Planning Ideas for 1:1 Virtual Sessions with Students Who are Nonverbal

Virtual learning has come with many challenges, and making sure our non-verbal students have access and success during virtual sessions is essential.

So how can you plan for those 1:1 sessions to make sure your nonverbal students are able to demonstrate their understanding and communicate effectively?

With help from veteran teachers in the VIP Facebook group, I have compiled a few ways to ensure your students are given the opportunities they need to succeed. Choose the methods that will work best for them and you during these unusual teaching circumstances.

Communicating with Non-verbal Students During Virtual Sessions

Provide Students with Visual Cue Cards

Depending on the grade you teach and your students’ ability levels, cue cards can be an easy and effective way to help them communicate during an online session. Cards can range from picture cards to yes or no cards, and more.

  • The key is to make sure that your students have all of the cards or icons needed to demonstrate the skills and information that you are asking of them. You can create specific cards for distance learning lessons and/or use icons from the student’s visual schedule.

Ideally, cards could be picked up from the school or distributed with other school materials. If in-person delivery is not available, look into getting the cards mailed or dropped off. Laminating the cards before they are sent home will help them last longer and be more durable throughout the distance learning time.

Sending home PDFs via email might be another option for delivery but consider your families’ access to a printer. There may be struggles to open and print the PDFs at home for families, or the family may not have the means to do so.

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Use Different Online Learning Platforms

When it comes to online learning platforms, it seems that schools are either telling the teachers what to use or you’re able to use whatever means necessary to teach your students. Either way, there are a lot of online learning platforms that can help you reach your learners.

Use What Your Students Have at Home

While fancy manipulatives are great, sometimes it is just not possible to use them during virtual learning. Instead, ask families what they might have available for students to work with during this time. Blocks, LEGO bricks, sensory bins, items of different colors, beads, etc. can all be incorporated into 1:1 learning sessions. You will be able to work on everything from positional phrases to matching and more.

  • Stress to families that just about anything can be turned into a learning tool, and they do not need to purchase extra supplies if they are not able.

No matter what type of materials or supplies you decide to use, keep in mind that virtual learning is going to be challenging at times for your students and, most likely, for you as well. 

Internet hiccups and computer malfunctions may inhibit your ability to collect precise data all of the time. Be patient with yourself and your students as you navigate these unusual times.

How are you making lesson accessible to all of your learners virtually? Tell us in the comments below!




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