Unlocking Communication: What to Expect in a S2C Session for Non-Speakers with Sensory Motor Differences

"Autism isn't a cognitive disability; it is a motor disability" - Jamie Handley.

You will embark on a journey that challenges the traditional understanding of autism as a cognitive disability. Understanding this fundamental truth paves the way for effective communication strategies for non-speakers with sensory motor differences.

Below, we’ll explore what you can expect during a spelling to communicate (S2C) session, highlighting the valuable aspects that will empower your speller and foster meaningful communication. Join us in this insightful journey and discover the power of S2C!

How can my child learn to communicate through spelling? Is this really possible?

These are certainly reasonable questions to ask!

One of the first things you’ll notice about Spelling to Communicate is that it challenges the traditional understanding of autism as a cognitive disability. Understanding this fundamental truth paves the way for effective communication strategies for non-speakers with sensory motor differences.

If you are considering S2C training for your child, here’s a brief explanation of how we train your child to spell with a letter board and what you can expect during a typical session:

Presuming Competence and Setting the Stage:

As a registered spelling to communicate practitioner, we begin every session with a firm belief in the competence of the speller. Our goal is to create a supportive and inclusive environment where communication can flourish. In the room, you’ll find a table equipped with essential tools like a clipboard, sheet, pencil, letter boards, body engagers, and a lesson to aid communication.

Side-by-Side Support:

During the session, both the speller and the practitioner sit side-by-side, fostering a collaborative and equal partnership. Regardless of the speller’s dominant hand, we sit on the right, emphasizing our commitment to respecting and supporting their unique motor abilities and preferences. Together, we embark on a journey of communication and self-expression.

Motor Coaching and Co-Regulation:

The practitioner’s role is to coach the speller through the motor planning process, helping them navigate the letter boards and select each letter as they answer questions. Simultaneously, we actively engage in co-regulation, we work alongside the speller, fostering a partnership rooted in trust and understanding. It is about reading and responding to each other’s cues, supporting sensory-motor challenges and maintaining a shared comfortable rhythm during our sessions.
As we progress through the S2C pathway, I continuously adapt to the speller’s motor and sensory needs, providing support and guidance tailored to their unique situation. This collaborative approach enhances the overall experience and facilitates effective communication.

Housekeeping and Respect:

  • In the first session, it’s important to be aware that some spellers may have had negative experiences in the past. Building trust takes time, but we genuinely believe in their capabilities.
  • To respect and honor their journey, we avoid speaking about the speller in their presence unless it is directed at them directly. 
  • Parents and caregivers are encouraged to be present during sessions, ensuring they don’t miss any of their speller’s significant communication milestones. 

No Reinforcers, Just Empowerment:

We take a different approach in S2C sessions, as we don’t use reinforcers like edibles, stickers, or “rewards.” Instead, our focus is on empowering the speller, recognizing their inherent abilities, and fostering genuine communication connections.

Session Duration and Lesson Context:

Each session typically lasts between 15 to 45 minutes. We start by reading an age and interest-appropriate lesson. This shared context not only engages the speller but also facilitates motor coaching. We guide the speller’s arm to point with a pencil and help them direct their eyes to find the intended letters.

The Ultimate Goal:

At Spelling Allies, our goal is more than just communication – it’s about opening up worlds. It is to provide effective motor coaching that opens up opportunities for purposeful movement and communication for your speller. Through the S2C approach, we strive to unlock their voice, express themselves, share their thoughts, and be actively engaged in meaningful conversations. Autonomy and access to communication is ideal.

In an S2C session, expect a supportive and respectful environment that values the unique motor abilities and communication potential of non-speakers with sensory-motor differences. Together, we will embark on a journey of empowerment, fostering effective communication and bridging the gap between thoughts and expression. Join us in unleashing the power of spelling to communicate!

Are you ready to unlock your speller’s communication potential?

Book a Session with us today!