Part 1 – Modeling
This is going to be the first in a series of blog posts that address questions raised by new users. For each question, we have compiled the responses received from the community. We have also included inputs from our side.
In a previous blog post, we had spoken about the importance of community ties, sharing and learning while supporting children with disabilities. We had then gone on to solicit experiences from parents, teachers, SLPs and other caregivers to build knowledge for new users of AAC and Avaz. While we knew that the process would be deeply insightful, nothing prepared for the sheer magnitude of responses and, the thought behind each of them!
We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to each one of you for your contribution and time.
We hope this week’s question would give us all a chance to discuss modeling with AAC and Avaz. We would love for you to share more of your thoughts, ideas and definitely questions, in the comments section below.
Q1: Each time my child wants something, they take me to the place where it’s kept. Be it sweets or toys. How should I encourage them to use Avaz at that time? It doesn’t occur to them to always to use the device.
Ideas from the Avaz Community
- I would make it a habit to model on AVAZ as much as possible. Especially the items my child wants or uses regularly, like food or toys. When they pull me to the item they want, I would open Avaz, and ask them what they wanted. I would encourage them to answer by using AVAZ. If they do not know how to use it, you can model the answer with them in a hand-over-hand manner. For this, I would also try and keep the device at an easy reach always.
- Say, for instance, your child grabs your hand and takes you to the cookie. You will then have to pick up the device and draw their attention to it. Then proceed to press the words, “I” “want” and “cookie” while speaking the words, “I want cookie”. Over time and with repetition, they will realize that AVAZ is the way to make themselves understood. And when they get here, they will use it!
- You can choose their 5 most favorite items. Model asking for these items. With time and progress, make sure that they get these items only when they communicate through the device.
The key here is to model language for your child by pointing out words in Avaz. If your child is a beginner, start by selecting single words while speaking the sentence. Once the child gets used to Avaz, you can encourage them to make phrases and then complete sentences. For instance, you can start with teaching how to say ‘toys’, and then teach ‘want toys’. Finally, you can take creating a complete sentence like, ‘I want toys’. Continue modeling the use of Avaz until he learns to use it independently.
To give you a starting point, here’s a video of a leading AAC researcher modeling using Avaz.