Beyond a doubt, Noah’s favorite board is his Snack Choices Board. I’ve discovered a few treasures along the way and I’m hoping they’ll help make this a successful board for your children as well. A special thanks goes out to Sandy over at http://wecandoallthings.blogspot.com/, who got me thinking about how I’ve tweaked this board since I first blogged about it. Her blog is a treasure trove of activities combining physical, occupational and speech therapy into fun, parent-friendly home-based learning activities.
1. Cut all choices into individual cards instead of keeping the board intact. Then only display 2-4 choices each day for food and 2-3 choices for drink. I found that when I leave all the choices accessible for Noah, he usually winds up choosing the same one over and over again because he is overwhelmed. If you only display a few, it will allow your child to go through the thinking and decision-making process rather than settling on a default choice.
2. Make sure you have the item available that is represented on the card. You’re trying to motivate your child to communicate, so it’s important it is a rewarding experience for him.
3. Keep the boards mounted in an easily accessible place so that your child has the opportunity to use them at his (and your) convenience. Hopefully he will be using it every day, so it’s worth making it so accessible. We post ours on the refrigerator using super magnets.
- Print out a copy of the Snack Choices Board. For other food cards, check out the printables on https://wordsofhisheart.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/grocery-shopping-lists-for-grains-dairy-and-protein/. You will also needI want – 1 Card Version or I Want – 2 Card Version.
- Prepare cards by laminating and cutting.
- Place a velcro dot (loops) on the back of each card.
- Laminate a sheet of cardstock or paper. Place three strips of velcro (hooks) across the width of the laminated sheet, one close to the top, one in the middle, and one close to the bottom.
- Place an “I want” card(s) on the bottom strip. On the top velcro strip, place the drink choices you want to make available to your child. On the middle velcro strip place the food choices you want to make available to your child. When your child is ready to make a choice, have him select from the top strip and add it to the bottom strip. Then point, say and sign each card in order, for example, “I want milk.” If he gets a drink and food, he should place the choices next to each other, for example, “I want milk apple.” (We’ll worry about conjunctions later.)
One thing I’ve found quite delightful is that Noah ends each of these phrases by signing please. If you are working on manners and they are not coming that automatically, have your child use a “please” PEC at the end of his phrase, or you can always prompt him to say and sign “please.”
We ran into a problem with Noah because he was able to sign most of his food choices, but when he would combine words to say “I want (apple), please), he would inadvertently leave out the noun. So all he would sign would be I want please. Pointing him to the PEC board allowed him to sign “I want”, then he would select the noun, then he would add on his please. I was able to point to the card he had selected, prompt him to sign and then he’d move on to please. I saw how much the PECs helped him to slow down and construct good sentences. It’s this kind of a result that excites me about exploring all the different ways to use PECs and other methods of visual learning.
And Now a Word From Our Sponsors (That Would be You):
I know a lot of people have some sort of a choice system for snacks. What are you using and is it working for you? Any ideas to make this better?