Strategy 2: Embed Opportunities for Communication Throughout the Day
What to do
- Identify the child's preferred communication method(s)
- Work toward the child's understanding that a partner is needed in order to communicate
- Provide opportunities with a partner for turn-taking
- Expect, wait for and acknowledge any and all child responses (watch video Actions Speak Louder than Words from minutes 7:34-9:50)
- Put meaning to the child's actions and provide vocabulary for it
- Use consistent repetitive language (may be spoken, signed or both)
- Provide opportunities for children to make choices (see box to right)
- Use communication for a variety of purposes (make comments, ask questions, express feelings, give instructions)
Things to consider
- Have you identified the child's preferred method(s) of receiving information (receptive communication)? A helpful tool for this is the Communication Matrix.
- Have you identified the child's preferred method(s) of communicating with others (expressive communication)? A helpful tool for this is the Communication Matrix.
- Are all communication partners using the same cues during routines and activities?
- Are all communication partners using the child's preferred communication method(s)?
- Are you communicating about things that are of interest to the child?
- Are you following the child's pace?
- Are you allowing enough wait time for the child to process, move body, respond and initiate?
Examples of Choice Making Opportunities
- Select from two shirts when getting dressed
- Choose which book to read during free time
- Indicate whether to do homework before or after dinner
- Decide what to order at a restaurant