Hunter College of the City University of New York

Hunter College of the City University of New York
Department of Special Education
SPED 792: Language Development and Alternate Communication Systems for Learners
with Low Incidence Disabilities: Severe Disabilities Including Deaf-Blindness
Fall 2008
Ellen Trief, Ed.D
[email protected]
Room 911 W
212 772-4110
Office Hours: Monday 2-4
Wednesday 2-4
Course Description: Designed to help students learn basic information about
acquisition and development of language skills in both normally developing
children and in severely/multiply disabled learners. Students will study the
effects of severe impairments on communication and the methods of facilitating
language acquisition. Basic concepts involved in how to create and use
augmentative and alternative communication systems with children diagnosed
with severe expressive language delays will be discussed at length. This course
requires a minimum of 5 hours of field experience (see below for description of
the field-based assignment.)
The Conceptual Framework of the HC School of Education
The School of Education grounds its course content in the best field-based
research and practice. Faculty review findings from their respective disciplines to
provide our candidates with the strategies needed for effective instruction. Our
candidates master the theory and practice of effective pedagogy in their subject
areas, and acquire the tools for reflection on and improvement of their
professional work. They achieve a solid foundation in the history, philosophy,
psychology, sociology and methodology of education that enriches their teaching.
Candidates gain expertise in analyzing and using assessment of student
performance to guide their instruction and create optimal learning environments
for students.
Integrated Clinical Experiences
The School of Education ensures that its candidates understand and experience
the realities of school contexts. We establish strong connections with partnering
schools in New York City and surrounding areas. We provide extensive fieldwork
with supportive supervision in these schools. Our candidates engage in carefully
sequenced and comprehensively assessed clinical experiences prior to their
Educating a Diverse Student Population
The School of Education provides its candidates with the critical skills and
understanding necessary to be responsive to the multiple challenges of all
learners: students with a wide range of backgrounds, cultures, abilities and prior
knowledge. We teach candidates to create humane and ethical learning
communities in their classrooms and schools. They gain the ability to collaborate
successfully with parents, families, community members, school faculty and staff
in order to provide this support.
Use of Technology to Enhance Learning
The School of Education prepares candidates with the practical and theoretical
knowledge of effective and judicious uses of technology in a variety of school
settings and for a broad spectrum of learners. Formative and summative
assessments of our candidates’ technology competencies are a critical
component of preparing them for tomorrow’s schools. We believe that
appropriate uses of educational technology enhance learning, assessment and
CEC Content Standards Assessed in this Course:
Standard #6: Language: Special educators understand typical and
atypical language development and the ways in which exceptional conditions can
interact with an individual’s experience with and use of language. Special
educators use individualized strategies to enhance language development and
teach communication skills to individuals with exceptional learning needs.
Special educators are familiar with augmentative, alternative, and assistive
technologies to support and enhance communication of individuals with
exceptional needs. Special educators match their communication methods to an
individual’s language proficiency and cultural and linguistic differences. Special
educators provide effective language models, and they use communication
strategies and resources to facilitate understanding of subject matter for
individuals with exceptional learning needs whose primary language is not
Knowledge: Augmentative, alternative, and assistive communication
Skills: Use strategies to support and enhance communication skills of
individuals with exceptional learning needs.
Policy on Academic Honesty
Students are expected to follow all academic honesty policies as outlined in the
Hunter College Graduate Catalogue. In brief, those policies specify that “any
deliberate borrowing of ideas, terms, statements, or knowledge without clear and
specific acknowledgment of the source is intellectual theft and is called
plagiarism.” It is not plagiarism to borrow the ideas, terms, statements, or
knowledge of others if the source is clearly and specifically acknowledged.
Students who consult such critical material and wish to include some of the
insights, terms or statements encountered must provide full citations in an
appropriate form.
Expectations for Written Proficiency in English
Students must demonstrate consistently satisfactory written English in course
Access and Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Hunter College students with disabilities are provided for by the Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires that they be provided equal access to
education and reasonable accommodations. In compliance with the ADA and
with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Hunter’s Office for Students with
Disabilities is committed to ensuring this educational access and
accommodations. For information and assistance, contact the Office for Access
and Accommodations in Room E1124 or call (1)(212)772-4857 or TTY
Course Outline
Sept. 8
The Stages of Normal Language Development and Acquisition
Current Language Theories
Sept. 15
The Stages of Normal Language Development and Acquisition
Speech/Language Delays/Disorders
Sept. 22
Procedures for Enhancing Non-Symbolic Communication
Sept. 29
No Class
Oct. 6
The Basics of Aural Anatomy
Oct. 14
Assessment of Auditory Functioning: Hearing Aids and Assistive
Listening Systems
*Assignment Due (Group 1): Article Presentation
Oct. 20
Introduction to Augmentative and Alternative Communication
*Assignment Due (Group 2): Article Presentation
Oct. 27
Unaided Communication Symbols: Gestures and Manual Sign
Aided Symbol Systems: Tangible Systems
*Assignment Due (Group 3): Article Presentation
Nov. 3
Midterm Examination
(On material from first 7 weeks of semester)
Nov. 10
Aided Language Systems: Representational Symbols
Designing a Graphic Mode System
Rate Enhancement
*Assignment Due (Group 4): Article Presentation
Nov. 17
Alternative Access/Direct Selection/Scanning
Modifying Communication Symbols for Learners with Visual
Survey of Augmentative and Alternative Communication Devices
Nov. 24
*Assignment Due (half the class): Presentation/Demonstration of
AAC Device
Dec. 1
Switch Characteristics and Switch Toys
*Assignment Due (half the class): Presentation/Demonstration of
AAC Device
Dec. 8
Technology and the IEP
Team Building for AAC Assessment and Intervention
Integrating Technology into the Educational Curriculum
Building Opportunities for Communication
Dec. 22
Final Examination
Field Experience: A minimum of 5 hours of field experience is required for this course
and is necessary to complete a field-based assignment. You will observe the various
models used by non-linguistic learners, identify and describe the various types of
specialized materials and devices, and submit suggestions to enhance interactions for that
learner in the classroom with the use of an augmentative and/or alternative
communication system.
Each student’s grade will be based upon the following performance criteria. Rubrics will
be distributed prior to assignment due dates for guidance in completing assignments.
Group Journal Article Presentation…...………….….15%
Oral Presentation/Demonstration of AAC Device…..15%
Written Report of AAC Device……………………...15%
F. Class Participation…………………………………...10%
Course Readings
Sept. 8
First Day of Class
(No assigned readings)
Sept. 15
Beukelman, D., & Mirenda, P., (2005). Augmentative and Alternative
Communication: Supporting Children and Adults with Complex
Communication Needs (3rd Edition). Baltimore, Paul H. Brookes
Publishing Co. (pages 327-334)
MacFarland, S., (1995). Teaching Strategies of the Van Dijk Curricular
Approach. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness. Volume 89,
Number 3, May-June. (pages 222-228).
Oct. 6
Beukelman, D., & Mirenda, P., (2005) (pages 255-285)
Oct. 14
Huebner et al (pages 16-22, 39-42)
Oct. 20
Beukelman & Mirenda (2005) (pages 3-14)
Oct. 27
Beukelman & Mirenda (2005) (pages 35-80)
Trief, E. (2007) The use of tangible cues for children with multiple
and visual impairment, The Journal of Visual Impairment.
Nov. 3
Midterm Examination
(No assigned readings)
Nov. 10
Beukelman & Mirenda (2005) (pages 334-350)
Nov. 17
Dupuis, J., (1996). Modifying Communication Symbols for the Persons
With Visual Impairment. The ISAAC Bulletin. May. (pages 1-3, 5)
Light, J., (1997). “Communication is the Essence of Human Life”:
Reflections on Communicative Competence. Augmentative and
Alternative Communication, Volume 13, June. (pages 61-70)
Beukelman & Mirenda (2005) (pages 81-110)
Bruce, S., (2002). Impact of a Communication Intervention Model on
Teacher’s Practice with Children Who Are Congenitally Deaf-Blind.
Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, March. (pages 154-168)
Nov. 24
Beukelman & Mirenda (2005) (pages 133-157)
Beukelman & Mirenda (2005) (pages 111-131)
Dec. 8
Beukelman & Mirenda (2005) (pages 286-326)
Van Tatenhove, G., (2003). AAC for Adolescents: Self-Directed
Conversation for Teens. Advance for Speech-Language Pathologists &
Audiologists. Volume 13, Number 31. (pages 7-8)
Mirenda, P., (2003). Toward Functional Augmentative and Alternative
Communication for Students with Autism: Manual Signs, Graphic
Symbols, and Voice Output Communication Aids. Language, Speech, and
Hearing in Schools. Volume 34, July. (pages 203-216)
Dec. 22
Final Examination