While we mostly talk about travelling with Braeden, we also like to share some of Braeden’s therapy goals and solutions. After all, it’s wonderful for a person who is non-verbal to use travel as a time to communicate with others and practice communication skills. It’s actually a highly motivating time and when Braeden is out and about during the week it’s a great time for him to use a picture exchange communication book to make choices and tell us about his day. Braeden’s current picture exchange communication book is worse for wear so we’ve just updated and I thought I’d share the lovely job the allied health assistant did.
Picture exchange communication book
When Braeden’s speech pathologist was chatting to me recently about ideas for the book we couldn’t decide on an A5 or A4 picture exchange communication book. We decided to make both sizes and see what works best, particularly for his support workers who will be using it on the go when they are out and about with Braeden. Most systems are trial and error and it’s important for the communication book to work for Braeden but also his communication partners.
You may wonder why use such a simple communication system as this. The whole point is that it is simple and anyone can pick it up and give it a go. They don’t need to navigate through apps or technology to use it. Literally anyone can use it with Braeden.
I’m sure many of you are familiar with the colour coded categories which make it easier to organise the book.
Within the folder there is a pull out daily laminated sheet which Braeden can use to give us a snap shot of his day. Who he was with, what they did, what he ate, what kind of transport they used and how he felt about the day. It’s kind of like that single sentence you may use to sum up your day if someone asks, “How was your day?” or “What did you get up to today?”
It’s always fun to see Braeden’s feelings on his day out. He’s often cheeky and amused by his choice. Again this gives him the opportunity to show his personality and wonderful sense of humour.
Braeden’s speech pathologist observed one of Braeden’s gym sessions and thought it would be great to incorporate choice making during his gym sessions. One of the advantages of individual support for Braeden is that he has more choice over his days as there is no-one else he needs to consider. We are keen for him to feel more control over his days. While his personal trainer may not agree with his choices, it’s al about empowering Braeden.
One of the challenges of having hundreds of picture cards is keeping them organised. I love the way the new picture exchange communication books have an easy way of matching where the picture should go.
We used Braeden’s NDIS funding to have the books made. The lady that made them did a lovely job and I’ll look forward to seeing which one the support workers prefer size-wise. I’m thinking the A4 looks more manageable, even though it is larger is size to manage when they are out and about.
As always, we are keen to hear your experience with picture exchange communication books or other communication.
You may also find the following blogs useful if you are interested in this topic.
How to make a communication book for someone that’s non-verbal
Photos the gateway into the world of someone who is non-verbal
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