Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Learning to communicate

So as I have written before my youngest son, Sean, is totally non-verbal.  He communicates using gestures, sign language and picture cards.  Sean's receptive language skills are very good.  He understands most of what is said to him but he can get frustrated when he can't express what he wants or needs.  This frustration can often lead to behaviours that can be harmful to himself and/or others.  Over the years he has only used a few signs consistently and picture cards when he is working with his support worker.  Over the last few weeks my husband and I along with Sean's support worker have been taking sign language lessons.  It is our hope that if we use/model the signs with him he will repeat them back to us.  Sean has always learned new skills through observing others. 

Because of this new initiative I have had to come up with some new ways of presenting Sean's communication system.  Since Sean goes to a day program two days a week with his support worker this system also had to be portable. 

I was able to buy a 7x5 inch plastic frame from the dollar store.  I put two stripes of Velcro across the frame.  Then I found the sign illustrations that matched the picture on the picture card, placing them side by side and then printed it out on a business size card.  Once I cut out the card I covered the card with contact paper and attached a small piece of Velcro on the back of the card. 

After I made the picture/sign cards I needed something to store and transport the cards in.  I found this tutorial for this credit card wallet and thought it would be ideal.  The only thing I changed was I made the outside squares 10" and the inside squares 9".  It will hold 38 picture cards which will be more than enough for my purposes.

For ease of transport and use I attached a piece of Velcro to the back of the frame and the back of the wallet so they are together and easily accessible. 

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