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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What Can I Do with a Single Communication Picture or Simple Message Button?

In a recent discussion with a teacher, I was asked what I would recommend doing with all the simple single message devices and assortment of picture communication symbols she had floating around.  A number of the kids (with autism) in her class have iPads with aac apps, but she felt like there ought to be something she could do with the BigMack and iTalk and Sequencer buttons.  And what about just having some pictures here and there?

So, here are some of my suggestions to her - and to you:

How many ways can you use 1 picture?  To request (I want, want, that, give, get), to greet (Hi, Hello, hey there, Bye), to accept or reject (yes, no, don’t, not), to protest (stop, don’t, not, away), to direct ( there, here, give, get, put), for cessation or continuation (more, stop, different go), for possession (my, mine, your, his), to participate (yes, no, repeating line, specific response).  Think about all of those communication functions.  It is much more functional to provide a variety of intents than to teach the same number of nouns.
Make your own picture dictionary.  Print out pages of category related nouns and verbs by location or association, adjectives of size, color texture, adverbs, prepositions, etc.  Make two copies of each page, and laminate one set and put one of each into a page protector (or you can laminate them both). Cut apart one set and velcro them to their match, which you have now conveniently put into a binder.  Voila!  A dictionary of picture words you can use whenever you need them.
Teaching vocabulary for 1:1 correspondence, defining, describing, locating, synonyms and antonyms, category associations.  Make word webs, story maps, word banks.  Practice sentence making.    Sort by same/different color or initial sound or ending rhyme (word family).
Take those single message buttons and program a repetitive line from a story book, a message like “turn the page,” a greeting, a joke of the day, an attention getting response, or “I need a break!.”  Put it in the middle of the table at lunch time and have it say “More, please.”  Record one core word at a time to teach those kids who don’t have their own iPad (or other speech output system).  Now you can practice help, more, stop, go, all done, don’t, make, play, eat, drink, read, sleep.

Pick up those discarded talking photo albums and make shopping lists, picture recipes, personal information, the steps to a task, lines to a song, social stories or scripts.

I hope that was enough to be going on with.  And maybe I got you thinking about some additional ideas.  I hope so.

I’ll be back with ideas for literacy.

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