Dynamic Therapy Associates, Inc. is a family-focused speech language pathology practice. We provide articulation, language, oral-motor/feeding, and AAC services to our patients.
For students using AAC, we often use choice-making to ensure they are motivated to communicate. There are many different choices students can make throughout the day. The most commonly offered choices at school include lunch, snack choices; and leisure choices. Food and fun are certainly motivating reasons to communicate, but don't forget you can empower students by offering other less obvious options throughout their day.
They can choose who to sit beside, who to play with, what classroom job they want for the day. Students can chose what topic they want to read about in their self-selected book, what task they want to begin with, what they want to do on the playground. Don't forget they can choose where they want to work (desk, floor, beanbag!).
You simply have to present the choice using symbols that make sense to them. For some students, actual object choices may be the best option. For others photos, picture symbols or a list of choices read aloud might be the best solution.
There is value in simply giving students options, basic choices throughout their day, to help empower them and begin to support that autonomous communication development, saying WHAT you want to say, WHEN your want to say it, to WHO you want to say it to!
If the student is choosing between one actual object and another though, that is not symbolic communication. For object choices to be symbolic, the objects must "represent" the item being selected. You will choose a representative object to symbolize the items being chosen. You may offer a spoon to represent "pudding" and an empty Goldfish bag to represent "Goldfish." Although it may be tempting to assume a student needing object symbols is functioning at a more "emergent" level of communication, it could actually be needed for a variety of reasons: