What does the person like?
• Look at what the person likes to do.
• What do they share with you?
• What are they interested in, successful at, or seem to have fun with?
• What happens if the preferred activity is held back or stopped?
• Communication is most likely to happen during preferred activities
What is the daily routine?
• Check out what the person does every day.
• Many times communication happens during the daily routine.
• This especially true if the routine is changed.
• Also, a good time to notice what vocabulary the person may need
What does the person dislike?
• Look at what the person avoids
• What do they seem bored with, or have difficulty doing?
• Often the person may be motivated to communicate “I don’t like that” or “I don’t want to do that”
• These activities or items are helpful for teaching the power of communication, for example, giving them a way to tell us they don’t like something shows them they have some control in their life
Why else is it important to find out what the person likes and dislikes?
• This is the best time to learn more effective communication
• We all learn best when we are interested in something.
• For communication to be successful it needs to be motivating and not feel like work
But how can I tell if the person doesn’t seem to show any interests?
• Look at how the person moves about the room
• Do they interact with any items? Touch or hold something repeatedly?
• Observe body language, actions, gestures, and facial expressions
• Notice what the person is looking at
• Look in the same direction to discover what has captured the person’s interest
• By tuning in, you can learn a lot about what the person is interested in and what they are trying to tell you
• From Tabi Jones, PrAACtical AAC: When people “don’t have an effective form of communication… where they look and what they look at tells us much. A look and facial expression can convey “I like that, I don’t understand, I’m curious, I’m fearful, I’m excited”… These are the interactions life is made of, and very often will provide opportunities for authentic interactions.”