Last summer some colleagues from Bridgeway Academy and I, along with researchers from The Ohio State University, piloted what we called an “immersive AAC classroom” in which all of the students used speech-generating devices and aided input was provided on an interactive white board. We collected data on the students’ vocabulary and their frequency of device use before, during and after the study and presented our findings at ASHA.
Bridgeway Academy’s summer camp has started this week and so has our second year of the immersive classroom. Six students in first-third grade who use LAMP Words for Life are joining us for two hours a day for intensive group language instruction with an emphasis on core vocabulary, social interaction and communication functions. The classroom intervention centers around fun, sensory and scientific activities and aided input on a SMART Board. Each of the eight weeks of the class will center around a science/discovery-based theme:
- Week 1: Light
- Week 2: Flight & Gravity
- Week 3: Spin
- Week 4: Colors
- Week 5: Water
- Week 6: Touch & Smell
- Week 7: Taste
- Week 8: Sticky
Each theme will have a collection of large group table activities, movement activities, foods exposure opportunities, fine motor activities, sensory activities, manipulatives and songs. The summer will focus on a set of core vocabulary words which are posted around the room:
- up, down, on, off, stop, go, in, out, fast, slow, turn, I, you, my, big, little, look, more, put, get, like, don’t, wet, dry, yuk, yum, hot, feel, cold, smell, good, bad
We have a very fun summer planned followed by lots of data collecting and analyzing (for our grad students) to do. We hope that the natural, fun, novel environment will increase the vocabulary, communicative functions and frequency of use of our students’ devices. There aren’t many rules in “LAMP Class,” but one that my co-speechie, Sam Lyle and I are sticklers for is no prompting “I want” phrases. We want to see other communication functions emphasized but when requesting does happen, we plan to target other 1-3 word phrases based on the students’ current language levels.
Please check in this summer for pictures, therapy ideas and anecdotes from our immersive classroom!