There are so many things that we have worked on for Elizabeth on her life’s journey. Some of them have been easier than others to succeed in and some remain in that often referred to list called “we are working on it.”   Probably one of the biggest things on that list is now, and will probably always be, COMMUNICATION.

With Elizabeth’ special needs of global dyspraxia and sensory processing disorder ( SPD), for her, learning to speak was a lot of work.  It involved years of speech therapy, work at home as well as the use of other things that further communication. By this I mean emotion charts that would allow a young Elizabeth to point at what she was feeling instead of struggling to articulate her feelings.  To this day, Elizabeth still struggles with some misarticulations that she can self-correct but does not always do because she is enjoying a conversation or excited to tell you something.   Again, we are working on it.

We have used signals to encourage communication and to let her know that we need “more words” used in a sentence.  For example, due to her dyspraxia and the fact that typically those with the disorder tend to fall into habits quickly, Elizabeth has some stock answers for our day to day questions that we ask her.  Some days she will talk in long wonderful sentences as she tells you about her day or about a part of her day while other times, she will use a stock answer and stop there.   So my signal is to kind of make a  forward motion circle with my hand and wrist to signal “go on”.  Now being that she and I have talked about why I do this and that we love to hear her words (even at 21 years old), she will tell us more and this can lead to a nice conversation.   Without the signal, maybe we would just hear the stock words.

So for us, signals, that we have previously discussed, work.

So when I came across this item, my first thought was Yep, this could work!

It is called the Check-A-Roo

And what it is is a pack of 6 oversized plastic check marks.  There are two of each color in the pack: red, blue and green.

I thought of quite a lot of purposes for these guys but my first one was to use it when Elizabeth is reading out loud, to signal that we can understand her well.  We would talk to her first about the check mark, and its use and then when she was reading we could hold it up every so often to be a positive encouragement as she reads.

I think we are going to give this a try this summer as we do more reading for pleasure than in the school year.

I also thought that these check marks could quietly be reminders to our youngest child that he needs to  complete a job or task by my handing one to him, which he can hand back when the designated job is done.

You can use them as rewards when a certain number of check marks is in their pile, for jobs well done.


In punishment mode: no more saying “if I have to say this one more time…’  instead I am thinking of grabbing a check mark and keeping track of things that way. Maybe when that person gets to a certain number, a privilege is lost.

In any event, I see a lot of uses for these check marks…nice quiet signals!  So maybe go to our site to take a look for yourself and see what you think.

I wish everyone a peaceful week

Michele Gianetti author of “I Believe In You: A Mother and Daughter’s Special Journey” and “Emily’s Sister