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*Special Price* Language of Emotions and Transitioning from PECS to SGDs

Both workshops listed below will be presented by Catherine Horton, M.S., CCC-SLP, BCBA.

The Language of Emotions

Many people with autism have difficulty acquiring language related to expressing their emotions and also identifying emotions in other people. In this training we will evaluate and challenge traditional approaches to teaching learners with autism to communicate about their emotions, as well as respond to such language from other people. This training begins with providing a theoretical approach to the Language of Emotions and ends with a variety of practical suggestions for teaching. B.F. Skinner provided and important guide to the analysis of language in his book, Verbal Behavior. In this book, he stresses the critical value of focusing on the function of various aspects of communication. His analysis includes a very interesting section on what he termed ‘private events’. That is, how do we learn to talk about things that happen inside of us? In this training we will review traditional approaches to teaching children with autism to communicate about their emotions as well as respond to such language from other people. Participants will be asked to consider how they currently teach various lessons related to emotions and then plan to incorporate Skinner’s analysis into the design of effective lessons. These lessons may involve very young children or teenagers and adults who continue to have difficulty with this topic. We also will look at a very important part of language that helps communicative partners better understand the perspective of someone who is attempting to communicate. We will review why this area is so difficult for those with autism and suggest teaching strategies that may lead to successful acquisition of these complex skills.

Transitioning from PECS to Speech Generating Devices (SGDs)

With the current influx of communication devices and apps to the market how do we ensure that basic functional communication skills are maintained and taught right from the beginning? Speech Generating Devices (SGDs) were first introduced for people with motor difficulties like cerebral palsy and now these devices are being introduced to our learners with autism and other related communication difficulties. For these populations, language and cognition are often compromised and basic social and communication skills have not always been mastered prior to the introduction of a device. Because of this, the way we teach the use of SGDs needs to be specifically tailored to fit the needs of each individual paying attention to devices capabilities vs. user capabilities.

This full-day workshop will describe procedures for analyzing a learner's current PECS skills to determine candidacy for transitioning to a Speech Generating Device (SGD), choosing a device, and teaching functional use of the device, and why we must teach the basic principles of communication to our learner first to ensure positive outcomes are achieved.

*Participants should bring a Speech Generating Device (SGD) to the training for use during a variety of activities.

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