Ms. Hunt's Report of Consultation

Carolyn Clement
Ashburn Elementary School
44062 Fincastle Dr. Ashburn, VA 22011

Re: Mark Hartmann

A consultation was conducted at your request on September 14, 1993 at Ashburn Elementary School for Mark Hartmann He has previously been diagnosed as speech-language impaired. Mark, 9 yeats old, Currently resides at home and is fully included in a second grade classroom. Ms. Clement, the speech pathologist, and Mrs. Hartmann, Mark's mom, were preseat for the evaluation.

The following information was obtained during the consultation. Mrs. Hartmann reported that Mark was succesfully using facilitated communicatian last school year. Facilitated commnnication was his primary mode of communication in his fully included classroom in Chicago. Mrs. Hartmann is able to facilitate, "yes/no" questions and short answer With Mark. Mark has his own Canon Communicator and an aid to assist him throughout the day. The speech pathologist has been working with Mark since the beginning of the school year. She is able to facilitate "yes/no" questions and multiple choice questions with Mark. All those participating in the consultation were extremely positive and optimistic about Mark's potential

Mark was referred for a consultation to provide feedback regarding implementation of facilitated communication. The speech pathologist was observed working with Mark for approximately 30 minutes. This consultant also worked with Mark briefly to assess his attention span when facilitating. Mark demonstrated the ability to do copy work, "yes/no" questions, and multiple choice questions using facilitated communication. Mark whimpered and walked away from the table to terminate an activity. Additionally, Mark exhibited behaviors such as biting his arm, pinching and screaming when he did not want to work.

On the basis of this consultation, the following recommendations were made:

  1. Set up a system for Mark so he can let you know when he wants to terminate an activity or take a break. The options discussed included laminating a "STOP" sign on his desk or have Mark point to the Word "Stop" on a quick board. Any time Mark utilizes either of these techniques, honor his request. Initially, Mark may appear to be using this to avoid work. However rather than avoidance, Mark is probably testing his power to influence his environment.
  2. Construct "quick" boards for each class Mark attends. Each quick board should contain commonly used phrases for the given situation. For example for math class, a board that contains numbers; symbols for addition, subttaction, equals; and phrases such as 'too hard', 'I need a calculator', or 'I know the answer.' These boards will be useful in allowing Mark to communicate an entire phrase as quickly as his speaking classmate. Pointing to the words on the quick board will still need to be facilitated. Four spaces on Mark's letterboard or desk should say 'quick board', 'letterboard', 'none of those', and 'something else'. This gives Mark the power to quickly let his facilitator know what he is thinking.
  3. Minimize the of the number of questions you ask Mark. Try to comment on situations and see if Mark has a response rather than bombarding him with questions. Also if you ask Mark a question require him to make a response.
  4. Structure the therapy session. Present a plan for the session to Mark so he knows what is expected of him for the day. Itemize the number of tasks required and what the pay off is when the task is completed. Vary the activities each day and provide the opportunity for Mark to initiate conversation every day.
  5. The speech therapist should provide therapy in the classroom at least one and a halfhours a week.. The classroom teacher and the aid will be with Mark for the majority of the day, therefore it is essential for them to be intimately aware of Mark's communication style. The presence of the speech pathologist in the classroom will enable modeling of the technique, observation of others using the technique, and communication between team members. Additionally, the speech pathologist delivering services in the classroom enables her to train the students to commnnirnte with Mark. Peer interaction and communication are major components for the success of inclusion. The speech therapist should become familiar with Mark's facilitation style and abilities prior to working in the classroom.
  6. Develop a way for Mark to initiate communication with others. It is very important that Mark knows he has control over his environment. If Mark facilitates only when others ask him a question, spontaneous initiations will emerge slowly. Therefore present a variety of possible ways for Mark to let his facilitators know that he has something to say. This could be by raising his hand, tapping on the letterboard, or turning on the Canon. The technique for initiation is not as important as the initiation itself.
  7. Teach Mark to use the space bar and punctuation when facilitating. Develop a way for Mark to let you know his is done with his thought or communication.

These recommendations are more likely to be successful if they are implemented in all settings and with the entire team. Additionally, because of Mark's attention span when facilitating, material should be of interest and presented for brief periods of time.


Julie R. Hunt, M.S. CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist