communicate and interact with autonomy through efcic

efc gmbh developed a comprehensive and professional programme to improve and enhance communicative skills of people with severe communicative impairments. It has a special focus on the development of pointing as an action skill to select visually presented vocabulary as well as pointing as a communicative skill conveying aspects of communicative intention to partners in everyday interactions.

efcic (Effective Communication through Interactional Coordination) brought together several strategies and tools of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) with the rehabilitative aspects of Facilitad Communication (fc) related to the acquisition and teaching of novel action skills also described in research on embodiment of motor skills and motor sequences. efcic integrated and further developed these strategies, tools and supports to create a teaching programme that enables people with severe impairments often presenting with no or very little observable communicative or even interactional skills to acquire good linguistic, communicative and interactional competencies sometimes comparable to those of their unimpaired peers. The programme offers a professional frame with clearly defined standards of reference for the effective improvement of communicative skills.

Working with efcic includes all areas relevant to communication: Interactional, actional, commuicative and linguistic aspects are focused as well as social-cooperative skills. Teaching takes place in naturalistic and naturally occurring everyday situations of interaction, and the key factor is the interactional behaviours and activities of the supporting interaction partner, a teacher, therapist, caregiver or parent. They will assist and support attention direction and coordinative activities of the AAC-user especially with regard to linguistic and communicative actions. This concept is called ‚Cooperative Coordination‘ within efcic and its procedures emerged in the course of the PhD research project of one of the partners of our company.

Usage-based models of language acquisition at the basis of teaching linguistic skills within efcic Efcic uses interactionist, immersive methods to enable acquisition of semantic, syntactic and pragmatic linguistic skills. They are based on a usage-based understanding of the language acquisition process currently favoured in language acquisition research and theory as a valid alternative to nativist theories and better able to explain certain phenomena. Usage-based models show that linguistic skills are learned as meaningful acts with communicative intention by actively experiencing many different and differing usage events within everyday interactions between people. It follows from there that AAC-users and their interaction partners from the very beginning attribute a communicative content to the pointing action of selecting an item. This content does not just include a linguistic information but also one of communicative intention. First, AAC-users learn to make one-word utterances based on a single pointing action. Then they learn to realise multi-part utterances in the form of different kinds of syntactic and pragmatic structures based on multi-point action sequences resulting in typing. Utterances are typed out with the help of word- and icon-based software but also using letter-based keyboards, once literacy skills have advanced to that stage. Different kinds of linguistic signs are mixed wherever useful and possible – from pointing to pictograms and letter to gestures and handsigns to oral forms of signs and oral language.

Using individualised communication aids that ‚grow‘ with the skills of the person

Learning and teaching communicative and linguistic skills mainly takes place within and on the basis of naturally occurring everyday situations of interaction. Therefore AAC-users need to be able to manage these situations using their strategies and means and communicate within them. Therefore highly differentiated, individualised and expandable communication aids are efcic’s preferred communication aids. They must allow for form-function flexibility, syntatically and pragmatically multifuctional use and must be adapted to the practical constraints and demands of the situations they are used in while giving access to a comprehensive vocabulary. Efc gmbh developped its own communication aid – ‚saay it‘ (Say Anything Anytime Instantly) – that is tailored to the needs of efcic.

You can finde more detailed information about efcic, its contents and build up in the article ‚Learning the point of pointing and learning to make it‘