Phase IV – Sentence Structure

Objective:  The student requests present and non-present items using a multi-word phrase by going to the book, picking up a picture/symbol of “I want”, putting it on a sentence strip, picking out the picture of what is wanted, putting it on the sentence strip, removing the strip from the communication book, approaching the communicative partner, and giving the sentence strip to him/her.  By the end of this phase, the student typically has 20 – 50 pictures in the communication book (or board) and is communication with a variety of partners.

 Preparing for Phase IV:

create a sentence strip out of cardboard (laminate and add Velcro) and with Velcro, attach to the communication binder
create a picture for “I want”
it is helpful for some children to use colour-coding for teaching sentence structure; a widely used colour-coding format is known as “Fitzgerald Key


no verbal prompts are used during this phase
continue periodic “correspondence checks”
continue to use during a variety of activities and with a variety of partners

Training Procedure:

attach the “I want” picture to the far left of the sentence strip
the student should be guided to place the picture of the desired item next to the “I want” picture
the student then gives you the sentence strip
as the student is giving you the strip, you should verbalize the request by saying “I want __________” or tell the student “You told me…I want______” (pause as if expecting the student to repeat or fill in the blank)  
once the student consistently does this, move the “I want” picture to the top left hand corner of the board/page
when the student wants something, guide him/her to the “I want” picture, help him/her to place it on the left side of the sentence strip and then help the student to place the picture of the desired item next to it
continue doing this until the student can complete these steps independently  
start placing desired items out of sight