Social Communication Early Childhood is the newest course in the Exceptional Child course library. Children instinctively take foundational steps to build vocabulary and learn the unspoken verbal cues necessary to communicate with others. In children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other learning or behavioral disorders, however, the development of social communication is often short-circuited. Imagine the frustration of having the words to express a feeling or a need and not being able to use them to communicate with others. For some students with ASD, this is a daily reality.
The purpose of this course is to is to familiarize school staff with social communication development in children and to provide an overview of evidence-based early learning strategies that assist students with ASD and other communication disorders. The course explores early-learning differences between neuro-typical children and those with ASD as well as present evidence-based early-learning strategies that assist children with ASD and other communication disorders.
Dr. Diane Twachtman-Cullen is a communication disorders specialist and licensed speech-language pathologist specializing in autism, Asperger Syndrome, and related conditions. She holds an MA in speech-language pathology, a Sixth Year Diploma in early childhood special education, and a Ph.D. in Special Education. Diane is the author of chapters on high-functioning autism and Asperger syndrome in the Division TEACCH series (1998) and also in Communication and Language Issues in Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder: A Transactional Developmental Perspective (2000). She also has authored numerous books: A Passion to Believe: Autism and the Facilitated Communication Phenomenon; Trevor Trevor, a metaphor for children designed to increase the sensitivity of typical peers toward their classmates with special needs; How To Be A Para Pro: A Comprehensive Training Manual For Paraprofessionals; and How Well Does Your IEP Measure Up?
Jennifer Twachtman-Bassett, M.S., is a speech-language pathologist and member of the Autism Society of America’s Panel of Professional Advisors. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Autism Society of Connecticut and the National Advisory Board of Directors of the Special Minds Foundation. A frequent workshop presenter, Ms. Twachtman-Bassett provides consultation and training workshops regarding autism-spectrum disorders through ADDCON Center, LLC.