Monday, August 24, 2015

Shadow Light Cuing

As indicated in the previous post, a technique called Shadow Light Cuing is an excellent way to unobtrusively help students recognize and capitalize on communicative opportunities created by the Primary Facilitator on Day 2 of a two day lesson involving an Animated Step-by-Step™.

I like to think of the strategy as being analogous to putting training wheels on a bicycle. As time goes on the training wheels are gradually adjusted requiring the child to use greater balance to ride that bicycle. Eventually, the child is confident in their perception of being able to ride a bicycle. The training wheels are no longer required and are subsequently removed. The entire process is designed to build the child's confidence in their ability to ride that bike.

Similarly, shadow light cuing strives to provide nurturing support that is gradually faded over time. There are three types of shadow light cuing: constant light cuemomentary light cue and finally … a search light cue. The visuals below reflect the three types of light cues using the example of a supplemental symbol pop up supporting the Animated Step-by-Step Bean Experiment. As illustrated, this pop up page links from a more generic science experiment base page on a Dynavox. The pop up page provides the fringe vocabulary that is specific to the Bean Experiment.

Constant Light Cue
(hint, hint: this is the symbol you need)

A constant light cue is typically used during the earliest sessions. The Secondary Facilitator continues to shine the light on the target symbol until the child points to or activates the symbol’s programmed voice-output.

Momentary Light Cue
(hint, hint: this is the symbol you need; now find it on your own)

After sufficient exposure to the use of a constant light cue, staff can shift to introducing a momentary light cue. The Secondary Facilitator momentarily shines  the penlight on the target symbol then removes the light requiring the child to use their short term memory to find and activate the symbol just highlighted.

Search Light Cue
(hint, hint: there is a communicative opportunity, but you must decipher what it is and what symbol is appropriate given the context)

Eventually, only a search light cue may be necessary to nurture communication. When conducting a search light cue the light is swirled back and forth across the page without highlighting any particular symbol. The child must determine the message needed for the context.

Shadow light cuing can be conducted in a forward chaining or a reverse chaining format. After children are familiar with the concept of light cuing (constant vs. momentary vs. search light) you can reverse the order:
  • Primary Facilitator creates a communicative opportunity.
  • Secondary Facilitator waits a predetermined amount of time (e.g., 5 seconds)
  • If the child does not capitalize on that communicative opportunity, the Secondary Facilitator introduces a search light cue. 
  • Secondary Facilitator waits a predetermined amount of time..
  • If the child does not capitalize on that cue within a predetermined amount of time, the Secondary Facilitator introduces a momentary light cue
  •  (still no response?) … Secondary Facilitator introduces a constant light cue

…’til the next post …
© 2015 Carol Goossens', Ph.D.
Augmentative Communication Specialist
Speech-Language Pathologist
Special Educator

Training wheels picture (public domain) derived from Wikipedia
Dottie Mae