From PECS to High Tech: A Systematic ApproachBy Lowe, Fonda; Beattle, Amanda; Closing the Gap, Vol. 24, No. 1, pp. 1, 14-15
Publication Date: April/May 2005
Article discusses the teaching principles employed at the Ivymount Autism Program in Rockville, Maryland, which is a nonprofit day school for children with disabilities. The Autism Program serves a total of 43 students with autism and pervasive developmental disabilities. The teaching strategies utilized in the Autism Program are based on applied behavior analysis methodologies, which are employed when teaching students to use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices. The authors contend that the most important teaching principle utilized in the Autism Program is reinforcement, which increasing the chances of a target behavior of being repeated. The instructors first teach students who use AAC devices to make requests. For example, when a student makes a request for an item using his or her AAC system, they are immediately given the item to reinforce the behavior of making the request. The authors outline the process of introducing basic AAC devices, and discuss making upgrades once students have progressed. For example, students often begin using small picture communication symbols that represent various foods and activities, and later move on the symbols that represent more advanced questions, such as “What’s your name,” or “Where do you live?” The authors discuss how these interventions can help to develop students’ communication skills.
Published by: Closing the Gap, Inc. (Website:http://www.closingthegap.com)