- Have expectations that the student will communicate. Let them know you are interested.
- Look for opportunities in every activity that you do with them.
- Pause when you are waiting for a response. Count to 10 to give them time to process and respond.
- Expand on what the student is saying by adding your own thoughts. ("I smell tacos in the cafeteria. They smell good!")
- Avoid sentences that begin with "tell me" or "show me". These can be threatening to the student.
- Use the students modes of communication when interacting with them (e.g., pointing, signing words, etc.)
- Avoid yes and no questions. It is not motivating for students to communicate when they feel pressured to reply with the correct response.
- There is nothing wrong with telling a student that you did not understand what they were trying to communicate. Try to help them find ways to clarify.
I hope you find this post helpful, and I'd love for you to add to it! Please leave a comment to share other ways to encourage active participation!