Umm…can you give me a hint?

I’ve been supporting a few young children who desperately want to be verbal communicators but they have multiple articulation errors that affect their intelligibility. Yes, we have introduced them to communication books and AAC apps on iPads, but these were met with resistance.  The truth is, when you know the context, you can pretty much figure out what they are saying.  Without context, you’re lost. A couple of these students will keep repeating their message or will search for other ways to help the listener understand, but it’s been noticed that one student is now very quick to give up with a shrug and “never mind,” and his overall communication attempts have dwindled at home and at school.  Without some kind of support, all of the students may become discouraged and withdrawn, to the detriment of their self-esteem, social relationships, and academic progress.

Screen Shot 2016-02-27 at 5.42.10 AMSince none of these students are proficient readers/writers, the simplest and most effective solution was to give them a topic-setting board that can be used for to establish context and clarify misunderstood messages.  With plenty of adult modeling during conversation, these students learn how to identify when they are talking about a place, a person, a TV show, etc.  As their literacy skills develop, they can use the alphabet section to spell out whole words. For now, just giving the initial sound of a misunderstood word can be a big help to the listener.

Meanwhile, the students continue to receive therapy for articulation and phonology. That, plus maturation, may be all they need to become intelligible speakers. If AAC support is needed in the future, they’ve at least started down that road by using the topic-setting board. In the meantime, the topic-setting board helps to clarify their messages, reduces frustration, and keeps them talking.  You can download a free copy of this topic-setting board from the Materials Exchange on Speaking of, under the heading AAC.


2 thoughts on “Umm…can you give me a hint?

  1. I love the board! Funny, I was researching that topic just prior to your post – there isn’t a lot. I see so many students who will benefit from this. It’s been shared to my Facebook page. Thank you for the wonderful post!


Please add your comments.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s