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Point, Pause, Prompt, Praise and Reward

When I developed Grace App it was to be an extension of an already successful and highly effective method of prompting and supporting communication using printed and laminated pictures.

However, it seems that some of you have skipped the printers, laminators and velcro books and come straight to Grace App, without the basic training in introducing the Power of the Picture.

So here is an easy guide to follow on from your Six Steps to Success.

Point and Pause

Once you have taught the user to open the App and select each picture they need in sequence, you tilt the device to make it big (in the case of iPod and iPhone) and hand over hand point at each separate picture, sliding them along.

In the case of iPad you do the same but point just below each one, and there is no need to tilt as the picture is big enough anyway.

Do this gently with your hand holding their pointing finger at first, building interaction.

When they are able to point nicely you can fade out your hand support and just hold the device with them. The device should always be presented to the person who is going to grant the request.


Give the user the chance to look at each picture with you and wait for them to make eye contact or attempt each word. The level is different for each user and should be agreed with all carers prior to starting using the Communication Contract. Language processing can take a little bit longer for some people, especially with regard to autism. So give them a chance to beat your prompt..

Prompt (or Model)

When you have waited a beat and given them a chance to look at you and/or attempt the word, say the word clearly. If they beat your prompt with an approximation, model the correct word – enthusiastically with a huge smile of encouragement. This is errorless teaching because with your help they always get it right.

For Example: The User says: “I Wah” – you smile and say “I WANT” then point to the next word.

Praise and Reward!

Hand over the agreed* request immediately with praise.

You can reward better attempts differentially but always hand over an agreed item if it is requested using the App. The more power you can give to using the Grace App the less power the inappropriate alternatives like self harm, aggression and tantrums will have.

If they beat your prompt and attempt the word independently, give them double what they have asked for.

If they can say the word clearly without you pointing at all then give them even more.

But always honor the picture request regardless of what they attempted last time. I cannot stress this enough. We all get tired. We are all capable of working to different levels according to how stressed or motivated we are. So one day you might get a 3 words spoken clearly and other days just a lacksadaisical point.

Always honor the agreed picture request, otherwise you will be teaching that picture communication only works sometimes, and resorting to inappropriate behaviours is the way to get what they really want.

You can work on developing articulation and vocal approximations in a separate drills using a different platform such as flash cards, games or an alternative phonetic app. such as Smarty Ears.

But save Grace App for their communication of their needs and interests.

Point, Pause, Prompt, Praise and Reward.

*the agreed request is what you have decided they will get 99% of the time in response to a correct presentation of a sentence. Once you have successfully introduced Grace App, you can of course begin to say No.

One response to “Point, Pause, Prompt, Praise and Reward”

  1. Looking for Blue Sky says:

    Brilliantly clear instructions. As a carer I find it great to get regular reminders like this even tho' we are not yet at this stage 🙂

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