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Using a Communication Board to Make Choices at a Fast Food Restaurant

Communication Device Project

Title: Using a Communication Board to Make Choices at a Fast Food Restaurant

Name: Jane Doe
Semester: Fall 2016
The Exceptional Child

  1. Description of Population: This communication board will be used for six students in a K-
    2nd grade life skills class who are identified as having mental retardation and other
    developmental disabilities. Two of the students in the class are completely nonverbal and are
    not able to read, but they are able to make choices by pointing to actual objects or picture
    representations. Three of the other students cannot read but make choices by pointing to
    actual objects or picture representations. One student can read very simple words.
    2. Message Conveyed: This communication board is designed to allow the students to make
    appropriate food choices when eating in a cafeteria or restaurant and to communicate those
    decisions to the individual taking their orders. This will allow them to identify their options
    and make their daily meal selections without relying on their caregivers.

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3. Sender & Receiver: The senders of this message are the students who are deciding what
meal options they would like to choose for today’s lunch. Those who are nonverbal will point
to the desired items on the communication device in an effort to help those around them
understand their wishes. Those senders who do have verbal abilities, but cannot read, will be
able to look through the picture representations, decide on their desired lunch items, and then
place their orders verbally. The receiver(s) of this message are the teacher(s), cafeteria
worker(s), or the cashier(s) at the fast food restaurant who will complete their order. The
receiver(s) will have to watch carefully as those children without verbal abilities point to their
desired items.
4. Environments: The senders will practice using this communication board in the school
environment and will then generalize this skill to an actual fast food restaurant. The students
will learn to use the communication board in the life skills classroom, but will be given
picture/play food representations of the items as a response. At the fast food restaurant, the
student will have to wait in a line and then “speak” to the cashier to place his/her order.Real
food will be available at the restaurant. This same skill can, eventually, be generalized to a
wider variety of settings within the community.
5. Objectives: The detailed IEP objectives are as follows:
Communication Objective
Ÿ Using the communication board, the student will be able to communicate their desired meal choices to the
cashier at a fast food restaurant without assistance 8/9 times.

Task Objective

ŸGiven the meal options communication board, the student will be able to clearly identify, either verbally or
by pointing, only one main dish, one side, and one drink on 8/9 trials.

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  1. Steps: The following outlines what the students will do to master the objectives:
    1. First, the class will discuss the different parts of a meal and that only one choice can be
    made when ordering at a restaurant. This may be different than what they are
    accustomed to at home where multiple choices may be available for each meal.
    2. The students will be taught what each picture on the communication board represents.
    They will practice using their communication board to choose only one main dish, one
    side, and one drink from a given picture menu. They will receive their desired
    meal in the form of pictures or play food. The teacher will give appropriate
    feedback and correct attempts to make multiple choices.
    3. The students and teacher will then go to a fast food restaurant where the students will
    order their meals without assistance. Those who can use words will use them in
    conjunction with the communication board. Those who are unable to speak will simply
    point to the board. If necessary, the teacher will provide assistance after the student has
    attempted the task on their own.
    4. Once the order has been placed, the students will be directed to their seats and the teacher
    will complete the transaction. The students will then be able to enjoy their meal of

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5. The meal options communication device will continue to be used on a daily basis. The
variety of settings in which the device can be utilized will increase as the students
become more proficient with the device and more options are added.
7. Prototype Development: I designed the prototype by purchasing index cards, cardstock,
a key ring, and Velcro dots. I found Google images of food items, printed them on the
cardstock, and cut them out. I laminated each individual picture and placed a Velcro dot
on the back. I then laminated each index card and placed at least four Velcro dots
(opposite from the picture backing) on each card. For each card, I chose several options
depending on what would be available at the restaurant we were visiting. One card was
dedicated to main dishes, side orders were on another, and the final card displayed all the
drink choices. All three cards were placed on the ring. This could be expanded
depending on the setting. Many sit down restaurants have a choice of appetizers and
desserts to go along with the main dish, side, and drink.
8. Prototype Assessment: I practiced using the communication board with a few young
children without problems; no reworking was deemed necessary. In fact, the boys were
so excited to be placing their own orders, I had to switch my focus to maintaining order.
The cashier was able to place the orders with no assistance from me! If a student did
have trouble flipping through the rings, I could possibly divide a single sheet of cardstock
into three labeled sections. I would, however, prefer to use the rings for ease of storage
and transporting.

Last Updated on February 11, 2019

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