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Jul 28, 2012

Choice Boards

As an autism mom, I'm grateful for choice boards.  That is one thing I miss about the iPad that I can't find on the kindle fire.  Choice boards are so important for kids that are nonverbal or have very limited language.  We used this choice board when we had the ipad.  It can be found in the App Store under "My Choice Board" :
It was awesome for so many things.  Our speech therapist used it to allow the kids to choose which activities they wanted to do during their therapy.  I loved it cause I could put different snacks/activities.  When my kids were whining, I wouldn't have to go through a list in my head and guess what they wanted.  I could show them the choice board, and they could point at the picture they wanted.  They would then have to drag the picture up to the "place image from below here" box.  They then would hear "I want ___."  They would have to repeat the sentence before they could get what they wanted.  It was amazing how much more they talked and what words stuck in their vocabulary when they were using a choice board.
We just started summer break, and my kids are big eaters.  I hate when they go to my fridge and try to open it (we have locks on our fridge, if you didn't see that in a previous post).  They get so mad.  So, I decided it was time to make a non-digital choice board that my kids could utilize.  I had tried printing pics of all the available foods on magnet paper before and putting them on the fridge.  It was a great idea, until my kids decided they were a fun thing to carry around and lose.  They were also hard to grasp because they were thin.  So this time around, I made a paper choice board that basically was the same design as the "My Choice Board" app on the ipad.  I laminated it, then I put six velcro strips underneath the "I want ____" and one velcro strip next to the word "want."  I then printed off all the food choices I could think of, laminated them and placed velcro on the back.  Since I wouldn't have all the food choices available at all times, I also made a not-available board.  I did this by laminating one clear lamination sheet without anything in it.  I cut out two long red strips and shaped them like an X inside another lamination sheet.  Then I laminated that. I taped three of the four sides of both laminated sheets with duct tape, leaving the top open to form the 'Not-Available' folder.  I then laminated another piece of paper and covered it with velcro strips.  When I don't have certain foods, I just velcro them on that paper and slip it into the 'Not Available' folder.  I used a glue gun to glue magnets on the back of both the choice board and the 'Not-Available' folder, then placed them on the fridge.  The choice board is in easy reach for the kids, and the 'Not-Available' folder is in mom's easy reach.  :)
This has worked out great.  My kids know what is available, so they don't get upset when they are asking for things I don't have.  Caiti has relearned the word, "carrott" so far.  Yay.  I love that they are bringing me the pictures of what they want instead of bringing me a dirty plate from the sink and hoping I can read their mind.

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