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 other lessons:
Intro to Button TeachingLearn to Read Your LearnerMotivating Your Learner to Use ButtonsModelingHow to Choose Starting ButtonsSetting Up Your First ButtonPlanning Your SoundboardAdding New ButtonsLet's Get Them PressingEarly Signs of Progress