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Enhancing Communication Skills in Preschoolers Using Blissymbolics: A Guide for Practitioners

Enhancing Communication Skills in Preschoolers Using Blissymbolics: A Guide for Practitioners

As a Special Education Director, I am constantly on the lookout for innovative and effective strategies to support our educators and therapists in enhancing the communication skills of preschoolers, especially those who cannot use oral communication due to motor speech disorders. One promising approach is the use of Blissymbolics, an augmentative communication system designed to aid non-speech communication. Drawing on the findings from the research article "Facilitating Pragmatic Growth in Preschool Blissymbolic Users," this blog aims to provide practitioners with actionable insights to improve their skills by implementing the outcomes of the research presented or by encouraging them to do further research.

Blissymbolics offers a unique avenue for children with severe dysarthria and other motor speech disorders to engage in meaningful communication. The research conducted at Glenrose Hospital on six non-speech preschool children highlights the critical need for focusing not just on the semantic development of these children but also on their pragmatic skills—the functional use of language in social contexts. The study underlines the importance of creating a structured environment where children can use Blissymbolics in various pragmatic functions such as answering, requesting, commenting, and greeting.

Here are some key takeaways and strategies from the research that practitioners can implement:

Implementing these strategies requires a concerted effort from educators, therapists, and parents to create a supportive and enriching environment for children to practice and develop their communication skills using Blissymbolics. The research suggests that with expectations placed on these children to communicate using their symbol displays, significant increases occurred in their pragmatic skills.

However, it's important to note that while significant progress was observed, the children continued to demonstrate difficulty in spontaneous uses and in initiating conversations. This highlights the need for ongoing research and practice in the field to further refine and develop strategies that can support these children in becoming more spontaneous and effective communicators.

For practitioners interested in exploring this topic further and implementing these strategies in their work, I highly recommend reading the original research paper. It offers a comprehensive overview of the program, methodology, and results, providing valuable insights into the potential of Blissymbolics in supporting non-speech communication in preschoolers.

To read the original research paper, please follow this link: Facilitating Pragmatic Growth in Preschool Blissymbolic Users.

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