Saturday, November 13, 2010

Communication Boards

I came up with the idea of Communication Boards because I have a student who is on the Autism spectrum and is visually impaired (ASDVI). She is actually blind from birth. I have had a wonderful time working with her and her beautiful family. It is amazing to watch her learn. I use a lot of strategies for working with children who are deafblind with her. It has been interesting to learn about Autism and how cogenitally blind children with it learn.

My student uses Now, Next & Finished boards (see pictures from another post) with great success. I wanted to keep her communication going forward. In addition, I am working with her speech & language pathologist (SLP) for her communication needs. I wanted to help with her turn-taking skills in a conversation.

I decided to suggest to her classroom teacher that we use scripted language so that my student can anticipate the conversation needs. Sorry if I am not explaining this well. I am not a SLP :). For example, her teacher, therapist or paraprofessional always begins the conversation with the same language. Next we teach my student what to say. Then the teacher takes a turn and says something. My student completes her part of the conversation.
There are also symbols for each therapist or teacher. The symbol is the same one/very similar that is used in her schedule boxes. The student takes the symbol at the beginning of the conversation/activity. At the end of the activity/work time, my student takes her symbol and puts it on a designated "finished space" and uses a structured conversation to help with communication needs.
I had the classroom teacher print out the structured conversation on the card and laminate it. The reason the structured conversation is printed on the card is to make it easy for therapists to know exactly what to say in the conversation. Laminating it helps with the durability of the Board.
My student uses an assistive tech (AT) device to help verbalize her part of the conversation.
Check out the examples:
This is the finished side of the Communication Board. The structured conversation is printed for the therapist to read. The green paper is textured carboard paper. It designates where the finished location is. At the conclusion of the activity, she places it on the paper.
Bottom picture:
This is the Now side of the Communication Board. The structured conversation is printed on the card. It also includes what my student is supposed to do and what her response is.


  1. Hi Robbin,
    it's Sophia's Mom again. One of my sons recorded books for Sophia that she listens to at night, since the pictures in books don't interest her. But now that she "knows" the books from hearing, she seems to be more interested in the "real" book. And can make out more pictures, since she knows the story already.

  2. Hi,
    APH has a kit that will let you make tactile pictures to put onto a Picture Communication System. It would be awesome for what you are doing & has a great manual too.
    Catalog Number: 1-08837-00