Object or tactile cues are used with people who have difficulty comprehending the meaning of drawings or photographs and for people that would not want to use an auditory regulation system. For some consumers, a physical or tactile representation of the activity works better than an auditory or a visual representation of the activity. The process of developing an object schedule and teaching how to use it is the same as when developing and teaching picture prompt use, with the exception that they are taught to touch an object rather than look at or hear relevant cues. It is important to match the type of object used in the system to a consumer’s communication and cognitive abilities. Some consumers will respond best when the actual object used in an activity is incorporated into the object cue system (e.g., a toothbrush is used to represent the activity of brushing teeth). Others may respond to miniature objects used to represent activities (e.g., typing up minutes for a meeting might be represented by a watch).
Auditory cues are a recorded sequence of instructions for completing a task. Instructions can be played back over a set of head phones or ear plugs. Auditory cues may incorporate a variety of sounds including buzzers, bells, alarms, or other noises. An advantage to using an auditory cue is that they are sometimes less obvious than other types of cues. It is not unusual to see someone with an ear-plug and tape-player or an MP3 player. Books with photographs may be more intrusive in some settings. Emerging technologies, such as handheld personal computers, provide potentially powerful vehicles to deliver a wide variety of auditory or visual cues to consumer (Davies, Stock, & Wehmeyer, 2001; Davies, Stock, & Wehmeyer, 2002).
A typical auditory cue regulation system would consist of using a set of head phones or ear plugs with a small, battery operated tape player to listen to a sequence of instructions for performing each step of the task. In some cases, the consumer would need to “pause” the tape-player after each instruction in order to complete the instruction. An auditory cue to pause the tape-player might be used. The tape-player would then need to be turned back on to hear the next step in the sequence. While this may represent a cumbersome sequence in using an auditory cue regulation system, an auditory cue regulation system can include prompts for self-reinforcement at the completion of each step or after a long sequence of steps in the task.
The steps involved in developing an auditory cue regulation system are similar to those involved in a picture cue system. These include:
As with a pictorial cue regulation system, the facilitator will want to model use of the auditory system and make sure that the consumer can use the system appropriately.
Page updated 10/30/06
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