Another great turnout for our training today with near perfect attendance! Our training topic this week was expressive communication, which focused on basic ways to teach children to request items in their environment. We started the session by reviewing content from last week’s training on reinforcement and prompting. The parents and teachers attending the session today gave great examples of reinforcement and the important concepts related to how, when and what to reinforce their children for doing. They also demonstrated what they learned last week in some very animated role play sessions with each other.
Just as in weeks prior, during the initial training the concepts seem to be variably understood by the group, but our reviews have solidified the fact that our parents and teachers are learning the information more thoroughly during the hands-on cooperative sessions that follow the initial training, because they continue to get all of the review questions and examples correct!
We discussed concepts like different variations of expressive communication, ranging from non-vocal gestures like pointing, to vocal approximations to single and multi-word phrases. We discussed the what, why, when and how behind expressive communication. The group learned that the less functional communication their children have the more problem behavior they are likely to engage in. They applied concepts learned in previous weeks like prompting and reinforcement to teach communicative skills in their role play sessions. We taught the group how to identify specific items or actions in their environment that they could turn into learning opportunities for making requests. The parents and teachers had great examples of things their children are already doing that could be shaped into a more functional form of communication. We’re very excited for Wednesday and Thursday, when we will finally get kids to tell us what they want, what they really really want!