Including a non-verbal child

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by Taliesin, Feb 4, 2008.

  1. Taliesin

    Taliesin Rookie

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    Feb 4, 2008

    I teach reg. ed. pre-school but I have a mentally retarded four year old who is non-verbal (except for a few words) and I include him in every activity we do as a class. However, recently I have come to a stumbling block when we do dictations. For example, when we made a class book and I recorded every child's response to put in the book.

    I am struggling with how to include him since he can't verbally give me an answer. In the past I just wrote in a response that I knew would be true for him but I feel weird about that since he didn't actually say it to me. Like I am putting words into his mouth.

    Any ideas on how to include him? Maybe some of the special ed teachers will have some insights.

    Thanks in advance.
     
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  3. maroki

    maroki Comrade

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    Feb 4, 2008

    Could you give him 3 or 4 options and let him choose? He can indicate his choice by giving you a thumbs up or a clap when you get to the choice he likes.

    For example, if your question was:
    "What is your favorite type of weather?"
    You could give him the choices of sunny, rainy, snowy, or cloudy.

    Ask him to listen to all the choices one time without deciding. Then ask him to decide in his head, and when he indicates he has decided, go through the choices again slowly. (Or tell him the choices again and tell him a 3rd time, asking him the third time to indicate his choice.) Tell him to give you a thumbs up or to clap when you say the choice he wants.
     
  4. Taliesin

    Taliesin Rookie

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    Feb 4, 2008

    Maroki, I like that idea. It seems so simple but I never thought of it. I will definitely try it with him. He is very much in his own world and a lot of times I will try to talk to him or give directions to him and he just ignores me. He gets very focused on what he is playing so I will have to wait for just the right time. I think a visual might also help him. I could make pictures of each choice and have him touch the choice he wants.

    Thanks for the help! I am also open to other ideas.
     
  5. bcblue

    bcblue Comrade

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    Feb 4, 2008

    Pictures of choices, or choices of objects are good. A little more tangible than listening/ clapping. He can point or even take the picture/object of his choice. In the hierarchy of communication symbolism, objects are the most basic, then photographs, then picture representations.
    What ways does he communicate to you usually? Do you have a system of picture symbols, or gestures, or signs?
     
  6. positiveautism

    positiveautism Comrade

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    Feb 4, 2008

    The suggestions so far have been great! If you need pictures, you can search clip art on Microsoft word or search online for "Picture Exchange Communication System." Another option is to just draw or photograph your own.
     
  7. Taliesin

    Taliesin Rookie

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    Feb 5, 2008

    bcblue- He does know very limited sign language and I also know sign language so as I speak to him I reinforce what I am saying by signing it. When I ask him a question he will not sign back to me though. I have only ever seen him sign one word- open- when he had his snack in front of him. He does have a one on one while he is with me so she does most of the communicating with him.
     
  8. bcblue

    bcblue Comrade

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    Feb 6, 2008

    It would be good to see about a simple picture communication system of some sort for him. These come in MANY varieties, depending on his ability to use it. Without seeing and interacting with the child it's hard to know what type he would need/be ready for, but it's worth talking with your building's speech therapist and/or sped teachers around.

    I have non-verbal students at various levels. Some ways we communicate: one student signs and gestures mostly for expressive. A couple are working on using photographs to exchange for desired items. All of them make some of their choices using actual objects. We are working to develop picture symbols as a better way of expressing choices.
     
  9. bcblue

    bcblue Comrade

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    Feb 6, 2008

    . . . See if anyone in your building has Boardmaker (it's by Mayer Johnson). It is a computer program with picture symbols. Fabulous.
     
  10. lauriloulou

    lauriloulou Rookie

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    Feb 6, 2008

    I ditto Boardmaker. This summer I want to play around with it more so I can make picture schedules of morning routine, winter clothing (order to put on), etc. It is a fabulous program and is a great thing for ALL children.
     

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