Per Ardua Ad Astra

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Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

Seorang perempuan sedang menunjuk sesuatu di layar kepada seorang anak.
Berdasar pada Evidence-Based Instructional Practices (EBIP), sebuah website yang fokus pada praktik instruksi pada anak dengan autisme dan disabilitas lain, pengertian AAC dikutip dari American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) yaitu “all forms of communication (other than oral speech) that are used to express thoughts, needs, wants, and ideas. It enables the individual to communicate effectively in a variety of settings”. Dari pengertian tersebut dapat diartikan bahwa AAC merupakan bentuk komunikasi selain berbicara atau komunikasi lisan yang ditujukan untuk mengemukakan pikiran, kebutuhan, keinginan, dan ide-ide, yang memungkinkan seseorang dapat berkomunikasi secara efektif dalam berbagai situasi. Contohnya, seorang anak menarik baju ibunya dan menunjuk ke arah toko mainan dengan tujuan menyampaikan keinginannya si anak untuk pergi ke toko tersebut. Contoh lainnya adalah, si anak menggambar sesuatu dan menunjukkan ke ibunya untuk mengkomunikasikan apa yang diinginkannya.
Hal yang dilakukan oleh si anak adalah contoh penggunaan gesture atau bahasa tubuh untuk berkomunikasi. Hal tersebut berkaitan dengan fungsi AAC yang terbagi menjadi empat tujuan, yaitu:
  1. komunikasi untuk kebutuhan dan keinginan dasar, yang memungkinkan pengguna AAC mengatur perilaku pendengar seperti memberitahu atau menjelaskan kebutuhan
  2. komunikasi untuk transfer informasi, pengguna AAC dapat menyampaikan informasi melalui berbagi, menceritakan kembali, dan berdiskusi mengenai isu tertentu
  3. komunikasi untuk interaksi sosial, yang memungkinkan pengguna AAC untuk tetap terkoneksi atau terhubung dengan masyarakat seperti bercanda, simpati, dan menghibur orang lain
  4. komunikasi untuk tata krama kesopanan di masyarakat, pengguna AAC dapat menyesuaikan diri dengan komunikasi yang sopan sesuai nilai masyarakat setempat 

AAC digunakan oleh seseorang yang mengalami keterbatasan dalam komunikasi lisan dan berdampak negatif pada proses penyampaian pikiran, kebutuhan, keinginan, dan ide-ide secara efektif. Oleh karena itu, AAC menjadi perhatian penting mengingat bahwasannya setiap orang mempunyai hak untuk mengekspresikan pilihan pribadi atau perasaan, hak untuk mendapat pilihan atau alternatif, serta hak untuk mengakses informasi laiknya masyarakat umum. Sepadan dengan American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), asosiasi yang terdiri dari orang-orang yang berkecimpung di bidang pendengaran dan bahasa, deklarasi hak-hak untuk berkomunikasi untuk orang dengan disabilitas berat mencakup 15 poin yang diantaranya;
  1. hak untuk berinteraksi sosial, memelihara kedekatan sosial, dan membangun hubungan sosial
  2. hak untuk mengajukan barang, aksi, kegiatan, dan orang yang sesuai dengan keinginan
  3. hak untuk menolak pilihan yang tidak sesuai dengan keinginan
  4. hak untuk mengekspresikan pilihan pribadi dan perasaan
  5. hak untuk membuat pilihan dari alternatif tertentu
  6. hak untuk membuat komentar dan mengemukakan opini
  7. hak untuk meminta dan memberi informasi termasuk informasi mengenai perubahan kebiasaan dan lingkungan
  8. hak untuk diinformasikan mengenai orang dan kegiatan di lingkungan sekitar
  9. hak untuk mengakses dukungan dan intervensi yang dapat meningkatkan komunikasi
  10. hak untuk memiliki regulasi berkomunikasi yang diketahui meskipun hasilnya tidak dapat dicapai
  11. hak untuk mendapat akses ke AAC, Assistive Technology (AT) dan alat bantu lainnya
  12. hak untuk mengakses konteks, interaksi dan kesempatan di lingkungan yang mempromosikan partisipasi sebagai mitra komunikasi dengan orang termasuk teman sebaya
  13. hak untuk diperlakukan dan disapa dengan hormat dan santun
  14. hak untuk disapa secara langsung dan tidak melalui orang ketiga ketika berada di posisi hadir
  15. hak untuk mendapat komunikasi yang pantas secara bahasa, kultur, arti dan kejelasan.
Communication Bill of Rights
for Persons with Severe Disabilities
Secara sederhana, AAC bisa didefinisikan sebagai cara berkomunikasi secara efektif selain berkomunikasi lisan dan bisa dilakukan dengan alat bantu ataupun tidak. Selain memberikan keadilan untuk berkomunikasi, penggunaan AAC bagi orang yang mengalami keterbatasan dalam komunikasi lisan mempunyai dampak positif pada perkembangan bicara dan pengguna dapat mengembangkan kemampuan bicara dengan lebih cepat. 

Sumber:
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Retrieved from https://www.asha.org/uploadedFiles/NJC-Communication-Bill-Rights-Poster.pdf on Tuesday, October 8, 2019.
Evidence-Based Instructional Practices. Retrieved from http://ebip.vkcsites.org/augmentative-and-alternative-communication/ on Tuesday, October 8, 2019.
Sumber Gambar:

Monday, October 7, 2019

Apple Picking di Abbott Farms


Pohon Apel
Minggu, 6 Oktober, adalah kali pertama saya ikut kegiatan Apple Picking di Abbott Farms yang berlokasi di Baldwinsville, New York, yang diadakan dari kegiatan rekreasi Syracuse University (SU). Hal ini sudah menjadi kegiatan tahunan rutin oleh SU karena musim gugur (Fall) merupakan masa yang tepat untuk Apple Picking. Untuk mengikuti kegiatan ini, mahasiswa bisa registrasi online melalui Wellness Portal dan dikenakan biaya $6 atau sekitar Rp.85.000,00 yang termasuk biaya transportasi pergi-pulang, satu plastik apel, masuk ke corn maze dan animal farm, naik gerbong barang mengelilingi perkebunan, dan mencoba apple canon.

Satu gerobak apel.

Beberapa hal yang perlu diperhatikan setelah registrasi kegiatan adalah datang tepat waktu di College Place, tempat pemberhentian bis di Syracuse University, pada jam 12.20 siang. Di sana, ada beberapa bis sekolah berwarna kuning (School Bus). Untuk check in, volunteer dari mahasiswa SU akan meminta kita untuk menunjukkan Student Identity dan memastikan bahwa nama kita ada di list. Pada saat hari itu, cuaca agak mendung jadi setiap peserta dihimbau untuk membawa payung atau rain coat untuk jaga-jaga. Obat pribadi juga disarankan untuk dibawa. Untuk makan siang, peserta juga dihimbau membawa sendiri karena panitia tidak menyediakan makanan. Kemudian, bis akan balik ke SU jam 16.00 sore.


Pumpkins sudah dipanen sebagai persiapan Halloween. 

Hal-hal seperti inilah yang menjadi wawasan tambahan selain menjadi mahasiswa internasional di Amerika. Kegiatan non-akademik yang memberikan kesempatan untuk mengunjungi perkebunan di Amerika dan berinteraksi langsung dengan pengelola kebun menjadi pilihan alternatif di sela kesibukan tugas akademik. Selain itu, hal ini juga menambah pertemanan dengan mahasiswa lain.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Another Reflection on the Science Class

One of the classrooms that I am in.
On Thursday (2/28), I went to the Science class for grade 8 and observed the whole class activity started from 08.00 to 08.57 in the morning. The class was taught by the main teacher, a co-teacher, and a consultant teacher. The objective of class activity was to deliver academic materials about animal and plant cells, sexual and asexual reproductions, and internal organs. The class was divided into three stations in which every station would discuss one particular material. The class disposition was arranged by the teachers, so that, when the students came in, the teacher let them notice the group division posted on the projector in order to know in which group they were. It was also an advantage for the teacher to check the student’s presence. After being familiar with the group division, the students sat down in the tables fraught with learning tools such as colorful markers and a set of internal organ pictures, and the teachers shared the goal of the class activities and explained what the students do in every group. Section 1 would discuss animal and plant cells by demonstrating puzzles. They were instructed to color scattered fragments printed on a paper, and then, they cut and glued it on another paper. The result would be two puzzles showing pictures of animal and plant cells.
For section 2 talking over internal organs by matching pictures to its function, the students worked with a consultant teacher on it. The teacher checked actively the students in terms of making sure that they matched the picture and its function correctly. The black and white pictures of internal organs were so many and took time to match. Lastly, the third group presented the reading of sexual and asexual reproduction with a co-teacher. In this activity, the teacher and the students read the material. The teacher took a turn first and asked the students to read it alternately and voluntarily. After doing the reading, the teacher took some vocabularies from the passage and searched its synonyms such as “same” is similar to “identical” and “equal”. Then, when the teacher explained about the reproduction by pictures, the students filled out the individual worksheet.
Given the aforementioned one-hour observation, I think the class activity was good enough to accommodate all students.  By looking up to the UDL checklist, the class included the three principles of UDL, which are representation, expression, and engagement. Firstly, the class provided multiple means of representation in which the teachers used visual prompts to help students such as pictures and highlighted important points in salient colors. Then the teacher used gestures or auditory cues every time. To me, the teachers tried so well to elaborate on the visual and auditory prompts to give a broad range of learning styles. But, I think it would be better if they use a video with caption aired in front of the class and give the students a choice in what group they are. It will let the students select their group based on their preference and experience or previous learning. What is more, it would be a barrier for two ELL students if the class offers all English texts in readings. I guess it would be great if the class supplies native language texts in materials and/or facilitates them with an ELL teacher in the class. Other than that, I really agree with the class setting grouping the students into small sections with a certain focus. It allows them to learn about both academic knowledge and social skills.
For the second principle, the class set multiple means for action and expression in which the students could co-opt the way of presentation of their works. For example, the student that had done with their project informed the teacher that she wanted to demonstrate it outside of class, then the teacher followed. Other than that, teachers maximized the learning devices such as powerpoint, Quizlet, and Mindmap, and I assume that puzzles and pictures are also low assistive technology to help the students in understanding. Despite the fact that these learning types of equipment feed visual prompts only, the teachers often use spoken and body language to explain it more. The teachers repeatedly checked the students whether or not they already understood and allowed the students to express their comments, questions, and feedback of the class activity. My reflection on this is that learning tools mostly serve particular learning styles. It would be a barrier if the visual prompts are only used as it is without being equipped with verbal explanation and/or body language.
The last is about how to provide multiple means of engagement. For this one, the class activity was truly engaging for the students. They were encouraged to participate in the class lively. And, the small sections triggered social interaction within groups. The objective of class activity was easily understood and the rubric was also delivered through the class, so students knew what they did exactly. Besides, the teachers offered additional time to complete the project during lunch or intervention sessions if the students needed. I believe that the class was so impressive, and it would be more impactful if it also provides more positive behavior support because there were some students in needs of that based on the IEP student program.
To sum up, If I practice this in my class, I would rather play a video with a caption related to the topics in the class and let the students get involved in opting their own small groups with given themes in the classroom after watching the video. It is important to the students because what they perceive based on the video and individual prior experience would be diverse, and by choosing their own small groups, they would be persistently comfortable with that. Afterward, I can spread the rubrics and certain subjects like the teachers did above. Other than that, I would ask the ELL students on what their preferences whether they need an ELL teacher or alternative native texts or what works for them, and I would like to put positive behavior support by using a token economy system to meet their needs. In consequence, the students would be a part of decision makers in the class activities.
Thank you for reading, I hope you can get the points what I am trying to deliver. Feel free to comment below if you need something to talk about. Have a halcyon day!

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Achieving Inclusion in Schools


It has been 15 years since inclusive education came to the fore in 2003. Related policies include the 2003 Education Law, the national education standard of 2005, the 2009 Education and Culture Ministerial Regulation on inclusive education, the 2016 Disabilities Law and the 2017 Presidential Regulation on sustainable development goals (SDGs). The government also launched a Baseline Report of SDGs 4 focusing on inclusive education, claiming to be the first country to initiate it. Provincial and regency or municipal governments also have established regulations to implement inclusive education. Despite such policies and measures, a myriad of challenges remain.
The first challenge is the discrepancy between the policies and what is actually practiced in schools, one being the obligation of inclusive education. The above 2009 regulation instructs the local government in each city and regency to designate at least one elementary school and one junior high school in a district to establish inclusive education, meaning the school must accept disabled students, with assistance from the local government if needed. However, Statistics Indonesia (BPS) records 7,024 districts in 2014 while in 2016 inclusive junior high schools officially numbered 3,817, almost half the minimum commitment. The ministry in 2017 also stated that only 18 percent of disabled students were studying in inclusive schools. If the commitment to build a minimum numbers of schools cannot be met, how can the government address other complex problems such as human resources, learning tools and a curriculum to create inclusive schooling?
The second challenge is visible and invisible barriers. Visible barriers include inaccessible environments such as stairs, restrooms and language. Many schools claiming to be inclusive lack a ramp or an elevator, making it difficult for wheelchair-bound students to move and to access narrow restrooms. Students with impaired vision could go nowhere independently because of a lack of guiding blocks and rails, for instance. Announcements in schools lack Braille or sign language. Instead of nurturing independence, the school creates dependency as students must rely on others.
On the contrary, invisible barriers are hidden or hardly noticeable. They include a rigid curriculum, which hugely impacts the learning process. In most schools, teachers focus only on subjects or classes that they are assigned to. In a classroom with disabled students, the main teacher handles the subject matter while at least one special teacher is responsible for students with special needs. Yet often the disabled student is pulled out from the class to study in a separate room with the special teacher. This “integration, but still segregation” system is far from the real meaning of inclusive education.
Also, school principals and teachers are acknowledged as the only responsible parties to determine the learning process without involving parents and students. We should no longer be stuck in the “banking model” of education already criticized way back in 1972 by education practitioner Paulo Freire, where teachers are subjects imparting knowledge and students are the objects. Students should be involved in developing the curriculum because they can perceive and express what they need and how they can improve themselves. Schools should initiate collaboration with parents and students to discuss plans, needs, challenges and solutions. Schools can ask for assistance from the local government to collaborate with professionals/experts, private companies and society as resources to establish inclusive education. 
The final challenge regards social constructions of “disabilities”, which are mainly associated with “incapability”. This labeling is often also created by the school officials, categorizing students with special needs as the struggling students and separating them from other students. A disabled student who gets low scores will be treated differently by the teacher from other students who get the same low scores by placing him/her separately. The teachers also blame the disability for their lack of understanding, rather than reflecting on the learning process. This will perpetuate the assumption that it is correct to place the disabled students separately. Yet the effect of “othering” is a step to marginalization.
Although we started inclusive settings in schools 15 years ago, “how do we get there?” remains the long-term question. Thus, we need to reflect what schools should do to create and promote inclusiveness. We recommend some actions. First, monitor and evaluate the policies and practices in inclusive education. Second, improve collaboration between schools, policymakers, experts/professionals, society, students and families. Lastly, empower school principals, teachers and staff members to have a good understanding of what makes an inclusive setting whereby schools can make all students feel a sense of belonging and awareness of inclusion. 

Estu and Adi