Friday, 7 March 2014

Intensive Interaction with Semi-Verbal Children: Part II

As outlined in my previous post, I've been trying to develop my I.I. skills and repertoire with my son, who has quite a lot of scripted and echolalic speech but not so much functional speech.  Because he is quite physically inactive by nature a lot of our I.I. tends to revolve around word play and singing.  Here are some activities which I have found to work (and I will continue to update this when I think of more)...

1. Listening to the rhythm of his scripted language and then echoing it through clapping or on a drum.  (Thanks to Sara from the I.I. Parents' Facebook group for that one!)
2. Making up a simple song to capture what's going on (e.g. 'The car is on the drum' to the tune of 'The Farmer wants a Wife') and then playing around with the positions of the toys to require flexible adaptations of the original verse ('The tractor's on the drum...')
3. Using his phonics learning in nursery as the basis for I.I. fun play (e.g. c-c-c-c-c-c-car!) which can combine nicely with burst-pause and anticipation sequences.
4. Copying what he says in different voices - this is quite effective at gently sabotaging the 'monologue' nature of the script and engaging his attention with me.  He particularly likes when I whisper what he has said and will start to show eye contact and whisper back.  Alternatively vary volume or pitch or put on a silly voice.
5. As a variation to (4) above buy a 'voice changer toy' for added fun with the echoing.
6. Adding Makaton to speech - although he isn't motivated to sign himself at the moment it does encourage eye contact and connection and adds something extra and different to speech which could easily slide into scripting.

Additionally, I can imagine that 'sabotage' could work well for some semi-verbal children (e.g. answering them with a very silly answer to provoke a flexible response or protest) - at present we're not quite there yet with R.

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