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Eyes on the Prize: Supporting Communicative Competence in Children

presented by Laura DeThorne

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Disclosure Statement:

Financial: Laura DeThorne receives compensation from MedBridge for this course. There is no financial interest beyond the production of this course.

Non-Financial: Laura DeThorne has no non-financial interests or relationships with MedBridge.

Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

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How would you define communicative competence? Would you know it if you saw it? As a speech-language pathologist it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that successful communication is a lot more than speech and language skills. This course will cast speech-language pathologists in the role of communication specialists and use a social model of communicative competence to provide some concrete suggestions for how to support/prioritize successful communication in children who use AAC.

Meet Your Instructor

Laura DeThorne, PhD, CCC-SLP

Dr. Laura DeThorne is an associated professor of Speech & Hearing Science at the University of Illinois and an ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist. Her work over the last 20 years has focused on understanding individual and group differences in language development and the potential implications for education and intervention practices. With the intent of bridging biomedical…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Conceptualizing Communicative Competence

This chapter will explore the concept of communicative competence from a social versus medical model of communication. The social model is critical for understanding the World Health Organization’s emphasis on participation, function, and contextual influences on disability (2002).

2. Focusing on Activities

This chapter introduces the first of four guiding principles for providing intervention from a social model of communicative competence, specifically focusing on supporting participation in meaningful activities rather than improving isolated skills. We will practice identifying key activities and drafting related individualized education program (IEP) goals.

3. Encouraging Flexible Multimodality

This chapter introduces the second guiding principle: encouraging flexible multimodal interactions. Laura DeThorne reviews studies that emphasize the importance of multimodality, address the myth that access to augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) inhibits speech development, provide relevant suggestions for drafting IEP goals, and get valuable insight from an adult AAC user.

4. Sharing Responsibility

This chapter introduces the third guiding principle, which focuses on sharing responsibility for children’s communicative interactions. Specifically, I will highlight the key strategies of presumed competence, environmental arrangement, and aided language stimulation, while providing specific examples of how such strategies can be applied within classroom interactions.

5. Drawing on Shared Histories and Building Future Interactions

This chapter introduces the fourth guiding principle for providing intervention from a social model of communicative competence, specifically by reflecting on how interactions are shaped over time. In particular, this chapter provides examples of how this principle can be applied to classroom interactions with children who use AAC. Finally this chapter features an interview with two adult communication partners, one of whom uses AAC.

6. Question and Answer

The final chapter of this course features a question and answer session applying concepts from the course to real-world clinical scenarios.

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