We have noticed that we as a whole class were saying “HEY” entirely too much. When we were saying “HEY” it was to convey many things: hello, I want that, I am mad, I want to play, look at this, etc. I started to prompt the students quite a bit to use their words. This became quite monotonous and annoying both to me and the students (entirely way to many verbal directions for an autism classroom!). Then lightbulb! Remember the game Taboo? Well the premise behind it was that you would get buzzed if you used a word that was not allowed. So we developed BUZZ! BUZZ! is our own take on the game and is generalized throughout the entire day. Whenever a student and/or staff member says "Hey!" they get buzzed.
We have now started to say “BUZZ!” followed up with “Try again” or “Pick a different word.” Everyone is doing very well with “buzzing” each other, including buzzing me (guilty as charged). Everyone is also doing well with finding different words to use. Do not be surprised if you here a random word after someone is buzzed. We have found that a word such as “turtle” or “cat” have been said after being buzzed. We are accepting this for the time being. The students are using this as a filler word while they think of a new word/phrase to use. I am very pleased with how each student is developing new vocabulary to use in various situations.
If you try this in your classroom please leave a comment and let me know how it works!