When talking comes easily to you, it’s hard to imagine finding it so boring, you just can’t be bothered. However, until Pavel started sessions at Communication Space, boredom was seriously holding him back.
Up until last year, Pavel had taken part in various programmes to help him communicate. These even included using alternative communication, since he doesn’t talk. However, the same pattern would emerge each time. He would learn some simple symbols, they would enter his vocabulary, but then he would get bored and stop using them. He was getting quite disengaged with the whole thing until Communication Space tried a new approach.
Pasha also finds it difficult to think when he’s in a group. So he comes to Communication Space once a week for individual sessions. The aim is for him to learn how to use the PECS system of symbols in a more complex way. As well as using a communication book, Pasha has been introduced to a tablet. Using his tablet he can now construct two symbol phrases and, rather than just requesting things, he can also comment on activities. For example he can say if he likes something, if he wants more, or if he wants to stop. For the first time, Pasha is finding that this is worth the effort. He is much more engaged in learning new words and phrases and actually initiates communication.
We are delighted that alternative communication is becoming better known and more children are having access to it. However, Pasha’s story shows that teaching communication to non-verbal children is a skilled business. As well as funding these group and individual sessions at Communication Space, we are also funding training sessions for professionals from Moscow and the regions. We are hopeful that this training will help unlock the potential of many more young people than we can reach directly.