Friday, January 21, 2011

Let's talk

I've been setting up Wesley's "Go Talk" and YAY! It's working! :)

Today at lunch I put him in his wheelchair with the tray and the Go Talk on the tray.  I put his hand on "drink".  I gave him a drink.  Again, "Drink" and I gave him a drink.  Then he pressed the button!  Then, when he finished chewing each bite, I began by pressing the 'eat' button myself then moved after the first several bites and started having him press the button.  I see I need to rework where I have the buttons (so he can reach the 'important' ones better) and possibly even get a different layout, but... this is a beginning!  He's been extending and hitting 'a' button when he wants more to eat!

I'm going to make a new layout that says "more" instead of just "eat" and then some that have specific foods-- chicken, vegetables, bread above the general 'eat' and 'drink' and 'more' so that he can eventually say WHAT he wants more of.

For now, he just knows that he presses something on the board, it talks, and he gets more food.  So he's trying it!  Maybe I'll just set one of the boards to ALL say "more" so no matter which button he presses it says "more" :)  Then start splitting it up to differentiate further.  We shall see...

But for now, he's getting the idea of it!

If anyone has suggestions as to what types of words they use or where they get their pictures (I used 'real' pic's from around the house and some from Google Images to do this initial one.

I also set up a board for Aleksa (using the same device, you can 'save' 5 different sheets of info) but she looked at it and walked away.  We'll try more later... like when she's eating since that is the most motivating thing for her!


  1. cant help but think HOW lucky this little guy is to have such a smart, compassionate, prepared mommy to get him started in the world. Of course, you are lucky too, but in this case, he is sure going to benefit from you wanting the best for him.

  2. I am so glad to hear this both for your sake and mine! My sister just adopted a precious special needs two year old. She was using that method for him to communicate too. I can't wait to tell her about your success.

  3. I'm really eager to learn more about this, Meredith, since Katya has no speech as far as we know. I hope you will continue to share more. And may I ask, where did you get it?

  4. We set up choices such as: "bounce me", "tickle me", "rub my back", "brush my hair"....... trying to make sure they were things that you can repeatedly choose (vs. "I want to play with blocks" and then once he has them.... he doesn't need to ask again.
    We also had success with an older sibling "model" who understood they couldn't talk...... but demonstrated repeated asking to be tickled, or bounced or bumped, etc. I think sometimes we expect kids who primarily are using their visual system to learn....... to be able to use a talker without watching someone else actually use it to interact.

    ...... just some random thoughts....... :)

  5. another idea for using it:
    Idea: build block towers for him. Have him choose which color block goes next. and then of course give him the button to say “time to crash” and knock them down (or place them close enough for him to knock them down). And obviously, provide lot’s of “drama”/and fun when they fall. Then he get’s to practice again….. over and over. If not ready for colors yet, could just have "UP", "another block", "bigger", "crash!!" "down" "let's do it again".

    These are the kind of activities that give a chance to do things over and over. Practice…… one of the things our kids don’t get to do enough of.

    Again, model this fun game with Kristopher or you and Michael (one of you talking..... one of you using the GoTalk".

  6. idea: directing play: using some toys such as toy cars (eg. Fisher-Price Little People: Racin’ Ramps Garage) let him use his “talker” to tell you which color cars to put at the top of the ramp, “on your mark”, “get set”, “go”, “do it again”, “going up”, “going down”,”elevator”, “beep beep”, “look out!”, “uh oh”, “call the tow truck”, “I win”, “vroom”, “fast”, “that was cool”, “crash”.

    Make sure and model all of the things he can say, i.e. you say them frequently, you can also have your own set of “communication cards” that YOU use to emphasize what you are saying (i.e. pick up the “Wow” card, then the “Fast” card as you comment/play …. so he is seeing the “word/symbol” AND hearing you say it.

  7. idea: Hide & Seek: find a way to hide something … hmmm…… how to describe this….. I’ll just tell you what we did. We had a favorite little mouse and I had collected 4 different color cups…… my son would close his eyes (peeking was secretly allowed as we learned the game) and I would hide the mouse under one of the cups. Then say “ready” and he would guess where the mouse was by indicating which color cup. We would take turns if there was another “assistant” around that could help him hide it from me. Again, giving him access to all the appropriate comments (eg. good job, try again, etc.). We eventually moved to turning him around so he REALLY couldn’t see, and also gradually added more colors.

  8. ok, I'll stop bombarding you...... I just LOVE coming up with ways to use talkers to PLAY. for FUN. Sometimes I think it can be more successful that starting with "basic needs" that you will provide for them whether they ask or not, and/or things that once you ask for and get...... you don't need to ask again....... thus not enough practice.

    Please don't hear me not applauding what you're already doing..... just trying to brainstorm with you and expand on what you are doing. It's a huge thing that he's figured out if you push something you get something!! that's a great start!. He is SO VERY lucky that you are working to give him a voice!!

    I always try to think of things that:
    *so there is no wrong answer
    *can be repeatedly spoken and get a repeated response

  9. photos are probably best to start with.... but try hard to have a simple back ground so the item is emphasized.

    when searching for pictures online, sometimes it helps to google search.... clicking the image button. Sometimes you can get simpler pictures if you add "clip art" or "clipart" after the item you are searching for.
    e.g. "car clip art" will give you lot's of simple pictures of cars.

    an online symbol library that you can subscribe to is: