your students and how to reach them o all behavior is communication o our students are often subtle communicators, saying more in a glance then we do with words o treat writing evaluations and IEPs as an opportunity to better understand the individual and share that understanding with
Technology is a TransformativeTool• Use the right tools for the job o introduce assistive technology (AT) o teach assistive technology o always work towards the next step in using assistive technology (dont be satisfied with cause and effect, keep trying for something more)
Postive Thought, Positive Action• Ignore the nay-sayers and negative people who see every student action through the lens of the lowest possible level of understanding and imply your presumption of competence is no more than your projection of your wishes for the child o you can do no harm by making the least dangerous assumption o and you might even change the world
Persistance Pays• Never give up o even when everyone else has o especially when the student has
Think Carefully about Assistants: Problems Associated with 1:1Assistants in Close Proximity• Separation from Classmates• Dependence on Adults• Impact on Peer Interactions• Limitations on Receiving Competent Instruction• Loss of Personal Control• Loss of Gender Identity (and age identity)• Interference with Instruction of Other Students
How to Avoid 1:1 Aide Issues:•provide intensive training and supervision to assistants • rotate 1:1 aides (avoid the "my kid" problem)• insist on physical space between the aide and the child• work to ensure the child has her own identity• assign aides to a classroom not a student• involve aides in prep work to build more time for professionals to work with students• insist on active
Communication Bill of RightsEach person has the right to • request desired objects, actions, events and people • refuse undesired objects, actions, or events • express personal preferences and feelings • be offered choices and alternatives • reject offered choices • request and receive another persons attention and interaction • ask for and receive information about changes in routine and environment • receive intervention to improve communication skills • receive a response to any communication, whether or not the responder can fulfill the request • have access to AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) and other AT (assistive technology) services and devices at all times • have AAC and other AT devices that function properly at all times • be in environments that promote ones communication as a full partner with other people, including peers • be spoken to with respect and courtesy • be spoken to directly and not be spoken for or talked about in the third person while present • have clear, meaningful and culturally and linguistically appropriate communicationsFrom the National Joint Committee for the Communicative Needs of Persons with Severe Disabilities. (1992). Guidelines for meeting the communication needs of persons with severe disabilities. Asha, 34(Suppl. 7), 2–3.www.scopevic.org.au/index.php/cms/frontend/resource/id/68
Using the Prompt Heirarchy•natural cue•gestural cue•indirect verbal cue (hinting)•direct verbal cue (telling)•modeling•light physical/touch cue•full physical cue
Building Independence withAssistive Technology•low to high tech•eye gaze•switches•direct selection•scanning
Introducing and ExtendingCommunication Skills•Input/Output•Create a symbol rich enviroment o adapted books o label the room in symbols o always use symbols to match printed materials o show symbols as you speak•Model use of AAC•Imagine life as a yes or no quiz•There is more to life than voice output switches!
Ways to Increase ExpressiveCommunication• lUse motivating materials and activities• lMaterials should be in view but not accessible• lStudent should need assistance with some materials• lProvide small or inadequate amounts of materials• lSabotage• lProvide something the student doesn’t like/want• lModel use communication boards/devices & visual tools