Eye Gaze Choice Making

Eye Gaze Choosing

UDL 4.2 UDL 5.1

Eye Gaze Choice Making is an Augmentative and Alternative Communication System (AAC) that allows individuals with communication impairments to express preferences using sustained eye gaze. Using images, students use eye gaze to make selections and communicate choices, often with the support of an eye-operated control system (e.g., alphabet board, high-tech AAC device). Eye Gaze Choice Making is designed for students who have physical limitations and are unable to point or operate a switch in order to control an AAC device. For nonverbal students who may only be able to nod or shake their heads, using eye gaze allows them to communicate a wider array of messages.

Ready-to-Use Resources

Flash Cards

Illustrated Word Cards: Preferred Items

A set of highly-preferred item words cards illustrated with icons. Use these as a reference when teaching students new vocabulary words, as labels for AAC devices, or as word icons for students using a picture communication system. Included are PDFs and a Word Document version with a customizable, blank template.

Grade K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 · English Language Arts, Reading, Speaking, Behavior & SEL · 2 pages

Implementation Tips

Ensuring Reliable Communication
Determine, along with the Speech Language Pathologist (SLP), how reliable your student is at responding to yes/no and multiple choice questions. Ascertain how many options you can give a student until accuracy decreases.
Presenting Choices
Present choices in a clear way by utilizing familiar pictures. Make sure pictures are accessible to the student as pictures that are too small can make it difficult for students to make a selection.
Backup Planning
Maintain a low-tech communication board or system for back-up (e.g., [[|E-TRAN Board]], [[ |Picture Choices]]) in case of high-tech device failure.
Confirming Student Choices
Establish a confirmation system to avoid communication breakdowns. For example, if a user makes a selection, the communication partner says, “are you telling me letter ‘T’?” The user blinks once to confirm this is accurate.
Organizing Pictures
Organize pictures into folders by category or activity. This will lessen the amount of choices on the screen or board and make it easier for the user to fix the gaze on a larger target when making choices.
Maintaining Empathy
Remember that eye gaze communication can be fatiguing, especially for beginners. Learn to recognize a student’s signals for fatigue and check in with students often.
Recognizing Abilities
Keep students’ ability levels in mind by setting a reasonable expectation that they will utilize the system to make choices when they are capable of doing so. Avoid immediately anticipating a preference before a student communicates.


Selecting Activities
During learning centers, a student who is nonverbal accesses the “centers” folder on his AAC device and shifts his eye gaze to the “library” picture. The device generates the word “library” and the “library” folder opens, presenting a variety of book options. The student then shifts his eye gaze to the picture of “The Cat in the Hat” and the device reads the name of the selected title aloud. The paraprofessional confirms the user’s choice saying, “You’re telling me you would like to read ‘The Cat in the Hat.’ Is this right?” The student blinks one time to confirm the selection and the paraprofessional retrieves the book to read to the student.
Repairing Communication Breakdowns
At the start of lunch, a student opens the “lunch” folder on her AAC device. The paraprofessional asks the student, “What would you like for lunch?” The student uses eye gaze to select the “hot dog” picture and the device says “hot dog.” The paraprofessional says, “Are you telling me that you would like a hot dog?” The student blinks twice to indicate “no” and that an error was made. Then, the student uses eye gaze to select the “chicken nuggets picture.” The paraprofessional asks, “Would you like chicken nuggets?” The student blinks once to confirm “yes.”

Related Strategies