2000/05/26/note about Josh
This is the text of a note about Josh from one of his teachers, dated 5-26-00
Here are the pictures you asked for. Hope I got them all. In a couple cases where I couldn't decide which picture was best, I picked 2 different pictures. To use picture communication at school, I cut out the squares, put a bit of velcro on the back of each picture, and stick down lines of the complimentary kind of velcro on a plastic cutting board. This creates a durable, portable communication board. (Buying velcro in rolls of circles is easiest because you don't gum up your scizzors cutting velcro.) When I am giving Josh a choice of activities, I hold out the communication board in front of him and ask, "What do you want?" I put out my other hand for him to put a picture in.
Initially, he has to be taught what each symbol means by you pointing to it immediately before or during an activity or particular context several times, and saying it out loud. He frequently needs to be "retrained" to use particular symbols – this might not be a problem if you use certain symbols every day. Consistency is key. Although he sometimes forgets what the symbols mean from day to day, he remembers quickly when reminded once or twice. For example, before playing with bubbles at home, you might have to assist Josh at first by helping him put the bubble picture in your hand. After blowing bubbles a couple minutes, quit, and try to get him to put the picture in your hand before you continue. I would expect the very next day that he would be able to pick out the bubble picture from a field of 5-10 pictures to request this activity, but if you wait a week before playing with bubbles again, he would have forgotten what the picture means. He is good with pictures though and once he has a symbol down can quickly pick it out from a field of 10+ pictures!
I tell all my parents of my autistic students to as much as possible try not to anticipate his needs so he is forced to communicate to ask for things (within his abilities). It is often obvious what Josh wants when he is whining but I think it is good for Josh to be challenged to use more symbolic communication to get his needs met!
Note: I could not find a picture for glass – you can draw one though!
Josh is a charming, angel-faced boy and I've enjoyed working with him this year!
Have a great summer!
P.S. I am including info on PECS which may be of interest.