Video of the Week Teaching Prelinguistic Communication to Beginning Communicators

Published on January 6th, 2013 | by Carole Zangari

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Teaching Prelinguistic Communication to Beginning Communicators

Although we are eager to get our AAC learners communicating with symbols, there are some times when we have to intervene at the prelinguistic level. Goals at this level center on communicating intentionally using overt behaviors, such as pointing, reaching, showing, and leading. We try to provide them with many opportunities to learn and practice these behaviors.

Today, we’d like to share a set of brief videos from the website on Literacy for Children with Combined Hearing and Vision Loss. Because literacy develops from a good foundation in communication, the site demonstrates intervention designed to teach early communication skills.

As you watch each of these videos, look for how the interventionist does these 7 things:

  • Uses a context that is meaningful to the child
  • Communicates warmly and enthusiastically, but does not overwhelm the learner
  • Focuses on a single target behavior
  • Uses language to label what is happening
  • Provides physical guidance at first, then backs off to give the learner a chance to be independent
  • Accepts approximations of the target behavior (which she can later shape into a better form)
  • Reinforces the behavior with a natural consequence

You may also want to think about how to adapt this approach for individuals who do not have hearing and vision loss.

Teaching Prelinguistic Communication to Beginning Communicators

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About the Author

Carole Zangari

Carole Zangari has been involved in the practice and teaching of AAC for over 20 years. She is a professor of speech-language pathology and has been fortunate to have been able to introduce many children and adults to the world of AAC. "Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." Theodore Roosevelt



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