Sunday, September 20, 2015

Watching Sports Using AAC Switches

Cracking up watching tv by Wonderline Flickr (CC)
With football season among us, I thought it would be a good time to share an idea for using one-button switches during sporting events.  Recently, I had an opportunity to rekindle my skill of teaching students how to use one-button switches to communicate messages while participating in everyday activities.  Obviously,  one-button switches with single messages limits users to single messages.  So you have to think about what you'd like to communicate, and what the communicative purpose will be.  Think about the reasons why people communicate:  to obtain things that we want, to refuse things that we don't want, to engage in social interactions, and to provide or seek information (see Communication Matrix).

I'd say that one of the biggest challenges of using single message switches is finding  messages that are purposeful and that can be repeated expectantly during communication opportunities.  Being the sports fan that I am, this is a great example of how to use a single message repeatedly in the right context.  For example, communicators could have a variety of catch phrases during games (both live and on tv).  Think of  all of the comments that people say during games--both good and bad.  You could be a supporter or a heckler. Boo, Buckeyes! You could tell the team what to do next.  Run!  Pass it.  He's open!  Or, you could lead a cheer.  Lets.....Go.....Irish!  Think of the sports colloquialisms that people use during games.  He's on fire!  From downtown!  You get the idea.

Before the event, have everyone brainstorm all of the phrases that might be said during the game.  Write them down and use them throughout the game.  If you have a one-button switch, like the Little Step-by-Step Communicator or the Randomizer, you could record many, if not all of the phrases.  Find some one-button switches at EnableMart.

It's a fun way to get people to communicate within an everyday, ordinary activities.

C'mon Irish!  Let's get this! Not again! Amazing!  No way!  Touchdown! Gooooooooooal!