Tips & Tricks
Need more ideas for helping your child learn language?
Visit the PRC website for more information on language learning and Minspeak.
Ten Tips & Tricks
Get your child “ready for a Minspeak system” by introducing him/her to simple pictures – called Pixons®. Pixon pictures are similar to the pictures used in Minspeak Application Programs – with one difference - Pixons are single meaning pictures. Your child can have a simple manual communication board, made with Pixons and be learning something about Minspeak before he/she ever gets his/her device. However, if your child already has a Minspeak device, Pixons can also be used to make a variety of materials. Pixon pictures coordinate with the pictures on your child’s Minspeak device and there’s no need for your child to learn another picture set. Download more about Pixons.
Parents are models for their children. They learn many different things from their parents and siblings - some which make us happy and others which don't! You can be a model for your child in the use of the Minspeak device by learning how to talk with the device yourself. You don't have to be 100% proficient with the device, just a step ahead of your child.
Give your child hands-on experiences with the things, people, and actions represented with the pictures on the Minspeak display. There may be big gaps in your child's understanding of what we consider the most simple things. But, providing hands-on experiences, it will be easier for your child to use the pictures on the Minspeak display to code words
As a fun, family experience, teach your child about the family of ideas that each Minspeak icon represents. Just like the people in your family are related, the words that each Minspeak icon codes are also related. The more that your child understands the family of ideas for each picture on his/her display, the easier it will be for him/her to learn words in the Minspeak system.
Learning about parts of speech, like verbs or nouns or adjectives, shouldn't be dull and tedious. Instead, learning about parts of speech should be fun and creative. If you make each part of speech into a character with a costume, learning becomes a game and entertainment, which makes learning about parts of speech possible for young children
Create a wall-chart of the words and codes in your child's Minspeak device. Post the wall-chart in a common area in your home. This wall-chart is a visual reminder about the words in your child's device and how to say them. If you can find the word on the chart and match the pictures on the chart to the pictures on the device, you can help your child talk. Pre—made wall-charts, called Natural Aided Language Boards, are available at www.vantatenhove.com.
Exploring is a wonderful and natural way to learn new things. Play games with your child that encourages him/her to discover new words in his/her Minspeak device. Your child could discover a new word and then challenge you to find that same word. Try wearing explorers’ hats and receive “treasure” as together you discover more and more new words. Exploring to learn is a good way to remove the “work” from leaning Minspeak.
Create simple visual reminders to use the device in the day-to-day talking that happens in your family. For example, on the toy box, put the printed words and icon sequences for the phrases "get out" and "put away." These visual reminders encourage your child to communicate with you using words and helps you teach your child the icon sequences for these words.
Storybook reading is a natural opportunity for parents to have quality time with their children. Read a story to your child, then re-read it again and again. As your child becomes familiar with the story, ask him/her to read targeted words from the story. For example, during the reading of “The Three Billy Goats Gruff,” the child could read the words “hungry,” “go,” “over,” eat,” and “under” with their Minspeak device whenever these words appear in the text.
Don't forget to give your child the opportunity to interact in what some might consider as impolite talking. Children often enjoy learning and saying these words more than anything else because it gives them personal power and control. Some favorites to learn are as follows: "I'm going to tell," "That's dumb," "Get away from me," or "She did it first." Listen to the language of children and siblings and copy what they are saying to each other.