Communication-Improving Strategies Used in the Learning Disabilities Private Schools
For the children with learning disabilities, expressing thoughts, views, needs, feelings and problems can be a difficult task. The problem with communicating could be due to a complete or a partial inability to communicate. As the type of disability can manifest itself in a myriad of forms, learning disabilities private schools take a three-sixty degree approach to cater to the diverse needs of their students.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is an effective strategy used in schools and at home that helps in making communication easier and also in improving communication.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication is an inclusive term which encompasses all forms of communication (excluding oral speech) which are used in expressing needs, ideas, thoughts and wants. Facial expressions, gestures, symbols, pictures and writing are also included in the scope of AAC.
AAC can supplement the existing speech skills and improve non-functional speech in children facing major issues with speech and/or language.
Learning disabilities private schools commonly use special augmentative tools like symbol and picture communication boards along with electronic devices like Voice Output Communication Aid (VOCA) that can help students with communication problems express themselves better.
With a better ability to communicate, the students can improve social interaction, performance at school, and also their self-worth.
However, the usage of AAC should in no way stop a child from using his/her existing speaking skills to express and communicate as the purpose of AAC is to augment the existing communication skills and not replace them altogether.
Different types of AAC systems used in the learning disabilities private schools:
There are two forms of AAC systems available to aid students communicate better and easily:
1) Aided communication systems: These require the usage special equipment along with bodily gestures to communicate. They range from communication boards and books, paper and pencil to electronic equipment that can produce voice (speech generating devices or SGDs) or written output.
These devices enable children to use pictorial symbols, alphabets, words and phrases to produce messages. Some complex devices can also be programmed to communicate in multiple spoken languages.
2) Unaided communication systems: These systems depend solely on bodily gestures for communication and include body and sign language along with gestures.
Depending on where the child is, he/she may prefer using different strategies in a day to communicate in the fastest way possible; this is known as multi-modal communication. For example, when at home, a child may prefer communicating with parents and family members using gestures only, whereas at school, the same child will prefer using some communication device.