Tuesday, May 7, 2013

There's no Magic Answer, but We Keep Trying

I have a couple of kids with limited verbal abilities.  One is hearing impaired, with a vision impairment, so sign language seems to be the easiest communication route.   The other comprehends  pictures, and boardmaker symbols.  He is even beginning to spell words!  Unfortunately, he stims off of electronic devices, but we have devised a notebook with core vocabulary on one side, and fringe on the other.  There are multiple pages, and it seems to be versatile in different settings.  The teacher has taken ownership of this notebook, and I've observed her eliciting and responding to communicative attempts by this young boy.  The notebook isn't perfect, and I think the goal eventually will be to utilize a PODD system in the classroom.  For now, this is what we have; the child is initiating and responding, which is a big step up from tantrums and self-abuse. 

These are some of the pages---there are more such as vocabulary for the ipad, letters, numbers, calendar, and feelings.  This system allowed for a large vocabulary, but is easy for the adults in the classroom to implement.  A true dynamic display system such as PODD is a little more adult intensive; sometimes, elaborate systems get abandoned in my school.  
places to go in the school

people he knows

If you see discrepancies  between some of the core vocabulary pages, it's because different people have been working on this notebook.  I'll take that--I like it when others think about it enough to add a page or two.  This is not just for the speech pathologist to tinker with!
school tools


Several of you have asked about the Core vocabulary.  Click what you need below.  The other vocabulary is kid and school specific.
I expand the core regularly as the child develops.

Download Core in boardmaker

Download Core in pdf

I printed these at 80% size to fit.

I remind all ASHA member to vote for your board of directors and president.  Last year, only about 3% of you did.    I personally voted for those who had public school experience.



  1. Thank you so much for this post! I love the idea and I think it's so great that the teacher has put forth the effort to utilize the communication book for this student. Thanks for providing the core vocab page! :)

  2. Ruth, I wanted to let you know that for the first time I DID vote for ASHA leadership with your urging, and I too voted for those with school experience. Thanks for the little kick in the pants to vote! On another note, I enjoy your blog and ideas very much! Thanks for sharing!