One of the goals the 15 yr old female student I work with is to initiate a greeting with known peers and teachers while making eye contact. She is non verbal , Intellectually challenged and can be very shy around those she doesn't spend much time with. She carries an iPad loaded with lots of wonderful My TalkTools boards, created specifically for her to communicate with.
The very 1st board on her homepage is titled greet/plans. Its buttons contain simple greetings like Hi - Bye - Nice to see you - how are you? - I am fine! - may I sit by you? On this page there are also buttons which lead to boards that say what she is doing over the weekend, as she loves to share her weekend plans with those she knows well.
During our day we are in 4 classrooms. We chose for her to say goodbye to 2 of her classroom teachers, as she departs, if the timing was appropriate. The teacher and students in class get a big kick out of hearing her use her My TalkTools boards. They acknowledge her with smiles, and encouragement. Talk about positive reinforcement :) In 6 months we would like her to initiate an occasional hi and goodbye when appropriate with NO PROMPTING.
One of our biggest challenges is having her balance the ipad atop her books, ready to use it as she walks toward the teacher to speak.
I started the boards with small, 1 - 3 responses. Once the student used them, I added more.
My TalkTools boards, for us will always be a work in progress. Communication is not static but ever changing. Set aside time daily or weekly to keep your boards fresh and fun. Add in holiday greetings, birthday greetings. Novelty adds to motivation. Motivation leads to more (non prompted) communication!!
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