AAC: Beyond Teaching Requests
Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) interventions are frequently recommended for individuals with Complex Communication Needs (CCN) and there is a preponderance of research supporting its use. While there are several communicative functions such as requesting, telling about something, answering questions, greetings, and protesting, about two thirds of the AAC interventions examined in research have addressed requesting. It is understandable that communication therapy begins with requesting because it has direct and immediate utility in that it can ensure the individual gets their wants and needs met. However, once requesting emerges, the other purposes of communication become necessary. Communicative functions such as labeling, commenting, and telling about something are rarely addressed in the research literature, yet they serve powerful and essential purposes for social interaction and expression of knowledge. Clinicians have little evidence-based guidance for how to approach teaching individuals with CCN to engage in information sharing behaviors. Based on an ongoing systematic review, the presenter will describe the extant research on AAC interventions addressing labeling, commenting, and telling about something. In addition, recommendations for teaching the various communicative functions via AAC will be offered based on a fine-grained analysis of context-communication relations.
5 mins - Disclosures, Introduction
10 mins - Review of current research
30 mins - Objectives
Summarize the extant literature on teaching labeling, commenting, and telling communicative functions via AAC intervention.
Distinguish between the contextual variables for each of the communicative functions.
Explain why understanding the functions of communication is critical to teaching them properly.
10 mins - Results and Recommendations
5 mins - Q&A
ASHA: 0.1 ASHA CEUs,
CA SLPAHB: 1 hr
CMH: 1 hr
About the Presenter
Dr. Trina Spencer
Bio and Disclosures
Bio: Dr. Spencer is an associate professor at the Rightpath Research & Innovation Center in the Department of Child and Family Studies, University of South Florida. She earned a specialist degree in School Psychology and a PhD in Disability Disciplines from Utah State University with emphases in language and literacy and early childhood special education. She has been a board certified behavior analyst since 2001. Dr. Spencer has worked with culturally, linguistically, and economically diverse children as well as children with disabilities, their teachers, and their families for 20 years. She has published 54 articles in peer-reviewed journals, 5 book chapters, and 22 non-peer reviewed articles, briefs, or encyclopedia entries. Much of her research has resulted in commercialized or open access educational materials, most of which are available at trinastoolbox.com. She has two current Institute for Education Sciences (IES) funded projects related to academic language and literacy interventions for at risk students. Her publications and editorial service span a number of disciplines including applied behavior analysis, speech-language pathology, early childhood education, special education, applied linguistics, and school psychology. She serves as the chair for the American Speech Language Hearing Association’s (ASHA) committee on Clinical Research, Implementation Science, and Evidence-Based Practice (CRISP), leads a national network of early childhood researchers who study Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports (MTSS) and serves as an editorial board member for Language-Speech-Hearing Services in Schools (LSHSS). Dr. Spencer led the ABAI Practice Board workgroup to develop the resource document entitled, Interprofessional Collaborative Practice Between Speech Language Pathologists and Behavior Analysts. Benefitting from strong collaborations with community partners, Dr. Spencer maintains a spirited research agenda to improve the academic and social outcomes of the nation’s most vulnerable students.
Financial— Dr. Spencer received a speaking fee from the Lavi Institute/Power Up Conference
Nonfinancial— No relevant nonfinancial relationship exists.
- Summarize the extant literature on teaching labeling, commenting, and telling communicative functions via AAC intervention.
- Distinguish between the contextual variables for each of the communicative functions.
- Explain why understanding the functions of communication is critical to teaching them properly.
Satisfactory Course Completion Requirements
This course must be watched in its entirety. In order to receive the CMH or the CEU certificate, a quiz is required to be completed with 80% success.
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