Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Increasing Communication at Home

Many of our Rett Girls have great teams set up in their school settings, and maybe even private therapy where they are learning communication - whether it be with low or high tech eye gaze, PECS, PODD, iPad, switches, etc. If you're just starting out or even if you're a seasoned veteran teaching communication to a non-verbal person can seem a bit daunting.  Sometimes it is so overwhelming that we put it off, even when a device/style is found for our Rett Girls, we can sometimes unknowingly shy away from it because it seems to be too much or too hard or too time consuming.  

Well we're here to show you some very easy, quick and sometimes even fun tips and products to increase communication at home.  The more you practice communicating with your Rett Girl, the better and faster BOTH of you will get at it.  Don't worry about being perfect or using the exact wording (I know we've all seen SLP's with "scripts") or even using the same symbols and pictures each and every time, just relax and make it fun, not forced.

DIY Eye Gaze Flip Frame:  This is a great flip frame you can make right at home.  You can have different pages for different things - for instance one for snacks, one for activities and one for needs.  Don't spend too much time putting this together because it's easy to over think things and then procrastinate.  You can use boardmaker or other symbols - ask your Rett Girl's school if they could print you some extra ones if you don't have a program, or check out this website with FREE symbols.  You can also just take pictures of objects, food, etc. and print them off on your own printer.  It doesn't have to be fancy to be functional.  If you don't have the time to do this on your own you can also buy them HERE.

Communication During Bath Time:  Bath time is a great time to work on communication - multitasking!!  This is another DIY project, just get a kneeling pad from the dollar store, attach a few pictures to it that have to do with bath time and wrap it in packaging tape to waterproof it.  There you have it, instant communication in the bath.  Let your Rett Girl be in charge of the bubbles, what gets washed first - her hair or her feet - and even the temperature of the water.  Be creative, ask her questions and let her take some control.  The more she's listened to, the more she will want to communicate and the easier the process will become.

Yes/NO:  A great place for starting communication is with yes/no questions.  Check out this link that explains how to use personal talkers to teach and reinforce nodding for yes and shaking her head for no.  If your Rett Girl is not able to shake her head just yet how about just printing off a symbol for yes and one for no.  Always make sure to put the yes and the no on the same side each time, your Rett Girl can eye gaze to the picture or if she is able she can head point or even touch it.  The better she gets at this you can take the pictures away and she will learn to just look, head point or reach right for yes and  left for no.

Communication Flip Books:  Rett University has partnered with Susan Norwell to bring you her popular Communication Flip Books. The books have been professionally printed on durable Mohawk Performance Polyester plastic material that won’t tear, is weather resistant and environmentally friendly; Giving the users a durable set of communication books that they can take with them anywhere. All of the Flip Books use a technique called Partner-Assisted Scan (PAS). As the communication partner, you will say the options in each section while pointing to them. Then repeat with pauses between options to wait for possible “yes” response.  You can choose from a 4- grid communication book, uppercase letters, lowercase letters, core words or buy the full set!  

Remember, you don't have to have a fancy computer to communicate, you just need to think of ways to incorporate communicating throughout her day!  If you have any communication ideas that you use at home please let us know about them so we can share!

1 comment:

  1. Very nice article! You are so right...our kids need a way to say something right now, not "tomorrow," when the technology is in place. I appreciate your reminder that we don't have to have everything beautiful or perfect or fancy; more important is that our girls have a way to share what they can. Today.