Ideas Galore - For Switches (or other communication device)

If you are new to switches (Big Mac, Big Step-by-Step are a few examples) like I am - then today is your lucky day. I found a few great resources that gave me some wonderful ideas on how to incorporate using a switch more authentically. (Sometimes I will call it a button.)

These are a few examples (above) of the switches that can activate toys with a  switch accessible toy. Also these two allow you to program messages with your voice so when you hit the button, the message plays. You can also add multiple messages and have your student hit the switch multiple times.

I have a new student this school year who is learning/using a switch by activating it with his head. He doesn't have voluntary movements with his body parts but he can move his head slightly to activate the switch (we use a device that clamps to his wheelchair that holds his switch/button). It is a hard situation as sometimes I think it is involuntary when he does hit it but other times I do believe he is activating it all on his own. This is also a student who is non verbal and also has hearing and vision difficulties as well.

Now here are some fun and functional ways to being incorporated using a switch/AAC device for your students:

1. Recite a repeated line in a story/play/poem/speech
2. Read from a story
3. Ask Questions of others about a story
4. Name vocabulary words and define terms
5. Answer questions during calendar/schedule time
6. Recite the Pledge of Allegiance
7. Ask questions of others about their day/night
8. Ask survey questions of others
9. Recite a poem
10. Call items for Bingo games
11. Give details about different parts of a class story
12. Count forward
13. Count backward
14. Skip count
15. Count days of the week/month/year
16. Count using 1-1 correspondence
17. State time (hour/half)
18. List states, name places
19. Cut with a batter operated scissors (pre-adapted)
20. Have a race with toys that walk accessed through the switch
21. Use walking switch toys to knock down block tower
22. Be in charge of the pencil sharpener
23. Use the switch to turn on a fan or an appliance like a mixer
24. Give a compliment to a friend
25. Sing Happy Birthday
26. Have a message to share at home about what was done in therapy
27. Indicate when finished or want more
28. To say "Good morning" or "Good bye" to friends at school
29. To tell a joke
30. To turn on a blender, mixer or air popcorn popper

I know the list can go on and on so I would love to hear how you have used a switch!

A few tips-
Model, model, model! We need to show our students how to use the device(s) correctly and give them lots of practice!
Set goals, or small targets
And use it in the classroom/natural setting

Remember, "Just because a child can't speak, doesn't mean he doesn't want to be heard"

Have fun and until next time- 

Resources and ideas came from:
Article: "101 +i ideas for using the big step-by-setp and other single message communication devices or other sequential message devise to access curriculum" compiled by Toni Waylor-Bowen, PH.D. and Jessie Moreau, M.ED. NBCT; March 2008

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