There is a ‘joke’ in the speechie world that we ‘teach kids to talk back’. And it’s true!

Let me explain: We celebrate when a child demonstrates the skills to refuse or to say no, because this is clear advocacy for their own wants and needs! Self-advocacy!

And here’s an example:

At the end of a recent session, I told a child, let’s call them Billy, on the communication app Proloquo2Go “it is time to go to school”.

Billy paused the game they were playing on their iPad to go into Proloquo2Go and replied “time for iPad”.

And then went back into their game and continued playing!

Billy’s mum and I celebrated. Yes, celebrated!

  • Billy is early in their Proloquo2Go journey, and usually uses single words.
  • It was the first time Billy had ever communicated that particular sentence.
  • Billy recognised the app as a form of effective communication that was worth leaving their game to use.
  • It was an appropriate response/negotiation in the situation.

And so you now you see it! Because by gosh, by gosh, THAT is communication progress

 Billy had also entered the room at the start of the session and communicated “set a timer” (until iPad time), so the communication about the game was actually a continuation of their self-advocacy! The communication continuum focused around their own needs!

We would have also accepted a gesture/noise form of negotiation, but this was a spontaneous use of the communication app to get a message across.


Billy did get a couple of extra iPad minutes while we discussed how excellent the communication was.

Then it was still time to go to school!

– Cat



Images are two partial screen shots from the Proloquo2Go app, with the comments as described above.

If you’d like to read more about self-advocacy, check out another SPT blog by Rosie – I Don’t Know


**story shared with permission**