After almost six years away I'm back in the classroom! Starting a new job is a daunting task. I'm figuring out how to best use the classroom space and working to develop an effective classroom routine. Of course, there's all of the administrative “stuff" too. So much to do in a short period of time. Every day is a wonderful, exhausting whirlwind.
I made the decision to place communication at the top of the priority list in my new classroom. Most of my students are considered non-verbal. They range in age from 13-23 and have had little access to aided language input on a consistent basis during their educational experience. As a certified PODD trainer, I knew that I wanted to provide access to robust vocabulary via aided language input. My teaching assistant and I are providing abundant receptive input throughout the day by carrying our group PODD books everywhere we go. In addition, we have five core vocabulary posters around the room along with multiple activity displays in relevant areas (food pages at the table, reading pages at the guided reading area, etc). We refer to them as often as we possibly can given the very active nature of the students.
No matter the age or the severity of the disability, every student has the right to communication supports. I am determined that as the year progresses, my students will be able to harness the power of communication. We are providing them with the tools and the models of how to use a robust communication system to share their thoughts and ideas. Stay tuned!