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In this episode we had the great pleasure of welcoming Sarah Gregory, MS, CCC-SLP onto our show to discuss augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and Inclusion in a virtual environment. Throughout she reminds us that inclusion is a mindset, not a location. She also highlights what we can do as SLPs to embrace the continuum of service delivery and collaborate with stakeholders and communication partners. You can learn more about Sarah here.
Inclusion of students with disabilities, specifically those with Complex Communication Needs (CCN), is an evidence-based practice that is becoming more common in general education (Quirk, Ryndak & Taub, 2016). School inclusion reduces the risk of social isolation that is endemic for students with CCN, while fostering opportunities to learn the regular curriculum.
Educating students with CCN in general education classrooms creates dilemmas for SLPs and educators on a normal day, but has become even more challenging during this time of remote learning. In the absence of carefully planned interventions, we risk that students with CCN will be physically present (in-person or virtually) but not authentically included in the social or academic learning environment of their classrooms.
SLPs can play an important role in including students with CCN in general education classrooms by co-teaching and including peers in all stages of instruction. Assistive technology supports can be utilized to make classroom material more universally designed. The beauty of inclusion is that when we design instruction for students with complex needs we create lessons that are more accessible to the whole class.
The global pandemic and resulting pivot to remote learning has created many challenges in education and including students with CCN. With collaboration and support, authentic inclusion is still possible and absolutely worth pursuing for all students.
Describe two benefits of including students with complex communication needs in general education classrooms
List one strategy to increase authentic inclusion during remote learning
Describe one model of co-teaching in a virtual environment
Sarah Gregory Financial: Sarah receives a salary from the Ithaca City School District, income from speaking honorariums and online courses. Sarah has received codes to trial therapy products/tools. Sarah Gregory Non-financial: Sarah is a member of ASHA and the corresponding SIG 12. She is also on the SIG 12 professional development committee
Kate Grandbois financial disclosures: Kate is the owner / founder of Grandbois Therapy + Consulting, LLC and co-founder of SLP Nerdcast. Kate Grandbois non-financial disclosures: Kate is a member of ASHA, SIG 12, and serves on the AAC Advisory Group for Massachusetts Advocates for Children. She is also a member of the Berkshire Association for Behavior Analysis and Therapy (BABAT), MassABA, the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) and the corresponding Speech Pathology and Applied Behavior Analysis SIG.
Amy Wonkka financial disclosures: Amy is an employee of a public school system and co-founder for SLP Nerdcast. Amy Wonkka non-financial disclosures: Amy is a member of ASHA, SIG 12, and serves on the AAC Advisory Group for Massachusetts Advocates for Children.
Erickson, K. & Koppenhaver, D. (2020) Comprehensive Literacy for All: Teaching Children with Significant Disabilities to Read and Write. Baltimore, MD: Brookes.
Erickson, K., & Sheldon, E. (2020). Emergent Literacy Instruction for Students with Significant Disabilities in the Regular Classroom. Assistive Technology Outcome and Benefits, 14(1), 135-160.
Moore, S. (2016). One without the other: Stories of unity through diversity and inclusion. Winnipeg, Manitoba: Portage & Main Press.
Quirk, C., Ryndak, D., & Taub, D. (2017) Research and evidence-based practices to promote membership and learning in general education for students with extensive support needs. Inclusion, 5(2), 94-109. doi:10.1352/2326-6988-5.2.94
Time Ordered Agenda:
10 minutes: Introduction, Disclaimers and Disclosures
20 minutes: Descriptions of benefits of including students with complex communication needs in general education classrooms
15 minutes: Descriptions of strategies to increase authentic inclusion during remote learning
10 minutes: Descriptions of co-teaching in a virtual environment
5 minutes: Summary and Closing
The contents of this episode are not meant to replace clinical advice. SLP Nerdcast, its hosts and guests do not represent or endorse specific products or procedures mentioned during our episodes unless otherwise stated. We are NOT PhDs, but we do research our material. We do our best to provide a thorough review and fair representation of each topic that we tackle. That being said, it is always likely that there is an article we’ve missed, or another perspective that isn’t shared. If you have something to add to the conversation, please email us! Wed love to hear from you!