Abstract ideas such as ‘finish’ could be represented by, for example, a 3-D pyramid – it does not have any direct relationship to its meaning, but, if used with the pupils consistently in that manner, could come to represent that idea.
Objects of reference are basically a simple method of communicating, but they can be used at a number of levels.
- Involving an actual object that the child uses in an activity; a cup that is used every time he or she has a drink would become an object of reference for a drink.
- A different cup could become an object of reference, a smaller one perhaps, or just using a part of one, e.g. the lid or handle. (This would be useful if the child uses a large amount of objects to reduce the space they take up).
- If possible, the objects could be used to give him or her an element of choice in their day; once they understand what each object represents, they may be able to indicate a choice, perhaps through eye pointing, reaching, etc.
- Objects of reference can be used to make stories more relevant and interesting. They need not be limited to objects, but could include sounds, smells and tactile sensory experiences.