I teach in a autism specific classroom. The majority of the group are non-verbal and use a range of AAC (Augmentative and alternative communication resources). A common learning objective that links to a child’s EHCP targets is social interaction. This requires a commonly understood communication method. The key to this is using simple symbol/images which you reinforce through a range of activities. One of my favourite ways for teaching AAC use is through games. I used the manic martians game during a maths session to reinforce counting and colour recognition skills. It was highly motivating as a pair work activity. It also links well with a space topic.
A very noisy AAC game
The class is an Autism Specific provision. I have to say whilst those playing loved it it was too noisy to do in the main classroom. The motor that drives the martians up and down creates a very clack-clacking sound. The hammers, whilst soft ended, made a real whacking sound. An AAC game for the outdoor/breakout space I think.
Pros and Cons
This is a great game for colour recognition and counting. There are 6 of each alien in the game. There are only two colours, an easy adaptation would be to stick numbers, colours, shapes on the the base. For a sort of Martian bingo extension task. Great for motor skills work as you have to be quite accurate to get the Alien to pick up.
The cons are mainly outlined above and link to how noisy the game is during play. The accuracy required of the hammer may be a barrier for some. You can practice by having the martians on some material (felt etc) and practice hitting the hammer to collect them. This worked well for my group.
AAC Communication Board
Download the simple Manic Martians communication board (free PDF) that links with this AAC game. I have done this is the same style as the other games.