- Aided Language Stimulation
- Core Vocabulary
After attending a few workshops on Unique for Level One Learners, Dylan Valenzuela- Medically Fragile Education Specialist for the VATC program, has worked with his team to shift the status quo methods of teaching ULS and implement the techniques of modeling communication targeting a set of core-based, highly frequently used words to increase exposure and comprehension for their students with complex communication needs. Take a look at Dylan and the team in action:
Many of our teachers encounter this similar challenge of using ULS curriculum with students who are non-verbal, limited verbal, and/or use augmentative alternative communication (AAC). As Dylan explains so perfectly:
"I can say that working on the core vocabulary and Aided Language Stimulation has definitely been a game changer in the class. Not only are we working on the biggest hurdle in our class (communication) with the core vocabulary, but I have seen a huge jump in student and staff interactions. Now that my staff understands what ALS looks and sounds like, every moment they are around a student it becomes a learning opportunity by the demonstration of ALS. The best example I could give was how people interact with babies and how they explain every little thing that is going on when they interact with them- I think that was their "ah-ha" moment. I push on my staff that ALS should be done with or without an AAC device. I want the exposure of vocabulary towards the student increased significantly (and it has). I would say that the two mantras of our class are:
- "Exposure, not comprehension"- speaking about exposing our students to AGE appropriate material/curriculum with cognitively/physically appropriate activities.
- "Talk the Talk"- Concentrating on the exposure of Core Vocab via ULS using ALS every interaction with the students."
This shift in perspective in teaching and communicating with students can be applied to any curriculum teachers might be using, as the focus is still on a core set of words with repeated exposure so that student's can be empowered to use language for a variety of communicative purposes. We ALL have more to say than "I want..."