However, seeing as many of these lovely people also read this blog (thanks, guys!) it also made me realize that I haven't really gotten around to explaining how Maya is currently using the Word Book. This is probably because using the Woed Book, much like using any communication system, is a work in progress. It evolves, slowly but concretely, when I add new words or change the format. But let me show-and-tell you what we've got going on right now.
In the beginning: If you're new around here and thinking "Word Book? What's a Word Book?" go check this out: Introducing the Word Book.
Where we are now:
1. Maya loves the book. LOVES. She wants it with her the moment she wakes up. She won't go to sleep if it's not in the crib with her. She holds it in the car, on the bus, etc. (This means that the only way I can replace/add words is to steal it after she's fallen asleep and then replace it before I go to bed. Kind of silly, but adorable.)
2. She will tap out "I want"-"item"-"please" sentences. (Although recently she's been getting confused and just tapping "I want"-"please" and then I have to say "You want what, Maya?" and she'll tap "alligator" or whatever and smile at me. It's like her hands want to get through the sentence ASAP, and she's skipping the most important part. We're working on it.)
This video shows a tired Maya, just home from school. I know that she wants milk, but I'm trying to wait her out and make her ask for it . . . and then she does. You can see how she "asks for" the book and then uses it to make a full sentence request.
3. When we're going somewhere or doing an activity, I try to pull the words that we'll need and put them on the front of the binder. (Ex--if we're going to play with play-doh I would put the colors on the front of the book) By now, Maya knows where most of the words are in her book, and I can ask her to find them and put them on the cover herself.
This video shows her flip through the book to find "alligator", her favorite animal. She then points to some animals to answer my questions. Stay tuned to the end, when you see the type of ridiculous mistake that I make when I work on the book too late at night.
You might have also noticed that she put the leopard back in the appropriate spot---she's remembering more and more where the tiles are supposed to go. This reinforces why it's beneficial to try to keep words in the same format (like a Prentke Romich device does, for example)---I'm not able to do that with the word book. When we take words out, they just go anywhere on the cover (aside from the tiles along the side and the bottom that are stationary).
I sometimes call this a PECs book, because when I say "Word Book" no one knows what I mean, but if I say PECs book people can visualize what I'm talking about. PECS stands for "Picture Exchange Communication System" and is a whole system (with 6 phases) of communication. We started trying PECS with Maya about a year ago, and saw that it wasn't really a fit for us. For those familiar with PECS & curious why I'm not working the system, here's why:
- PECS fundamental idea is teaching kids to pick up a PEC (one of the picture tiles) and hand it over to a waiting person. It's meant to teach kids to initiate communication. Maya is constantly trying to initiate communication (she has high communicative intent), so I wasn't concerned about motivating her to want to engage with us.
- Having her pick up the PECs a year ago was a bad idea---once she had one in her hand, she was distracted by it and would play with it like a toy. She also lacked the hand strength to easily pull them off the velcro strips.
- We're moving towards a touch screen. This is a big one for me. In this digital age of iPad screens and touch-screen communication devices, I want her to learn that she taps the tile, she gets auditory feedback (I say the word she taps) and that's that. She's been exposed to this on the iPad already, and clearly understands the idea (as you saw in the first video). I don't want to teach her to start giving me word tiles when she's already learned to tap out thoughts.
Where we're going:
I have no idea.
Just kidding. Kind of.
Well, she's got the I want-item-please thing down. She answers questions. I need more verbs, and other sentence builders. You might be able to help me, actually! If you are a speech person, or have an older child who uses a communication device, I've got some questions:
-What comes next? What's the clear next step after "I want" sentences?
-What are the most powerful sight words (2-3) that I could add to the book to facilitate longer sentences? (And? To? Something else?)
As always, I'll take any advice you've got (and I'll share the good stuff, too)