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Dr. Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite

Sunday, February 5, 2017

When the 3rd Dimension Calls – Tactile Enhancements for Communication & Literacy

When the 3rd Dimension Calls – Tactile Enhancements for Communication & Literacy

Using a picture or an object to represent a preferred item is one way of supporting students in making requests.  It is important that we remember, however, that making a request only assists that person in communicating one specific intent/purpose.  All people communicate for a variety of purposes.  Sometimes their behavior is non-symbolic and non-traditional (such as using idiosyncratic gestures or body language). 

Commercial Symbol Sets:
TalkingMyWay or Tangible Object Cards (TOC) www.adaptivation.com  or Logantech.com      
Tactile Talk for GoTalk NOW iPad app www.attainmentcompany.com
District 75 "Give me 20" AAC Vocabulary + Letters/Numbers for ProxTalker

Customize Your Symbols:
Use high visual contrast, limit visual complexity, limit glare (contact paper, not laminate)
Use durable materials that have distinctions in color, shape & texture
Adhere with cable ties or clear silicone; add Braille labels or puff paint
Use categories – www.tsbvi.edu/tactile-symbols or shop.APH.org Tactile Connections Kit
Make a book – use pages from LoganTech binder, PECS books or Binder Rings
Take good photos - Make a talking photo book for iPad 

In order to support development of symbolic communication, we need to model a variety of communication forms/intents and then show these students how to access that system.

Our Goal (inspired by Linda Burkhart):  Within natural contexts throughout the day, the student will learn to use an increasing number of communicative functions or intents expressively with his communication system.  Examples of communicative functions and intents:

·       Request objects
·       Request action
·       Request activity
·       Request a turn
·       Reject, protest, complain
·       Respond/acknowledge
·       Inform, share, or show (draw attention to something, like a photo)
·       Clarify or specify - for example in the case of something is wrong
·       Comment on action/object
·       Express an opinion
·       Ask a question

Use the Communication Matrix to systematically explore how your student is currently communicating. It is free and available in both English and Spanish. www.communicationmatrix.org

Post from Karen Erickson in the Communication Matrix Community Collections
       At the Center for Literacy & Disability Studies, we have just finished the first year of a communication intervention study focused on building early symbolic communication skills among students with complex needs including sensory loss. Our year 1 results are exciting. A group of 72 children (ages 3-21) made statistically significant improvements in both complexity and range of communication. One of the biggest challenges we encountered was the commonly held (mis)belief that we have to start with concrete referents. This collection focuses on conceptual versus concrete vocabulary for students with complex needs.

       We are focusing on the words GO, LIKE, and NOT in our work with students with the most complex needs, and we're finding those three words can be used to communicate for many different purposes across many contexts.

Core Words:
In order to support development of more traditional/conventional symbolic communication, we need to model a variety of communication forms/intents and then show these students how to access that same system.  In our efforts to teach students at Foundation for Blind Children, we also use “MORE” and “FINISHED” in addition to the symbols mentioned by Karen.  Some concrete symbols are also used for transitioning purposes.


Using Object Symbols (for Schedules and Choice-Making)
·       www.talkingmyway.com and www.adaptivation.com (TOC)
·       Visual strategies (first/then) -  http://usevisualstrategies.com

Beyond Choice-Making

Make Your Symbols
·       Categorize with shape & texture - http://www.tsbvi.edu/tactile-symbols
·       Categorize with color & shape - https://shop.aph.org Tactile Connections Kit

Practical AAC ideas 

Literacy & Communication 
·       Remnant books and personal experience stories https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXdjxj2IQJY
·       Tactuals and Start-to-Finish Literacy Starters stories https://www.med.unc.edu/ahs/clds/resources/deaf-blind-model-classroom-resources/tactual-book-kit-directions

·       www.enablingdevices.com Tactile Symbol Communicator (6 pre-made tactile symbols)
·       www.logantech.com ProxTalker (works well with APH Tactile Connections)
·       www.logantech.com ProxPad (works well with Tangible Object Cards)

·       www.attainmentcompany.com  GoTalk NOW app (also with Tactile Talk)

AAC and Story Apps: Let’s Get Personal

AAC and Story Apps:  Let’s Get Personal
A 2-Part Webinar from the SWHD Balanced Literacy Club
February 9th, 2017 and April 6th, 2017

Storytelling can be used as a means of information transfer while developing social closeness and beginning discourse skills.  This session will provide ideas/strategies to expand on narrative and storytelling skills that help the AAC communicators (including switch-users) establish and/or maintain relationships.  Using personal photos as the context, we can encourage/shape communicative functions of commenting, describing, and labeling in addition to information transfer.

Good “About Me” books contrast what is special about the individual while encouraging comparisons with others.  “I have blue eyes” can draw others into conversation about who else has blue eyes, or “What color eyes does mommy have?”  Use stories to teach others how to interact with the individual, identifying and describing how this person uses body language or idiosyncratic forms of communication to indicate agreement/enjoyment vs. rejection/negation.  Consider co-construction of an “I say ‘yes’ like this” book.  Make recordings and videos to share with others how and why we use the word “yes.”

Narratives describe events across time (Soto, 2006).  The ability to participate in sharing a full narrative develops over time out of experiences with basic discourse experiences (conversations, play, shared readings).  “My Day” narratives can be used to share information about events across the school day.  With scaffolds in place such as visual schedules, students can be involved in co-constructing narratives that can give interpretive meaning (e.g., art = good, fun).  These can be quickly recorded into a communicative system with a page for “my news” (Zangari, 2013). 

Finally, learning to tell a story, even if it is someone else’s story, helps build discourse skills.  Learn how to pause and then move to the next line in the story.  Switch-users can learn to go forward and backwards using the “Turn Pages” recipe in the Switch Control menu. Use fun apps to add pictures, videos and/or sounds (Musselwhite et al., 2012). 
Part 1 of this webinar will highlight and demonstrate Tarheel Reader and Pictello, offering tips for authoring and personalizing stories.  We will examine story structure and elements that can support students who are new to AAC as well as those who are more independently able to navigate their systems.  Strategies for shared reading/writing of stories will also be offered, including instructions for reading Tarheel Reader stories off-line (and out loud) using the Pictello app.  AAC apps = TouchChat, Proloquo2Go and LAMP Words for Life.
Part 2 will explore the idea of using multimedia to author personal/custom books in the GoTalk NOW and Explain Everything apps.  We will briefly review text elements and tips for organizing personal photos for those participants who were unable to attend Part 1.  Options for sharing stories through social media or other Web 2.0 tools (e.g., Google Drive, Dropbox) will be explored.  This session will also address AAC apps TouchChat, Proloquo2Go, TotalTalk AAC and LAMP Words for Life.
Buell (2016). Setting up Recipes for Switch Access for the iPad.  Caroline’s Tip 2 for 2016, www.aacintervention.com
Musselwhite, Wagner, Buell, & Wilcoxon, 2012.  Cool Tricks with New Apps - AAC Intervention.com   http://spedapps2.wikispaces.com/
Soto, G. (2006). Narratives of Children who
Need AAC: Assessment and Intervention
Considerations. ASHA Convention. Miami.
Zangari (2013). Narrative Skills for People with AAC Needs.


Beukelman, D. with Fager, S. and Ball, L. (2006). Use of AAC to enhance social participation of adults with neurological conditions. AAC-RERC State of Science Conference. www.aac~rerc.com.

Beukelman, D. and Mirenda, P. (2005). Message management: Vocabulary, small talk, and storytelling. In D. Beukelman & P. Mirenda. Augmentative & Alternative Communication: Supporting Children & Adults with Complex Communication Needs. Third Edition. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing, 15 – 34.

DeCoste, D. (1997). The role of literacy in augmentative and alternative communication. In S. Glennen and D. DeCoste, Handbook of Augmentative and Alternative Communication. San Diego: Singular Publishing Group, Inc., 283-333.

Dietz, A., McKelvey, M. and Beukelman, D. (2006). Visual scene displays (VSD): New AAC interfaces for persons with aphasia. Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 15 (1), 13 – 17.

Garrett, K. and Lasker, J. (2005). Adults with severe aphasia. In D. Beukelman & P. Mirenda, Augmentative & Alternative Communication: Supporting Children & Adults with Complex Communication Needs. Third Edition. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing, 467 – 504.

Lasker, J. and Beukelman, D. (1999). Peers’ perceptions of storytelling by an adult with aphasia. Aphasiology, 13 (9-11), 857 – 869.
Light, J. and Binger, C. (1998). Building Communicative Competence with Individuals Who Use Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing.

Meyer, L. (2006).  Approaching Communicative Competence Through Storytelling T/TAC Conference June 2006

Musselwhite, C. and Hanser, G. (2003). Write to Talk-Talk to Write! Second Edition. Litchfield Park, AZ: Special Communications/Life Skills & Technology for Independence.

Musselwhite, C. and Wagner, D. (2006). Poetry Power! Jump-Starting Language, Literacy, & Life. Litchfield Park, AZ: Special Communications/Life Skills & Technology for Independence.

O’Mara, D. & Waller, A. (2001). Joke telling as an introduction and a motivator to a narrative-based communication system for people with severe communication disorders. Computers and Fun-The 2nd British HCI Group One Day Meeting.

O’Mara, D., Waller, A., Tait, L., Hood, H., Booth, L. and Brophy-Arnott, B. (2000). Developing personal identity through story telling. Write:Talk web site. http://www.computing.dundee.ac.uk/projects/writetalk/finalieepaper.asp

Rush, E. (2005). Supporting communication through shared reading. Part 2. Enabling Devices Newsletter #7 (Sept. 2005). http://enablingdevices.com/newsletter_7.aspx.

Schlosser, R. and Lloyd, L. (1993). Effects of initial element teaching in a story-telling context on Blissymbol acquisition and generalization. Jnl. of Speech and Hearing Research, 36, 979-995.

Senner, J. E. (June/July 2001). Emergent writing activities for dynamic display AAC systems. Closing the Gap, 20(2), 6-7.

Shane, H. (2006). Using visual scene displays to improve communication and communication instruction in persons with autism spectrum disorders. Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 15 (1), 8 – 13.

Shank, R. (1990). Tell Me a Story: A New Look at Real and Artificial Memory. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Stuart, S. (2000). Understanding the storytelling of older adults for AAC system design. Augmentative & Alternative Communication, 16 (1). 1 – 12.

Soto, G. (2005). Narrative skills of children who use AAC: Assessment and intervention considerations. AAC by the Bay. San Francisco, CA.
Stuart, S., Vanderhoof, D., and Beukelman, D. (1993). Topic and vocabulary use patterns of elderly women. Augmentative & Alternative Communication, 9 (2), 95-110.

Waller, A., O’Mara, D., Tait, L., Booth, L., Brophy-Arnott, B. and Hood, H. (2001). Using written stories to support the use of narrative in conversational interactions: Case study. Augmentative & Alternative Communication, 17 (4), 221-232.

Bauby, J-D. (1997). The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: A Memoir of Life in Death. New York: Vintage Books.
Jean-Dominique Bauby tells his own story (written by using an alphabet board and eye blinks) of having locked-in syndrome after suffering a massive stroke at age 43.
Brown, Christy. (1982). My Left Foot. Cambridge, MA: Applewood.
Brown eloquently describes his difficult birth, the hopelessness of his doctors, and the persistent love of his family, especially of his mother. He relates in detail that profound moment when, at age five, he inexplicably grabbed a piece of chalk from his sister's hand with his left foot and, with great difficulty and incredulity, traced the letter A on a piece of slate. For the first time, his family knew for sure that his intellect was intact. And for the first time, he could start to communicate with them.
Browne, Brooke (2007). The Little Butterfly Girl (available from Amazon) is a fairy tale written by a young woman with cerebral palsy.  Also, check out Brooke's Butterfly Touch: Creative Storytelling Services.  Learn about Brooke’s story and sign up your group for lessons on how to tell your story  https://brookesbutterflytouch.wordpress.com/my-story/ 

Fried-Oken, M. & Bersani, H. (2000). Speaking Up and Spelling It Out: Personal Essays on Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.
A collection of first-person accounts of how living with AAC has affected the lives of people with disabilities – includes essays, poems, and interviews.
Koppenhaver, D., Erickson, K. and Yoder, D. (Eds.). (2005) Waves of Words: Augmented Communicators Read and Write. Toronto: ISAAC Press.
An international collection of stories of people achieving literacy despite the challenges of their complex communication needs.
Sienkiewicz-Mercer, R. & Kaplan, S. (1989). I Raise My Eyes to Say Yes. Houghton Mifflin.
Ruth Sienkiewicz-Mercer was born in 1950. She has never spoken a word; never walked, never fed herself, never combed her own hair. Trapped in a body that is functionally useless, her mind works perfectly. This is her story.
Tavalaro, J. & Tayson, R. (1997). Look Up for Yes. Kodansha America.
A memoir of Julia Tavalaro who opened her eyes after spending seven months in a coma. Nobody in the hospital ward to which she had been consigned even noticed that she was alert. Paralyzed and unable to speak, Tavalaro had no way of making them take notice. She spent the next six years languishing in her bed, and although able to hear everything around her, she was unable to communicate. Tavalaro is able to recall her past in minute detail and weaves her memoir from threads of the past, her present, and her poems that transcend the two. Look Up for Yes is the courageous story of a woman struggling to find her voice and make it heard.