Phase III – Picture Discrimination

Objective:  The student will request the desired items by going to a communication board, selecting the appropriate picture from an array, going to a communication partner and giving the picture.

Preparing for Phase III:

in addition to having pictures of desired items, you should now identify and get pictures of non-desired items
non-desired items could be those that the student dislikes or shows no interest in, or are contextually irrelevant (such as a shoe during snack time)


no verbal prompts are used during this phase
rotate the position of the pictures on the communication board so that the student does not learn to identify them by their location (this will discourage looking)  

Training Procedures:  

present the student with one desired item and one strongly disliked, non-preferred item
at first, pair the pictures with the real objects (i.e., by placing the picture between the object and the student)
almost immediately, try to fade away the real objects and just present the student with the pictures
give the student the object that corresponds with the given picture (even if it is the non-preferred or contextually irrelevant item); you can then say “You asked for the shoe” or “You want the shoe” – wait a few seconds and then return the two pictures to the board when the student responds to the non-preferred item, point to the desired item and say “If you want a cookie, you need to ask for a cookie”
if this occurs continually, check that the student is, in fact, interested in the “desired item”
you can also start reducing the size of the pictures to ¾” – 1”
correspondence checks: every once in a while let the student take the requested item after giving you the picture.  This will tell you whether or not the student is making the connection between the picture and its corresponding object  
once the student has learned to look at the pictures and to discriminate between them, start adding more pictures to the board so that the student learns to request from a variety of pictures
continue doing this until the student can discriminate amongst 1 - 20 pictures
at this point, you can develop theme boards and place in the environment or in a book (or both)
you may also want to start putting desired objects out of reach to increase opportunities for requesting  
the student is ready to move on to Phase IV once s/he is able to discriminate between a variety of pictures and is able to request a preferred choice from amongst a group of pictures