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Learning from Lennart

Practice Report
  • Paul Andres

Prior to receiving his first VOCA (an Ecopoint with the German Minspeak program "Wortstrategie 84") at the age of 6,6 years, Lennart's communication was limited to answering yes/no questions and a simple symbol board. Learning to use the device (with a Tracker-mouse), he relied on exploratory play and modeling provided by his mother. This modeling placed special emphasis on approximately 400 high-frequency target words. In the course of the few months charted in this presentation, Lennart moved impressively from single-words to age appropriate, syntactically and morphologically correct sentences.

The Language Activity Monitor (LAM) function of his device (which creates a time-stamped protocol of each communication act) was active throughout. The LAM data was examined daily and points of interests were quickly identified and intervention suggestions made. It was possible to respond to Lennart's language needs with additional help or greater challenges within hours suggesting 'LAM-coaching' as an additional intervention strategy.