Since working with non-verbal students I have found they are usually surrounded by adults, which is understandable but I have also learned some of my most valuable lessons from watching how students interact with students with disabilities. Giving peers a little understanding of their classmate, and allowing them to be creative while the adults take a back seat can be eye opening. Kids naturally know how to chit chat with their non-verbal friends, laughing, being silly and just being kids.
I have come across the quote "if you want to know how to act around someone with a disability, watch their siblings". Here is a 'informational' video by Abby showing one way she communicates with her non-verbal brother.
Getting friends involved with communication only helps everyone and the kids think it is really cool! Teaching classmates how a students communication device works will make for some awesome communication partners. This photo shows two boys are learning to navigate a non-verbal students eyegaze system with the help of the Educational Assistant.
A simple way to include non-verbalstudents into your lesson is project their way to communicate on to the screen and model communication! You don't have to use the talker for every word but think about what the entire class can learn through this simple thing. Let all students give it a try also! Once you start you will wonder why you never did this before! Be kind to yourself, have courage and give it a try.
Wait time between preprogramed phrases and constructing their own. Wait time is so important and can be a road block for many non-verbal kids, by the time they get out what they wanted to say many people have already moved on. Calum shows you the difference between preprogrammed phrases and when he has to construct a sentence on his own.