SA Teachers - School of Education

Report
Special Educators’ Perceptions of
Children with Severe Communication
Problems in the Classroom: A CrossCultural Study
Erna Alant & Lindsey Ogle
Indiana University
[email protected]
[email protected]
Acknowledgements
 National Research Foundation of South Africa (NRF)
 MCCSC schools teachers
 Teachers from UNICA school for Autism in Pretoria,
SA
 Two research assistants in Pretoria: Christine
Emmett and Kogie Moodley
 AAC lab research group: Lindsey Ogle, Wenjing
Zheng, Paulo Tan, Michael Verde & Santoshi Halder
(Calcutta University, India)
Overview
• Rationale for the study
• Methodology
•
•
•
•
Participants
Settings
Data collection
Data analysis and Confirmability of data
• Findings
• Conclusions
Rationale
• Teachers play a central role in providing quality
education because of their interaction with students
• Children with severe communication problems pose
significant challenges
• Use of augmentative and alternative strategies to
facilitate communication
• Various studies conducted in US:
• Soto, Muller, Hunt & Goetz (2001)
• Bailey, Stoner, Parette & Angell (2006)
• McNaughton, Rackensberger, Benedek-Wood, Krezman,
Williams & Light (2008)
• Alant, Champion & Peabody (2012)
Why a cross-cultural study?
• Goodnow (2006)
• Second look at practices and assumptions usually taken
for granted
• Re-examine our understanding of aspects of research
• Investigate the impact of differing resources, know-how,
populations, and circumstances on perceptions and
outcomes
• Cleary (2012)
• Cross-cultural research integrity
Purpose of the study
To describe and compare the perceptions of teachers
who work with children with severe communication
problems in two contexts:
• School for Children with Autism in South Africa
• School district in Indiana
Method
• Design: Non-experimental Comparative Design
using mixed methods.
• Rating Scale
• Individual Interviews
• Participants
• 10 teachers from each context, 20 participants in total
• Recruitment
• Demographic Characteristics
American Teacher Demographics
ID
Age
Years
Exp.
SPED
5
Education
Special Qualifications
28
Years
Teach
Exp.
5
US1
BA Special Ed.
Severe
US2
50
24
22
BA Special Ed.
none
US3
35
10
10
MA Special Ed.
Behavioral Analysis, Severe
US4
51
19
19
MA Special Ed.
Severe/Profound
US5
35
10
7
MA Special Ed.
Mild, Severe
US6
37
1
7
BA Philosophy and Religion
Special Ed.
US7
37
6
2
Mild, Severe
US8
62*
25
25
US9
32
10
10
MA Special Ed. in progress,
BA Elem Ed
MA Education
Special Ed. endorsement
MA Special Ed.
US10
30
8
8
MA Education,
BA Special Ed.
Mild, Emotional Disorders
Mild
Orthopedic Impairment
South African Teacher Demographics
ID
Age
Years
Exp.
SPED
14
Education
Special Qualifications
51
Years
Teach
Exp.
24
SA1
BA Ed
Training in ASD and Min Brain
SA2
61
30
22
THOD 4yr PrePrim/Prim
Training in AAC and ASD
SA3
50
24
15
BA Bible St and EDUC
SA4
53
29
24
THOD, Dip in SPED
P-G Dip in lrn dis, ABET assesor,
HOD, Plan to get AAC hon
Training in sev
SA5
48
26
22
H Dip ED, Further Ed Dip ED
SA6
53
26
26
BA, Hon PSY, Dip Rem Teach
SA7
41
15
2
BA ED
SA8
27
4
4
Hon in AAC, SPED teach degree
SA9
45
19
7
SA10
52
14
11
2nd Teach Dip, HED, SPED in
ACE prg
BA in Bio and Physio, BA PSY
and Lang, HED, FED in EDUC
Remed Teach (2yr), Min Brain
Func
none
Some training in Makaton, Tiny
Hands
none
Plan to do AAC cert next yr
Enrolled in AAC program,
Makaton training
Teacher Demographics Comparison Analysis
Mean
SD
USA
39.70 10.955
SA
48.10
9.110
Years
Experience
USA
11.80
8.135
SA
21.10
8.103
Years SPED
Experience
USA
10.80
8.470
SA
14.70
8.629
Age
t (df =
18)
Sig. (2tailed)
Cohen's Effectsize
d
r
-1.864
0.079
-0.879
0.402
-2.561
0.020*
-1.207
0.517*
-1.020
0.321
-0.481
0.234
Years experience was the only quantitative demographic significantly different
(t=-2.561, p<.05) between the two countries suggesting that the South African
teachers had more experience and were older. The lack of a significant difference
in age is due to an outlier in the US teachers (US8 – age 62) who was considerably
older than the other teachers surveyed who when removed resulted in a
significant difference between the two countries.
Comparison of Demographics
• US teachers taught in self-contained classrooms,
while the teachers from South Africa were from
the same special school for children with autism.
• Although it is difficult to compare qualifications
between the groups, most of the US teachers had a
bachelors degree in special education while the
majority of the SA teachers had general education
diplomas or degrees. Most of the specialized
training in special education for the SA teachers
was part of in-service training through short
courses or short certificates and diplomas.
Settings
United States
Mid-western school district that
includes 21 schools and serve around
120,715 students with approximately
407 school-aged students with a
primary communication disability. The
median household income is $36,270.
US special educators had 6-8 students
and 3-4 para educators, and thus a
maximum ratio of educators to
students of 1:2.
Well-resourced school context: Very
good access to AT in classes.
South Africa
School for children with autism in
Gauteng, South Africa that serves 107
students between the ages of 3 and 18.
It also has a hostel which
accommodates approximately 40
children. Most students come from the
province Gauteng, but students from
other provinces and countries attend.
These students have varying degrees of
remedial problems, learning difficulties
and/or intellectual disabilities.
SA special educators had on average 810 students and one teaching assistant,
and thus a maximum ratio of educators
to students of 1:5.
Well-resourced school for context: AT
less available
Procedures
• Principle researcher is familiar with the school in South
Africa and has been involved in the Indiana school district
for 4 years.
• All US participants were interviewed in their classroom
settings.
• The majority of SA participants were interviewed in their
classroom settings although four were conducted through
Skype at the school. The interviewer (and principle
researcher) had met all the SA participants on previous visits
to the school in Gauteng.
• IRB approval was granted by both Indiana University in the
United States and University of Pretoria in South Africa
Data collection
Rating scale
• 20 statements about perceptions of students with
severe communication problems
• 6-Point Likert Rating Scale: 1 “Strongly Agree” – 6
“Strongly Disagree”
Individual Interviews
• Semi-structured interviews
• Interviews lasted approximately 60 minutes
• Majority were completed in person in the classroom,
while four others were conducted via Skype.
Significant Results of the Rating Scale
Scale:
1 (Strongly Agree) – 6 (Strongly Disagree)
Q3: They will not be able to find fulltime employment in the future
Q4: Many of these children don’t
really have anything to communicate
Q9: The use of a communication
device can inhibit the speech
development of the child
Q12: Using a communication device
to communicate with peers is not
very effective
Q18: The rate with which they
communicate is not an issue in
participating in classroom
interactions
Mean SD
USA
4.90
1.101
SA
3.50
1.354
USA
5.90
0.316
SA
4.60
1.265
USA
5.40
0.516
SA
3.90
1.969
USA
5.40
0.516
SA
4.20
1.317
USA
4.90
0.568
SA
3.70
1.494
t (df =
18)
2.537
Sig. (2tailed)
Cohen's
d
Effect
Size r
0.021*
1.196
0.513*
3.153 0.006**
1.487
0.596*
2.330
0.032*
1.098
0.481*
2.683
0.015*
1.265
0.534*
2.374
0.029*
1.119
0.488*
Rating Scale
In comparison to SA teachers, US teachers were:
• More likely to believe that their students will be able to find full time
work (2.537, p=0.021)
• Less likely to believe that their students do not have anything to
communicate (3.153, p=0.006)
• More likely to believe that the rate of communication is a barrier to
classroom participation (2.374, p=0.029)
• Less likely to believe that the use of a speech generating device impairs
speech development (2.330, p=0.032)
• Less likely to believe that using a speech generating device is ineffective
when communicating with peers (2.683, p=0.015)
Interview Questions
• Child description: Think of one child you regard as
representative of the children with severe communication
problems you have worked with.
• Describe the behavior of this child
• Describe the child’s communication
• Describe specific devices
• Describe the child social interaction and friends
• Describe classroom activities and intervention: support and
curriculum
• Describe challenges experienced
• Define language, speech and communication
• Comments
Data Analysis & Confirmability of
Data
• Interviews were transcribed, checked by all
participants to obtain agreement that the
transcripts were representative of the interviews
• Analyzed using Nvivo
• 26 Categories : Interrater agreement ranged
between 88,43 – 100%
• Categories were combined into 6 broader themes
Findings
Behavior
US teachers:
• Focused on descriptions of behavior
• De-contextualized language (Hall 1971)
# 1: He is aggressive and self-injurious. He has a short fuse..He spends
time on the computer at home – gets to school and wants to continue..
#3: He has significant communication needs and.. he has significant
behavioral concerns. If he had one of these incidences (it) required two
people to hold him in here. These incidences requires two people to hold
him down. He will be really disruptive and physically aggressive and say
really demeaning things and he will use profanity…
#4: He has self injurious behavior. He hits his head, screams and hits his
face.
#6: You have to be very direct and forceful with your voice “ X hands in
your pockets”. If you don’t he would continue to escalate and often
become violent”
Behavior…
SA teachers:
• Tended to describe behavior in relation to themselves or the child
• Context-dependent descriptions
# 1: He will have a temper tantrum, but he will not throw things
# 10: His tantrums are severe, he’s got severe food fads…He is very sound
sensitive and he is also tactile sensitive as well as sensitive for light
# 2: When he began with me this year, he was very negative- I felt there is
negative behavior
#6: He has crying spells, disruptive behavior and not following any
demand, if you put him at his work station, ask him to do some work, he
will not react…difficult, difficult behavior
#8. Scratching and hurting other children – I am working on it
Child Communication
US Teachers:
•
•
•
•
Great difficulties understanding the children
Very limited interpersonal communication
Limited use of devices
Scripted utterances
#8: I have no clue – I have a lack of understanding of the child. I get pieces of what he says
#11: He communicates his needs, but there is no interpersonal communication – it is a
frustration. Lack of understanding of breakdown..
#3: Unfortunately he can’t read or write. It’s hard when you have everyday conversations –
he can’t. No meaningful conversation. I wish I can understand!
#5: He uses eye contact to tell us what he wants. His device is seldom used. He uses his
device mainly for academic skills. Conversation is not instant- it needs to be predicted to set
up pages
#6: He spoke well, but it is prescripted- things he repeats over and over. There was not much
real communication- lead to behavior….What is the real meaning here?
#9: He likes to use verbal communication first, then sign. The last thing he will use is his
device.
Child Communication…
SA teachers:
• Reliance on speech – frustrations
• Descriptions of the use of body to communicate, use of touch
• Comprehension problems
#5: He would take you to the cupboard, look you in the eye and the same
with food. He would show you with PECS, his eye and take your hand. He
can make his needs known – that is all. He can’t tell you about a movie.
Limited understanding.
#6: He can take my hand, show me what he wants. With PECS he started
to speak “plate please”…. PECS was life changing for this child.
#7: I think he can communicate but on a low level due to comprehension
problems. When we talk about emotions he is not able to tell me how he
is feeling
#8: First he communicates through body language and crying, now he uses
PECS and his visual schedule.. When I am on the playground with him, he
will try..sit next to me and I have to scratch his back, he will put my hand
on his back and he will laugh and go away
Use of AAC devices
US teachers:
• Overwhelmed by options and programming of devices
• Doubt of the effect of the device: What does it add?
• Programming messages for parents
#5 Too many choices from the device can be confusing – sometimes he did better without.
The time needed for creating new pages. You need 30 minutes to program the device for 20
minute interaction. You end up using the device for programming for time than the student
gets to use it at school
#6 In the beginning she was very restless. I don’t know that her behavior has change more
with her device
#3 Lots of goals we work on here is not followed through on at home. Everybody is always
thinking pictures, but it is impossible – you can’t put every word there
#10 we are looking for more technology with him. What will it add? Just to be able to get his
wants and needs across – things like that. We are considering the iPad - actually it was the
parents who wanted it
#2 He used a Mighty Mo – he liked it but couldn’t participate on the spot. It was good for
home-school communication. We programmed messages for the parents…It seemed a little
staged. Communication is not interactive – it didn’t make it typical, but make it makes it
possible to participate
Use of AAC devices…
SA teachers:
• Very few devices, mostly digitized speakers
• Use of PECS
#2. The kind of device where he pushes the right button and produce the
right answer. We don’t have it on a full time basis. The speech therapist
would like to support us but mainly it’s a device where there is sound and
pre-programmed language – GoTalk.
#3. We use the cellphone to get him to identify himself
Classroom Intervention/ Curriculum
US Teachers:
• Structured program: 10 minutes, not very flexible due to adult personnel
• Try to reduce requirements for communication
• Making schedules for child and adults take time
#3 We use a very structured program – 10 minutes. You can not have students not know
what to do and the adults not knowing where they are… He doesn’t know the first letters of
his name and last name as a second grader but then we really need to focus on speech and
getting that up
#11 The best type of activities are those that do not require communication. Difficult to
know how to break up concepts so that they can participate
#7 When he came from preschool I was told he will not work, he cannot sit still. Now he can
sit for 20 minutes. He is set in routines. He also assists in passing out books.
#5 making schedules takes a lot of time…time for preparation as well as addressing the
students’ needs. Then after, it is the adult schedules for para-educators.
#1. ..The first year I created an autism utopia but then when we went to lunch it was difficult.
We can’t have the same structure in arts as in the class. Those create barriers for us “but that
is the world!”. One needs to educate the child in the school not just in the class!
Classroom Intervention…
SA Teachers:
• Twice a week personal facilitator– focus on academics
• Lined up activities, but often don’t do these
• 9 children with behavior problems – challenges
#1 . He has a facilitator that comes in twice a week – then they work one
on one – then he will do academic work….We try to get him to
communicate to us or tell him what he has experienced. Everybody gets a
turn…we communicate all day long, so communication is basically the
main thing
#6 we have specific activities lined up- that they do these, but not as I
lined them up, but we are going to get there. We have snack time form
9:30-10 because you have to teach them how to eat properly.
#7.I try to do language through math – how to communicate their needs,
what they are thinking –
#8. I have 9 children with behavior problems- just keep them quiet – give
him a clock to time how long he needs to be quiet before break.
Parent Interactions
US Teachers:
• Parents too powerful, teachers taken out of it
• Lack of communication with families
• Acknowledgement and appreciation for the role of the family
#8. The parents are running the show and we kind of lost our way…the teacher has been
taken out of it because so many law suits..
#3. I would definitely have to say that one of the biggest problems is the lack of
communication the family has given me
#5. Great expectations coming from parents… he should achieve more academically.
#10. It is great. They (parents) will send a DVD to explain their child to new teachers. I know it
is difficult for the parents because of the communication. They don’t know what is going on
with the students.
#11. Nobody knows the kid better than the parent so if I have trouble with something with
the child, I usually ask the parent right away. Usually the parents can tell you. On the rare
occasions that they can’t then we try and figure it out together.
#1. …Lot of goals that we work on here is not followed through at home. So you know, there
is only so much you can do….(Use of device):…we would go to a quiet area to program for the
parents what happened during the day – communicate with the parent by recording
messages on the device that he could communicate to them.
Parent Interactions…
SA Teachers:
• Empathy for parents – preference for face-to-face meetings
• Trust building
• Frequent contact – phone calls
#1. I have a lot of empathy for the parents, especially those parents, they
don’t really know where they are going with him…I don’t like to write letters,
I’d rather have them eye-to-eye in meetings or I’ve got lots of telephone
conversations.
#7 Well, I'm new now so parents are a bit unsure, so we’re trying to gain trust
as well on both sides. And I’m doing the best I can, I explain to them and I have
an open door policy where they can come in and tell me their frustrations and
what they’re going through at home with the kids so that we can work
together and try to address some of these things.
#1 I had lots of phone calls and letters from the parents because my ways
were not the same as the previous teachers’ ways”
Social Interactions
US Teachers :
• Each child’s IEP includes social goals
• Children like him, but no friendships
#8. The kids like him, but..it’s not really a friend and I don’t really know
where they live, they probably keep him in the apartment a lot.
#11...they will look out for him. But he doesn’t have friends in that the
student will sit down and strike up a conversation . So it is a strange
thing…
#6 socialize? Much more interactive with adults than peers. There are lots
of student show like him and gave him attention, not sure in his mind that
it meant much
Social Interactions
SA Teachers:
• Physical inclusion, but not social integration
• Focus on weekly community outings and integration
#1..there is another boy in my class who desperately wanted to visit his
house, so the parents arranged it. But in the end, this kid was in his room
in front of his computer and the other one was in front of the TV in the
lounge. So they don’t mingle at all.
#10. I force him to sit in group situations…Ya, but I mean he likes to be on
his own, but it’s not good for him
#3 He’ll have one or two (friends), but you can’t say it is his friends. He’s
happy with his own company most of the time. So he is typical in that he
will go an sit and he’s not bothered, due to the fact that there is no
communication.
Teachers’ Comments
US Teachers:
• Dedication and Commitment of teachers
• Awareness of fairness in accommodating the children with special needs
#8. You know, we are the ones that have the problem. He knows what he
is saying. And he’s making perfect sense and he is, once you find out!
#11. If you have a teacher that feels like any child regardless of what they
have, will be too much for them, then it is the wrong classroom for that
child…that kid can not be seen as something that is drawing you away
from the other kids, but something to make your instruction better for the
entire group. You are going to change your teaching style in such a way
that you are going to incorporate new ideas that will make your
instruction better.
#4. I love my job – I wouldn’t do anything else
Teachers’ Comments…
SA Teachers:
•
•
•
•
Disability Right Awareness, value of individuals
Flexibility and learning
Love for the children
Personal growth as a teacher
#3: It’s not a disease, the fact that X cannot speak is nobody’s fault. It’s a gift, I
think it’s a gift if you cannot speak. Because how X can get so far without language,
it’s not the alpha and omega to me. But I have seen a boy in my class who’s got the
courage to fight for what he wants without saying a word. …It’s my approach to
totally win them over to be better citizens. These kids taught me to open myself to
change as a person. They did me the favor of my life.
#7 for me there is no set recipe. Every day I’s learning – and you learn things about
yourself and the kids. It’s challenging, it’s hard but its also very very rewarding
#9. It you don’t have love, it won’t be easy for anyone to be doing what we are
doing here. That’s all I can say.
#2, ..I mean when you are 59 you know your strong abilities and your weak
abilities, so I’m not academically strong, but I try to have first a strong relationship
with my children and definitely with their parents. Because we are a team and if
they don’t feel at ease with you, how will they send their only or their beloved
child with you?
Interpretation: General
• Balancing task-orientation and relationship building in the
classroom: instrumental vs relational
• Professional behavior, de-contextualized language
• Being with the children in interaction: contextual language
• Difficulties in finding a balance: pressures and task-orientation vs
building relationships/ getting to know the children.
• Teacher identify
• Personal involvement, professional identity
• Specialized knowledge does not guarantee the ability to
communicate with children with severe communication problems
Interpretation: class context
• Structural difficulties:
• Number of adults in the class can limited interactions
between teacher and children – impacting their
relationship
• Time spent scheduling versus time spent interacting
with children
AAC
• Need to ensure teachers and parents understand what
communication is about: development of meaning
• Need to assist teachers in facilitating their
understanding of these children
• Problem-solve better solutions to device
implementation in the schools: more sophisticated
devices do not necessarily equal better communication
• Specialized knowledge does not guarantee the ability to
communicate with children with severe communication
problems
References
• Alant, E; Champion, A & Peabody, E. (2013). Alant, E; Champion, A & Peabody, E . 2012 Exploring
Interagency collaboration in AAC Intervention. Communication Disorders Quarterly, November.
http://cdq.sagepub.com/content/early/recent
• Alant, E; Uys, K & Tonsing, K. (2009). Communication, language and literacy learning in children
with developmental disabilities. In Matson, J; Andrasik, F; Matson, M (Eds). Treating childhood
psychopathology and developmental disabilities, 373-402.
• Cleary, L. (2013). Cross-cultural research with integrity. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
• Fang, Z (1996). A review of research on teacher beliefs and practices. Educational Research, 38,
47-65.
• Gentner, D; Namy, L (2006). Analogical processes in language learning. Current Directions in
Psychological Science, 15, 6, 297-301.
• Keen, D; Woodyatt, G & Sigafoos, J. (2002). Verifying teacher perceptions of the potential
communicative acts of children with autism, Communication Disorders Quarterly, 23, 3, 131140.
• Rita, L.; Stoner, J.; Parette, H. Jr & Angell, M. (2006). AAC Team perceptions: Augmentative and
Alternative Communication Device Use. Education and Training in Developmental disabilities,
41(2), 139-154.
• Soto, G.; Muller, E; Hunt, P. & Goetz, L. (2001). Professional skills for serving students who use
AAC in general education classrooms: A team perspective. Language, Speech and Hearing
Services in Schools, 3, 51-56.
Thank you
For a copy of this presentation, please go to
the following website:
www.education.indiana.edu/aac

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