October is almost here. Can Halloween be far behind? It seems to me that Fall has become one hurried-through round of holiday celebrations after another. Last year, I got the impression that stores went straight from Halloween to Christmas without even taking a breath for Thanksgiving.
There are tons of fun ways to work on language around Halloween. With costumes and characters and monsters galore the opportunities for stirring up stimulating adjectives abounds.
One of my favorite therapy activities has always been barrier games. There are so many speech and language targets you can work on, and kids tend to love the almost competitive aspect of the games.
Barrier games tend, historically, to focus on giving and following directions and using good, concise descriptors. But you can also use them to target speech sound production; just make the images to be placed in the scenes all use the target sound in the target location. Can you put happy pigs in the pen with the sheep?
I have barrier games in my store for both Fall and Halloween, and last week’s blog post talked about how to turn simple stock photos into barrier game opportunities.
Last year I also wrote a post on how to create and set up your own barrier games. You can read it here if you missed it.
I’ve also found that most kids love to play “Memory” or “Concentration”-type games; even kids whose short term memories are pretty……well, short. I have a free set of pumpkin describing cards for playing this type of game; with a variety of funny and frightening pumpkins to describe. While not strictly Halloween-themed, this pumpkin card game can last through the Fall season from now until Thanksgiving. Grab it for free here.
If you’re old enough to remember the old Highlights kids’ magazine (do they still publish it?), you’ll remember that one standard feature of every issue was a compare and contrast activity. There were 2 scenes that were pretty complex, and the trick was to find all the ways that they were different. Often one scene was missing elements of the other.
I love to do compare and contrast activities like that and, again, I’ve found that most kids love the challenge of finding the differences. In that vein, here is my latest free resource, just for readers of my blog: a set of compare/contrast cards using monsters from Krista Walden at Creative Clips. Pick up your free copy here.
And just in case you were thinking that your AAC users couldn’t participate in these activities, take a look at their AAC systems. Do they have colors, shapes, sizes, and other adjectives in their systems? They should be able to say “red, not blue” or “stripes, not spots,” in response to monster cards. Or “2 eyes, no teeth,” in response to the pumpkin cards.
Just another reminder that AAC intervention doesn’t have to be different or require different materials, and that AAC users don’t need to be seen alone - communication is a social act. Have fun with it.
And, keep on talking.