ASHA Highlights for Success in Conversational Speech with Asperger’s Syndrome
blog is based on the following presentation from the 2011 ASHA Convention:
Opening the GATE
to Conversation for Adolescents with Asperger's Syndrome
fifth year PhD, Penn State University
Kathryn Drager, PhD, CCC-SLP
Professor, Penn State University
Elizabeth, Dr. Drager
GATE is a conversational strategy for
adolescents and adults with Asperger's syndrome.
= Greet, A = Ask, T = Think, E = Extend
GATE is being completed
as a study at this time, but through this seminar with videos, slides, case
studies and presenting, I liked what I heard for the Asperger population who
all have social language difficulty. These pragmatic differences in Aspergers
manifest themselves in greeting, asking, thinking and extending a conversation.
highlighted a conversational strategy utilized by individuals with Asperger's
to successfully initiate and maintain topics of conversation with communication
partners and instructional procedures for GATE.
- One person with Asperger's paired
with a typical communication partner
- All four steps are presented in a
one-hour instructional session -- beginning with "greet"
- GATE scripts are given to both
people (with rules intricate to the program)
- GATE can eventually grow into small
- Avoid "conversation enders" with
questions that can be answered with yes/no
GATE may eventually
become a commercial program for the Asperger population. I can foresee a
variety of levels for it depending on age and verbal skills (that will be left
up to Ms. Serpentine).
a GATE for the SLP now:
Here's how you, the SLP,
need to assist any child, adolescent or adult with Asperger's:
- GREET -- refresh yourself with my Thoughts for Thanksgiving Hugs blog about greetings
-- encourage your "Aspies" to ask questions based
on what the other person is talking about
- let your Aspie know that it is okay to take
time to think about what the other person said before responding.
Asperger's people are compulsive and don't usually take time to think
-- one more time -- extend the conversation while
maintaining the topic
may be made by the SLP or the student. A fun way might be let the students draw
a topic out of a box that both parties have generated (this encompasses more
turn taking and communicating. It should also be fun to come up with topics
that an Aspie and typical communication partner create). Suggestions might be:
television shows, video games, weather, geography, buildings, holidays or food.
enjoyed speaking to Elizabeth and Dr. Drager after the session. I won't reveal
their secrets, but they look a lot alike and their passion for speech therapy
and people with Asperger's syndrome is evident. Their common sense approach to
conversational strategies with this population is a GATE to success.
"Speech pathologists make good things