Selecting, Confirming, and Maintaining an Alternative Method of Speaking for Non-Verbal Children and Adults
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Patrick McGreevy, Ph.D., BCBA-D Presented at the 2016 Michigan Autism Conference
Abstract: Many children do not learn to communicate with spoken words. Many of these non-verbal children reach adulthood without an effective, alternative method of speaking. Some children are taught to ‘exchange pictures’, ‘select pictures on an electronic device with voice output’, or ‘use signs’. Still others are not provided with an alternative method of speaking at all. As the children become older, those who were provided with an alternative method, often abandon this method in favor of methods like ‘informal gestures’ or ‘leading others to what they want’, which are portable and which do not require special equipment. This abandonment suggests the need for systematic procedures which insure that alternative methods of speaking selected for non-verbal children are effective and endure through their adult years. The presenter describes systematic procedures for selecting an alternative method of speaking for specific learners and then testing the effectiveness of this method.