Some educators tend to think that they only need to rely on teaching methods for students with communication disabilities when they work in special needs classrooms. While autism and other conditions can keep children from speaking, those with other communication problems might take traditional classes with their peers. A child who is so shy that he or she cannot speak in front of others or a child with a stutter shouldn’t feel ashamed or punished for their disabilities. Teachers can use new methods to work with those students and make them feel more confident.
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Voice Output Communication Aid
One of the newest teaching methods that educators can use in the classroom is a voice output communication aid. This is an electronic device that looks similar to a laptop or tablet. These devices usually feature a touchscreen with different words and phrases on it. Instead of forcing a child to give you a verbal response, the child can touch a button on the screen to respond to your questions. Though kids will need to go through a training program to learn what each phrase and button means, these devices can help kids communicate better.
Changing the Presentation of Questions
When you ask a child a basic yes or no question, you give that child an excuse to say as little as possible. Some kids, especially those who are shy or afraid of talking in front of others, may just need a little encouragement. Instead of asking a child if he or she wants to play with blocks at break time, ask the child specifically what he or she wants to do. Every time that you need to ask a student with a communication issue a question, try to leave the question open ended to encourage a longer response.
Communication boards are similar to voice output communication aids. The biggest difference is that these boards feature responses that children can point to when talking to you rather than pressing a button to elicit a digital response. Though these boards have existed for a number of years, and were one of the first methods used with children who couldn’t or wouldn’t talk, the newest designs utilize bright colors and popular cartoon characters to grab the attention of users and make kids want to use the boards.
Using Their Peers
Using and working with their peers is one of the newer teaching methods for students with communication disabilities. Kids with communication problems might feel ostracized by their peers and without friends, which makes it even harder for them to speak up in class. Dividing your classroom in half and assigning each child a buddy can help kids feel more comfortable speaking in front of others. Instead of rewarding or punishing students for their own actions, they receive rewards and penalties for the things they and their buddies do. Kids will quickly learn that the better they behave, the more rewards they can get.
Communication disabilities can range from nonverbal autism and stuttering to hearing loss and voice problems. The children suffering from those problems should feel comfortable talking to you and their peers. Employing some of the latest teaching methods for students with communication disabilities in your classroom will help these students flourish.