Please check, just in case…
APA Tip of the Day: Attributing
action – third person
“Inappropriately or illogically attributing action
in an effort to be objective can be misleading.
Examples of undesirable attribution include
use of the third person, anthropomorphism,
and use of the editorial we” [emphasis added]
(APA, 2010, p. 69).
• Use I or we instead of the author or the
authors, when referring to yourself.
1. There is a readings review due next week.
2. PowerPoint is not required, but
appreciated, as are handouts. Upload
everything to UNM Learn before class.
3. Don’t wait to get started on your final
4. You MAY include information from your
intervention paper and your classmates’
presentations in your final assignment. So
look ahead to see what you might need to
questions or
Today’s Topic:
Important Watermarks in the
Development of Communication:
 Intentional communication
 Conventional communication
 Symbolic communication
 Language
Intentional Communication:
“signaling behavior in which
the sender is aware a priori
of the effect that a signal will
have on his listener.”
(Bates, as cited in Reichle, Halle, & Drasgow,
1998, p. 419)
Intentionality is not “all-or-none”
1. Absence of awareness of a goal;
2. Awareness of the goal;
3. Simple plan to achieve the goal;
4. Coordinated plan to achieve the goal;
5. Alternative plan to achieve the goal; &
6. Metapragmatic awareness of the plan to
achieve the goal.
(Wetherby, Alexander and Prizant, 1998, p. 137)
Important Point!
Gestures, vocalizations, and eye gaze
are, for most children, are the earliest
means (forms) of communicating
intentionally. Therefore, if we want to
help children develop intentional
communication, we must be highly
responsive, in predictable contexts, of
their earliest (even non-intentional)
communication attempts.
Conventional communication?
 Communication forms that are
generally accepted and used within a
social group/community.
 These do NOT have to be “vetted”
forms (e.g. in a dictionary), but their
use should not be restricted to only a
few people (like ‘tumpted’).
 The opposite of conventional is
Discussion Question:
Why are gestures important to
consider at this level of
communication development?
Discussion Question
Why is it important to figure out
whether an individual is using symbolic
communication (e.g. abstract,
decontextualized representations) or
not? If they are using any kind of
representation (e.g. pictures) isn’t that
enough to know about?
 An arbitrary and abstract relationship
between the referent and its
 Use of the symbol in a
decontextualized manner.
Remember! Whether something is a
symbol or not depends on the relationship
between the referent and its representation
 Intentional
 Conventional
 Symbolic
 Comprehension and production of
written, spoken, and/or signed
 Rule governed
Quick Write
In what way(s) do the intervention
paradigm(s) described in the
readings differ from that we
typically see in classroom for
students with severe disabilities?
“Nonverbal” is not a useful descriptor
There is a HUGE range
of communication skill
levels within the group of
individuals who are
identified as ‘nonverbal’.
So, what to do?
First identify “where” your student is,
in terms of:
o intentionality
o symbol-ness
o language
Then, plan for intervention in natural
contexts, with real communication
partners, consistent with “promising
Intervention Target Selection:
Intentional communication is a
precursor to the development of
language. So, if a child has not yet
developed intentional
communication, language
production is probably not the most
appropriate target of intervention.
Developing “symbol-ness”
First words and early gestures are
typically not fully symbolic’ they
need to become “decontextualized.”
Therefore we need to encourage
students to use their words,
gestures, or other means to
communicate in a variety of
contexts and for a variety of
•Not only for requesting!
“Eliciting” Communication
Natural elicitation, rather than direct
elicitation, is recommended for early
language and communication
development. Following the individual’s
attentional lead, setting up routines and
arranging the environment, and
responding to communicative attempts
work better than artificial word
elicitation strategies (i.e. flash cards).
Cultural Sensitivity is a MUST!
It is important to consider the
communication style preferred by the
family. Some intervention strategy may
include some aspects that are
inappropriate for some cultural groups.
For example, telling a Native American
student to look at you when fostering
joint attention, or engaging only in adult
child dyads, instead of child-child dyads,
might be aspects you will need to modify.
No Cookbooks!
There is no one right strategy or
set of strategies for teaching
communication skills to all
individuals with intensive
communication needs or with a
specific disability label.
Don’t forget!
1. Accept and encourage multiple
modes of communication.
2. Plan for generalization of skills to a
variety of communicative contexts.
3. Take into account how different
contexts influence the individual’s
need for supports (i.e. cueing) and
the types of communication that
are appropriate within different
Looking ahead…
More on intervention!
Please take a
minute for the
minute paper.
And don’t forget to turn
your phone back on.