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ENHANCING COMMUNICATION SKILLS FOR STUDENTS WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS (ASD) IN THE GENERAL EDUCATION CLASSROOM Module 3 Lesson 1 Receptive Language. Introduction and Definitions Individuals with ASD have varying degrees of impairment in communication skills. Communication and language characteristics commonly seen include: Lack of joint attention - students with ASD often do not communicate in order to share focus and interact with others. Characteristics (continued): Expressive language often includes immediate or delayed echolalia. Students with ASD may have substantial delays in receptive language ability (Beukelman & Mirenda, 2005).
Receptive (and expressive) vocabulary is frequently restricted to nouns or object labels Other word forms (such as action words or verbs, modifiers such as adjectives, and adverbs) develop later in children with ASD. Students with ASD may not understand the conventional meaning of words or phrases but may instead hear a word or chunk of language (ASHA, 2006).
Students with ASD show literalness in their understanding of language (Paul, 2007; ASHA, 2006). Students with ASD have difficulty understanding the nonverbal communication of others (ASHA, 2006).
They may not respond as well in tasks requiring typical interpersonal interaction (Paul, 2007) Example: The student with ASD may not do as well when asked to answer classroom activity questions, directed to go to another person to get or deliver something, or directed to imitate someone (gesturally or vocally).
Students with ASD may show differences in related skills such as sensory processing abilities, which affect their responsiveness. As language comprehension improves, students with ASD may continue to need help to understand and know what to do, especially in new situations; they may perseverate by continuing to use the old strategies in new situations (ASHA, 2006). Summary Ways to adapt activities to promote receptive language skills Teach in usually occurring activities and situations -- Teach specific skills in several activities, as they apply to various situations, allowing many opportunities to practice and to help with generalization.
Summary Ways to adapt activities to promote receptive language skills When giving instructions or discussing a lesson with students with ASD, use strategies to help them process information, attend to key words, and comprehend -- It may be helpful to stress important words in several activities, beginning with activities of interest to the student. Effective systematic instruction in the general education classroom includes naturalistic instruction. Course assessment is valuable to the teaching process because it allows you to identify what is “working” in the classroom, make informed revisions in future courses and record success for funding agencies and other actors. Effective teaching can be measured through different types of direct and indirect assessment. The following matrix [Table A: Learning Outcome Assessment Matrix] will guide you in the process of aligning over-arching goals, desired learning outcomes, teaching methods and assessment strategies for your course.
When developing measurable learning outcomes, consider including a combination of lower- and higher-order thinking skills.
Table D provides a sample of pre- and post-test assessment content aligned with the overarching goals, desired learning outcomes and teaching methods in a learning outcome assessment matrix. Other types of indirect assessment include informal feedback strategies (incorporating specific questions into a lesson) focus groups, self-reflection assignments and individual student interviews. In this unit students will analyze various aspects of self and interpersonal skills in terms of human growth and development in adolescence. The activities of Practical Life take the child closer to independence and bundled with that are feelings of security, confidence, and self worth.
This area directly feeds the need of the children to imitate the activity of the adults in their lives and to become independent. Movement is incorporated into every Practical Life exercise (indeed, almost every classroom activity)- from the fine dexterity needed to spoon tiny beans from one container to another to the gross motor work of traveling back and forth from the sink with a heavy pitcher of water. Learning how to work and play together with others in a peaceful and caring community is a basic life skill. Differences of opinion and misunderstandings are a natural component of social relationships and can lead to conflict.
The communication characteristics they manifest can vary along a continuum ranging from mild to severe.

So a student may use sentence structures and grammar at a higher level than their understanding of the words used.
Speech usually has unusual intonation, pitch, rate, rhythm, volume, and other differences (Paul, 2007).
Words other than nouns require an ability to determine and interpret anothers focus of attention and intention (ASHA, 2006). They may have trouble understanding that words have synonyms or multiple meanings, or that there can be different interpretations of the same words in different contexts such as jokes.
This may include facial expressions, gestures, eye gaze, or body postures of others, and taking the perspective of others, such as to understand how others think and feel (Beukelman & Mirenda, 2005). Include activities and items of interest and predictable routines to promote participation and learning.
Try slower or deliberate rate of speech, pause or provide a little extra time (time delay); and use simple input and routine, repetitive language (as in theme-based lessons) to help students process information. Naturalistic instruction to promote receptive language skills and participation involves structuring the environment, and adapting methods and activities to promote receptive language skills and increase participation.
Responsive interaction strategies (following the students lead) – these promote a students joint attention, balanced communication, responsiveness, and engagement with others and the environment in a conversational way (Noonan and McCormick, 2006; Landa, 2007).
Responsive interaction strategies (continued) Example: Teaching comprehension of nouns and verbs using this strategy (with a student who sometimes says single words and is not responding to interactions from the teacher or others) – Today, the student is playing with his favorite toy dog. Environmental arrangement strategies – these promote students communication, and are easy to include throughout the day. Environmental arrangement strategies (continued) Example: Tom is nonverbal, loves puzzles and play dough. Modeling – this can be used to teach turn-taking, imitation, basic vocabulary, and conversational skills within activities.
Since measuring teaching is clearly not an exact science, the more varied the data sources, the more useful the measurement is likely to be. Table B is an example of a completed, yet simplified matrix [Table B] for a statistics course organized according to these principles. Student A, while not achieving the same level as Student B, actually showed greater improvement as a result of teaching strategies and course instruction.
These types of exercises offer instructors the opportunity to gauge comprehension of material and achievement of specific learning goals.
Students will demonstrate effective interpersonal skills using a variety of problem solving and decision making tools. According to Montessori and current research, movement is essential for the development of the intellect. They delight in taking care of their surroundings.  They arrange flowers, sweep up spills,and jump in to help a friend in need of assistance.
Learning how to greet someone graciously is one of the first acts of courtesy learned in our classroom. Lessons in Grace and Courtesy teach everyday social customs, such as how to ask for or offer help, how to join in an activity and how to graciously decline an invitation. Learning how to express one’s needs clearly and to communicate honestly is critical in order to prevent an outburst and come to a peaceful resolution.
Communication involves the ability to comprehend language, express language, and use language to interact with others. Students with ASD use language most often to communicate wants and needs (by requesting or protesting) (Paul, 2007; ASHA, 2006). Form (syntax, morphology, and phonology) – refers to grammar or sentence components such as nouns, verbs, the basic noun phrase and verb phrase; and sentence types, and the ability to produce sounds in words (Paul, 2007). Potential classroom application: Use the students strengths such as visual skills for instruction. Use the key word in several activities, with several items, etc., to promote generalization.

This may also affect their ability to apply information learned in one situation to another. Potential classroom application: When giving instructions or discussing a lesson, demonstrate or model task requirements, give specific or concrete information, use short repetitive language and predictable routines when possible to facilitate comprehension. Potential classroom application: To encourage participation in tasks that require interactions, helpful strategies may include– involving a favorite activity (to promote joint attention), repetition and modeling, having a favorite activity naturally happen next as reinforcement, and including visual cues. The next few slides describe some of the naturalistic instructional procedures recommended for use in classrooms and other settings to promote receptive language in students with ASD (Noonan & McCormick, 2006). Specifically, the teacher follows the students attention focus or lead, imitates or balances turns to maintain the activity or topic, talks about what the student is doing or about the activity, responds to all of the students verbal and nonverbal communication and matches the language complexity of the students language.
To facilitate receptive language, use any of the strategies below, and then immediately provide the material or activity when the student responds. Guidelines for developing and assessing student learning outcomes for undergraduate majors.
It is the child’s means of influencing and understanding himself and his surroundings. We do daily role plays in our class to demonstrate how to handle various social situations.
Typically developing persons learn to comprehend and use verbal and nonverbal language to communicate.
Pragmatics also involves discourse skills (turn- taking, topic maintenance, topic change), and the flexibility to modify speech for different listeners and social situations (Paul, 2007; ASHA, 2006). Expand students understanding of communicative intents (such as when someone asks a question, shows, etc.). Encourage participation and interaction in tasks -- Helpful strategies may include: involving a favorite activity (for joint attention), repetition and modeling, having a favorite activity naturally happen next as reinforcement, and visual cues. She then makes the dog run and says dog run and laughs, hoping to facilitate the student doing the same thing.
These strategies should increase the likelihood that the student will want to attend, process, and respond: Provide interesting materials and activities Place desired materials in sight but out of reach Offer small portions of needed or desired materials Provide many choice-making opportunities, setting up situations in which students need assistance, and Create unexpected situations.
The teacher asks him what he wants to use for his project, and he does not answer the question.
Children can make a perceptible impact on their immediate environment and this is a very empowering feeling.
The children love to act out scenarios in which they have to deal with conflicts and resolve them! Use simple input language (key words), and pause or provide a little extra time (time delay) to help students process information and respond.
Specific teaching strategies may depend on the students language level and other needs -- Collaborate with your speech- language therapist and other team members to individualize instruction that addresses students specific receptive language needs. Use the strategies, or steps within strategies, alone or in combination with other techniques.
The teacher then shows him two possibilities: play dough or crayons, and asks, Do you want play dough or crayons? Use this technique when it is appropriate for the student to receive the item or activity he wants. Their challenges in social interactions and behavior also affect their ability to communicate and relate to others in everyday activities.
These communication characteristics pose important implications for instruction, suggesting that certain content and instructional approaches may be more effective than others. In this case, including materials of interest and a choice-making setup encourage Tom to learn to answer the question (to follow the task direction).

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communication skills classroom activities definition

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