Friday, December 3, 2010

What if we gave all nonverbal students a communication system? Shouldn’t it just be protocol?

Watch Classroom Modeling Classroom ModelingClassroom Modeling

That does not mean a Step by Step, not a Big Mac, not a Choice Board, not a communication board with 8 messages on it. While important tools they alone do not meet the needs of nonspeaking students. A system that addresses literacy skills, social skills and linguistic skills and teaches students an organized language system should be the protocol for any nonspeaking student.  This very notion become the driving force behind to teach communication to novice instructors.   A light tech communication book, called "The Communication Book" was used by  all of the students regardless of what perceived cognitive ability was or symbolic understanding. Scripting and instructional lessons centered around the communication book were a large part of this program.
More insights and resources from the Communican Classroom to come....

An Integrated Model of Communication Instruction was used to plan the educational and communication program for students.  

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(ASHA Position Statement on AAC) 
United States Society for Augmentative Alternative Communication  USSAAC


  1. A revolutionary idea I know but having seen how this system works first hand I am now a full convert and beleive that all non verbal children should be given the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas without the restrictions that a step by step or a limited symbol system place upon them. While this may seem at first like a tall order I now beleive it is completely possible and I already see it opening up whole new worlds for the students I work with.

  2. Rachel thanks for your support! Rachel is the teacher in the Communican Program mentioned above she has done an amazing job implementing the program in her classroom with the students.

  3. I can say first hand as a parent of a child in the Communican program how much she has benefited from being taught a comprehensive Communication system. Key to the success seems to be high expectations and loving encouragement. Being given the opportunity to say how she feels and what she thinks as an extended curriculum focus is life-changing.
    The results say it all - she is much more interactive and is enjoying communicating with her best yes - a wonderful smile - that is lighting up our lives. We have seen a dramatic change in her desire to communicate and she is enjoying it, and the effects are carrying over to home. We feel so blessed that this program exists. Thank you Pati and Rachael! -Liz

  4. This should be printed out and taped up on every classroom wall where there is a student with complex communication needs:

    A system that addresses literacy skills, social skills and linguistic skills and teaches students an organized language system should be the protocol for any nonspeaking student.

    And this is exactly the blueprint that families should have and follow so they can best guide and support the communication needs of their sons and daughters.

    For too long, our kids have been denied on the basis of their label.

    Pati - thank you for including these valuable resources.
    I'll be checking back often.
    Pam Harris

  5. Thanks Pam! I know I am preaching to the choir with my group of friends, however have been in too many classrooms too many places where judgments are made based on the outside package, labels, and ridiculous criteria. People outside our closed group of AT/AAC supporters need to hear these messages more often.

  6. The answer is ABSOLUTELY YES!! Great question and answer. Thanks for this amazing resource-- maybe ALL schools/families/educators will get on board.

  7. could you please send me the information you linked as the link doesn't work and my students need and deserve this and I am not sure how to best do this for them.

  8. is the communcation book still available to download? the link didnt work for me?