A topic I keep coming across at work is motivation.
In meetings I hear:
They aren’t interested in anything
They don’t like anything
They take a long time to answer questions
They aren’t communicating with me
They are non verbal
They just won’t do anything
While all of these are valid and are very likely how the support person feels, the reoccurring factor in all of these could be motivation.
If a student doesn’t like what is available. They are going to seem disinterested and act like they don’t like anything.
If a student is taking a long time to respond it may be because they don’t want any of the options your are providing or are not motivated by the communicative interaction.
I’ve gone in to see “non verbal” students who communicate in some modality the minute that I find their interest.
As communication partners, it is our job to try and find what motivates our learners and immerse communication into those activities.
Whether it’s marble towers, stuffed animals, bins of beans, climbing, or playing on a blanket, we can work language into it.
It is important to note, this does not mean that the motivating item should be used as a reinforcement for a non motivating task. It means that the motivating item should become the activity and we follow the child’s lead and use language in their play.