With the fact that Ethan was born with a cleft palate, he did not talk much when he was younger, and when he did talk he was so difficult to understand no one but me could understand what he was saying most of the time. We taught him sign language very early on, and he was able to communicate with everyone in the house so much better, but unfortunately most people outside the house didn't know sign language and there was a huge language barrier.
We finally got Early On to come in and evaluate him right around his 2nd birthday, and they diagnosed his speech at about a 5 month old level, because his speech was so delayed they immedietly started him on weekly in home speech therapy services. Upon starting speech we slowly introduced visual cards, first was our visual schedule, which I posted about previously. Once he mastered the visual schedule, we worked on the If, Then board. Now before this board we were frequently having battles about Ethan wanting to do whatever he wanted right then, and if he couldn't there was very BIG fits that would sometimes take literally HOURS to get him to calm down from! I was at a very big loss as none of my other 4 children would have never been acting like that over such little things.
One big thing I have learned is that giving him choices is always the best way to go and makes our battles so much easier. The if/then board was just another way to let him do the things he wanted after he did what mom needs him to do first, in a visual way. After the results we seen with the visual schedule we were more than glad to give it a try!
Here is a picture of the if/then board very similar to the visual schedule board, there is a left and right side each a different color. On the left side is the "if" side and the right is the "then" side. An example of something you would put on the if/then board would be, Ethan loves to go outside without shoes and in our yard there are to many things for him to step on and get hurt, telling him to put shoes on before going outside was just not going to work so we took our if/then board and put it on the back door so before he would go outside he would see his reminder, "if" you get your shoes on "then" you can go outside. We do have to remind him every once and a great while to come back and look at the chart but most of the time we don't! This is just one more tool that has made our lives so much easier!
Here are some resources for free printable picture cards to make your own Visual Chart or If/Then Board.
Do To Learn has a bunch of different printable picture cards, most of them are free.
Trainland has tons of different printable pictures, about half way down the page.
Speaking Of Speech has resources sent in from other teachers and therapists and has a very large resource of picture cards
Labels: Cleft Lip/Palate, Ethan's Journey, If/Then Board, Sensory Diet, Sensory Processing Disorder, Special Needs, Speech Assistace, Visual Learners