with the start of the new year I also started a new job as an outreach worker on the Thomas Project. The job is turning out to be just my thing - not only do I provide information and support to families and pre-schools, but I have to buy and more frequently make the resources myself. I am allowed full reign with the making as others on the team are not quite so excited by this aspect of the job.
On thursday I made a choice board for a 3 year old boy. This board is quite specific to his interests and will be used as a starting point to perhaps move on to a timetable or schedule. Such choice boards can be used at home with any child struggling to communicate but are a particularly useful tool for those working in pre-schools or within a pre-school language group.
The objects or symbols need to be relevant and meaningful to the child. They are a visual representation of the choices available and avoid the need to simultaneously think about possible options, whilst also trying to make a choice. In this instance the 3 year old already associates nursery rhymes with these small soft toys and so these can be used as symbols.
Next I stick the corresponding soft side of velcro to the toys. I found that the velcro did not always stay on the fabric and so further secured this with a stitch or two. The glue on velcro is extremely sticky so after several attempts and gunky sewing needles I managed a few stitches along the edge of the velcro.
The toys now stick to the board and can be chosen and pulled off by the child thus communicating his choice of song without the use of language.
This choice board was quick and easy to make but now of course I have to put it to use and see whether the creation is successful.