How to Help Students Who Have Limited Verbal Capabilities

Limited Verbal Capabilities
Students who have limited Verbal Capabilities have problem with social skills and abstract thinking. They often need explicit instruction to pick up on social cues and struggle with things like abstract ideas or changes to their routine. What can teachers do to help? Here are some of the top guidelines shared by coursework writing services;

Get Familiar with AAC
According to nonprofit communication first, AAC is any method of communication used by individuals with speech or communication disabilities to supplement or take the place of verbal speech. This will include no-tech aids (like pointing, gesturing, or signing), low-tech choices (such as a paper board with words, letters, and symbols on it), or high-tech solutions (such as a computer with text-to-speech software). Some students will use AAC all the time, others only in certain situations. And while some individuals think that the use of AAC might limit students, using a communication system only empowers people who would not otherwise express themselves reliably.

Classroom Schedules and Routines:
  • Create a daily class routine that changes as little as possible.
  • Post class schedules, rules, and expectations; make sure the student sees them.
  • Create a laminated card with the student’s schedule on it.
  • Provide verbal cues before transitions.
  • Give the student lots of time to preview and prepare for new activities like group projects, field visits, and other changes in routine.
  • Let the student select where to take a seat.

Introducing New Concepts:
  • Give a short review or connection to a previous lesson before teaching new ideas.
  • Provide an overview of a lesson before teaching it and clearly state the objective.
  • Use simple, concrete and clear language.
  • Explain figures of speech as you use them.
  • Explain jokes and identify sarcasm and words that have more than one meaning.
  • Break down abstract concepts and rephrase if required.

Providing instructions and Materials:
  • Speak slowly when giving directions.
  • Provide written directions even for assignments you’d expect a student to be able to generalize from the past.
  • Provide guided notes to use in class and to help the student zero in on key points of complicated assignments.
  • Provide a rubric that describes the elements of a successful assignment.
  • Shorten assignments to avoid overwhelming the student.
  • Adapt worksheets to cut down on handwriting. For instance, use “circle the answer” or “fill in the blank” questions.
  • Break a big project into smaller steps, making sure the student understands the overall goal and how the components fit together.
  • Use organizers and mind-mapping software.
  • Provide the test format ahead of time so the student can focus on content.
  • Provide extended time for taking tests.
  • Provide a quiet workspace as needed.
  • Provide an extra set of books to keep at home.

Building Self-Regulation and Social Skills:
  • Proactively identify signs of overstimulation or frustration.
  • Use a nonverbal signal with the student to indicate the need for a brain break.
  • Identify a calming zone at school where the student can go to regroup and relax.
  • Teach social rules like how close to stand to people and how to interpret body language and other nonverbal cues.
  • Pre-correct and prompt to help teach social skills.
  • Respond to inappropriate behavior using respectful redirection.
  • Develop a consistent strategy for when the student repeats questions or gets stuck on a topic or idea (sometimes called “perseveration”).

Practice Strategies for Promoting Communication for All Students
Supporting students who use AAC doesn’t have to be complicated:
  • Students should always have access to their communication systems.
  • Students are more likely to communicate and participate when activities are motivating or connect with their passions and interests.
  • Frequent opportunities to practice using their AAC helps children learn to communicate in various contexts and with various people.
  • People who use AAC may require more wait time to prepare a response, so make sure to be patient.
  • When teachers honor students’ communication, it teaches them and the other students that we respect them and their voice.
  • Talk directly to the AAC user, not to their support person (if they have one). And if students work in groups, guide everyone in the group to talk directly to the person using AAC.

Students who cannot rely primarily on speech to communicate are often the first to be placed in segregated special education classrooms. But what I learned from Ringo is that supporting communication can happen in the general education setting—it just takes a willingness to listen.