Cases reported "Communication Disorders"

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1/5. reinforcement schedule thinning following treatment with functional communication training.

    We evaluated four methods for increasing the practicality of functional communication training (FCT) by decreasing the frequency of reinforcement for alternative behavior. Three participants whose problem behaviors were maintained by positive reinforcement were treated successfully with FCT in which reinforcement for alternative behavior was initially delivered on fixed-ratio (FR) 1 schedules. One participant was then exposed to increasing delays to reinforcement under FR 1, a graduated fixed-interval (FI) schedule, and a graduated multiple-schedule arrangement in which signaled periods of reinforcement and extinction were alternated. Results showed that (a) increasing delays resulted in extinction of the alternative behavior, (b) the FI schedule produced undesirably high rates of the alternative behavior, and (c) the multiple schedule resulted in moderate and stable levels of the alternative behavior as the duration of the extinction component was increased. The other 2 participants were exposed to graduated mixed-schedule (unsignaled alternation between reinforcement and extinction components) and multiple-schedule (signaled alternation between reinforcement and extinction components) arrangements in which the durations of the reinforcement and extinction components were modified. Results obtained for these 2 participants indicated that the use of discriminative stimuli in the multiple schedule facilitated reinforcement schedule thinning. Upon completion of treatment, problem behavior remained low (or at zero), whereas alternative behavior was maintained as well as differentiated during a multiple-schedule arrangement consisting of a 4-min extinction period followed by a 1-min reinforcement period.
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2/5. The effects of noncontingently available alternative stimuli on functional analysis outcomes.

    The effects of noncontingently available alternative stimuli on functional analysis outcomes were evaluated for 2 individuals. Results suggested that noncontingent access to preferred items resulted in reduced levels of attention-maintained behavior. The results are interpreted in terms of establishing operations.
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3/5. family-centered early intervention: an opportunity for creative practice in speech-language pathology.

    Services for developmentally delayed children from birth to age three consider the family first. Eligibility for services is determined through a multidisciplinary assessment. Once a child qualifies for service, a multidisciplinary team that includes the family develops an IFSP. The SLP may serve as the service coordinator for the plan or as a team member. The plans must contain specific information that includes documentation of current status and major outcomes for the coming year. An SLP may find that contributing effectively to an IFSP requires new competencies. First, the SLP will need to learn to function in the family-centered, multidisciplinary process of early intervention. Second, the SLP may need to develop creative models to deliver effective service. SLPs can contribute valuable information to the IFSP by finding ways to activate daily life routines to promote a child's communication skills. SLPs can explore the child's life-space, including routines and partners, as a source of contexts for treatment. SLPs also can explore partner communication strategies, note their effects on the child's communication experiences, and recommend additional strategies for treatment. The case study illustrated an individual, home-based intervention program (Gillette, 1989; Lombardino and Magnan, 1983). Other service delivery models can include classroom-based approaches (Wilcox, Kouri, and Caswell, 1991); group parent training approaches (Weistuch, Lewis, and Sullivan, 1991; Cheseldine and McConkey, 1979); and video-assisted approaches (McConkey, 1988; Johnson and Harrison, 1990; Gillette, in press). Many SLPs may find that the process of early intervention with the birth-to-three population offers unique opportunities for practice in their profession. To function effectively in this process, the SLP needs communication-based information to promote the child's communication skills within his or her daily life and sensitivity with which to design a plan that considers the family first, yet meets the needs of the child. Although alternative models of delivering speech-language service have been explored, the process of early intervention will continue to require professionals who can creatively match family priorities with the child's intervention needs.
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4/5. Determining decision-making capacity in individuals with severe communication impairments after stroke: the role of augmentative-alternative communication (AAC).

    A speech-language pathologist and occupational therapist specializing in assistive technology were requested to assess an individual 2 years post hemorrhagic lesion in his brainstem, with significant medial issues, limited expressive communication skills, and motor function. The family wanted to determine if he had an adequate quality of life and whether he could provide informed consent if asked about the continuation or withdrawal of medical treatment to maintain his life. Issues discussed include determining competency for decision making regarding quality of life with individuals who cannot speak, write, or type, and what role the speech-language pathologist and occupational therapist can play in attempting to find these answers. A means of communication for this individual was identified that allowed him to provide information related to his preferences including physical state. Use of appropriate augmentative-alternative communication equipment and techniques became the means to further explore more complex medical decisions for this individual.
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5/5. research directions in augmentative and alternative communication for preschool children.

    PURPOSE: To review issues related to the use of augmentative systems with young children and present a case study of one child and family's experience with the System for Augmenting Language (SAL). METHOD: The case involved a preschool child with severe developmental delays who had little functional speech. Acquisition and use of graphic symbols on a speech-output communication device was studied in home and clinical settings. Language and communication behaviours of the child and his communication partners were observed and language assessment measures were collected. RESULTS: child engagement state varied across the two settings with a stable profile seen in the therapy setting and a clear increase at home. child communicative attempts increased following the introduction of the augmented system. parents reported successful use of the SAL. CONCLUSION: SAL is a viable communication intervention approach for young children.
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