Using Avaz with motor planning

Aug 16, 2013

In my last post, I spoke about how some kids with special needs are better at motor planning than picture identification. In a nutshell, kids who tend towards motor planning can ‘remember’ a movement sequence that leads to selecting a word, and learn to associate that movement sequence with the word. It’s another way of building and using vocabulary.

We build Avaz so that it could be used by nearly all kids with complex communication needs, and so we built in a number of features to support motor planners, too. Here are some tips about how you can set up Avaz for maximum efficacy if you think the child you are working with is stronger at motor planning than picture identification:

The settings for motor planners are grouped under

The settings for motor planners are grouped under “Picture settings (Behavior)” in Avaz.

1. Don’t use scrolling to go from page to page; enable the Page-Up and Page-Down keys in settings instead. This way, the more complex movement of ‘swiping’ does not confuse the child; the child can use the consistent movement of ‘selection’ using tapping to perform all of the Avaz actions. If you want to start even simpler, I’d recommend editing the vocabulary to ensure that there is only one page per screen, so that there is no scrolling at all.
2. Switch on Auto-Home. The reverse-navigation from a category screen to the home screen using the ‘Go Back’ and ‘Home’ keys isn’t very friendly to motor-planning users. If this Setting is enabled, the menu goes back to the home screen after each activation. You will find this setting in the “Picture settings (Behavior)” category.
3. Plan a full vocabulary, but introduce words slowly and one at a time. You can disable words from the Edit screen, and re-enable them later. Make sure the “Rearrange on disable” setting is disabled to keep cell positions consistent. This way, when a child learns the motor sequence for a word at an early stage of AAC intervention, they can retain and use that memory even as new words are introduced.
All of these settings are in the “Picture settings (Behavior)” category.

Here is a link to a very comprehensive documents about AAC with motor-planning. While this document was written a while back, and makes reference to an older, dedicated AAC device instead of an iPad app, it’s a great resource for anyone looking to implement motor planning based AAC with Avaz, too.

Do you have any suggestions about how to use AAC with motor planning? Have you used Avaz with a child with motor-planning, and would you like to share your feedback with us? Please give us your feedback in the comments below!