Communication and Interaction.
This page collates all the games and resources I have made/found to enhance the communication opportunities for all students but specially designed for AAC (Augmentative and alternative communication) users. This may be PECS (Picture exchange communication system) or Context specific boards for those students who have more speech. All are free but some will require software to edit.
Speech and Language therapy.
I am not a speech and language therapist but work in a specialist school where communication is our primary focus. Most of these activities have been given the nod by our SALT and have passed the (essential) student test. I can heartily recommend Sarah Alderman’s blog for speech and language expertise and ideas.I have some thoughts on age appropriateness. A lot of these games and toys were designed for younger children than I work with. You can have this debate in your centre/school but I personally think engagement trumps the perception that these are too childish. I need tough toys that the students are drawn to. I need motivating sounds, colours and textures. I work hard to create a classroom that is clearly a secondary classroom, but I want the drawers to be full of motivating, fun tasks that I do not have to be too precious over. If my students like a spinner or noisy shape tub then that’s what I am going to use to grab their attention and make sure they want to engage with the planned learning and interactions (So there). In a special school it is essential to engage a child’s interests, and working with Autistic children these interests can be highly motivating.
I have used a Mr Potato Head numerous times to structure an activity to aid expressive language. So many opportunities for PECS use, sharing, commenting and interaction.
Buy Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, and Stormtrooper Mr Potato Head Set of three.
You can use this communication board to structure requests. If there is too much vocabulary blank the squares out.
Pop Up Pirate
This classic game comes with multiple coloured swords. So great for extending vocabulary or practicing attributes with PECS. You can definitely find this in a charity shop or buy it here. Download the free CSCB – For Pop up Pirate here.
Pop The Pig
This is a bit more of a complex game, it comes with coloured burgers that have a number printed on them, you can roll the dice to see wich burger or just request a chosen colour using the CSCB. You press the Pigs head the number of times that is printed on the burger. Buy Pig goes pop here. Download the CSCB – Pop the Pig or copy and paste the image below.
This is one of the most horrendously noisy toys ever but the kids love it. Buy the penguin race here. hopefully it comes with multi-coloured penguins that the child can request with PECS or the Penguin Slide CSCB board.
Update I found a duck version as well! Will upload the board or make your own with Widgit Online.
Gator Goal Game
I like this as it’s fully age appropriate probably up to the sixth form and beyond and encourages gross motor skills and movement as well as communication and commenting opportunities. You can buy it here. Download a Zip of all Gator Goal Game Free Printable resources here.
These incredibly cheap little Alien poppers (Under £3 for 12) are really good fun. Just request the colour of the one you want. The communication AAC board is made using widgit online and does not have coloured boxes to make it visually easier to process for Autistic learners.
First up is the Pop Up Game ( I stole this idea from a portage session then saw it for £5 in Sainsbury’s the link above is Amazon.)
Using this board (download here – Pop Up Game attributes CSCB) your guys can request the number and colour of the figures they want. These then go into the matching hole, you can use the “oh no” comment if it gets put in the wrong one or if it falls on the floor when they bounce it out etc. Great for enhancing expressive communication.
The Wobbly Chef
This seems to be discontinued I found mine for £2 in a charity shop so you may be lucky.
This unsteady chap has proven a hit with my class and is great for both communication and fine motor skills. I have to admit I have adapted with some blu-tac on the base as he is a little too wobbly on a hard school desk. Anyway, the idea is you roll the dice and try to balance the item on one of the plates. Download the PDF Wobbly chef AAC board. If you want to edit it you can use this file and open with In Print 3.- Wobbly Chef AAC resources. This includes medium and small PECS symbol grids for the game.
This strip I didn’t save for some reason so if you want to extend the discussion you can save and print the image.
The Yes/No Game
No additional physical resources needed for this. This was just a quick way to get extend the vocabulary of some of my guys. A game they could play with minimal staff support. A bit of a classic. All they have to do is ask questions – the other player then has to answer without saying yes or no.
So I printed the boards double-sided and laminated (of course). 1 Side is possible questions if needed. The other is possible answers. You can of course then fade this out. We play with a buzzer to make it a bit more fun but a bell or even an app would do. Pretty much a totally free teaching resource.
The Penguin Game.
Probably the most popular due to the water play element to it. This simple pile the penguins on the ice game (Buy Here) allows for PECS attributes (4) and stage 1/2/3. (Download the Small/Medium PECS penguin float game Grids Here)
Download the Penguin AAC board for free. It is well worth it!
90% of these resources have been made using Widgit Software – either In-Print 3 or Widgit online (Free Trial Here). To edit any of these files you will need to invest in this.
To quickly and simply capture images for your resources you will need screen capture software – if you have a Mac the buttons Command+Shift+4 will allow you to draw a box around the image or more usually the part of an image you want this then saves to your desktop for use.
Alternatively, Faststone screen capture is a free little program I use at work. The benefits of this is the smaller file size and ability to capture multiple images quickly i.e from google image search (filtered by license of course).
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