Creating Connections with the No Limits Method: Communication & Choice

Cheyne Joslin
Cheyne Joslin
Blog on March 14 2022

In the last entry to this blog series. the general ideas underlying the No Limits Method were discussed as a new way to facilitate the education and cognitive development of students with complex disabilities. This included an overview of the core values, which animate the method and guide its implementation.

To recap, the No Limits Method facilitates direct collaboration between instructors (public, private, or home-school) and therapists (PT/OT/SLP), to meet the needs of students with disabilities and help them to develop cognitively.

It’s true that there are therapists working in school settings, but instructors often speak a different “professional language” than them. These instructors were trained differently and may not have access to certain techniques and best practices for working with students with disabilities. They may not know what their students’ disabilities are or how these disabilities affect the students. Similar can be said for therapists, as they may not have access to the strategies that instructors are using in classrooms for each student, or what kinds of activities students are doing.   

The No Limits Method and its core values allow instructors and therapeutic professionals to begin to speak the same “professional language” when discerning how to meet the needs of students with disabilities to help them progress. In this entry, the greater detail the first two core values, communication and choice, and strategies for putting these values into practice through the No Limits Method will be discussed by addressing their importance.

No Limits Method Core Value: Communication 

We all know the saying, “communication is key.” The ability to communicate often seems so effortless and natural to us that we take its power and presence in our lives for granted. However, we often overlook the significance of this power and the many ways it is available to us. Without some way to communicate and make others understand us, our needs, desires, and projects would go unrecognized and unfulfilled. We would have no way to make our individual choices known to others.  

Students with disabilities may often find themselves in difficult positions since many neurological conditions and developmental delays can affect one’s capacity for verbal communication. Consistently providing alternative means of communication for these students is a necessity, both for promoting freedom of communication and for demonstrating instances of cognitive development. Learning sign language might seem like a simple solution, but fine motor impairments and accompanying issues with coordination limit the usefulness of sign language for many students with disabilities.  

 Communication devices and other forms of alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) can provide students with speech impairments the ability to use their voices independently, often for the first time in their lives. It is important to have a proper understanding of how these devices relate to those that use them. These devices do not give the student a voice per se, but instead, help them to use the voice they already have. The freedom that comes with the recognition of a student’s voice is achieved through resources, like AAC devices, and by modeling their use for a student in the same way that we would model verbal speech, through repetition. Just like spoken language, repetition and the use of resources can help students to use their voice and access new freedoms for themselves.  

No Limits Method Core Value: Choice 

Allowing and increasing students’ freedom of expression is paramount to further enrich their lives and promote cognitive development. Many students with disabilities, especially those who are nonverbal, are not given genuine choices. Often, the communicative options that students with speech impairments are given by those around them are little more than “yes” and “no” in response to simple questions. Imagine if your options to decide and communicate were this limited!  

The No Limits Method seeks to change this and to foster the freedom of students with disabilities. How will this happen? First, it is important to remember that cognitive development occurs because of gradual interaction between a person and their environment, as well as other people. We also know that this interaction plays a key role in language learning. For example, children learn words in social contexts; by hearing adults speak, and by copying them.  

Since many students with disabilities also have difficulty with learning and language, we adapt the environmental interactions to their needs, with student and instructor interactions being facilitated using AAC devices. An instructor, their assistant, or even the student’s parent, can model the use of words by using such a device with the student, just as they would model speech with a developing child. This way, the student learns to use the device to communicate. The device becomes the student’s way to use their own voice and have their full range of choices recognized, acknowledged, and respected. As a student gradually learns to use their communication device, these interactions can take many forms: single-word use, question-and-answer, and even full sentences.  

This newfound freedom to communicate that these students can achieve through learning to use AAC devices, gives them the ability to have their choices recognized by others in a genuine way. To achieve this, the No Limits Method has partnered with Tobii Dynavox, the world’s leading developer and producer of AAC devices and software. Their communication software has been fully integrated into the method and its training protocol, so that anyone using them can learn how to help these students use the voices that they have always had with the correct resources to do so.

Students at our demonstration school, No Limits Academy, who have difficulty with learning and language, can now gain the ability to communicate. With this, we want to make it possible for instructors, schools, and families to see that same kind of progress for their children, by learning the method and putting it into practice! We are excited to be working in collaboration with OTIS for Educators and Tobii Dynavox in pursuit of this goal.  

In the next blog, we will go over the core values of the No Limits Method; meeting the physical and cognitive needs of students with disabilities by integrating the expertise of therapeutic rehabilitation professionals into educational settings.  


For more tips, tricks, and tools for teaching in and out of the classroom, check out more articles on the Teq Talk blog.

We also offer virtual professional development, training, and remote learning support for educators with OTIS for educators. Explore the technology, tools, and strategies that can spark student success — no matter where teaching or learning are happening.


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