5 Tips for Working with Littles

S2C, Spelling to Communicate, nonspeaking, nonspeakers, Autism, I-ASC, Speller, nonverbal, RPM

One of the biggest questions posed by parents/CRP’s and S2C practitioners alike is “How do I use S2C principles to support Littles?”.  We all know and love them, the squirrelly, squirmy, adorable little dynamos that fall roughly between the ages of 4-8 years old. We also know that any young person is going to need opportunities for movement, for sensory input, and to engage their curious brains, and this is especially true for nonspeakers-but it often means our practice on the letter boards doesn’t look like a “regular” S2C session. So how do we support these up and coming spellers? Here are a few ideas!

S2C, Spelling to Communicate, nonspeaking, nonspeakers, Autism, I-ASC, Speller, nonverbal, RPM

  1. As with anything S2C related, we always want to FEED THE BRAIN! Lessons can still be a great way to do this as with any speller, but we don’t always need to keep it formal. Story books leave plenty of room to learn new vocabulary or fun magazines like National Geographic “Kids” edition give academic content in a kid-friendly way.S2C, Spelling to Communicate, nonspeaking, nonspeakers, Autism, I-ASC, Speller, nonverbal, RPM
  2. Feed the sensory and movement systems! Remember that young kids NEED movement and exploration to develop their motor control, their vestibular systems, and to help them explore and organize sensory information whether they are neurotypical or neurodivergent. So take the time to bounce on that trampoline before you practice spelling or to watch those YouTube videos a few times through. When your Little has the opportunity to meet their sensory-movement needs, they’ll likely have more energy to work on purposeful motor when you practice.
  3. Make play purposeful. Does your little love to run? Put that to good use! “Let’s practice running from the red dot on this wall to the yellow dot on the other wall. Now let’s go from purple to green!”  Do they love arts and crafts? We can work on placing cut paper into a collage, or coloring between the lines with the help of tacky wax sticks placed on the outline of our picture. How about we grab all the purple Squigz off the wall and take them back to the bucket? By giving our activities a goal, we work on purposeful motor even if we’re not getting on the letterboards.
  4. Be flexible with your practice time. Even if your little is still working on getting back to a table to spell or being able to sit through a paragraph, you can still get practice on the boards. If you’re reading The Pout Pout Fish, you can pause to poke “fish” together before you turn to the next page. If you’re running to get those purple Squigz, poke “p” for purple.S2C, Spelling to Communicate, nonspeaking, nonspeakers, Autism, I-ASC, Speller, nonverbal, RPM
  5. Know that every day will be different, and that’s ok. You may have spelled three whole words yesterday, but now you can barely keep your Little in the room to poke a single letter. Look for what your little needs in that moment, and know you will have plenty of time to build those purposeful motor skills!


Who are the littles in your life, and what have they found helpful in their spelling and purposeful motor endeavors? We’d love to hear from you!


S2C, Spelling to Communicate, I-ASC, Autism, nonspeakersBy Bryana Williams, Bryana Williams, M.S CCC-SLP, is a psychology and neurology nerd and S2C Practitioner in Atlanta, Georgia. She works in her private practice and as a member of the Leadership Cadre for I-ASC where she loves supporting upcoming practitioners in training as they learn from the community of neurodivergent typers and spellers.


The mission of I-ASC is to advance communication access for nonspeaking individuals globally through training, education, advocacy and research.  I-ASC supports all forms of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) with a focus on methods of spelling and typing. I-ASC currently offers Practitioner training in Spelling to Communicate (S2C) with the hope that other methods of AAC using spelling or typing will join our association

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