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NOVA Chatting - Part 2

The training session went well. About 8-10 people attended including the head speech person from the school district and a representative from the assistive technology department. Ben's teacher, the Exceptional Children facilitator, the school OT, PT and SLP were there, along with the principal and dean. Ben's private OT, Sarah, attended as well. 

Sarah was extremely helpful to the discussion because she added technical information about positioning and general therapy information. She was able to talk about using the NOVA Chat from a therapist's point of view. It was invaluable having her there. It also prevented anyone from thinking, "This mother is crazy, thinking her son can do all these things." 

The session began with a general discussion about why it is important to use the device, At the end, the group watched the video, which was a perfect way to end the session (the video also disproved "the mother is crazy" theory. Thank you Ben.)

I was careful to express my desire that the group brainstorm ways to use the NOVA Chat with Ben at school. I am in no way an expert on using the device or on teaching - they have the knowledge to use the device in creative ways.

Continuous follow-up, training and communication is needed in order to get the consistency we expect at school. Right now, the support is there from the teacher and the administrative staff. The challenge will be to get some of the other folks on board.

I sent a thank you note to each participant the night of the training. I received emails from the the assistive technology representative letting me know she will be coming to school regularly to follow the progress and lend support to the staff, and another one from the head speech pathologist for the district letting the group know that she is available for support.

Already, Ben's teacher has been in touch with me on what to add and change to fit for what they are doing in the classroom. I think she may be the one who gives me a run for my money...but that's a good thing!

This is the agenda I used for the training:

NOVA Chat Training
September 2013

Why is it important to use the NOVA Chat?

  •  It is an acceptable way to communicate. Ben understands how to use it.
  • We have had much success at home with it.
  • Ben has gained independence and control through making choices about what he wants to do.
  • Ben is able to learn and show us how much he knows.

How difficult is it to use it in the classroom?

  • Need time to setup pages. Once they are setup, it is easy to use.
  • Takes the commitment from everyone to use it consistently.
  •  Takes patience. Like any kid, typical or otherwise, there will be times that work gets pushed away. I remind myself that my other typically developing boys push back on homework, chores and activities all the time. They use their voices. Ben pushes back too with actions, usually a refusal to cooperate.

How will it benefit me?
  • It will make your job easier than trying the old methods that may not be as effective for Ben .
  • You will see results in Ben’s progress.
  • You will learn a new skill that is up and coming in the world of children with special needs.

Daily Classroom Uses
  1. Sight/Spelling Words
  2. Spelling
  3.  Math & Counting
  4. Reading & Reading Comprehension
  5. Toileting – Give Ben a choice to use the bathroom
  6.  Conversations with Classmates
  7. Choices – take a break or go on
  8. Lunch Choices
  9. Any time there is a choice, allow Ben to make it. 

Applications Other Than NOVA Chat
  • Math
  • Reading
  • Counting

Website Resources

·         Saltillo offers free online classes for anyone interested.


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