Preparing Your Learner for Buttons

To prepare your learner to talk with buttons, talk to them:

  • Frequently
  • Intentionally
  • Using language that is slow, clear, simple, and positive.

  1. Model words and concepts by speaking them out loud and demonstrating what they mean. 
  2. Repeat important words at least 5 times. 
  3. Use familiar words and be consistent in the words you choose for concepts. 

Signs that your learner understands you include:

  • Looking at you
  • Acknowledging you
  • Swiveling their ears
  • Looking at the correct object
  • Making a communicative noise
  • Or, they do a combination of all of the above!

Start speaking to them as much as possible, using these techniques to help refine the process. 

Below, we’ve included a Common Button Concepts list to help you identify concepts your learner might already know. This is meant to give you a general idea of what concepts people use regularly and is NOT the recommended beginner buttons or order of introduction. 


Common Button Concepts

All Done Now & Later Settle
Ball Ouch Toy Names
Friend & Stranger Outside Treat
Help Park Tug
Hi & Bye Play Walk
Look Potty Want
Love You Puzzle Water
Name(s) (learner, family, friends) Scritches/Scratches Yes & No


Your learner’s most familiar words are often great first button words. Use them often but appropriately!


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Jump To Next Lesson

Button Teaching Guide

Intro to Button Teaching

Preparing Your Learner for Buttons

Learning to Read Your Learner

Motivating Your Learner


Choosing the Right Starting Buttons

Soundboard Setup Guide

Setting Up Your First Button

Planning Your Soundboard

Adding New Buttons

Let’s Get Them Pressing

Early Signs of Progress