Opening of the conference and speeches by representatives of ASSIST, MES (Ministry of Education and Science), UNICEF - Bulgaria, Sofia Municipality, the State Agency for Child Protection, and the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy.
Plenary Talk // Language is an integral part of learning and social functioning for all children and is considered necessary for personal fulfilment, development and active citizenship. The literature on typically developing children strongly suggests that early experiences are critical for later language development. With early access to appropriate AAC strategies, communication aids and supporting communication partners, young children with significant communication difficulties get a chance to build the language and communication skills that they require to achieve their full potential and maximize outcomes.
The AAC National Center services every sector of the Israeli population facing communication challenges. The Center has a free loan center, an AAC consultation center, and is involved in the development of AAC solutions and resources through collaborations with advanced technology developers.
The talk will consider the background on how the Center started, who are the people in need of AAC solutions (developmental and acquired), the growing role of Hi-Tech solutions in AAC and how new assistive technologies are conceived and developed. I discussed also the need to collaborate between Hi-tech developers, engineers, AAC specialists, people who need AAC and their carers or family members.
With the participation of:
Representative of MES (Ministry of Education and Science)
Representatives from UNICEF - Bulgaria
Milen Nakov, director of Center for Specialized Educational Support (CSES)
Christo Christov, director of Regional Center in Support of Inclusive Education, region Targovishte
WORKSHOP // Children with atypical functioning depend on adapted and hence narrower environmental conditions to show optimal communicative development. From a developmental perspective, it is the children’s own usage and construction of meaning that first and foremost need support and guidance. Both early and later intervention requires scaffolding strategies that are adapted to the abilities and communicative means of the child without speech. Parents and teachers need to learn to use the child’s communication forms and scaffold and educate the child in ways that may be both similar and different from those of children with typical language development. While much communication takes place in established routines, children also need to learn to communicate what is not already known to the communication partner. The workshop gives an overview of intervention strategies that may be useful in the early and later phases of AAC development. Topics include vocabulary selection, sign and symbol usage, and the participation in various communication activities from simple choices to narration events that are unknown to the communication partner.
Workshop // Children needing AAC comprise a heterogeneous group, and need individually tailored interventions. The chosen AAC solution should fit to the child's motor and sensory functioning, as well as level of comprehension. A framework for assessment, intervention and follow-up will be presented. The focus will be on the need for obtaining knowledge about each individual child and how this can be utilized when designing interventions for the child.
WORKSHOP // Communication happens every day in every situation with different communication partners. Learning language in AAC mode requires the construction of an aided language environment. Children need to have meaningful opportunities to use their language. During this workshop ideas how to create opportunities to implement AAC in natural life will be provided and practiced.
PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) is a system for language education which is used for the fast development of communicative capacities in people with limited functional speech.
The picture exchange communication system (PECS) was first developed in 1985 by Lori Frost and Andrew Bondy as a unique AAC system which teaches children and adults with autism and other communicative disorders to initiate communication. Used for the first time in the Program for autism in Delaware (USA), PECS receives a worldwide recognition for its focus on the initiative component of communication. PECS does not require complex or expensive materials. The system was thoughtfully created for the teachers, social services providers and the families, so that it can be easily applied in different places. PECS encourages communication in social contexts without the need of a continuous preliminary training.
WORKSHOP // This workshop will demonstrate practical examples of using AAC in accordance with “A Curriculum for Excellence” (a Scottish Government initiative).
A framework for learning and teaching to enable all children to develop their capacities as
• successful learners
• confident individuals
• responsible citizens
• effective contributors to society
Our mission, at Microsoft, is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. We announced this new mission a couple of years ago. It’s a mission that connects back to our earliest days as a company, but is aimed directly at the opportunities and challenges that the world will face in the decades to come. And it’s only attainable if everyone has access and opportunity to achieve more…