Monday, November 17, 2008

AAC Single Message Switch Activities for Early Special Needs Learners, Part One

When it comes to working with Early Learners in pre-school who are low or non-communicators, a Big Mack single message device is great for encouraging speech and words through simple games and activities. Whether it is at the art table, the book center, with manipulatives or circle time, try some of the activities in this series to get your students engaged and talking. The Big Mack has a bright colored 5 inch target switch plate for making choices, requests and hearing all kinds information you want to record.
Along with this, you can begin to encourage self-accommodation even among these little ones by having communication devices and switch accessible games, books and activities in places for easy access and play. By doing this, you are encouraging a UDL approach to access in the classroom. You will find that students with disbailities that need these tools will gravitate to them and use them if they have played with them, are comfortable with them and know they are available.
We received a grant from a local casino/gaming foundation to purchase assistive equipment, which included one Big Mack and one Cheap Talk 6 level communication device for all of our Early Learning Centers. I took a Big Mack to one of our Early Learning centers last week to begin to demonstrate some things that can be done with it. I spent time with several students at the art table and at the reading center, where the students were intrigued and eager to use the switch. I will be going around to all our centers to play with the students using this device and modeling ideas for staff.

Choice and requesting activity:
I set the switch out on the art table and immediately the students wanted to know what it was and how it worked. I asked them what color they liked out of the marker tub and one of the children pulled out a blue. I pressed the top and side record button and said, "Blue please." I then pressed the switch and it said, "Blue please." They grinned ear to ear.
" You try it." I handed the switch to the little girl that picked out the blue. She hit the switch and when it asked for the blue, I handed her the marker. She made the connection and grabbed another pen, pink this time.
"Pink Please" I said into the device.
"Here you go" I said as I handed her the device.
"Pink Please" she said, using the device as her voice.
I handed her the pink.
This started a whole session of picking pen colors, recording and requestng by the three children at the art table. I would use this for students to pick chalk colors at the chalkboard, plastic animals, pots and pans and food in the kitchen play area, numbers of unifix cubes, etc. The sky is the limit and students really get the idea of associating the use of the device for various activities and tasks in their day.
Tomorrow I will share on some literacy activities from the book corner and circle time ideas.

All the best to you!


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