Allow students with disabilities to take a wide range of classes at the high school level. Psychology? Modern Dance? German? The catalog of possible options should be open to all.

This website is dedicated to promoting inclusive schooling and exploring positive ways of supporting students with autism and other disabilities. Most of my work involves collaborating with schools to create environments, lessons, and experiences that are inclusive, respectful, and accessible for all learners.

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Day 8: Talking frames

Posted on December 08, 2013 in Differentiating Instruction, Inclusion

One of the best ways to introduce augmentative and alternative communication and assistive technology is to provide opportunities for students with and without disabilities to access it in interesting ways throughout the school day. The talking picture frame is one such tool that all students can access for learning and for a bit of fun.

Typically, talking frames are used by families to record messages related to personal photos, but they can be used in the classroom to “broadcast” fun facts, vocabulary words, potential test questions, or even content-related trivia.

Talking Frame

Depending on the physical and learning needs of your students, you may need to demonstrate how to access the recording. You will also want to set up a routine or ritual involving the frame to be sure that students find opportunities to use it. For instance, a student with multiple disabilities in a seventh-grade science class had a goal of independently accessing augmentative communication on his individual education plan. He had a formal communication system he used for daily work, but his science teacher helped his goal along by incorporating a talking picture activity daily. The first thing his students did upon entering the classroom was push the button on the frame that was positioned near the classroom door. The frame changed almost daily and might contain any number of facts or ideas about science. The picture one day might be a hummingbird and upon hitting the button, students would learn that “Individuals from some species of hummingbirds weigh less than a penny.” Occasionally, the teacher would begin his presentation by finding out who knew the “fact in the frame”.

Frames are easy to find (we found several on Amazon such as this one that lets you record a short message for each of two photos in the frame) and fairly inexpensive to purchase.

What would you put in your frame?

For more differentiation ideas for K-12 classrooms, get your copy of From Text Maps to Memory Caps [Paul Brookes Publishing].

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