Thursday, January 20, 2011

You don’t need a yes and no to communicate.

For the students in this classroom  finding a” yes and no” signal that was consistent proved to be difficult and almost impossible for  the children. Movements and efforts were too laborious and often took away from valuable learning and communication time.  For students in this classroom, the student’s “best yes” was used as a means for them to navigate their communication system.  Each student had their own unique yes and in some instances students had more than one way to say yes.  For some students we asked them how they were going to say yes and used that method in communication activities.  For other students we used positive movements, eye contact to shape their “yes” response.  Stay tuned for video of the system being used in the classroom!

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  1. For me in particular this was an eye-opener. I ahd always assumed you would need the negative as well as the affirmative in order to be able to communicate effectively. I am not seeing that not only is this NOT the case but as it is so much easier just to work on a 'yes' the students are picking up the communciation interaction much faster and more easily!

  2. I think one helpful idea is to look for what they naturally use to indicate yes or that they like something and how they indicate negation versus trying to "teach it." We need to strive to understand them first and build on it!!

  3. Thanks for this interesting post, Pati. I see this thinking being particularly beneficial to kids with motor difficulties for whom ANY response is exhausting. Do you think we have traditionally expected a negative response for our own assureance that the affirmative was intentional? Or is it just habit?

    You prompted me to think a lot about this topic of yes/no and I've posted those reflections in case you're interested (

    I'm so glad you have a blog going. You have such good insights!