For my students with complex communication needs (CCN) sitting in a closet (haha) is not “natural” nor desirable. I like to capitalize on meaningful interactions (which could vary from student to student) within natural settings. I have found multiple benefits to providing services using a combination of primarily push-in with some pull-out. Here are my top 3 benefits I have found to be most valuable during my push-in sessions:
- Observing active participation during learning and language opportunities in order to support language and literacy. “SLPs need to understand and determine the focus of the curriculum unit as a whole in order to contextualize the developed language goal.” (Hanneberry et. al. 2012). Collaborating with the teacher to ensure consistency is critical. Engaging with your student during classroom instruction, routines and social interactions provides information then used during pull out sessions to explicitly teach, modify and probe so that students with CCN or AAC users are able to access educational standards. I like to identify frequently used or new vocabulary to program into the AAC device (both academic and social).
- Additionally, I use this time to highlight the student’s language and literacy abilities. Working directly with the teacher and support staff to demonstrate effective modeling with the AAC (AKA aided language stimulation), accentuating the students’ covert communication attempts and promoting further communication opportunities.
- Notice carryover of skills from one setting to another. I mean, this is the goal, right? If your student can only perform in your push in but not in the community- we need to address and analyze why. This requires we go on occasional community outings (or provide the paraprofessional a quick checklist, ask parents to send home videos or report back on how the student is handling operational skills at home (see link for a sample).
Takeaway: Understanding and knowing HOW your student is interacting and communicating across environments has really boosted my students’ desire to effectively use their AAC device to actively engage and understand all that is going on around them.
Let’s keep learning together! If you want more information like this sign up to join my email newsletter!
Have a great day!