Monday, February 9, 2015

Communication Considerations with a Special Education Blog Hop Freebie!

Welcome to day 9 of the Special Education Bloggers Sweet Treats!

With it being the month of friendship, I figured what better sweet treat than aided language boards for 10 of 20 of Our Favorite Games and Toys so friends and classmates of all abilities can join in the fun!


If you are new to the Considerate Classroom blog and are not familiar with aided language boards, you may want to visit these two past posts:  Improving Communication Skills for Non-Verbal Children Through the Use of Aided Language Boards and Personalizing Communication Supports for Individual Success.

You will be amazed at the social communication that aided language boards can facilitate.  I began using aided language boards after attending a wonderful training by Linda Burkhart in regarding to Gayle Porter's Pragmatic Organizational Dynamic Display (PODD) system.  From day one, I have found that aided language boards give students, who are nonverbal the ability to participate and express their needs, wants and opinions more effectively with less behavior.  They have also been helpful for students with limited verbal communication for a variety of reasons: lack of exposure, communication and/or social deficits and disabilities or because English is their second language.  

One of the most important things to remember about using aided language boards or any communication system is INPUT BEFORE OUTPUT! In the words of Linda Burkhart, "How long do we speak to baby's before they give us anything back? We speak for 11 to 12 months of before they say the smallest approximations of words like Bye-Bye or Dada-Dada.  We must model aided language boards and other communication supports for just as long or longer with students who have significant disabilities and delays.  They need to see the form of communication we are expecting them to use in practice consistently and with fidelity. 

Here is a sample aided language board:  

Below is a video example of my three year old son and I using the board.  Given Payton has language but notice how I use the aided language board to facilitate and expand language. Also note that I strategically put all the swords in a fabric bag labeled take one so I had more opportunities to model language and Payton had more opportunities to communicate.  

For example if we each just picked a color of sword to be at the beginning, we would have only had one opportunity to request, "I want to be the blue swords."  Instead by putting the swords in the fabric bag and drawing one out on each turn, we had the opportunity to label several colors throughout the game.  

It feels a little awkward at first but I encourage you to give it a try!  What better valentine to give your students than the gift of a VOICE:) 

One final tip before I sign off, a great way to keep yourself organized and always have your aided language boards available for those who need them is to laminate or slide them into page protectors and tape them to the box of the game. . .

or the inside lid of the storage tub the game is stored in. . .  

Voila'! You have language at your fingertips and your students'!

That is it for now, stayed tuned by liking Considerate Classroom on Facebook, as I have some great aided language boards and visual supports for facilitating communication between home and school in the works!

Happy Communicating!  Best wishes, Lindy

PS- Don't forget to come back tomorrow for a freebie from You AUT- a Know.


  1. I love love love using language boards in our classroom AND we have "game day" every Friday. This is SO perfect! Thank you so much!!

  2. Yeah very true dear, you have shared really a thoughtful approach that can help our little kids in learning. I will call my little son friends from his Phoenix preschool, so that they can learn with fun. Thanks dear for such nice idea posting.

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