Problem Solving -- Pre-Instructional Program Start Page

Table of Contents

  • What is the Problem Solving Instructional Program?
  • Why a program for individuals using AAC?
  • What are some unique problems faced by individuals using AAC?
  • Who is this program for?
  • What is a problem solving strategy?
  • What is DO IT! ?
  • What is the role of teachers in this program?
  • How do I GET STARTED?
  • How long will it take to complete the program?
  • How can I find out more?

  • What is the Problem Solving Instructional Program?

    The Problem Solving Instructional Program was developed at Penn State University by Dr. Janice Light and Mr. John McCarthy to provide meaningful and accessible instruction in problem solving for adolescents and young adults using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). Participants learn the DO IT! problem solving strategy through a series of 7 lessons all completed on-line. Upon successful completion, participants will be able to apply the strategy to help solve problems in their own lives.

    Why a program for individuals using AAC?

    Individuals using AAC face a number of unique problems in their educational, vocational, and independent-living situations. These challenges are made all the more difficult due to their significant communication disabilities.

    What are some unique problems faced by individuals who use AAC?

    While typically developing individuals speak at rates of 150-250 words per minute...
    Individuals using AAC generally produce 2-15 words per minute.
    This significantly reduced rate of communication often places individuals using AAC in passive roles in conversations and their other communication cues are often be missed by untrained communication partners. Also, the reduced rate may limit job prospects due to the lack of “high-output, low-input” jobs (McNaughton et al., 2002; McNaughton et al., 2003).

    Although AAC can help, there is more to it...
    Funding limitations can lead to difficulties in finding employment, maintaining competitive work placements, or participating in society.

    Individuals requiring AAC may spend significantly larger portions of their day engaged in personal care routines than typically developing individuals... Personal care attendants can help, but the low pay in these jobs leads to frequent turnover.
    Effective and trained assistants are needed for success in school, work and living.

    Who is this program for?

    This program is for individuals who
    • Use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC)
    • Are between the ages of 13-21
    • Have a severe, congenital motor speech impairment
    • Can read at or above a grade 4 level
    • Understand and can use the perspectives of others in making decisions
    • Want to improve their problem solving effectiveness
    • Have regular access to a computer connected to the Internet

    What is a Problem Solving Strategy?

    Think about a problem like this:

    I WANT something,    +    Something is in my way    =    I DON'T KNOW what to do
    I NEED to do something 

    Think about a problem-solving strategy like this:

    I DON'T KNOW what to do    +    I NEED to find a GOOD answer    =    I use a STRATEGY

    What is DO IT! ?

    DO IT! is an acronym to help you remember the steps of the problem solving strategy.
    D    Describe the problem
    • I want...  I need to...
    • Something is in the way
    O    Outline lots of ways to solve the problem
    I    Identify the outcomes of the top 2 ways
    • Good for me, Good for other people
    • Bad for me, Bad for other people
    T    Take action with the best one
    • What will I do?
    • Who needs to do things?
    • When do I want to start?
    !    Celebrate success

    What is the role of teachers in this program?

    In testing the program, an instructor provided feedback at the end of each lesson by highlighting the steps of the DO IT! strategy that were correct and those that were incorrect.

    How do I GET STARTED?

    You need to read the program Introduction.
    Then you will have to Register to complete the lessons.
    Click here to get started

    How long will it take to complete the program?

    In testing most people completed the program in about 8 hours.
    It may take more or less depending on your typing speed.

    How can I find out more?

    Phone: 814-863-6015
    Fax: 814-863-3759

    AAC Problem Solving Project
    c/o Janice Light
    Penn State University
    110 Moore Bldg.
    University Park, PA 16802-3100

    Thank you for visiting!