Chapter 8 – #TeamEJ – Unlocking EJs Voice – Verbalizing

So here we are after just a couple weeks of working more specifically with alternative teaching methods and assistive technology.  Specifically RPM with lots of visuals and TouchChat as an AAC app.

This lesson was so significant to me because he really started verbalizing a lot.  I was so caught off guard that I didn’t even notice him proudly saying “brown” until I watched the video.  I have to say that I started video taping mostly so I could share with friends and family on Facebook but I’ve found that I learn a lot from watching the videos.  First, I get to see what I’m doing and how he responds.  I love that as I’m writing out “light blue” and “dark blue” he is watching me over my shoulder.  I had been reading in one of Soma’s books about open learning channels and I just feel like somehow these approaches are helping us find and open EJ to a whole new world of learning opportunities.

Watching him trying to sound out “orange” with all the side to side mouth movement is probably one of my favorite parts of this session.  One of the biggest misconceptions about AAC devices and teaching nonverbal kids to type is that they won’t develop verbal language.  I believe the exact opposite is true.  It certainly has been for EJ.

First of all we have no right to restrict any type of learning that could enable communication.  But more importantly it’s giving him an avenue to learn more and get constant verbal feedback while building the words visually.  The more senses we can involve the better shot we have of retaining that learning.

Think about the early deaf schools when people thought that teaching sign language would impede verbal language.  Kids would secretly teach each other in the restroom so they could communicate.  Teaching someone any method of more effective communication is our duty.  OK, I’m climbing down off my soap box now…