Balance Pans: A Learning Toy that Helps Build Conversation Skills

September 2, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts

Balance Pans: A Learning Toy that Helps Build Conversation Skills
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Balance: A Learning Toy that Helps Build Conversation SkillsWe’ve been thinking a lot lately about the social skills of some of our AAC friends who are not quite fitting in the way that they would like. SLPs frequently work on social interaction skills with learners on the ASD spectrum, but it’s not something that we always think about with learners who have cerebral palsy, apraxia, or other developmental disabilities.

The idea of using a balance scale as a metaphor for balance in conversational turns is intriguing and one we’ve explored a bit. In this video from Autism Teaching Strategies, Joel Shaul demonstrates the strategy and discusses it relative to turn-taking. That makes sense for a lot of learners who don’t respond to non-obligatory situations as well as they could.

We’ve also used it for helping people with AAC see how their utterances compare to the utterances of their conversational partners. Using this metaphor has helped them use conversational control messages more frequently (e.g., ‘That’s right;’ ‘I agree;’ ‘Tell me more’), add detail to very brief messages, and think about the cohesion.

We’d love to know if you’re using this strategy or if you use other metaphors that help build conversation skills.

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This post was written by Carole Zangari

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