2006 Conference General Sessions





Linda Burkhart
Private Consultant
6201 Candle Ct.
Eldersburg MD 21784
Day Phone: 410 795-4561
Fax: 410 795-8834
Email: linda@Lindaburkhart.com

This session will present creative strategies for systematically teaching struggling switch users the cognitive and motor skills needed to move from cause and effect to two switch step scanning.

Children who face significant motor challenges along with a variety of other multiple challenges often need to use switches to access communication, play and learning. This presentation is based on Stepping Stone 4 of a sequence of Stepping Stones for Switch Access (Burkhart 2004). These Stepping Stones can help guide the teacher, therapist or parent through the process of introducing switches and teaching access. The steps begin with cause and effect and move through scanning with a single switch or two switches. Step 4 focuses on children who do not yet understand the concept of step scanning. Numerous case studies, videos and examples will be used to demonstrate creative applications of the Stepping Stone process.

Stepping Stones one through three will be reviewed briefly to demonstrate the skills leading up to stepping stone four. In stepping stone one, the student gains the understanding of cause and effect through carefully engineered experiences. Next, in stepping stone the child learns to activate a single switch in multiple locations and for multiple functions. Once the child can locate switches in multiple locations and understand a variety of functions for switches, then stepping stone three - two switches with two functions can be introduced. At this level the child is given the opportunity to become more actively involved in the learning process and learn to discriminate and make choices.  

Some children easily understand how to then move on to two switch step scanning or single switch automatic scanning. Other children, however, don’t understand this process and must be taught through a series of concrete and meaningful experiences that one switch is the “mover” and the other the “selector”. Battery operated toys and single message voice-output devices can be set up in play activities to exemplify this process. Software can provide clear multi-modality feedback based on the child’s active exploration at this level. Adults and peers can help students build the underlying skills and patterns that will lead to success with step scanning through modeling and creative play activities. IntelliPics Studio will be highlighted through the use of templates to create individualized and personally relevant computer activities for students. Student examples will illustrate strategies and setups to enable students to actively participate in communication, literacy, and other curricular activities.

Participants will: discuss the difficulties faced by some children in understanding and mastering the transition from cause and effect learning to two switch step scanning. List creative ideas and strategies to help students learn to step scan, and provide a variety of examples of activities for practicing Stepping Stone 4 - Learning to Step Scan.

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