Video 5.1: The family childcare provider’s viewpoint


Ms. Mary, a family child care provider, shares a dilemma about her concerns of using communication boards with Sophie, a 2-year-old girl in her program.


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Ms. Mary:

I’ve run a family child care program for over 20 years now. I went back and got my degree in Early Childhood Education after my own children left home. And I feel like I’ve found my calling. I provide good care and it’s affordable for families too.

But there is one little girl in my program that I’m worried about – Sophie. Sophie, her sister Jocelyn, and her little brother Wes come to my home 3 days a week. Sophie is about 2 ½ now. Sophie has struggled with motor delays and doesn’t really talk at all. Her mother, Holly is an amazing woman – she has 5 children and works part-time at a non-profit. She has spent the last year working with therapists to help Sophie learn to walk and sit on her own. Sophie has also had some vision problems and they say that it’s a miracle that she can see at all.

Now her mom is working with a speech therapist who has introduced these communication boards for Sophie. Her mother showed me a few of the boards. They have these squares with pictures on them, and Sophie is supposed to point to the pictures to ask or tell us about something. I’ve never used anything like this before.

I know we all want Sophie to be engaged and to interact with those around her, but is using a communication board like this really good for her? How will she be motivated to talk if we tell her to use the board? Shouldn’t the therapist be working on getting Sophie to use words? What if the communication board isn’t right there beside us – maybe we forget to take it with us when we go outside, or it doesn’t have the words on it we need? I know that Sophie’s mom and her speech therapist have her best interest at heart, I’m just not sure this is the best direction to take. I’m afraid she will stop trying to talk if she uses this board.