The Annual Reports Submitted by the E.S. Ashburn Staff



Language/Communication Skills:

Since we have been working with communication symbols and signs during his school day, Mark has shown some progress. On a daily basis he is exposed to the symbols and signs for "more", "stop", "want", "finished". "eat", "drink", "sad", "happy", "angry", "computer", "work", "play" and "music." Other symbols/signs have been introduced, but are not used every day. Mark consistently points to "music" and "computer"; we feel confident that he understands what these two symbols mean. Mark is consistently able to point to "eat", "drink", "sad" and "more", and he automatically pairs the signs with each of these symbols. He is less consistent with the other symbols.

In order to "play" (or have a break) during speech/language time, Mark must get my attention (by touching my arm) and then point to the item of his choice on a communication board. He is able to do this, but sometimes grabs at my chin to turn my head toward him. I do not accept this, as it would not be appropriate for him to use that to get other people's attention. Instead I re-direct him to touch my arm and he complies consistently. As one of his IEP objectives, Mark has mastered "getting the listener's attention by touching the arm", in the speech/language room. He also is successful at doing this with Ms. Leader. He continues to use loud vocalizations to get attention in the classroom and in other settings, however. It will be important for us to continue to move into the other settings to make certain that he carries over his new skill. (getting attention appropriately).

Mark has mastered the objective involving "getting an object by using a gesture". Mark is able to point to a concrete object that he wants when asked "which do you want, Mark?" Also in response to certain questions, Mark is consistent in using his "yes/no" communication card. He points to the accurate word, but nods his head even when he is pointing to "no". It is important that he either learn to shake his head or that he not nod. This will be confusing to his "listener", otherwise. Mark can answer the question, "Is this what you want?" or "Do you want this?", when the object is at hand, but he cannot generalize this to using only the communication board. (Mark gets very frustrated when the listener points to a symbol on the communication board and says, "do you want this, Mark?", especially if his answer is "no").
Socially, Mark can respond to "hello" and "goodbye" with a verbal prompts from Ms. Leader. He inconsistently waves his hand, but it is not evident to the person that he is waving to. He also inconsistently looks in general direction of the person, given a verbal prompt. His objectives for social greetings have been met with adults. He does not respond to peers as consistently.

Mark can meet the objective for attending to task and initiating each task with maximal cues, depending on the activity. In speech/language and with Ms. McCullough, Mark is very successful because the situation is 1:1 and he is given tasks that he is able to accomplish. When the material is too difficult for him, (as in reading group), Mark cries, and avoids that activity very effectively. This same behavior is noted for the objective involving completing an adapted version of a task... Recently, Mark was paired with another student to do a cooperative activity. Mark kicked, cried and screamed, apparently out of frustration. He got up out of his seat, layed down, anything he could do to avoid working with his partner. The partner was given cues on what to say and how to get Mark to listen and work with him, but it was unsuccessful. When Ms. Leader asked him to do the same thing, he completed an adapted version of the activity - still with crying, but he did try it.

Mark has been working on matching words to his environment. He is able to match every word we have given to him. (He has worked on "art room", "office", "speech room", "classroom 10", "computer room", "music room" and "boys bathroom".) Mark is able to bring us to each of these rooms given auditory and visual cues. He has completed this objective on his IEP.

Mark uses his Canon for his daily entries into his journal. A time has been set aside for this and Mark copies his entry or is facilitated by Ms. Leader. Every week Mark copies his spelling words and/or functional sight words into his journal on the Canon.

Mark has been working on an objective involving scanning photographs of "happy" "sad" and "angry". He is not consistent in looking at these pictures. He continues to need work in this area.

Although we worked with Mark every day for four weeks on matching students' names to their pictures, he was not able to accomplish this with any consistency. Even when using his own name and picture, Mark could not match them. He was working on three students in addition to his own. With no success, it was decided that he needs to go back to matching a student's photograph to the student him/herself: At "this point he cannot do that either. We will continue to work on identifying students in his class to a limited extent (2 - 3 students).

Mark appears to be much happier since he has been working on signs and symbols. He is beginning to try to imitate the signs and he often attends to symbols. He continues to cry when the material is changed, but sometimes can be "brought back" to the task at hand after some time has passed. I enjoy working with Mark and am feeling that he is now beginning to learn using augmentative/alternative communication systems we are exploring.


Carolyn F. Clement, CCC-SLP


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