How to set up an OOR programme:
● There are no set objects in an OOR approach but the following must be considered when selecting the OOR:
• Distinct tactile and/or olfactory (smell) differences
• Distinct visual and/or auditory differences
● Objects need to be carefully selected to suit each individual and used in situations where the need to communicate exists.
● They need to be meaningful to the individual; a simple link or a strong association between object and activity/person is best. For example, a bike helmet to represent a bike ride, bead bracelet to represent their teacher. Sometimes links may be abstract i.e. a piece of string representing going on the swing. It is important to spend time observing a person during activities and identifying the most meaningful links to objects.
● Remember, each individual’s set of Objects of Reference will be unique to them. They need to be motivating to use. For example you may wish to have an object to represent the toilet but for the person you support, toileting procedure could be a difficult and stressful experience. They will have no motivation to learn the Object of Reference for toilet. Food or favourite activities are far more motivating and rewarding.
● Start with a few objects that represent activities/events that occur frequently. Repetitions of use will make it easier for the user to understand the connection between the object and its meaning.
● It is vital that there is a consistency of approach. Everybody will need to introduce the object in the same way, using the same key words and signs.
Written guidelines are essential.
● In order for OOR to be a successful communication tool, the user needs to be able to:
• discriminate objects by touch/smell/sound
• appreciate that objects mean something
• and have some capacity to remember the meaning of an object.
Please note, these skills may not be present at the beginning but by introducing objects they will hopefully be promoted.