Friday, April 3, 2009

Let's Jump! or, All Done?

In the wake of a couple of big Joy meetings recently (Agency 2 and also IEP), we've been upping the ante a little bit on her photo-communication. Some neat stuff to share.

First, we've added an "all-done" card into the mix. Her cards have all been photos so far, but this one is a Boardmaker image that has a line-drawing showing a person making the "all-done" sign.

Until now, we've been able to offer choices between two photos, but haven't given her a similar means of choosing/communicating that she's finished with a toy or activity. But now, let's say we're out on the deck with the trike. She's played with it a while, then gotten up. Now we can swoop in and ask the question: "More trike? Or, all done?"

Trike, or All Done?
Then if she picks "all done", we abandon the trike and set up another choice between two or three different options.

The other thing that we've been trying is a single-button communication device. The parent/barista/whomever records a word or phrase on the device. Then Joy "says" that word herself by pushing the button and activating the playback. She'd used it with some success at daycare for things like "more" at snacktime and "my turn" when the group played games (they'd pass the button around and have other kids say "my turn" in the same way).

New twist at home is using the photo cards to indicate what pressing the button will "say".

Switch button
So there's the button, with a velcro on it to hold a photo card.

I was worried that Joy would want only to pull the photo card off the button, since that's how she communicates with photo cards using the binder. And in fact, she did try that at first. However, she learned within maybe two days that when a photo was on the button, you pushed instead of pulling. Clever girl!

One of our favorite button-requests is "Let's jump!" Joy loves to grab an adult's hands and get them to help her jump to impossible heights. Lately she's even been putting little cheerleader kicks and splits into her jumps! If the button is programmed and available, though, we're nudging her to "ask" with the button.

I saw such a button used to very cool effect last year when Rose sang with the other kindergarten and first-grade classes at school. There were a coveted few speaking parts that had been doled out among the first-graders. One of the first-graders who "spoke" a part did so by means of a push-button switch! Powerful stuff.

Rose (who had one of the speaking parts in this year's concert) has gotten involved in programming the button too. It's lovely to hear Joy speak with her sister's voice.

More to say? Nah. All done!


Anonymous said...

I went to an assistive teachnology conference several months back and they were showing all the ways you can make use of those button devices. Pretty awesome!

Rhema also uses the All Done icon - it's a big step.

Go Joy!!!

pixiemama said...

You are doing tremendous work, and I am so delighted to read that Joy is working to make it happen. She is incredible. As are you.


datri said...

Kayla has a 4 button device and they are finally making really great use of it in school (she won't touch it at home, go figure). I'm hoping after Spring Break we can start shifting from photos to line drawings and other concepts as well.

Great work, Joy!!!

mama edge said...

The Rose-voiced Joy put me over the edge. Tears of wow.

As you know, my sons both went to the same elementary school. One year, a boy with autism who was largely nonverbal but loved to sing songs from Disney's The Land Before Time movies was featured in the music program, singing one of his echolalic songs to the whole audience over the microphone. Not a dry eye in the house. Great school!

Anonymous said...

once again, i'm with mara .. soon as i read 'It's lovely to hear Joy speak with her sister's voice.' i was toast.

keep up all the amazing work!

Elizabeth Channel said...

How amazing! I'm speechless...

We have the same tricycle, too!