C.J. is 6 years old and primarily communicates by non-verbal means of communication (e.g. pointing, pulling your hand toward the object, pushing the object away). However, he has consistently began to show us that he can recognize words, letters and can speak.
Below is a video which C.J.'s mom, Elena, took recently at their home. Although C.J. does have an iPad with a voice output system for communication, he is still learning how to use it while we also trial a letter board . Notice all the wonderful things Elena is doing to engage her son and build communication! Knowing that he enjoys movement and sensory based activities as well as having the ability to read words, this was the perfect activity for C.J.
This second clip was taken 3 days later at their home. C.J. was so engaged in this activity the first time, that he is now initiating communication by verbally making choices on which vehicle he wants. Notice how Elena waits for him to decide and is recasting (saying it back to him) his choice back to him.
Take-aways from watching these interactions:
- Be creative in what motivates your child. You may have to make up your own game instead of using a store bought game
- Repetition and small pool of choices. Notice how Elena started with only 3 choices of vehicles. This allows C.J. to hear, see and name the same words over and over.
- Sensory and movement. Some kids need sensory based activities to reach high engagement and attention
- Tone, Expression and Sounds. Elena used an engaging tone and made noises that would hold C.J.'s attention further
ONE MORE C.J. video. This was taken several months ago when C.J. first started really showing us his interest in letters and spelling. REMEMBER to keep trying different ways to engage your child. For C.J. he is currently more engaged in a letter board (using communication through spelling) then he is in the voice output system on his iPad.
Each child is different. We have to work as a team and be creative in finding what works best!